Essential Mac apps

One thing doing a clean install of your operating system does is remind you of which bits of software are most essential – the ones you can’t go long without missing.

Here’s the order in which I re-populated my Mac’s application folder:

  1. Starcraft II – the game that prompted the whole process
  2. iPhoto – for storage of digital ‘negatives’
  3. Quicksilver – application launcher and superior alternative to Spotlight
  4. TextMate – excellent text editor and coding tool
  5. Firefox – better than Safari, especially with AdBlock
  6. Skype – to keep in touch with phoneless friends

I will make note of when I install other vital apps, like Fetch (FTP program) and the indispensable Photoshop.

One distinctly nice thing about Mac OS is that, because I used Time Machine to backup and restore my user profiles, all my application preferences were preserved.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

9 thoughts on “Essential Mac apps”

  1. I just added Photoshop CS and Canon’s Digital Photo Professional and EOS Utility.

    DPP only worked after I manually deleted the preference files that got re-imported from Time Machine after my clean install.

  2. Given the sheer amount of photos you must take I am surprised you use iPhoto for your photo storage and cataloging.

    Not that it’s bad software but it really bogs down with a large catalog. I bought LR 3 and like it for it’s integrated editing modules and it’s tighter integration with PS though as you already have PS, Bridge is similar to LR minus a few features.

    One other piece of software you forgot is open office/ms office/iWork. I know you use TexMate, which could concievably work as a word processor but spreadsheet and presentation functionality are missing.

  3. I caved and installed MS Office 2004. Something about the semi-clean install process seems to have made it rather unhappy, however.

    It seems to have overwritten a bunch of system fonts, causing general unhappiness.

  4. The future of creative image editing is upon us: Adobe Systems today announced the availability of a Photoshop CS6 Beta.

    The new version of the leading image-editing software for Windows and Macintosh updates the interface, adds some stunning new image-manipulation tools, brings video editing into the program, and ratchets up performance.

    Most impressive among what’s new in Photoshop CS6 are its “Content Aware” tools. Content Aware Move lets users grab an object in a photo and relocate or duplicate it, while recreating the existing background. Similarly, Content-Aware Patch can remove an object (or person) from an image, replacing it with a background consistent with the rest of the photo.

    The new video tools are surprisingly rich for what is primarily a still image editor: They let you join and split video clips, add fade transitions between them, and even apply any of Photoshop’s image adjustments to the video—brightness, contrast, tint, and so on.

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