Today’s “must-haves” for Mac users…

Today's "Must Haves" for Mac users

Time to get back into my Mac guruness… I couldn’t help but notice the deluge of must-have Mac apps and updates released just today. So here’s a quickie on the mac-ky:

1. DivX Pro: Free license (hurry!)
If you love sharing videos online, you might want to add DivX to your encoding arsenal. Watching DivX video is free via a player plugin, but producing them professionally isn’t. For a limited time, submit your email address and get a free license code for Divx Pro. Here’s the download form for Windows users too. Incidentally, I’ll be giving a free talk tentatively titled “Tips and Tricks on Sharing Videos Online” at the National Library (Bugis) on Tuesday, 19th June from 6pm to 7.30pm. Let me know if you have anything you’d like me to cover and do come if you are in Singapore.

2. NetNewsWire 3.0
No die-hard blogging Mac user should go without NetNewsWire. Fresh out of beta, version 3 adds so many features and performance tweaks, I can only give a glimpse what it’s capable of. It now works with Growl and Twitterific (including a trick to twitter what you’re reading!), the built-in web browser has tabs with thumbnails (think OmniWeb), and there’s also Microformat detection (don’t know, don’t worry!). Overall, it looks a little different, but it’s definitely snappier, the web browser is more robust, and the integration with other services is way up there (i.e. twitter, del.icio.us, blogs). If you can’t afford the $29 app (come on!), a lite version of version 3 is also in the works.

3. Twitterrific 2.1
For a wonderfully free app, Iconfactory has really put in a lot of work into this little twitter-er. Besides it’s clean design, ease of managing twitters in a desktop interface, it’s power truly comes in where it integrates so well with Mac applications such as NetNewsWire and Growl. In essence, this gives you a slick way of managing your life as a blogger, by sharing news faster and wider (over channels beyond your blog). This boils back to the concept of lifestreaming, where one’s activities flow across diverse, yet convergent mediums. BTW, there’s a pretty funny easter egg inside Twitterrific… go into preferences, about, then click on the blue bird. Freakin’ lazers!

4. Parallels Desktop 3.0 for Mac (with 3D graphics support!)
The biggest improvement for this popular virtualization app for Intel Macs? Native graphics hardware, OpenGL and DirectX support, which means you can now play with 3D games and applications right on your Mac. That’s almost like the holy grail of virtualization technology for any operating system. It might not be super-smooth, but games like Half-Life 2 and Quake 4 seem playable. Watch this video to believe…

5. VMWare’s Fusion, now with Unity
Parallels blew us away when they added a feature called Coherence, which let you run Windows app as if they were on your Mac desktop (not trapped within a virtualization window). Hot on its heels, VMware laid in wait, springing forth Unity, a even more realistic system of running Windows apps together right on your Mac OS. Once again, watch this video to believe…

6. Apple’s Boot Camp 1.3 (beta)
As if Apple were watching the virtualization world, a new version of Boot Camp was also release today. Why upgrade? Reigning in at 274MB, the Boot Camp 1.3 beta includes: Support for keyboard backlighting (MacBook Pro only), Apple Remote pairing, updated graphics drivers (better gaming?), and improved international keyboard support. These are just a few features among a slew of updates.

Before you go…
Check out IUseThis.com for more cool Mac apps if you’re so inclined!

18 thoughts on “Today’s “must-haves” for Mac users…

  1. Handbrake for me! Works well for the iPod. And Boot Camp sure rocks my socks, especially for Command and Conquer 3 (and the upcoming Starcraft 2)!

  2. Handbrake is nice, but I use the other app, VisualHub… converts anything! Eh, got to show me some of your C&C3 skillz man… when do you have time?

  3. Oh man, that’s bad. I have none of the software you mentioned and the only must have for me is X11 (UNIX) in the Mac OSX.

  4. Let me add the following to the list:
    TextMate – the best darn text editor, ever.
    Adium – forget iChat.
    Transmit – Everything FTP should be
    Unison – If you need to access newsgroups, this is the best program.
    Quicksilver – I can’t live without it.

  5. The list I made was of Mac apps released or updated today. Should we do an all-time best of Mac apps list as well? Make it a meme by listing your top five picks!

  6. Of the items on your list, I only use Parallels Desktop for Mac.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on NetNewsWire though, specifically regarding why you use it instead of a decentralized online service (like Google Reader or Bloglines). Does it allow you to sync your read/unread items across different matchines?

  7. On online video – I usually show Jumpcut as it lets you edit videos online, add titles, effects etc. It is almost a mini iMovie but browser based.

  8. @DanOblak: Graphic Converter still rocks. I switched from BBEdit lite to TextWrangler. Try that instead!

    @Chu Yeow: Your’re right! NetNewsWire does sync to newsgator.com which is an online RSS reader as well. From there, other NetNewsWire apps can sync to it as well, allowing you to use several computers and remain in touch. However, the no. 1 reason I use NetNewsWire over anything else? Speed and Productivity. I read a TON of feeds and since everything’s downloaded, you get through your reading fast. More importantly, I setup several filters (or search agents) in there to have it highlight to me anything I wish to track, e.g my name, a research topic. Lastly, it’s flexible enough that it integrates well with my existing apps, allowing to post news I find interesting via blog, del.icio.us and even Twitter!

    @Ronnie: I don’t think anything on Windows even compares. I was using a PC and can’t find a good news reader!

    @vantan: Something’s up with your giant mugshot. Anyway, hopefully the MBP will have major improvements by then 😛

    @preetam: Not exactly a Mac app, but yeah JumpCut’s cool. 🙂

  9. Wow thanks, definitely something I should look at then. The last thing that was stopping me from using a fat RSS client was decentralization (I was using NewsFire for awhile).

  10. Hey, thanks for the Fusion plug dude. Fusion final will be out sometime in August and we’re thinking of getting bloggers down to the launch. Interested?

  11. @BenKoe: I take it that VMware’s your client? I’d love to do a performance shoot-out between Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMware’s Fusion. If VMware has the guts, send me a copy 😛

    Oh, I’ll be gone by mid-July.

  12. Yes they are. We can always get one to you even when you’re back in the US. Would love to see a shoot-out myself. Do a video of it lah. =) Man, I’m not even getting paid to make this pitch, but its fun anyway. woot!

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