For what it’s worth, I bought all these utilities. At one time or another I’ve used them, some more than others. For a variety of reasons they’ve fallen out of favor, and in each case the “fall” was nearly complete and not because the utility has something wrong with it.
All these utilities are very good, at one time great, now in disfavor from the top of my utility list.
Numero uno at the top of the Not My Favorite Mac Applications list is Watson from Karelia Software.
A couple of years ago, Watson was the cat’s pajamas. You could use Watson to search for certain kinds of information on the web much easier than a browser loaded with bookmarks.
The weather? Click. Movie times? Click. Check up on VersionTracker? Click.
Plus, Watson had a bucket of utilities that were just plain handy and difficult to replace. Zip codes. Recipes. Image search. Stocks. Translations, and one of my favorites, Package Tracker.
Watson even integrated TV schedules into El gato’s EyeTV. Click on the schedule and EyeTV would record that TV program.
Of course, there’s more. But Watson gets used less and less. First, Mac OS X Panther’s version of Sherlock is too much like Watson. That probably killed it. It did for me. Watson is no longer under development.
Stuffit is that Mac application that works (mostly) behind the scenes and expands .sit files. You hardly know it’s there. With Mac OS X Panther, disk image files, and Panther’s built-in zip file compression, I hardly use Stuffit at all.
I paid for the deluxe version. It works well (after a few needed updates) and has all kinds of nifty features. Encryption, self extracting archives for Mac or Windows, direct burn to CD, even opens .zip files. It’s drag and drop and usually stable (mostly).
However, it’s now lagging behind in use because the built-in .zip compression of the finder and Disk Utility’s disk images are just, well, easier, and more compatible.
Color me a sucker for the utilities that keep my Mac clean; update logs, remove junk files, unlock hidden Mac OS X functions, and so on. I bought Cocktail. It’s good.
Cocktail’s list of features is impressive. Enable or disable journaling, prebind and re-bind certain Mac OS X files, clean the system, user, and Internet cache, repair permissions, create symbolic links, and more and more.
I‘ve come to rely more on Xupport, though. They do much the same thing. Maybe it’s because Xupport has that brushed aluminum look and just “fits in” better on the screen.
There’s nothing really wrong with Cocktail. It just gets half a star less than Xupport and I use that more often.
Finally, if you’ve heard me preach anything in previous entries, it’s “Backup Your Mac.” For backing up the Mac I’ve tried, and bought, most of the good ones. Backup Simplicity. Synchronize Pro. Super Duper. Even the free ones are good, like Carbon Copy Cloner.
I bought, installed, and use (every now and then) Deja Vu.
This is a very good little application that makes clones of your Mac’s hard drive, backs up files, and does so automatically.
You can use Deja Vu to back up any number of folders, clone an entire system (OS 9, too). Even do backups over a network at specified times. It works well, works quickly and only copies files that have changed since the last backup.
What more could you want?
Deja Vu installs as a preference pane, so it’s sorta out of site. I think that’s both good and bad and part of the problem. It’s good that it doesn’t bother you, it’s bad that it’s out of site.
Sometimes I just forget about things. Like, did I set Deja Vu to run? That “out of site, out of mind” thing is worrisome. So, I don’t use it much anymore, if at all. I use Super Duper. I get to watch it backup (it’s one flaw is that it doesn’t have a scheduler) and wait for it to end. Deja Vu does that, too. Except for the watching part.
Four very good Mac OS X applications that work as advertised. And I don’t use them much because they come in Number Two behind another application that works, well, better (a subjective review if I ever saw one).
How about you? Have you purchased some really good Mac utility only to find yourself not using it after awhile? Which ones? Why did you stop using it? To share your thoughts with other readers, click on the Comments link below. Click Here to leave an anonymous message.