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Ten Mac freeware apps for your new Apple baby

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Missing App...

Macs fan control, I find the built in cpu fan control is way to conservative on my mac book pro and it will not speed up the fan until its on fire this leads to bad performance and a burnt gentleman area. With Macs fan control the cpu fan is spun up much quicker leading to less heat build up. This might be better on new mac books so YMMV, for me I wouldn't be without it.

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JDX
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F.Lux

My wife has something similar (maybe the same thing) on a Vista Laptop. It's quite weird just how red it goes in the evening.

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Re: F.Lux

I've got so used to using this that when I needed to turn it off I was blinded by the shock of blue light! I wish it would work with a light sensor rather than taking a 'best guess' approach with no regard to the actual physical environment.

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jai

Re: F.Lux

is there any issue with adjusting the gamma of the screen so much so constantly?

it's a novel app, but i was concerned that it seems to change the value a huge amount in the evenings.

i'm guessing the lcd's in our laptops weren't envisaged as running at those settings, so are we confident there's no risk of damage?

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Re: F.Lux @ Jai

If you considered the way your screen works for a moment you would realise that there is no problem with this.

LCD panels have a white backlight that is usually fixed at one level of intensity, or varied in intensity according to the ambient light. Colour is added by shining the white light through an array of red, green and blue filters. The LCD part of your screen simply blocks or unblocks the light emerging from any one particular filter.

The LCD doesn't care about the screen colour, the filters are passive and the backlight only varies its intensity to adjust for ambient light levels.

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Re: F.Lux

No risk of any damage, but just don't do any color correction work while it's on. The result will be spectacularly bad on computers not running F.lux.

Color correction work should always be done with the monitor set to D65 white, preferably also with the use of a good hardware color calibrator.

(Yes, there are other valid white points for specialized situations, but D65 is most common.)

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Re: F.Lux

If your laptop has a webcam it probably will adapt to ambient lighting anyway?

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Re: F.Lux

I have been a long time user of F.lux, in most cases it's use is highly beneficial in reducing eye strain and reminding me it is probably time to sleep (I actually start to feel tired not bathed in bright blue).

Anyway as MD Rackham says do not do anything that relies on color correction, I know that most people who know about CC will know about that but I have found instances where just in normal work you need to hit the Disable .. for an hour (or until sunrise) menu options. These include working on mail threads where people have used color coding to identify their comments. All of those subtle colors look very similar with such a big shift in gamma.

(OK so that was freaky as I typed the last sentence I could feel my world changing as my screen slowly reddened as it must be an hour ago since I disabled F.lux as I worked my way through a large color coded mail thread).

So what about QS? Almost the first thing I install after the OS. I know that Alfred can do some of what it does bit it is the best launcher available for OS X.

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JDX
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MSPaint equivalent?

Is there one bundled with OSX I've never spotted? If not, is there a de fact standard really basic tool for quick & dirty image editing?

I love the screenshot options in OSX - like Windows Snipping Tool but built in and better - but not being able to paste that directly into something is a PITA.

Suggestions? And yes I know Gimp is available but it's way overkill ;)

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Re: MSPaint equivalent?

Seashore - http://seashore.sourceforge.net

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This post has been deleted by its author

jai

Re: MSPaint equivalent?

Well, the built-in equivalent is Preview, it'll be there in your Applications folder.

It's fine for pasting in a screenshot and resizing it, or compiling a group of images and savingn as a multi-page pdf or similar.

But if you're looking to edit/change picutres, in a photoshop type way without the bulk of photoshop, then i like Pixelmator, but i don't think it's free.

There was also Acorn, which i think was either free or very cheap. It wasn't too featured, but perfectly fine for quick editing. The latest version looks to have most features you'd expect, but i'm not sure what the price is.

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Gold badge

Re: MSPaint equivalent?

There isn't really an explicit separate program bundled, basic image editors are more hidden in other things like Preview and iPhoto (I think Keystone also has a few mods).

I installed Pixelmator. Not only does that have quite good editing resources, it also has a (somewhat too well hidden) vector mode. It's a good example of Mac software that beats the bejeezus out of far more expensive packages (and it's able to handle some Photoshop resources).

If you occasionally need to go beyond the basics but don't really need full blown Photoshop I'd recommend Pixelmator - also because you can properly try before you buy. It's IMHO worth the money.

If you want it free I concur with another commentard: Seashore will do you fine. I just stopped using it after I installed the above :).

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Re: MSPaint equivalent?

Seconded (thirded?) for Pixelmator, although I do still find I use the unfortunatley-named The GIMP now and again, having got used to it in my Linux-only days.

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Re: MSPaint equivalent?

- - I love the screenshot options in OSX - like Windows Snipping Tool but built in and better - but not being able to paste that directly into something is a PITA. - -

You should try pressing ctrl in addition to cmd+shift+4. That way you transfer it to temp memory and you can paste it immediately after.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: MSPaint equivalent?

You should try pressing ctrl in addition to cmd+shift+4. That way you transfer it to temp memory and you can paste it immediately after.

I don't know about you, but I sometimes feel that I'm running out of fingers with some of these key combinations..

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Re: MSPaint equivalent?

Too few fingers?

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Re: MSPaint equivalent?

Paintbrush for Mac.

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Re: MSPaint equivalent?

Great tip — thanks.

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Re: MSPaint equivalent?

You might also have a look at Graphic Converter.http://www.lemkesoft.de/en/products/graphicconverter/ It's primarily aimed at, well, converting graphic files from one format to another (duh...) but it is also quite a capable little mini-Photoshop. And if there's a graphic format it doesn't handle, wait a bit and Mr. Lemke will add it. I've used it for nearly 20 years now. It's beautiful, it actually does some things faster than Photoshop. And it's both try-before-you-buy shareware (remember that?) and cheap; when I first got it, it was $15-20 or so (it's been 20 years, I can't remember exactly) with an upgrade fee of around $10. The price has inched up to $40, $25 for upgrades. You only pay for _major_ upgrades, so I've shelled out the upgrade fee maybe three-four times. That means that I've paid less than two months worth of Creative Cloud (for which I will never, ever, pay, my copy of Creative Suite 5.5 still works and I have an older system carefully preserved to ensure that it I will have a machine to run it on for years to come) for 20 years of service. And Mr. Lemke provides excellent customer service, something I can't say about Adobe. I'm _happy_ to pay him so that he can keep his products available.

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JDX
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Re: You should try pressing ctrl in addition to cmd+shift+4

Yes that is what I generally do. But then you need a program ready to paste into... hence my question :)

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Re: You should try pressing ctrl in addition to cmd+shift+4 @JDX

Command+shift+control+4 and select an area.

Open Preview and the command+n File menu will have become "New from Clipboard". So select that or hit command+n for an atomic create+paste.

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Lots of other good products....

Sophos do a Mac version of their AV product... Free for home use! (http://www.sophos.com/en-us/products/free-tools/sophos-antivirus-for-mac-home-edition.aspx)

Virtualbox is also invaluable for when you need to spin up Windows boxes as we all do from time to time

TextWrangler.... Free highly customisable and flexible editor

MAMP - Instant setup of an Apache PHP MySQL with gui management built in.. stack http://www.mamp.info/en/

Loads of good stuff to be honest!

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jai

Re: Lots of other good products....

+1 for Sophos recommendation

Also for TextWrangler, i'm a bit fan of it, although a lot of people also prefer BBEdit for their text file bothering.

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Re: Lots of other good products....

Another vote for TexWrangler.

Dare I say it, I quite like OneNote and MS Remote Desktop on the Mac.

Caffeine is a good tool for keeping the Mac awake when you want.

For a bit of Fun check out VirtualDJ Home.

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Re: Lots of other good products....

+1 TextWrangler

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Lots of other good products....

The only problem with Sophos is that it requires Administrator password to run!

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Re: Lots of other good products....

Wouldn't that be needed though? Else how can it scan protected files a normal user can't access.

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Re: Lots of other good products....

Also for TextWrangler

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Gold badge

Re: Lots of other good products....

+1 for VirtualBox, although I'm toying with installing Parallels because I can set up virtual OSX machines with that, and I like its ability to make windows of other apps appear native.

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Re: Lots of other good products....

Check out fusion if you're ok with paid software. Equally as good as Parallels imo. I've stuck with fusion as I get a free licence with my VMware licences.

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Silver badge

Re: Lots of other good products....

For owners of more than one Mac, VMware Fusion currently beats Parallels on pricing because one licence covers multiple systems (for personal use anyway).

Parallels not only spams you to death while you are doing an evaluation but pops up a "Buy now" window every time you fire up a VM, which quickly gets tiresome.

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Re: Lots of other good products....

I've tried both ClamXav and Sophos and prefer ClamXav. Just my opinion but it's less intrusive on the operating system and uses less resources.

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Re: Lots of other good products....

NOD also good for Mac! Not free though!

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Re: Lots of other good products....

+1 for VirtualBox.

If you want your VM to start when the host Mac boots, rather than needing manual intervention in the VirtualBox GUI, a simple .plist file in /Library/LaunchDaemons/, run launchctl load, and you are away :)

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Re: Lots of other good products....

And while Parallels is a great program, it isn't a perpetual license - when a new version of OS x comes out, Parallels stops running and you're forced to buy the latest version. It's a shame they treat paying customers like this, it's a great piece of software.

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jai

Spotlight / Alfred

The current version of Spotlight in Yosemite has the majority of the same features as you describe for Alfred. It's much advanced on where it was a year or two ago.

The leader in this class of tool I believe is Quicksilver, although i can't speak to why that is the case as Spotlight has always done all i need it to - i'm not the target demographic for these search-for-anything-anywhere utilities.

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Some more ...

... Menumeters (system status), Pathfinder, Hazel (keep folders organised - not free), Superduper (backups / disk cloning), CoRD (RDP), Handbrake

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some more ...

I thought SuperDuper isn't free either?

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Re: Some more ...

The basic version is free - paying gives you scheduled backups and 'smart' backups IIRC

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Some more ...

Path Finder most certainly is NOT free - $40 for a file manager. Finder itself is terrible, I'll grant you, but I spruce it up with XtraFinder, which is freeware. Granted, it's not as comprehensive as Path Finder, but it gets the job done.

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jai

The Unarchiver

+1 for the Unarchiver!!

in the pre-OS X days, Stuffit Expander was always the first 3rd party utility that i'd install on my mac. But now, it's The Unarchiver that's the first.

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And some more:

GPGMail / GPGTools: GPG implementation for Mac, including email signing + encryption. Beta for Yosemite currently, but reasonably stable. (I believe it is changing to requiring a payment, though)

Handbrake: for ripping DVDs / converting videos (potentially requires VNC too; I can't remember)

Chicken of the VNC: VNC client

Isolator: for keeping just one window in focus, without using full screen mode

MacTheRipper: DVD ripper

photorec: Unix command line recovery tool, great for recovering photos, documents etc. from USB or memory sticks

Telephone: nice SIP client with address book integration, but does not support encryption :(

Transmission: BitTorrent client, for downloading those Linux distributions

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Re: And some more:

Handbrake reference should have been "potentially requires V*L*C", not V*N*C. Oops.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: And some more:

I used Transmission, but I changed to uTorrent because it allows me to schedule downloads. I don't really want a Linux ISO download to get in my way of daily Internet use :).

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Re: And some more:

Either way, Handbrake requires neither VLC nor VNC. But it helps if you have the Perian codecs installed even though development of the latter has stopped years ago.

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Re: And some more:

Thanks. For some reason, I had a recollection that VLC was used for the DVD decryption needed to feed the DVD contents into HandBrake.

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Word Processor

I've been a big fan of Bean for about three years on OS X. Light weight, simple word processor that doesn't crash. Lacks more complex functionality, but if you just want to bang some words out, it's lovely. http://www.bean-osx.com/Bean.html

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Caffeine, MagicPrefs

Caffeine: a coffee cup icon which sits in the taskbar. Click it to prevent the screen from going to sleep — great for presentations.

MagicPrefs: small utility for giving more functionality to trackpads or mice. I use it to turn an Apple Magic Mouse into a very good presentation controller, with taps on the top for moving slides forward, backwards and for blanking the screen.

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http://opensourcemac.org/

I don't know how often it is updated, but, when I switched to Mac, I have a feeling I spent quite a bit of time trying various bits and pieces referenced here:

http://opensourcemac.org/

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