What little OS X utlities are must haves for my underused iBook?

by Justin Clarke

So, my iBook sits on desk like an unloved little brother to the Dell laptops I use for my daily working activity.

Since I love my little iBook, perhaps not as much as I would a nice shiny new Powerbook (but that's neither here nor there), I am looking for some little utilities/conveniences that would make my life easier on under OS X - those little killer apps for the Mac?

So the question is: What freeware, Open Source, or (cheap) shareware apps and utilities am I missing that I would look back and go "how did I live without that?"


2005-03-15 06:48:26
Cool OSX Apps
Desktop Manager is a great little app that offers virtual desktops. My workspace has a differnt app in each desktop which expands my work area significantly.

X-Assist is an OS9 throwback that puts a list of all open apps in a menu on the far right menubar.

Eyeballs are fun and keep you company during long hours at the keyboard. After midnight they get bloodshot and sleepy.

FruitMenu is a haxie that lets you customize the contents of your Apple menu.

Salling Clicker lets me control my *Book with my Bluetooth phone. Great for presentations and impressing non-Mac users.

Cosmo Bots addictive arcade game.

2005-03-15 07:21:49
Use it as your communication machine.

Avoid the nasty Windows virus and browsing problems by reading your email, browsing the web, IM, RSS, etc from your iBook:

  • Mail - use Apple Mail (free), Thunderbird (free)or get Entourage if you must.

  • Web - Safari (free) or Firefox (free)

  • IM - iChat for AOL. For multi protocol there is Adium(Donationware) or Firefree

  • RSS - Since you blog, I would suggest the combinations of NetNewsWire and MarsEdit from the excellent people at WordPress (free) on your machine (PHP (free) and MySQL installs (free) will be needed).
  • Oh and one more thing... TextWranger(free) - For you text editing needs or if that is not enough for you, it's big brother BBEdit will handle your needs, although it is a little pricey at $199

2005-03-15 07:26:07
Use it as your communication machine.

The text got mangled in my RSS bit.

NetNewsWire and MarsEdit come from the excellent people at Ranchero Software

WordPress is blog software that can be run on your iBook, so that you can set up private blog that could be used as a todo list, idea store, or blog stagin area

2005-03-15 08:00:56
One must-have is file/application launcher Quicksilver. An incredible time saver.

Another is Space, the virtual desktop manager:

2005-03-15 12:37:37
Essential utilities
Sidetrack is more than a virtual scroll wheel for your trackpad.

And, LaunchBar is more than a keyboard launcher.

2005-03-15 16:57:34
Mac OS X utilities
I use Riccardo Ettore's TypeIt4Me many times a day to correct my common typos (teh>the, adn>and, etc.) automatically and to insert signatures, directions, and other boilerplate (with no errors) whenever I need them.


2005-03-15 20:28:33
Definitely Quicksilver
Another vote for Quicksilver (though others would doubtless point at LaunchBar or Butler to do similar tasks). Don't ask why, just spend a few minutes playing with it. Beautiful, and ridiculously cool.

2005-03-15 23:18:59
TextWrangler, SubEthaEdit and VoodooPad

TextWrangler, free from the makers of BBEdit and SubEthaEdit are both excellent text editors. SubEthaEdit is most powerful when you've got someone else using it nearby too - and a desire to collaborate.

And for the personal Wiki/Hypertext editor - definitely VoodooPad - keep your notes how you like to think of them, export to your iPod, html, etc. It's amazing!

2005-03-16 15:32:01
A few good utilities are...
OnyX - OnyX is one of the best tools around to boost your Mac system, after using OnyX you have a big chance that your system based on Mac OS X 10.1 or later runs a lot faster than before.

VLC - VLC ia a free cross-platform multimedia player.

TacoHTML - TacoHTML is free software for editing text.

JEdit - JEdit is an even better text editor that can handle over 130 file types (incl. XML, XSL) and provides validation. It is a Java product.

iComic - iComic is a great little app that lets you install plugins of your favorite Comic and read them each day. Great OSX look and feel. New version in development for release as a widget and leveraged for use with the upcoming Tiger release.

Konfabulator - Konfabulator is a great app that coined the term "widget" - little plugins that perform a specific function (weather, calendar, itunes playlist) right on your desktop. Apple Tiger will have similar technologies, but this group originated the phenomenon.

Acquisition - Acquisition is, hands down, the best OSX P2P client out there.

ArgoUML - ArgoUML doesn't fall into the category of a utility, but it is a pretty good product for those that need to do data modeling with UML. It is a Java product.

TinkerTool - TinkerTool is an application that gives you access to additional preference settings Apple has built into Mac OS X. This allows to activate hidden features in the operating system and in some of the applications delivered with the system.

I'm sure there's more, but that should get you started. I too like Adium as my im client because it behaves much like Trillian does for pcs - allows you to connect to multiple chat protocols at once. The beauty is the tabbed chat windows so you can keep all chats in one window.

Have fun!

2005-03-20 10:17:56
and one more ...
Not exactly a must-have utility; but I get a lot of use out of Audio Hijack . My iPod is chock-full of NPR programs thanks to this app's ability to take realAudio files on the web and put them on your iPod as mp3s. There are a great many other uses as well (and yes - I do contribute to Public Radio).
2005-03-22 13:09:19
Must have Utillities
Launch Bar. version 3 is good version 4 is better and faster and easier to configure. Apple Space and type a few letters to find what you are looking for.
2005-07-09 11:13:16
cool osx apps at coolosxapps.com
I decided to take my bookmarks live and created a site dedicated to the apple and OSX user community. It focuses on cool osx apps. I have over 100 posted and that number will grow everyday. My bookmarks are extensive.


gotta go eat an apple...coolosxapps.com webmaster

2005-09-28 11:06:39
You might also like to check out www.freemacware.com which reviews the best free software for the Mac, open source and otherwise.