Defecting to OS X recommendations
March 19, 2005 2:06 PM   Subscribe

I've taken the plunge, and purchased a Mac Mini. I've used Windows primarily for most of my life, with a bit of Debian Linux. What recommendations do you all have for general use, software, etc etc?
posted by jackofsaxons to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
First, I would do a search on Ask Metafilter for "os x," "macintosh" or look at the "Apple"-tagged posts. Second, I would do nothing, because all the answers are there in a bunch of other nearly identical questions.
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:13 PM on March 19, 2005

While Mo' may not be _wrong_, here's a few software pointers that I gave to a friend recently when she got her first Mac...

Weblog/site/news reading: NetNewsWire

Weblog writing (if you do such a thing): ecto

General application launching (plus tons more that I haven't investigated): Quicksilver

gMail notificaton (if you have gMail): gCount

IM: Adium X (The Mac's answer to Trillian, multi-platform IMing)

Netflix Queue management (if you rent via Netflix): Netflix Freak

Screenshots: Snapz Pro X

General text/html editing: TextWrangler

Collaborative text editing (this is cool if you have the chance/opportunity/need to play with it): SubEthaEdit
posted by djwudi at 2:26 PM on March 19, 2005

Coming from Windos, you might like ShowDesktop.
posted by airguitar at 2:27 PM on March 19, 2005

Just search for an earlier thread. You're basically going to get the same answers over and over again, so this thread will give you nothing new.
posted by justgary at 2:38 PM on March 19, 2005

Two suggested resources:

Mac Specialist's Essential Mac Applications

OSX inventories, tips & hack collections

Beyond that... TidBITS has some great eBooks on maximizing your MAC experience.

Good luck, and welcome to the family!
posted by silusGROK at 3:16 PM on March 19, 2005

My opinion is it depends on what you are planning on doing with it. What did you do with your Win/Lin box? Or what new things do you intend to with your Mac? Here's a few I use as a computer scientist/programmer:

iTerm - tabbed terminal replacement

Fink and Fink Commander - easy installation of open source packages

Omnigraffle - great figure drawing program

Alarm Clock Pro and World Clock Deluxe - I use these when I'm on the road

And because I'm shameless, I'll add a self-link to Burning Monkey Solitaire. All the other Freeverse titles are good, too.
posted by bhorling at 4:16 PM on March 19, 2005

Version Tracker, for god's sake. How can no one mention Version Tracker? When I had a mac, I checked it every day.
posted by bingo at 5:53 PM on March 19, 2005

I recently switched from Windows to Mac. Also I didnt get to participate in the earlier threads although I did learn a lot from them:

How, I mean how, did I get by without this on either Windows or Mac?? Indispensable.

Adium X
This is the IM client on Mac.

If you are coming from a Unix environment, you will want to get this right away.

Chicken of the VNC
This is the VNC client.

NetNewsWire Lite
RSS Client

Use this as your video player. Will play any media you throw at it and also play any DVD (regardless of region-coding)

This is the FTP client to use

General observations about OSX:
-Networking is so much easier. You'll see what I mean
-Keychain is a pain in the butt. I have pretty much disabled it.
-Having window buttons on the left instead of the right felt wierd at first but that goes away quickly.
-Was a Firefox user but have come to love the look/feel of Safari.
-There is no real app for Windows that does everything Itunes does. Manage/Rip/Convert/burn music. Its all in one program.
-In additon to VersionTracker, also check out

(Sorry for no links. In a bit of a hurry. All easily google-able)
posted by vacapinta at 7:48 PM on March 19, 2005

(self-link warning) My list of essential Mac OS X software.
posted by mrbill at 8:04 PM on March 19, 2005

Keychain is a pain in the butt. I have pretty much disabled it.

Actually, the lack of a decent keychain feature is one of the drawbacks shared by nearly every other OS. Sure, some individual apps will store your passwords for you, but you never know how well it's encrypted, and there's no central place to go to look up a forgotten password, if that's even possible. Really, the Keychain is exactly the sort of thing that makes Mac users into Mac zealots. Like most Mac features, it just works -- I can't imagine what in the world could make you consider it a "pain in the butt." (And I am not even sure how you'd go about disabling it, or how you'd run applications that require it to be there after you did.)
posted by kindall at 8:23 PM on March 19, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the different suggestions guys. I did a search, and most of the stuff that came up was more topic specific.

I do everything for graphic design, to monkeying around with Apache and things of that nature.

I'm really liking Mac OS X, especially I got over the stupid "PC's can do anything a Mac can" argument. Things are just so much.. simpler.
posted by jackofsaxons at 11:03 PM on March 19, 2005

You may find the Mac OSX section of LifeHacker useful. And yes - welcome to the family.
posted by quadog at 1:14 AM on March 20, 2005

Nobody mentioned VersionTracker because it sucks. MacUpdate is like VersionTracker without the crappiness.

There have been several questions along these lines, including a discussion of tips and best practices, and some game recommendations. There were a couple of other threads, including a much better discussion of software that I referred to several times after the purchase of my Powerbook, but I appear to have misplaced the bookmark.
posted by majick at 8:36 AM on March 20, 2005

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