Good Free Mac software and utilities
December 16, 2005 12:03 PM   Subscribe

New Mac UserFilter - Loading up a new iBook: What software and utilities should I put on it.

So I bought my brother a new iBook for Christmas and I want to load it up with some applications before I give it to him. What would you reccomend as regards software or utilities that are must-installs, preferably free? (Christmas has been spendy...)
He is off to Japan to work as an industrial designer and is a PC man - help him get the best Mac experience. I want to enhance his iBook as an entertainment and amusement machine and also to close the physical gap between all of the "clarkies" (there are 666 of us)
Apologies for the very general question, it is basically "what a useful Mac makes" question...
posted by clarkie666 to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Quicksilver, by Blacktree, is an amazing freebie. I'd expect quick seconding and thirding in favor of it.
posted by boombot at 12:14 PM on December 16, 2005

There have been a couple of threads on this subject, which I'm too lazy to search for now. Basically, IMHO, there's Quicksilver, TextWrangler, Cyberduck, VLC, VoodooPad (free Lite version), NetNewsWire (free Lite version), Colloquy, Firefox, Transmission, Apple Developer Tools, Carbon Copy Cloner ($10, but oh so worth it), and a bunch of other I'm surely forgetting.

On preview: seconded!
posted by boaz at 12:15 PM on December 16, 2005

Try here.
posted by cillit bang at 12:16 PM on December 16, 2005

Huge thread on the subject.
posted by smackfu at 12:17 PM on December 16, 2005

DevonThink is indespensible. It's the only app I have on all three of my computers.
posted by dobbs at 12:25 PM on December 16, 2005

Get friendly with this site. They have a good mix of stuff for experienced Mac users and Newbies.
posted by UncleHornHead at 1:03 PM on December 16, 2005

MetaAnswer: is a pretty good blog on the subject.

Real answer: QuickSilver thirded or fourthed or whatever. NetNewsWire, CoverFlow and MenuMeters all rule too.
posted by revgeorge at 1:38 PM on December 16, 2005

Some useful freeware lists here and here.
posted by jaimev at 2:53 PM on December 16, 2005

Response by poster: yeah - sorry, I did search and also tried to see if this was asked before by looking through the tags, but there are so many results that I didn't find it. I probably should have looked more.

In any case thanks a million for the pointers and the links to the previous threads. Lemme spend a little time tagging my question so others can find...
posted by clarkie666 at 3:07 PM on December 16, 2005

Lots of great stuff here but, as a recent switcher, the only thing I really really miss from the PC is Roboform. It automatically - that's automatically, no keystrokes to press, no software to open - fills in passwords at websites I visit. The Firefox tool is OK but won't work for secure sites and I cannot even vaguely remember the password for my bank and credit card companies. I have tried various programs but, of course, they won't work with FF or require keystroking or other hoops to jump. Any ideas?
posted by TheRaven at 4:07 PM on December 16, 2005

TheRaven -- In Safari, forms are filled out on many sites, same with passwords. Some sites will have the code so your browser won't be able to "remember" the username and passwords [because really for banks and stuff that isn't a great idea].

Regardless of browser you use, you can store passwords and account numbers in the Keychain and use the keychain viewer to look them up. The keychain file is encrypted so it is allegedly safer than what I used on my Windows box of a plain text file. If you have .mac you can keep a copy on your iDisk and be able to sync multiple macs. [you can't read your keychain online, but it comes in handy if you do a clean install of a new version of Mac OS, and your usernames and passwords are copied back down to the fresh install].

And visit often there you can find new freeware/shareware/commercial apps and updates that you didn't even know you need.
posted by birdherder at 5:29 PM on December 16, 2005

The Firefox tool is OK but won't work for secure sites

I think you mean it doesn't work where the site tells it not to autocomplete the form. (This is an attribute on the form tag.) It works fine on secure sites, it's just that the secure sites you visit probably have the autocomplete=off, because they're dicks that way.

In this case the Allow Password Remembering script for GreaseMonkey here will solve your problem nicely.
posted by kindall at 5:31 PM on December 16, 2005

For everyone saying NetNewsWire, I'll agree that it's a good free RSS reader, but the best - by far - I've used is Newsfire. It's extremely simple to use, has great features and doesn't try to do too much. NetNewsWire is fine, maybe a B+ or A-. Newsfire is an A+. I didn't "get" RSS until I used it.

Oh, and, uh, fifth, sixth whatever Quicksilver.

And one more suggestion, which may or may not be useful depending on how you use calendars (note the different versions for iCal and Entourage).
posted by socratic at 5:53 PM on December 16, 2005

One more on the pot... usually has a great listing of free or very cheap osx apps which are useful or cool, hence the site name. Browse through there a bit and pick up some neat ones.
posted by ilikebike at 1:21 AM on December 17, 2005

Thanks for your comments. Birdherder, I use Firefox, not Safari and Keychain doesn't work with Firefox. Kindall, thanks for the GM script. I had tried the Always Remember Password extension and it didn't work. The GM script works with most sites but not with sites, such as my bank's, that conceals both the userid and password. And yes, of course, I have trawled VersionTracker and lots of other sites and
the general consensus is that RobotForm is one area where Windows wins.
posted by TheRaven at 8:14 AM on December 17, 2005

The GM script works with most sites but not with sites, such as my bank's, that conceals both the userid and password.

I'd never imagined a site would be so stupid as to use a password field for something that's not in fact a password. Yeah, I can see how that would throw Firefox off. I'm fairly impressed that anything would know what to do with such a form. How would it know wihch is the username and which is the password, for example?

This could also easily be addressed with Greasemonkey, though, through a site-specific script that changes the account field to be a regular input field.
posted by kindall at 1:11 AM on December 18, 2005

Disk Warrior is a Must Have.
posted by vurnt22 at 3:38 AM on December 24, 2005

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