Some utilities are just little programs you use occassionally, but some are daily necessities, like food, water, coffee, and oxygen. A couple of these are recent introductions to my Mac world and some I’ve been using forever. In fact one of these I don’t even have yet, but based on who recommended them (Merlin Mann) and what I’ve seen so far, I am not sure how I am living without them (If you are the publisher, feel free to send me a copy). In no particular order…
Recently I upgraded my OS and somehow turned TextExpander off. I was lost. I haven’t typed out a signature in forever, and suddenly I was having to track down my signature files and copy and paste again. Type your programmed snippet and out pops your formatted (or plain) text.
TextExpander comes from the great guys at SmileOnMyMac. There is a free trial, a 90-day Money Back Guarantee, and the recommendations of just about every Mac geek or productivity guru out there. Cost is $29.95.
Want to use Google Calendar but still too dependent on the fact that iCal is built into the Operating System? Spanning Sync keeps all my local iCal files in Sync with Google Calendar. Supports multiple calendars on both ends and you can choose which calendars sync.
Spanning Sync costs $25 with a $15 per year renewal fee or you can pay one time $65 fee and never pay again. Either way, you’ll save $5 if you use the links from this page.
SoundSource is a free utility that I discovered a few weeks ago. If you have multiple inputs/outputs on your Mac, this is a great way to control which is doing what and when. I use a the USB “sound card” that came with my Plantronics headset for things like Skype and podcasting.
I also switch between my external speakers and my headphones depending on what is going on around the house. SoundSource let’s me designate which input I’m using, which output I’m using and the volume of each of those. All from an icon in the menu bar. Best of all, it’s free.
So I just discovered Skitch today. And already I am LOVING this screen capture utility. I have struggled with using different screen capture utilities since I first switched to Mac. I’ve switch back and forth between different add-ons, dashboard widgets, and the built in screen grab. Sometimes I used them all at once depending on what I was trying to do. Not anymore.
Skitch let’s you grab a screen, window, or select what you want to capture. You can markup the capture from within the utility. You can save as jpg, png, pdf, svg, tif, or a proprietary .skitch format. You can also upload to Skitch’s sharing site, Flickr, or your own FTP/SFTP/WebDav server. Currently in Beta and free, for the moment at least.
Ever wonder where all your time is going when you are on the computer? RescueTime is the answer. It tracks the programs you are using and the websites you are visiting and then, based on some user settings, will tell you how much time you are spending in different categories.
RescueTime is actually a cross platform utility that communicates with the web service. Plans start at Free for a personal account and vary depending on specific features and the number of people linked to your business. Read the FAQ if you are concerned about the details or privacy.
I love the idea of full screen text editing. A black background, white text and the desktop completely hidden. But I also love TextMate and don’t want to give it up. And sometimes, I want that invisible undistracted mode with some other type of program anyways. Think gives me the ability to block out everything my computer is doing except the one program I want running.
Lauch Think, click TextMate, and everything goes black… even my other monitor. Just TextMate. And yes, my music still comes through, so if you want to write AND listen to music, you are still ok. This is another Free application, so no excuse not to check it out.
I just discovered Path Finder today and, unfortunately, don’t have the money to buy it. But all I can say is WOW! Everything I’ve always wished the finder would do for me.
There is a free trial but I am afraid of getting hooked and still not having the cash to pick it up. I don’t know how I would go back to the Finder after seeing just a little of what this thing can do.
If you know someone at CocoaTech who can hook me up, let me know.
Seven is somewhat of an arbitrary number. I could have easily picked 50 great Mac utilities, but I wanted to give a little more depth than just a list of 50. But I know I missed things. What’s your favorite, must have Mac app? Have you tried any of the ones on my list? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.