I’ve been a Mac user since the original 128k version set me back $2,495 back in early 1984. Since then I’ve purchased and used hundreds and hundreds of Mac applications.
What’s on my Mac now? What do I use most? Least? Why? What’s the selection process? What’s yours? Why do I ask?
I did some housecleaning on my Mac this weekend. Yes, it’s been running just fine; no issues of note, no crashes, no hiccups. It was just time to get things a bit more organized, toss out a few applications I’d been testing, install others.
What’s running on my Mac now? There’s the usual cast of characters from Apple and Mac OS X. I have and use so many Mac applications that I have to organize different.
I use the Dock only for Apple applications. All the iLife ‘06 apps are there, as are the Apple Pro apps (SoundTrack, FCP, Logic, etc.) Not every Mac application shows up in the Dock, only those I use the most (and an exception or two; such as DragThing).
Backup, Automator, iCal and AddressBook, iChat and iSync. Of course, there’s Mail and Safari, Pages and Keynote, Disk Utility and Activity Monitor, and finally Terminal and System Preferences (in order, left to right in the Dock).
In the Dock’s documents section to the far right of the Dock, I keep an Aliases folder with an alias for every application on the Mac, whether frequently used or not. Every app is just a click away.
That’s the basics using Apple’s applications and the standard utilities in Mac OS X. What about DragThing?
DragThing is the center of my Mac. If you haven’t used it, give DragThing a try. Mine has 120 icons (applications or disks); 12 icons across by 10 rows down. They’re organized in a way that dates back many years, so I always know where each application resides on DragThing’s screen.
For example, System Preferences is always in the lower right corner. Mail and Safari in the upper right (next to many other Apple and iLife ‘06 applications.
Adobe and Microsoft’s application icons are on the same row. Other grahics utilities and Macromedia (now Adobe) are on the same row. In other words, DragThing is laid out so it’s easy to find any one of the 120 icons.
DiscLabel and Toast are next to each other. So are BBEdit and SEEdit mini and StyleMaster. NewsFire and NetNewsWire are next to each other. So are Firefox and Thunderbird. And OmniWeb, Camino, and Opera.
Other Mac utilities fill out the middle sections according to a rough approximation of categories. Graphics. Audio. Video. Photo. Organizational, and so on. The beauty of DragThing is that it’s visual.
Click, and an application opens. DragThing is set up so that a flick of the wrist to the left screen border brings it to the front. I’ve also set up Mighty Mouse’s nipple so that DragThing comes to the front with a click.
How do I choose which Mac applications become so honored as to make the Top 100 on my DragThing layout? It must be an application that I use regularly.
Remember the old adage regarding clothes in the closet? If you haven’t worn it in a year, get rid of it. Same here. I may keep an application up to date and stored on the Mac, but if I don’t use it often, the icon never makes it back to DragThing.
What’s the selection process? What’s yours? Usefulness. Getting something done with a minimum of fuss and bother. Handy. Intuitive. Compatibility (Microsoft). As you’ve noticed from reviews on Mac360, we don’t always agree on what constitutes a great Mac application.
Most of the staff agree that SuperDuper! is super. Comic Life is tops. Nothing is better for rapid web graphics than Fireworks. JAlbum and Galerie are superb bargains (free). We all watch EyeTV. RapidWeaver is better than iLife’s iWeb. Now.
The selection process doesn’t have a set list of criteria (maybe it should). We try different applications and updates every day. When we find something we like, we share it with other Mac360 staff members. If there’s a majority, we’ll assign a review, then publish for Mac360 readers.
Generally speaking, we buy what we use on our personal Macs, so each of us are more careful about what we review. For that reason, most of our reviews are positive, few are ambivalent, and fewer are negative experiences.
What we see is what you get. Your mileage may vary. Insert your cliche here.
What’s your criteria for selecting an application or utility to run on your Mac?
Tera and I usually agree on what constitutes a good application, though we differ here and there. Alexis is the one who has a nose for the bargains.
Carol Mary Mac
Jack tries everything. I’m more selective, so we each have our own Macs. I look for stability and dependability. I dump a new application or utility if it crashes.
Jack D. Miller
I’ll try anything. Once. If it crashes more than once, I’ll ditch it. I love auotmation applications. Carol handles the money, so I don’t worry about those, but I’ve probably got 150 applications on my Mac. Maybe more.
I’m always trying something new, and upgrading older applications I use. It’s a hobby, I guess. I love the freebies, and low cost Mac applications that do what isn’t done by Apple or someone else.