We’ll take some heat on this list, for sure. These are the best Mac applications ever on Tiger (sometimes Panther, Jaguar, never on Windows).
It’s the latest Top 10 List from the Mac divas. I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.
There’s something to be said for sticking your neck out. In this case, we’re out on a limb but have plenty of company. Yes, you can argue for your favorite Mac applications but these are the best so don’t argue with us.
First, these Mac hot utilities and applications do NOT come from Microsoft, Adobe, Macromedia, or Apple. They already have their own stable of great applications so we’ll exclude them from this list. Why? Because we can. It’s our list.
Second, your mileage may vary. Some of these Mac applications we’ve used for years, some are recent, some are new to Tiger, most have been upgraded recently to take advantage of new OS X capabilities in Tiger.
Check out our list. Compare it to your favorites, then tell us (and everyone else who’ll listen… er, read) your favorites.
Best Mac Application Ever
James Thomson’s DragThing is now at version 5.6.1 for Tiger. Both of us have used it since the Mac OS 8/9.x days and won’t set up a new Mac without it. Why? It does what you want and expect of a Mac launcher. It launches applications, let’s you find files, stores file locations, and grows in functions as your needs grow.
Yes, it’s a launch utility of sorts. With a hot button on the keypad and a hot spot for the mouse pointer, DragThing is indispensible, and gives me more warm and fuzzies than a puppy peeing on a Windows laptop.
Best RSS Reader
This is a tie. That’s because Tera loves Newsfire and Bambi loves NetNewsWire and Debbie Does Dallas. If you’re not into RSS yet, get there. You’ll be able to track 10 times as many web sites in half the time as 1/10th that many. Do the math.
Both NewsFire and NetNewsWire simplify RSS feed gathering, allow for drag and drop of RSS links, and update automatically. Tera says NewsFire rocks. Bambi says NetNewsWire is free. You choose.
Best File Transfer Utility
This was pretty much unanimous as both of us babes love Panic’s Transmit. We’ve used it since the post-Copland, pre-OS X days and find it’s stable, dependable, does the job on nearly any Unix (or otherwise) machine to transfer files. It’s FTP or SFTP or TP your friend’s porch.
Transmit has a slick built-in editor and is excellent at setting those pesky Unix permissions on remote files. Who can remember rwx-xrr-ww-xx-rr et al? Not us. It’s tough enough to remember XXX at the corner video store.
Best Mac Photo Gallery Application
Sorry, another tie. Don’t sweat the small stuff, though, because both these photo gallery applications come with a load of features to create web page galleries of all your photos.
You won’t want to use iPhoto or Kodak Easy Share again for web page gallery creation. Ever. Galerie and JAlbum are tops, but take different approaches. JAlbum is Mac and Windows and has an odd interface but is loaded with features. So many it’ll take you longer to watch the latest Tera Patrick video in slow motion (you’ll get distracted; trust me).
Galerie comes from the French folks who love the Macintosh and Jerry Lewis sooooo much. The number of skins for the photo galleries is bewildering but worth it. Did I mention that it’s free?
Best Browser For The Mac
You’re gonna kill us, I know, but you’ll get a chance to voice your opinion. Tera says the best Mac browser is OmniWeb and I (me, Bambi—we’re writing this late at night, so it gets confusing) think the best is Safari.
Safari’s got a nifty built-in RSS reader which, though it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of a dedicated RSS reader, will get you started on RSS without having to learn much that’s new. We have an RSS feed for Tera and Bambi’s forum now, so, if you haven’t plugged yourself into RSS, try it with Tiger’s Safari.
OK, back to bells and whistles. OmniWeb wins. You have to pay for it, but it’s blazing fast, loaded with features, and makes browsing fun again. I wish it had a brushed aluminum skin, though.
Best New Mac Application
You read the comics, right? Try creating your own with ComicLife.
It’s simple. ComicLife is one of those nifty neato, double-deluxe, A-number one, triple-distilled Mac applications that make you think, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Or, think something like, “Are you sure this hasn’t been around for years?”
ComicLife integrates with iPhoto so you can select a comic page from the Templates, drag and drop photos from iPhoto, click to make the photo look like a comic book drawing, then add those cute talking balloons. Man, is this cool, or what?
Best Mac Video Application
OK, this isn’t from Apple, so it’s not FinalCut Pro. In fact, it isn’t really a video application at all, and what it does you’ve probably already seen in iMovie. Just not this good.
PhotoToMovie takes your digital photos and creates a nifty zoom and pan ability across each one. Unlike the so-called Ken Burns Effect in iMovie (getting better), PhotoToMovie is flawless and intuitive and inexpensive and even allows an audio track so you can set your now-moving digital still photos to music.
Best Mac Text Editor
This is a utility that most Mac users don’t need, but once you’ve used one then you’ll realize why they’re so important. A text editor is NOT a word processor. This is the kind of editor that programmers and web page developers use to code.
BBEdit’s been Tera’s choice for years and Bambi (me) doesn’t do much coding. I’m blonde. Why would I do that?
Regardless, the best value is still from BBEdit’s publisher, Bare Bones Software. It’s the little brother to BBEdit, TextWrangler. It feels like BBEdit. It’s free. Enough said.
Best Web Page Editor
Alright, get your flamethrowers ready, but both of us agree that the best value besides the free HTML editors (there’s plenty) is RapidWeaver.
Why? Because it does so much, so elegantly, so easily, and is nominally priced—it’s tough to do a good comparison. People who don’t know how to spell HTML will be able to get RapidWeaver up and running in about an hour. And it does about everything you could think of on a web page.
Best Mac Backup Utility
We’re going to sound like a broken record. OK, in the era of CDs and iPods, that’s a bad analogy. Tera coined the phrase and she remembers those things called “records”.
The best clone backup utility is none other than SuperDuper! It clones, it slices, it dices, it does Julienne fries. It makes perfect clones of your Mac on another hard drive or an external hard drive. There’s more features than you need, and none that you don’t.
We use it to back up our servers, it’s that good and that important. Oh, there’s no automatic scheduler and that’s the only thing missing.
That’s Tera’s take and I don’t disagree with her. However, I’ve come to love ChronoSync because it copies files and puts them just about anywhere, including places where SuperDuper don’t go, so it’s another blankety-blank tie.
You’d think we could agree on something. We did. Mostly. Click on each for details and downloads. DragThing. NewsFire and NetNewsWire Lite. Transmit X. JAlbum and Galerie. Safari and OmniWeb. ComicLife. PhotoToMovie. BBEdit’s TextWrangler. RapidWeaver, and finally SuperDuper! and ChronoSync. Of course, your mileage may vary. Not responsible for accidents.
That’s the list. Hit us with your best shot, and be prepared to tell us what you think of the list, what’s missing, what you think is better.