First 10 things to put on your new Mac

Mac OS X LeopardAs you may heve read from previous posts, and at the risk of boring any regular (aye right!) readers, I got a MacBook a short while back. It’s a bit of a migration for me, having uset a PC for most of my career. I published a list of keyboard shortcuts previously and heres a list of other things I’ve hunted down as ‘essentials’ for day to day work/play.

I know there are alternatives to all of the below, but these are the ones I plumped for. One prevailing factor influenced the choices below; they’re all open source/freeware. My budget for toys is dry following the arrival of the MacBook, so it’s cheapies or freebies for me for a while.

So here goes:

  1. Browser (Firefox)
    With the advent of FF3, I was finally teased away from IE on the PC. The time taken to develop css sites and make them work cross-platform was hugely reduced, I was a convert. I’m sure Safari is truly great, but I’ll be sticking to FF for dev for the foreseeable future.
  2. Messaging client (MSN Messenger for Mac)
    A no brainer really, need to retain the continuity with my previous MSN contacts. That said, I’ve hardly used it since I installed it.
  3. Twitter client (TweetDeck)|
    If you’re into Twitter, you need a client. This one fits the bill nicely, lets you group your followees and has a nice user interface. It has a few nice features, like url shortening and picture display.
  4. Music (Spotify)
    Obviously iTunes features quite heavily on the Mac OS platform. And, with the iPhone, you need it to sync and for app download, which is fine, but only works for music you already own. That’s where Spotify comes in; Spotify gives you free access to the music you don’t own. It’s like having a radio where you’re the DJ.
  5. Fonts
    Gotta have fonts. In fact, gotta have loads of fonts. The Mac comes with over 100, covering the main requirements. But now I’ve extended that a little to include some of the more funky ones. I’ll leave it to you to search for them yourself.
  6. HTML Editor (Smultron)
    I’ve been using EditPlus for years now, it’s a great little editor. Unfortunately EditPlus is a Windows only app, so I needed an equivalent. The EditPlus Wiki recommends this one (amongst others), so I’ve gone for that. Still to try it out, but it has a good reputation, so expecting some great things from this. No idea where the name comes from.
  7. FTP Client (Cyberduck)
    To upload files for bimbogami, I need an FTP client. Was using File Explorer on Windows previously, so reckoned I’d better get something proper for the Mac. Cyberduck, despite the bizarrely unrelated name, fits the bill nicely (see what I did there?).
  8. Image Editor (Gimp)
    GIMP is a bitmap image editing app. So far I’ve only used it for cropping and re-sizing, but from the menus it looks as though it can do pretty much everything I’ve ever done in Photoshop in the past. BTW, GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, nothing to do with fetishists, so they say.
  9. Image Editor 2 (InkScape)
    This one’s for vector graphics. not had much time to play about with it yet, but it comes highly recommented and on first impression, it looks pretty good.
  10. Productivity (OpenOffice)
    I hate calling it that. Word processor, Spreadsheet and presentation, otherwise known as MS Office. Well, I’ve plumped for the free, compatible OpenOffice. Not had to do much more than open and update a few MS Office things so far, but it seems OK.

Leave a Reply