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    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    Can't-Live-Without-Those-Mac-Apps List: The Utilities List..

    And you thought i wouldn't use that title again.. Guess you're wrong :D..

    I finally managed to get some time off to write down this list.. Things hasn't been easy lately, So i didn't have that much time to dig deeper into the second part of the mac list.. If you didn't have the "privilege" of reading the first one, it's right here.. I thought i'd change the tone of things for now..

    So, basically in this list, i'll just go over some of the coolest Utilities that i seriously can't live without.. Am not stating that they're the best out there, but they are the best that i came across, so don't hesitate to suggest anything, and you don't know, maybe you'll get yours posted..

    Disclaimer : No promises :P

    So, let's get to work..

    iStat Menus
    If you like to keep an eye on your Machine's performance, this is a great tool for that specific reasons.. Giving you "Almost" accurate reading of your machine's temperature, current memory in use, and the overall remaining space in your HDD.. It integrates smoothly with your task bar, and it's customizable in icons and in colors.. Once you click on it, it gives detailed information about your machine's activity.. I found it to be very handy, especially when keeping an eye on my machine's temperature after a long Video editing session..

    As much as Apple made it fun to simply drag an App's icon to the trash to get rid of it (none of that Add/Remove Programs mumbo jumbo), some Apps dig their files too deep into your system, and they leave a trail of .plist files, and some things that you may not need any longer.. There are allot of apps out there that help you zap it out completely, but i found this one to be the most user-friendly..

    AudiHijack Pro
    Assuming that you're a DVD-Concert collector, you might sometimes feel the need to actually wanting a certain live version of your song in MP3.. Or maybe, you're into GarageBand and you'd like an MP3 of your latest musical masterpiece (or holy disaster).. Not that it's a hard task to rip those audio for the technological savvy, but you can't help to admire how this app makes it easy.. You can add the application you want to "Hijack", and then click on Record.. The best thing is that you can even mute your machine, and it would still get a clean rip of the audio clip..

    One of the lightest, simplest, and straight forward Audio editing apps out there.. It gives you detailed ability to customize your clips, with many "on the go" effects that help you create ringtones, trim songs, and even manage the channel distribution of your audio files.. Not a very fancy UI, but it's tells you the amount of practically it has in store..

    For those of you who're all about Customization, this app allows you to customize the system icons from their roots, allowing you to add that personal touch and separate yourself from the rest of the herd.. a bit dramatic there, but that's pretty much what the app does, ICONS FOR LIFE..

    For web developers and data sharing monsters, you can't deny the need to use a good FTP every once and a while.. A basic FTP client with a very straight forward UI.. It's a good start for those who want to learn using FTP, and a lite client for those on the go.. Best of all, it's free!

    One of the oldest apps that keeps check on your battery life, capacity and the number of cycles (and remaining charge cycles).. Its a great tool to know the little details about your battery, and its analysis is extremely helpful when your battery acts up on you.. I seriously recommend this App to all mac users who bought used laptops, it helped me allot to know if the battery is anywhere close the "perfect shape" status many claim they're in..

    Mac OS X is filled with many small hidden features that are not "on the surface" of whatever you can generally configure, and this app helps you to dig deep into your software, allowing you to customize it a little more to your own taste.. However, i seriously advise that you only use this after reading enough information, because it can access very crucial parts of your software and/or kernel and it's better not to play around this unless you're informed about what it's capable of..

    It's not a complete app on it's own, but for those who use FileApp [iTunes Link] for the iPhone, this is the client from the same company.. Allowing you to manage content between your Mac and iPhone easily, and it's not that heavy to load..

    an Easy app creator that allows you to create your own custom DMG files.. This type of apps is awesome to keep packs of your work shared between friends, or helps you bundle your future app or cocoa project that you might be working on.. It's very basic when it comes the UI, and it has a helpful tutorial on how to create efficient image disks..

    Sometimes, when you're working for long hours, with cluttered desktops, and might be using all your USB ports, and playing a CD, ALL AT THE SAME TIME (Not that big of a deal, but you got the idea), this app can be helpful in many ways.. It installs itself in the task bar near your Spotlight icon, and once clicked, it will show you all the mounted DMG's, USB's and CD and allows you to eject.. It can be very handy, and it's really similar to the way USB's are disconnected on Windows..

    WMV's.. As much as convenient they are, and the great compression rates they're in, they can be a pretty annoying file format to play and load, especially with Quicktime.. This is the most professional WMV and WMA integrator that gives your Quicktime to load those files faster and with no quality loss or audio corks..

    As much as I enjoy pushing my RAMs to the extreme, sometimes they can get a big clogged up, and the sudden need to clear that clogging can be annoying.. This app adds itself to the task bar, and clearing up your cache is as easy as a couple clicks.. Not that much to look for out of it, but it does what it does good..

    If you're using an iPhone, you're probably sick of the default ringtone.. Riiiight about now.. If you're looking for an easy way to customize your ringtones.. There are many ways out there, and some can prove easier than this app, but am a sucker for those One-Click tricks.. All you need is an mp3 with 40 seconds (or less) of audio, drag and drop it to this application (After connecting your iPhone) and hit "Sync".. When you sync your iPhone with itunes next time, all you need is to open this app afterwards, and it keeps a list of your ringtones, Sync again.. It doesn't synch automatically after iTunes, but an extra mouse click won't kill, would it?

    I don't know "other" scenarios that you can use this app with, other than it gives you full ability to monitor your Mac's network activity (locally and on the interwebs) and it gives you the choice to either allow or deny the connection (with a Allow or Deny app Always feature, or just once, or just a single connection of many).. So it acts like a Firewall, but it's more about the apps connection, and connection requests to other apps, nothing security professional wise (just basic protection)..

    I'm a paranoid person, and it happens that I would need to go somewhere to get something, without having to put my laptop to sleep and then open it again.. This AppleScript allows you to lock your screen back to the Login Menu, and you won't have access until you put the system password again.. To better use this script, you can add it to your Trampoline (there's a link to it below), and you can access it on the go quickly..

    To get a longer durable life out of your OS, you really need to run monthly scripts that help you clear the system's unwanted cache, and run certain maintenance scripts that keep your performance to it's best.. There's also ready presets of quick scripts, and those deep scripts that take longer, but have a better result in the end.. You'll notice how long your OS will stay fresh and fast once you're using this app regularly..

    There's no secret trick beyond the obvious about this app..When you're dealing with a huge number of files (video collections or pictures and different media) you might come across the need to change a list of files with a certain name and number, and in huge amounts, this just makes that step that simple.. Nothing more than that, so it depends on your type of usage..

    I remember how annoying it was back in Windows when every AVI file had it's own set of codecs (until i was saved with KM Player and VLC), and sometimes, you might come across a similar problem on your Mac.. This tool is seriously the swiss army of codecs, adding over 10 different NEW media format support to your QuickTime (also allowing some Audio inputs, and Subtitle improvements).. With this app, and VLC, and Flip4Mac (mentioned above), you can practically play any media file out there.. Not ALL the files, since those need a deeper digging time other than your casual-to-advanced users..

    This is one of the best CAD viewers apps out there, IMO.. It helps you zoom in and out, and it's allot easier to check rather than opening a CAD program that takes a while to load, just to see a file and then close it..

    This is one of the amazing innovations that once you get used to it, you won't remember how you used to go by without it.. With a simple customizable keyboard shortcut, you can bring out a fancy circular menu that you can customize, keeping your "must use" apps closer to you, saving you the time spent traveling to the App directory to open it, or didn't find enough space in your dock for.. It's animated too, so that must be cool.. MUST BE!!

    Stuff It Expander
    A free client that gives you more options when unarchiving your compressed files, and it's quick and easily adaptable (it works in the background once you set the default file types).. But if you come across an old zip file with prehistoric compression, and this won't work, give Zipeg a try..

    VM Ware Fusion
    I used to be a heavy user of Windows before my switch, and I still use it from time to time when i run into old files in my archives, or just to use AutoCAD and 3Ds Max.. This app enables you to create a virtual machine that runs windows, and it can simply integrate Windows to run with your Mac OS X at the same time, without needing to reboot every time you want to switch.. It's similar to Parallel, but after using it personally for a while now, it's smoother, and it doesn't crash as much, and it's integration to allow Windows apps to work simply on your Mac OS X, with fast connection to share files between the two systems, is just smooth.. It doesn't make your Windows run on full power as Bootcamp, but you can define the amount of RAM dedicated to it (you need RAMs if you're planning to be a power user with this app).. Of course, i have to mention it also supports Linux and the new Chrome OS..

    I guess that about covers it.. Like I keep on saying, if you got anything new to add to the table, don't hesitate to leave a comment in the comment box below, or just email me to see what you got.. So, I hope you enjoy this list, and in future posts, i'll get deeper into a strange iPhone list, so join my RSS to stay updated..



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