So Your Got a Mac for Christmas…

This time of year there always seems to be a slew of people asking me about what Mac software I’m using, if there’s some quality open source apps to use, etc. Since it’s Christmas/New Years time, I figured I’d put together a list software I use for a variety of tasks. So without further ado, here’s my list.


  • iWork – A suite similar to Microsoft’s Office suite, from Apple. This includes three programs: Keynote, Numbers, and Pages. Keynote is a presentation software, Numbers is a spreadsheet application, and Pages is a Word Processor. It retails for about $79 USD directly from Apple.
  • Office 2008 – While this isn’t released to the public till after the New year, those of us that are fortunate to have a copy of the BETA (or know some people that will give you a free copy before it’s publicly released) are in “like” with it since it’s the first native intel app from Microsoft. It hits store shelves January 15, 2008 (opening day of MacWorld 2008).
  • Anxiety – This is a great ToDo application. If you’re like me, you are always creating todo lists and either saving them on stickies (use Spotlight and type in stickies to see what I’m talking about) or writing them down. Anxiety takes these ToDo lists further. Using Leopard’s technology, Anxiety is able to sync tasks between iCal, Mail, and Anxiety. Best of all, Anxiety is free, so go get it when you’ve finished reading this article!


  • Pixelmator – If you need a lighter-weight easier to use than Photoshop application, this one is for you. With Pixelmator, you are able to make photo enhancements and design logos, images, etc. with ease. It’s still relatively new, and I’ve actually stopped using it due to having Photoshop CS3, but while I was using it during their BETA stage, it was definitely something you should check out. They offer a 30-day trial and costs about $50 USD.
  • Skitch – A quality screen capturing tool that’s currently free, however,sounds like it’s going to cost something down the road. It allows for you to take screen shots and pics using your iSight. You can then add text, drawings, point out things, and then upload to your FTP server, .Mac, or Skitch is from Plasq and is invite only during its private beta stage.
  • Photoshop CS3 – An image editor with a lot of power. It is the best editor in the World, and if you’re okay with spending in upwords for $649 USD for it, great! Photoshop is created by Adobe.

Screen Recording

  • Jing – A light-weight screen capturing/recording client from the good folks at TechSmith, makers of Camtasia Studio, (the people I work for). There are several limitations with Jing, such as saving images as .png’s and videos as .swf’s but for a quick sharing tool, it’s perfect!! It allows you to upload to (their hosting service), your FTP server, and FLickr (images only).
  • iShowU – The godfather of screen recorders (or at least till TechSmith makes Camtasia Studio for Mac! :P)!!! This has it all! It costs $20 USD and can do just about everything you’ll ever need in a screen recorder. You’re able to record your mic and even your application audio! You can check it out here.

Web Development

  • Cyberduck – An open-source FTP client. Simple to use, and FREE!! We all like free stuff, so go out and get this! 🙂
  • TextMate – The king of all text editors! For code editing, specifically Ruby on Rails development, it’s perfect. TextMate provides a lot of features the average code editor doesn’t. TextMate is created by Macromates and costs $59 USD.
  • CSSEdit – By the title you would assume that it’s for CSS editing. And guess what, you’re right!! The best part of it is that it allows you to extract any CSS file from any website and preview what the site would look like with your own custom CSS styles. It is available from MacRabbit and costs $29.99.
  • iTerm – An open-source Terminal replacement. Allows for tabbed-instances (although the new Terminal does the same). It’s free, so if you’d like to try it out, go here.
  • svnX – For those of us who work with groups developing applications. It provides a nice UI so that you can see what changes have been made and what files are going to be uploaded to the SVN.

These are the programs I use pretty much on a daily basis. I thought I’d include a few more “odd-ball” applications that I use for a few different things. I couldn’t think of a heading for them, so I’ll call them:


  • Burn – A simple to use burning application that allows you to burn three kinds of images, normal disk images, cue/bin images and toc images. It also allows you to copy data disks, audio disks, and video disks. This is a great little utility that works better than Mac OS X’s built-in burning utility.
  • VLC Player – A highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, etc.) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast in IP4v or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.
  • Handbrake – A GPL’d multi-platform, multithreaded DVD to MPEG-4 ripper/converter.
  • MacTheRipper – Another DVD ripper, but this time rips the VOB files.
  • Visual Hub – Yes another DVD ripper, AVI converter to DVD, do-it all type application. It is the one stop program for converting video to various formats for various devices.
  • Flip4Mac – a codec needed to play WMV files on the Mac. Get it here.
  • TechSmith EnSharpen – A lossless screen recording codec for the QuickTime format. Does cost $149, but is worth it if you want the lossless quality that this codec offers.
  • Adium – An open-source Instant Message Client
  • Colloquy – An open-source IRC client
  • Transmission – An open-source bittorrent client
  • VMWare Fusion – Virtual Machine application that allows you to run Windows or other OSes on your Mac.

If you have any other applications that you use, please feel free to add them as a comment below! Keep a look out after the new year for some tutorials on installing Ruby on Rails, MySQL, SVN, and some other development goodies. I’ll be getting a list together here in the coming weeks what what I’m gonna be working on. If you have ideas of something you’d like to see, let me know and I’ll see if it’s something I can’t pull together.