Category: Computers

Every time I re-install my mac there are some apps that I just have to load. Below is the list of my “every mac needs” apps. Share yours and let’s see if we can make this a better list.

By the way for those of you who don’t know I’m writing a book. You can see what it’s about and join a mailing list all at:

  • Google Chrome: Chrome is definitely my browser of choice. Chrome “sandboxes” my tabs meaning no information is shared between tabs. That means whatever I am typing in my banking tab cannot be stolen by another tab I have open. Also, searching with the omni bar is easy and powerful. I don’t need to click over to another search field to find something. Address and search in one. Let’s not forget that chrome offers a private browsing feature. It’s minimalist approach probably the single greatest reason I love chrome.
    Download Chrome

  • Caffeine : OMG, this little program is one of the first things I add to EVERY Mac. It should be standard. Caffeine is insanely simple. Your screen automatically goes dim during movies or when reading things. You can either his the trackpad or go into system preferences and change the screen settings. Most of the time we don’t bother changing our preferences or if we do we forget to change it back, wasting battery. Caffeine is a little coffee cup icon that let’s you toggle  the auto -dimming feature on and off. Sounds insanely simple, try it and u will never live without it again.
    Download Caffeine
  • Afloat is one of those small apps that just make your computing experience better. All it does is keep a window in front of another window. It doesn’t work with all your applications but it does work with most of the native apps. Now I can webchat or watch a movie while I design. I can also keep a chat window on top of my screen like when waiting for message based customer service, that way I can surf while I wait.
    Download Afloat

  • Quicksilver: This app is the reason my doc isn’t filled with 15,000 icons. Quicksilver let’s you use a keyboard shortcut to pull up a search field. Simply type in what you are looking for and hit “return”.  Launch Apps, Search spotlight, Even start an iTunes playlist; without ever opening finder.
    Download Quicksilver
  • You Control Tunes: This app allows you to control itunes straight from the menu bar. It scrolls the song names in a tiny space and allows you to skip forwards and backwards, pause, play or even select a playlist without maximizing itunes. The heads up display allows you to see what song is playing before it starts. Try it before you knock it.Download You Control Tunes
    Note: You need to get a serial number but it’s free.
  • Jumpcut is a little icon that sits in the menu bar. It save your clipboard history. By default it saves 40 entries but the last 15 to choose from.
    Download Jumpcut
  • SMARTReporter works with your hard drive to report whenever there are any errors that can lead to a potential drive failure. A popup will show up on the screen letting you know something is wrong so you can backup your data right away. There’s even a little icon that stays in the menu bar to indicate drive health (Green for good or red for “oh shit”).
    Download SMARTReporter
  • WikityWidget is not a wikipedia widget. WikityWidget will help you kick the sticky note habit. This little program let’s you organize your notes with an automatically generated table of content. Plus it’s searchable. Because it is based on wiki you can insert links to websites or even links to other notes!
    Download WikityWidget
  • Multiclutch is a must have if you use muti touch. Multiclutch let’s you tweak your multi touch settings. I like to jump to the top or bottom of the webpage in Chrome. Normally I would need to hit command + up arrow or down arrow, respectively, but now I can program a 3 finger swipe up and down to do the same. Tweak your multitouch preference with Multiclutch.
    Download Multiclutch
  • Perian is a free, open source QuickTime component that adds native support for many popular video formats. In other words Quicktime will be able to play almost anything.
    Download Perian
  • When Quicktime see’s a video file and is like: WTF??? That’s when VLC becomes your best friend. VLC will play anything. I don’t think I’ve stumped it yet. It’s not as pretty as quicktime but it is a very powerful open source media player.
    Download VLC
  • Unarchiver will solve your uncompressing needs. Aside from zip and rar there are a buttload of compression file formats out there and opening them means finding the appropriate program, usually. Unarchiver covers, well, a buttload of them, maybe not the whole butt but a lot of it.
    Download Unarchiver
  • Disk Inventory X will scan your drive and color code your files. Wondering what happened to that 250 GB hard drive that was supposed to be “plenty of space” now you can see exactly what’s taking up all that space and even deletes as simply as clicking on a square and and deleting (maybe it’s command + delete).
  • Download Disk Inventory X
  • Filezilla is a great FTP app for mac. If you don’t know what FTP is then you probably don’t need this. I prefer Filezilla because it cross platform and faster than Cyberduck. Although Cyberduck is a very close second.
    Download Filezilla
  • Open Office isn’t one app it’s a whole suite. Kick Microsoft office to the curb. This free version of office has you covered and can even open and save in Microsoft Office formated files. Best of All this app is also available for PC and Linux.
    Download OpenOffice
  • Transmission is the best torrent app for Mac. You can use labels to color code your torrents and there’s even a little turtle icon that lets you “speed limit” your torrents when you need the web. Simple but powerful this app is totally Mac. Runner up: utorrent.
    Download Transmission
  • Calibre is a great piece of software to convert books between different file types. Whether you use a Kindle, an ipad or your phone to read ebooks, Calibre has you covered. It allows you to convert between different file types to be able to use the file on your device. Calibre is available on Mac, PC or Linux and is Open source.
    Download Calibre here

    Honorable Mention

    Although Delicious Library 2 isn’t free this program is a must have. Delicious Library 2 inventories your material life. You can scan in your books, movies, music, electronics, video games, apparel, toys and other goods to track your inventory. Selling your stuff on Amazon is built in and you can use your isight camera to scan barcodes to identify your stuff. They’ve even added a voice search and iphone export. These are just a few of the features that make this a great software for cataloging and insurance purposes. Price $40

    Download Delicious Library 2 Trial Here


A lot of people don’t know that Microsoft has a program with certain schools that allows students to obtain free copies of programs. You can learn more and see if you qualify at:

Even if you don’t qualify, fear not. As long as you’re a student you can get a copy of Windows 7 for a mere $29 at the link below for a limited time (End of December, I think, but don’t quote me on that):

If you want to use quicktime 7 or 7 pro it seems like you’re out of luck with Snow Leopard. Once I did the upgrade I was really missing the 2x and 3x speed controls. I’ve also heard that you can merge two videos together using pro. I decided to install it again. It’s really easy to get it back. To do so you will need your Snow Leopard DVD you can’t just download and install 7.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Insert your Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard Install DVD.
  2. Open the Optional Installs folder and double-click “Optional Installs.mpkg”.
  3. Select the QuickTime 7 option and click Continue.
  4. QuickTime Player 7 will be installed in your Utilities folder.

Courtesy of the Apple Support Site

For nearly a month I’ve had this problem. My ichat suddenly stopped working, when it came to video calls. I would get this timing out message: “There was a communication error during your chat.” I’ve tried multiple connection, Apple’s version of “safe mode”, spoke with a tech and even reset the SMC. I always get “There was a communication error during your chat” I looked at the log and couldn’t narrow it down. I’ve hit “send to apple” and haven’t had any response. I was told to try and apple store (Which I didn’t do because I’ve tried various connections including one’s that have worked in the past) or reformat. Today I fount the problem “internet sharing” it creates a conflict. When it’s on ichat’s video times out. So if you get “There was a communication error during your chat” check “internet sharing” under settings>sharing

You may have heard that apple will take an old ipod back and safetly dispose of it. What you may not have heard is that they do the same for computers, monitors, cell phones and laptops. Apples recycling program will allow you to recycle your old computers and monitors when you purchase a new mac regardeless of make or model. The same goes for your old monitors or laptops. Apple will also take back ANY old cellphone, no purchase necessary. As if that isn’t kind enough they’ve teamed up with FedEx to offer free recycling. Who knew going green would get so easy?

For the no purchase ipod and cellphone recycling program just click the link below.
Apple Ipod/Cellphone Recycling

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Every digital image is encoded with digital information, EXIF, aside from the actual picture. That information holds interesting data: When the picture was taken, if it was modified and when it was last modified, Camera information, focal length, Camera make and model among other information.

A geotag allows you to identify the location where the image was taken using longitude and latidude based coordinates. This can be determined from the camera, external GPS device or embedded later. This gives you a new way to sort and search through your photos.


In Picasa via Cnet(Click title for full article)

After downloading your photos into Picasa, it’s simply a matter of clicking on the tools tab and selecting the ‘Geotag with Google Earth’ option. This opens the mapping application in which you navigate to the place where the photo was taken. A single click then embeds the relevant latitude and longitude details into the photo’s EXIF metadata file.

In iPhoto

Select the photo or album then hit the “i” icon on the lower right corner of the screen to edit the photo/albums information. At the bottom of the panel you will see places. Type in the name of the place the photos were taken.

Faster PDF

A long time ago Adobe Created the PDF. There was a time when it was a pretty decent format but as we all know the application has become extremely bloated. It takes time to open and often hangs your browser while u wait. Although I haven’t associated it with my browser, yet. I still think this program is an amazing alternative. On my machine opening a PDF is virtually instantaneous.

Download Here


Okay, that was a little melodramatic, but this thing has been popping up, forever. If you’re running a windows machine it’s probably running right now (Ctrl + Alt + Delete then look at the Processes tab)

What is it?
Ctfmon is basically “Advance language options” seen mostly by the presence of the language bar. (That little microphone and question mark that show up on the right side of your task bar).

Why do I care?
It’s wasted space, it uses my computer for no reason and slows down the time it takes my computer to start up. So far I don’t need it and I don’t think I’ll ever need it but just in case I won’t delete it.

How do I stop it?
To simply turn off ctfmon.exe go to
Control Panel>Regional and Language Options>Languages>Details>Advanced,
and check the box that says “Turn off advanced text services.”

Found on a forum reference with this article. (Last post)

Helper Apps: Batch Rename Tool

Here’s a simple program that let’s you rename a bunch of files at the same time. You can use data types like string, date, counter, left, right, creation date, modified date, access date, and size.

This is how it works you have about 5 fields that you can choose from for each of these types so you can stack them together.


Would yield files like:

This program works on any file format.
String is for text

Left is the amount of characters you want to copy from the curren file name starting from the left

Right is the amount of characters you want to copy from the current file name starting from the right

The rest of the options are self explanatory.

Tip: When renaming pictures add the creation date so that way you will always know when the picture was taken just by looking at the filename.

Helper Apps: IZArc Compression Tool

This app is a feeware replacement for winzip or winrar. No pop ups, spyware or adware. Open a plethora of compression file formats. Below is the description from IZArc’s stie.

IZArc is the ultimate freeware archive utility supporting many archive formats like: 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, B64, BH, BIN, BZ2, BZA, C2D, CAB, CDI, CPIO, DEB, ENC, GCA, GZ, GZA, HA, IMG, ISO, JAR, LHA, LIB, LZH, MDF, MBF, MIM, NRG, PAK, PDI, PK3, RAR, RPM, TAR, TAZ, TBZ, TGZ, TZ, UUE, WAR, XXE, YZ1, Z, ZIP, ZOO.

Download it here

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