Wahey! Google showing more Mac love is always a good good thing. I often wondered why Google didn’t put more effort into Mac applications, considering how close Google and Apple work together. Well today I can finally quit wondering and bask in the warm light of Google Desktop for Mac OS X! Still in beta, Google Desktop for the Mac gives you the power of Google.com on your desktop, allowing you to search your local files, web history and even your Gmail email while offline. They are even nudging in on Quicksilver’s territory, allowing you to use the Quick Search feature to launch applications and files. Helloooooo!
So your favorite band came through town, you missed the show and now your friends are all telling you how killer it was? Have no fear, a pair of grad students have gotten fed up and have developed a delightfully simple tool for keeping track of both your MP3 library AND your favorite band’s tour dates so you won’t miss the next killer do. The tool is iConcertCal and it’s a free iTunes plugin that monitors your music library and based upon your most playlist, generates a personalized calender of upcoming shows in your city. THe interface mimics iCal and is available for both Windows and Mac OS X.
So Twitter is our new fun obsession and what better way to enjoy a newfound hobby is there than to find all the free and open source software you can for it!? NONE! Twitterrific is a light and fun little application that lets you easily publish “tweets” to your Twitter account or read tweets from your Twitter contacts, all while stylishly occupying a small spot of real estate on your Mac’s desktop. Let your friends know what level your World of Warcraft character is or how badly you want the iPhone you’re reading about without having to leave your desktop!
Working in web development I’m constantly finding myself taking screenshots, which I am then manipulating manually, cutting and pasting here and there and back again, in an attempt to get the perfect shot. I knew of screenshot tools on the PC, maybe even used one or two here and there, but, for some reason they just never stuck. Now that I’m fully using OS X for everything I do, I’ve noticed the need for taking screenshots rapidly, with as little downtime as possible, and I think I’ve finally found the perfect piece of software for me. InstantShot! is a freeware piece of software (free as in beer, or bier) which creates a menu icon under OS X, assigning an easy to use UI for OS X’s screenshot functionality, allowing you to capture whole screen, partial screen and timed captures. All this for the low-price of nothing, but donations are highly encouraged.
Read more: InstantShot!
MacLibre is a nifty little open source application for Mac OS X, developed at Google’s recent Summer of Code. Consider MacLibre to be the quality control of open source Mac apps, providing Mac users with a pre-selected list of applications available for quick and easy downloading through the use of MacLibre’s internal bittorrent client. More open source applications are being added quite often, naturally after passing MacLibre’s vigorous testing and quality assurance requirements.
Read more: MacLibre
Converting to a Mac was one of the best computing choices I’ve ever made, the beauty and simplicity of the OS X operating system is astonishing and always a pleasure to work with, making me cringe when I even have to think of turning my PC on to play Eve Online. Freeware on the Mac is a thing of beauty, with large amounts of freeware applications spread throughout the internet enhancing user experience and productivity in more ways than one can count. Today we’re going to list more of our favorite OS X freeware, applications we find crucial to our daily use and crucial in our obsessive need to be on the cutting edge.
Shrook – RSS feed reader
Vienna – RSS feed feader
Both are solid and free RSS readers with features on both sides which give them an edge. Vienna features a nice mini-browser, smart folders and flagged articles. Shrook however wins me over. It’s a bit more lightweight, going for simplicity, which is always admirable for application design. One of Shrooks major features is it’s sync abilities, allowing users to signup to Shrook.com (for a small fee) and then use Shrook over multiple Macs without having to carry your RSS feeds anywhere, open Shrook, log-in and bam, your RSS feeds are there waiting for you.
Deer Park web browser (Optimized Firefox 220.127.116.11 for G4, G5, and Intel Macs)
The official Firefox for Mac drives me insane. I want so badly to use it, but, the performance is so sluggish and unusable that it almost makes me miss IE 5.0. Thankfully there are Mac OS X hackers who’ve had enough and have begun distributing Firefox updates in a Mac-friendly form, under the name Deer Park. Deer Park isn’t a perfect solution but it’s a step in the right direction that’s for sure, taking the usual Firefox updates and puting a little more effort into optimizing them to run more smoothly on G4, G5 and Intel Macs, without the Firefox branding of course as it’s not an official Mozilla product. Switching to Deer Park is easy, you won’t lose any of your bookmarks or other user settings and I haven’t found an extension yet that hasn’t worked with the Park.
Dashalytics – Google Analytics Dashboard widget
A highly recommended Dashboard widget for any obsessive compulsive blog owners who leave a Google Analytics tab open at all time. Dashalytics is a handy little freeware widget which gives you a quick and clean overview of your site’s day, week, monthly and yearly page visits and page views, supporting multiple sites as long as you have them setup with Google’s Analytics service.
Letterbox – Widescreen plugin for Mail.app
Widescreen is the future of computing (and gaming!), you can take that to the bank. As more and more users switch to widescreen resolutions, the need for widescreen support in many applications will be a must. For instance, Mail.app, OS X’s ultra-powerful email application included with every version of Apple’s operating system. It’s not so friendly for a widescreen resolution, especially for those of us with multiple email accounts and thousands upon thousands of emails. But there’s hope in the form of a simple little Mail.app plugin named Letterbox. By rearranging the Mail.app interface into 3 vertical columns, Letterbox instantly transforms Mail into a widescreen users email heaven, allowing the user more vertical space for mailboxes as well as a large preview pane.
QuickName – File utility for renaming large amounts of files
QuickName is a program that I need only a few times a year, but still an important little tool to have. QuickName is as straight-forward as it gets, a small utility that allows you to quickly change the naming conventions of large amounts of files. For instance, you have 275 images in your blog that you were given the suffix .JPG, but you want them to be .jpg. Launch good old QuickName and let her rip, renaming said files in a matter of seconds.
Ventrilo – Group VOIP for OS X
TeamSpeex – TeamSpeak for OS X
VOIP is a godsend for gamers and businesses alike. Ventrilo and TeamSpeak are the standards for group-chat functions in the gaming world, with clans from Counter Strike to World of Warcraft to Eve Online using the applications to communicate during group activities in-game (and out). It took awhile, but there are finally stable OS X builds for both applications, bringing Mac gamers (or those of us who use their Mac for Ventrilo while playing on their PC) into the world of group VOIP communication.
Read more: 10 favorite applications for OS X
For Mac nerds, nothing is holier than the WWDC, with all those new-fangled hardware and software announcements coming straight from Jobs himself. Yesterday, we had even more reason to be excited, or at least raise an eyebrow halfway, as the boys at 37signals announced that Ruby on Rails will be shipping with the next version of OS X. Server and client will be featured on the developer’s disk included with OS X Leopard! Rails has certainly been accepted within the Mac development community and that shows, with sources inside Apple reporting Ruby and Rails’ popularity growing rapidly within Apple. More great news for the RoR guys, which I’m sure is helping them keep it real.
Read more: Ruby on Rails shipping with OS X 10.5
For the Mac users who are still concious after seeing the new Mac Pro announced yesterday, I bring you the new contender in the OS browser-wars. Shiira, the Japanese browser that can, has finally made their re-designed version 2 release a downloadable beta for public consumption. After a few days usage I’m quite quite pleased. The pagedock is very cool and puts a whole new spin on tabbed browsing (page browsing now?), the performance is pretty much up there with Safari and the feature-set is quite comparable to Safari, with a few nice additions. I have to admit, if it weren’t for the web development plugins, I wouldn’t be using super-mega memory hog Deer Park (or Firefox) on my Macs at all, considering how horribly they perform (yes yes, I’ve used Camino as well). Remember this is still a beta release, so expect some instability and some sub-menus still in Japanese, but, don’t let that put you off.
Read more: Shiira 2.01beta now available for download
Mark over at Delusions of Grandeur had a quick hands-on with the tech-preview 1 version of Shiira 2.0, the Web-kit based, Cocoa browser which is slowly taking form as a major player in the world of OS X browsers. Shiira was originally started as an alternative to Safari, but has slowly morphed into a lightweight competitor to the major browsers out and about now (certainly to Firefox, which performs dismally on my Macs). The upcoming major release of Shiira looks exciting with Growl implementation (notifactions on updated RSS feeds!), Tab ExposÃ©, native tabbed browsing (I know I know), tab thumbnails, a new version of the plugin API, and many other features.
Stuck with really nothing else to do with a Sony PSP other than hacking it, enterprising youngsters are putting just about anything they can think of on their Playstation Portable systems. Including operating systems! There are several projects on-going at the moment trying to port older OSs onto the beautiful handheld from Sony, including the lovely Mac OS. In this video found on Google, an enterprising young man demos Mac OS 7.5 running (slowly) on his PSP, including an exciting fatal exception and a stunning cold reboot. Exciting things are coming for the PSP, I can feel it, only I don’t mean actually from Sony, cause we all know they haven’t licensed a game worth playing on this thing yet.
Video with annoying soundtrack after the jump…