Continued from The Top 14 Most Important Mac Apps Of All Time, Part #1
My list of The Top 14 Most Important Mac Apps Of All Time, Part #2 (non-Apple, non-Microsoft, non-Adobe) was a difficult undertaking. First, there are tens of thousands of apps, but only a few hundred with both history and value that benefit the most Mac users.
Second, narrowing them down to barely a dozen and prioritizing each app was a challenge. I’m comfortable with what’s on the list, but not comfortable with how they’re stacked. A few apps are relatively new, considering that the Mac has been around since 1984.
Most of what’s on the list I use today, but a few no longer make the grade, despite continued updates and improvements. So, with some controversy expected, here’s The Top 14 Most Important Mac Apps Of All Time, Part #2.
#14 – Transmission: Allow me the luxury of using Transmission to represent BitTorrent clients, a peer-to-peer app that is used to upload and download files on the internet. Though one of many for the Mac, I prefer Transmission. BitTorrent is not quite 10 years old but remains a decidedly popular way for Mac and Windows users to obtain music, movies, TV shows, and applications by “sharing” with other users.
#13 – 1Password: Alright, now you can argue with me. 1Password is a Mac and iPhone app which securely stores and manages usernames, login IDs, and passwords.
Of such apps, there are many. I consider 1Password one of the best and most useful, though every Mac user with more than half a dozen usernames and passwords needs such an app.
#12 – NetNewsWire: For a variety of reasons, the RSS revolution seems to have cooled, but RSS is ubiquitous. You can place RSS feeds in most browsers, and most web sites with regularly updated information have RSS feeds (including Mac360, of course). NetNewsWire was one of the first RSS readers for the Mac. It’s one of the best, Mac or PC, and it’s available for Mac, iPad and iPhone. If you’re click through more than a dozen bookmarks to find web sites, you need an RSS news reader.
#11 – Stuffit: Allow me to pay homage to the past. Mac OS X comes with zip archiving built-in, which has all but killed the Stuffit archive format. Stuffit adapted and does .zip files, and many others, and I still run into a Stuffit archived file from time to time. Back in the day, Stuffit was the way to save space on a Mac. Today, gargantuan hard disk drives negate that value, though archiving has advanced and added more useful features than saving space.
#10 – Handbrake: If you’re going to use BitTorrent to borrow movies and TV shows online, you might as well know about Handbrake. Simply put, the free Handbrake converts DVDs so you can view them on your mobile devices in different video formats.
#9 – Transmit: Yes, there are older FTP apps for the Mac, but none as easy to use or as popular as Transmit, which defines the left window, right window file transfer method. These days, Transmit does more than FTP; it’s faster, more secure, good for Mac newbies and sufficiently automated to make older Mac users (as in, experienced) appreciate it even more.
#8 – Skype: Apple’s iChat is nice, but everyone else in the world uses Skype for online chat, audio calls, and video calls. Skype doesn’t have much of a business model, but it’s ubiquitous, and works well on the Mac, and lets a few hundred million users connect online.
#7 – BBEdit: Where else would I put one of the best Mac text editors other than in the Top 14. BBEdit is familiar because it’s old. Because it’s old it’s ugly and complex and difficult to learn. But it works. It doesn’t suck. There may be newer text editors that do more or are easier to use, but BBEdit is like a drug that’s just not so easy to shake.
#6 – Firefox: Safari is the most used Mac browser, followed by Mozilla’s Firefox. While Safari is simple, elegant, and fast, Firefox does the dirty work with thousands of third party extensions, or add-ons, which add substantial functionality to the browsing experience. Safari has extensions, too, but it’s not much of a comparison. In some areas of the world, Firefox on Windows is as popular as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Thanks to Safari and Firefox, we have one less Microsoft app to worry about on the Mac.
#5 – SuperDuper! & Carbon Copy Cloner: Seriously, if you’re not using one of these two apps on your Mac, you’re not serious about losing data. SuperDuper! is a commercial app that does perfect clone back ups of your Mac’s hard disk drive. CCC is donationware and does the same thing.
#4 – Quicken: Controversy alert. Intuit’s Quicken, loathed by many Mac users for a decade, still remains one of the Mac’s most popular third party apps. Here’s a look at the latest Quicken for Mac, and here’s a look at The Top 10 Best Mac Money Apps To Replace Quicken. Despite a dozen very capable money managers, I’m still surprised by how many Mac users have Quicken.
#3 – WebKit: Most Mac users have no idea what WebKit is or does, so how does it rate so high?
WebKit forms the guts, the rendering engine of Safari, Google’s Chrome, and other popular browsers, Mac and Windows, and now on many mobile devices, including smart phones using Android OS.
#2 – Flip4Mac: A big chunk of the video on the internet is made up of Microsoft’s proprietary Windows Media Format, both audio and video. Microsoft stopped making a WMV player for Macs many years ago. Fortunately, Flip4Mac is a free Mac app that works with QuickTime to play WMV and WMA files, on the Mac and in the browser.
The latest version of Flip4Mac also installs Microsoft’s proprietary SilverLight, which is a Flash animation wannabe.
#1 – Parallels, VMware Fusion, & Boot Camp: I can argue that Apple’s switch to Intel architecture a few years ago not only gave the Mac a new lease on life (it did, considering that IBM and Free Scale were going nowhere to compete against chip giant Intel), but it opened up the market place to greater sales to Windows PC users. The security blankets offered by Parallels, VMWare, and even Apple’s Boot Camp to run Windows on a Mac, resulted in less resistance from Windows weary PC users.
All three applications are popular, but more than that, they provide a safety net, a method by which Windows PC users who switched to the Mac could also run Windows software. It’s arguable how much that happens. I know many switchers from Windows who bought a Mac and installed Windows on it but seldom use it. As they say, once you go Mac, you don’t go back.
There you have it. The Top 28 Most Important Mac Apps Of All Time, categorized by 14 apps from Apple, Microsoft, and Adobe on one side, 14 groundbreaking apps by other Mac app developers else on the other side. Which apps would you remove from the list? Which would you add?