So, as you may have seen from my Tweets and will doubtless hear on the podcast this month, I bought myself a new 27-inch Core i5 iMac which arrived yesterday. As the day went on and my excitement grew, I began building a list of the apps I was planning to install first and, as I promised the Twitter faithful, I am now publishing them here.
This is by no means a definitive list of apps to install on a new Mac (some aren’t in fact apps at all), just those that I felt were essential enough to be picked first and some that just suited my new 16:9 screen.
If you’re interested, beyond these utilities I also installed Aperture 3, Logic Studio, iWork, Civilization, Microsoft Office and Reason as well as transfered an obscenely large iTunes library of movies and TV Shows (that I’ll now need to buy again in HD) and music.
In no particular order (other than maybe AppleJack) here they are, the first 10 apps on my new iMac:
AppleJack A product you hope you’ll never need but could be a lifesaver. AppleJack is a text-based trouble shooting tool that can be invoked any time your Mac wont launch into its GUI (Graphical User Interface). The best part about AppleJack is that you don’t even need a system disc to boot from in order to repair permissions and cache files which could be causing your boot problems. An essential tool to install and forget until you need it. http://applejack.sourceforge.net/
Adium This all-in-one chat tool brings the instant messaging tools you use most often into one app. The interface is customisable in numerous ways and you can group your contacts by friends, family, co-workers etc. Supports all the favourites including; iChat, AIM, MSN and Yahoo. http://adium.im/
Tweetdeck I’m normally a fan of Atebits’ Tweetie as a Twitter client but, with so much screen real estate at my disposal, I decided to give this wide Adobe Air app a try. I’m excited to see Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace integration is included and the organisation of direct messages, tweets and replies into different columns makes the whole Twitter process a great deal easier. www.tweetdeck.com/
Skype You know what it does, it’s clean simple and easy. Perfect for saving money on international calls and even better for video and audio podcasts when you can’t be in the same place as your co-hosts or guests. www.skype.com
VLC A free and very obliging media player that will play just about any media file you throw at it. It’s open source which means it’s updated regularly. I had a quick blast of The Hangover in HD using VLC and it worked flawlessly. www.videolan.org/vlc/
Perian If you can’t handle using a video player outside of Apple’s default QuickTime, you should investigate Perian. I downloaded this in seconds and within a couple of clicks I was playing an AVI inside the beautiful new QuickTime X interface. Mac purists rejoice. http://perian.org/
Cooliris With such a massive screen, browsing Google Images just got a whole lot more entertaining. Cooliris is a plugin for Safari and Firefox that displays your searches as a wall of images that you can scroll through smoothly until you find what you’re looking for. It’s a bit flashy but then who cares if it looks great, huh? http://www.cooliris.com/
Flip4Mac Back to the video department, this is another set and forget tool that simply allows QuickTime (and Quick Look) to play those annoying WMV (Windows Media Video) files that you see from time to time. www.flip4mac.com
Fusion 3 Following Flip4Mac, there’s a slightly more expensive alternative for using Windows file formats and that’s by running Windows itself. With a copy of Windows (XP upward) and Fusion 3 you can run Mac OS X and Windows side by side, even seamlessly using Windows apps and native Mac software alongside one another. It was a little unnerving seeing Windows 7 up so large but it can be handy to dip into Microsoft’s OS now and again, if only to realise that the grass is definitely not greener. www.vmware.com
UnRarX If you download a folder of files with the .RAR extension you can use this tool to piece them back into the original file. Rar files are favourites for torrent users (keep it legal guys) who split large files into smaller pieces for easier sharing. These files are sometimes password protected which UnRarX also caters for. www.unrarx.com
As I said, this is by no means a definitive list and I welcome you to add your favourites in the comments section below or via Twitter to me (@benharvell) or the magazine (@icreatemagazine)