Skip to content

Mac OS X 3rd party applications to investigate

There are several helpful Mac OS X applications which I don’t use frequently. Sometimes I end up not needing to use them often, or I haven’t found the time to play with them much.

Why bother mentioning these applications at all? Because they have potential to become essential tools on the Mac. (Well, on my Mac, at least.) I had thought this “interesting but seldom used” category would be huge. But interestingly enough, the list is shorter than my favorites, yet longer than the disappointments.

clamXavClamXav (free, open source) does virus detection and removal. Ah, memories of John Nordstadt’s Disinfectant. 🙂

OSXvncChicken of the VNCChicken of the VNC and OSXvnc, are a free and open source VNC client and server, respectively. These make access to remote machines easy.

Color Schemer StudioiPaletteColor Schemer Studio (commercial, US$49.99) and iPalette (free) are, as their names imply, tools for selecting and creating color palettes. Neither include something like a comprehensive Pantone library, but I don’t need that complexity: just a simple approach to pick colors for web design or home improvement. Admittedly I haven’t spent much time with these, as I’m still dithering (couldn’t resist!) between the two.

Disk InventoryDisk Inventory X (free, open source) is a colorful way to view hard disk usage.

NeoOfficeNeoOffice (free, open source) is a native OS X port of OpenOffice (i.e., doesn’t require X11). These days I rarely need to use office suites. However, for those times when I have the misfortune of receiving a Word or Excel file, NeoOffice has come in handy. Its UI is Java, which makes it pokey at times. Some people cringe at using OpenOffice, but since version 6 I’ve found Microsoft’s suite infuriating to use.

ParallelsParallels Desktop for Mac (commercial, US$79.99) allows running Unix and Windows on Intel Macs via hardware virtualization. Having used Linux for several years, I had planned to have it running in parallel (again, heh!) on my Mac, to play with various distributions and test web content and development. Haven’t gotten there yet. 😉 One limitation I’ve heard of, however, is that Parallels won’t support multiple instances of OS X. So the old fashioned method of multiple partitions and rebooting between them (e.g., Tiger (OS X 10.4) and Leopard (OS X 10.5)) is still needed. Let me know if there’s further information on this —it’d be a shame to lack that convenience.

Seashore.Seashore is a native OS X port (again, not needing X11) of the Gimp, the free, open source image manipulation application. I’ve been using it to tweak photos that I upload to my gallery. Seashore has rather slow development (it’s been at version 0.1.8 for a while, though 0.1.9 is in candidate mode as of this writing), lacking quite a few Gimp features. But it’s zippy, much faster than ImageWell.

TinkerToolTinkerTool (free) offers useful utilities for changing system preferences.

VirtueVirtueDesktops (free, open source) is a virtual (multiple) desktop manager. Whenever I’ve been on a Unix box, I’ve always used multiple desktops. But now with two monitors, I haven’t gotten back into this habit. I should, since my desktops often become cluttered. Another plus is that Virtue integrates with Parallels. Something to look forward to when I run multiple operating systems. On the subject of Spaces in Leopard: I’m eager to try it out, but Leopard hasn’t been released yet. As with iChat, I’ve found third party software (i.e., Adium) which exceeds my expectations and needs —so the same could easily happen for Virtue and Spaces.

Submit a comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked with a red diamond, .