I’ve always been a believer in extra RAM; as much RAM as affordable at the time. The more RAM that’s open, the better applications will run, and more applications can be open at the same time.
Mac OS X Panther is arguably the most stable and dependable Mac OS ever and I find I’m opening, and leaving open, more Mac applications, utilities, and accessories than ever before. Even my menu bar has more utility applications than I would dare consider running under Mac OS 9.
Check your Mac right now. What are you running? What’s open and ready? Here’s my list (tempered somewhat by the fact that this is a new PowerMac G5 with 4 gigs of RAM). Your mileage may vary.
Mail and Safari
These are given, of course. Most Mac users are checking their mail with Apple’s Mail, and our web site server logs indicate that it’s Safari that gets the nod for browsing. No surprise there.
Also open and running right now are Firefox and Camino. Camino is open because Tera says it should be there. Firefox because I use it more than Camino. However, I’m also checking out the latest beta of OmniWeb. This is the most feature packed and Mac-like browser; and the new version is fast (had a few crashes already).
I’ve got only what I really need. Mostly. I love Julian Miller’s CopyPaste (he lives on Kauai; we live on Oahu) for sorting through all the items I copy and paste each day. That’s in the Menu Bar. So is WeatherPop Advance. Yes, I know the weather is nearly perfect here. I just want to make sure.
I’ve also got iSync running in the Menu Bar with You Control’s iTunes application (the free one). That’s about the easiest place to control iTunes without using Expose’ and having to sort through windows.
Always Open Applications
While I’ll open and close some through the course of the day, these Mac applications are set to automatically start up when the Mac starts up or re-boots:
• DragThing: The application launcher; my Mac is centered around it.
• Stickies: Don’t laugh. I keep LoginIDs and Passwords there. It works.
• Dejal Simon: The app that checks web site status; great, dependable.
• Temperature Monitor: Gotta know what temp my Mac is (doesn’t change much).
• NewsFire: Just started using this. Great RSS newsreader.
• Activity Monitor: Always on, set to check CPU.
Those are just the applications that start up when the PowerMac starts up.
Almost Always Open Applications
These are the applications that get used the most during the course of a day so they’re likely to be open, running, and used heavily. That means they only get shut down when I shut down the Mac (which doesn’t happen often).
• Fireworks: Used for most of our web site graphics, not photos.
• Free Ruler: It’s free, and, well, it rules.
• Transmit: For Secure FTP; used sparingly these days.
• iPick: This is a color generator for the Mac; must have open.
• Nisus Writer Express: Less depedent on MS Word these days.
• Watson: It’ll be sad day when this application no longer works.
• Photo to Movie: I love this app; I’m always dinking with a photo.
Of course, Mac OS X comes loaded with the iLife suite of applications and I’ve got them all ready and running. Mostly. iDVD only gets used when I’m actually getting ready to burn a DVD. Otherwise, it just sits on the hard disk. Since I’m always doing some work with photos and I keep most photos in iPhoto, guess which photo app gets used the most?
• iTunes: if you’re listening to music on the Mac it’s iTunes.
• Address Book: Lots of names to track.
• iCal: Being able to synchronize calendar and addresses is a plus.
• iChat: I’ve now got an iSight camera.
• iPhoto: Most of our photos are stored here.
• GarageBand: Hooked up to a USB keyboard; I’m learning.
• SoundTrack: This came with Final Cut Pro. For audio, it’s great.
Not always open but always available and used regularly are SuperDuper (for backups), Microsoft Word and Excel (it’s that link to “compatibility” that binds us to Windows users in the business world), Stuffit (for decompressing, not compressing), and BBEdit (gets used in spurts).
That’s what’s running right now on my Mac. How about yours? If you’re short on RAM it’s likely you won’t have as many open applications as can be handled in 4 gigabytes. Our recent survey indicates that most Mac users double the RAM that came with their Macs. And for good reason. There’s never enough.
What’s running on your Mac right now? Care to share the list? If so, click on Comments below to share, click on Feedback at the bottom of the page to share anonymously.
Editor’s Note: Whoa. Check the Comments section. I’m impressed with how many readers have soooooo many open applications running on their Macs.
Just for grins—check with your Windows friends to see how many open applications they’re running on Windows.