One’s man’s hamburger is another man’s steak. That utility you love might be despised by another Mac user.
Of course, there could be a list of the strangest, weirdest, craziest Mac utilities that we all agree are just plain nuts. Or not.
Personally, I collect Mac utilities. I always have and always will. There’s always someone out there in Mac Developer Land who has an idea for an application that someone might find useful and be willing to part with some money.
Here’s a few you can avoid (save your money) and a couple that won’t get much attention but are rather cool, though limited.
Tired of ultra high prices at the gasoline pump and want to track your gasoline mileage on your V-8 SUV without having to buy Microsoft’s Office just to use Excel?
Try Gas instead. “Gas tracks the mileage, gallons of gas, types of miles (highway, city, etc) and the type of gas used for those miles.”
That’s the good news. The better news is that Gas is free. And simple.
Gas is a straightforward utility that lets you track average gas mileage, miles traveled, gasoline used, even the type of travel (highway, city, etc.) and gives an instant update.
Got more than one vehicle in your family? A Yugo, perhaps? Gas has multiple windows so you can track mileage in multiple cars. Or trucks. Or motorcycles. Carrying your Mac laptop on your Mac is your problem.
Regardless, Gas is an odd little application that actually works. You can’t beat the price.
Got mail? How about a Dashboard Widget that lets you send mail? This one is called miniMail and it’s just a widget that lets you send mail.
What’s cool about that? Exactly. It’s cute. It seems to work in Tiger. I sent mail to myself. Twice. As to why miniMail is cool is another question. Whereas Apple’s Mail is right there on your Mac and sends and receives mail, and helps you type in commonly used email addresses, miniMail doesn’t do squat.
It looks like your mail is sent through someone else’s mail server so this could easily be a spammer’s way to capture real email addresses. Or not. Buyer beware.
Ever wanted to use your Mac to play back sounds, one after the other, for no reason at all. You need Macs Cue.
This is actually a nifty little utility that simply plays back sounds. AIF, WAV, MP3, MP4, et al. Stack the sounds in a list. Select the ‘in and out’ points for each sound. Select the ‘Start’ item from the menu (sorry, no ‘buttons’ like a tape recorder), press the Space Bar on your keyboard, and the sounds play; one after the other.
Why? I had to ask myself the same question. Macs Cue says “Macs Cue is a sound player designed for theatre use. You create a cue sheet containing all the sounds you want to play, then hit the space bar to play each one. Cues can be chained, and can be set to stop or fade other cues when started.”
Oddly enough, it works. For $20.
Did you ever lie awake at night and wonder what else you could do with Apple’s QuickTime? People do that. Trust me.
Enter Bears Hand. Don’t ask. Some names are probably not worth fully knowing their origin.
Bears Hand lets you capture video input to a movie. Woo hoo! There can’t be more than 847 Mac applications that do that, right?
Well, Bears Hand includes a Timer, FTP Upload, Email Sending, and converts to Sony PSP, DivX, and Flash. Aha! See? What else? Bears Hand can be a web cam to a mobile phone.
Now you’re excited, right? All you need is a new Mac or Mac with OS X 10.4.2 or higher, QuickTime 7.0.3 or higher, and a video camera with Firewire, a digital camera with USB, an iSight camera, or a video conversion box, or a TV tuner box. Or, all the above.
Oh, one more thing… How’s your Japanese? Why? You ask? Because, when you Click Here you need to have your Japanese language mode enabled. Bears Hand doesn’t seem to be free so get out your Yen calculator.
How about a Mac utility that’s just chock full of little Mac utilities? All by itself? So it is with USE.
This is one little Mac utility that has all the utilities you’ll never need or use or want all rolled up into one utility without a price. USE is free.
What does ‘free’ get you?
USE will show Apple’s keyboard palette or the Apple character palette. It also shows hidden files and hides hidden files. That’s convenient for viewing files you want to see but that are hidden, or hiding files you can see which are normally hidden but aren’t.
USE also copies your IP address to the clipboard, sends a System Profile to the Desktop, counts words in a TextEdit document, repairs Permissions, cleans your Macs caches.
USE also has an icon. I know that’s important. It might be the most important feature of USE.
Sometimes you just have to ask yourself, ‘Why?’ For example, note the photograph at the top of the article. Colorful? Yes. Unique? Certainly. But don’t tell me you’re not thinking to yourself, ‘Why?’
See? I told you.
So it is with Caffeine Browser. No, it doesn’t have anything to do with browsing caffeine, coffee, cola, or chocolate.
The developer says “Caffeine Browser is an image file management system which provides awesome features.” Awesome features such as browsing images on your hard drive. Changing the image on your desktop background.
Wait! There’s more. How about rotating images you found while browsing the images on your hard drive? Yep. Caffeine Browser does that. It rotates, adjusts, saves, and prints, and burns to CD or DVD.
For only $14.95 you get a Mac utility that’s remarkably similar to iPhoto, except it doesn’t do any of the many other cool things iPhoto does. Why bother? Because there’s one born every minute.
I know it’s Halloween so maybe that’s why all the goblin applications are out in full force, ready to scare the hair off your back.
What about you? Got a favorite Mac utility that scares children, and shocks retired people? Found a Mac application that seems to work but makes no sense at all? None. Share your wealth with other Mac readers and click the Comments link below.