1) Graphics stuff: Adobe Photoshop (Elements, CS, etc.) Paint Shop Pro doesn’t exist for the mac. Photoshop is an industry standard for a reason. It is easy to use, and the Elements version for Mac is relatively cheap. I tried a bunch of free programs (Gimp, Seashore) and they were all too confusing or too weak to do anything useful with.
2) Web stuff: Adobe/Macromedia Dreamweaver. Free HTML programs abound. I so actually use the free Taco html editor for something quick and dirty. When it comes to actual html coding, I’m super lazy and I don’t like to screw around looking at code and then testing it on a server in several to see how it looks. I’ll do it locally on my machine with an instant preview in Dreamweaver until I am happy with it. And then I’ll screw it up live when i finish. 🙂
3) Office stuff: MS Office, Open office is ugly and slow. Neo office is a bit less ugly, but still slow. The cross compatbility with normal Office docs is good enough, but still not perfect. MS Office works perfectly, it’s faster, and its prettier. And the Home Business, Student, and Cheap Bastard licenses they have are actually affordable.
4) OS stuff: Crossover. I use Bootcamp once a month when I really need it, but that takes too long. Parallels and Fusion are far to slow and don’t play well with Boot Camp partitions. Crossover is quite fast, and while it doesn’t use the Boot Camp partition, but has access to the entire filesystem of the Mac OS. Yes, it is mostly the free WINE, but unlike WINE, it works.
5) Music stuff: iTunes. Technically free, but i pay for music, i know, weird huh? iTunes is slow and processor hungry, and crashes a lot. It’s a terrible program. But it organizes my music. I havent found anything worth switching to. If you have better suggestions for an iTunes replacement, please let me know.
6) Audio stuff: Digital Performer. Actually, I cant think of any free DAWs for Mac (except Garageband, which comes with the iLife thing bundled on all macs. But that’s really a stripped down version of Logic), and I probably wouldnt use them anywyay.
7) Bias Peak. When I don’t want to look at 50 tracks of audio in Digital Performer and it’s all mixed down into one file, I prefer using something like Sound Forge or Peak for editing and mastering. Mac is pretty limited here. I could use Audacity, but it’s slow, and not very good. Peak is pretty much the only option here.
8) Miscellaneous: Witch application switching tool. Mac OS has a wonky Alt+Tab application switching with Command+Tab. It goes by program, not windows. So if you want to switch between the open windows within a program you press some other combination of keys like command+option+Alt+K+F1 or whatever, too much to remember for simple application switching. Witch costs like $10 and saves me headaches.
Oh, that’s only 8? I guess Mac OS does have most of the other essentials covered. But I’ll make two up that I want to pay for:
9) File Explorer: Finder is wonky. It pretends to be better than the normal Windows File Explorer, but it’s simply not. I don’t need to list reasons. I’d pay for the Windows File Explorer on Mac.
10) Ftp: Cyberduck is pretty good (Finder is terrible). I really can’t complain. But something a bit more refined would be nice to use. In fact, if it had the nice ftp abilities of number 9, then we could kill two birds with one stone 😉
So, if you’ve got the cash (you bought a Mac, so you must tons of it ;)) and you want to make life a bit more manageable on the Mac, give the programs mentioned above a spin.
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