Great Mac Apps
In this post, I want to share just a few of the many amazing applications that I've installed on my personal computer ( a 13-inch, 2011-model of the MacBook Air ) and for others to do the same...
As a self-proclaimed Apple enthusiast and previous user of Microsoft, Google, and third party products and services, I migrated to the Apple ecosystem three years ago. Contrary to popular belief, the "closed" ecosystem-model associated with the Apple brand, is not merely an inescapable walled garden of chained but glamorous goods. As customers, choices will hopefully continue to define the nature of our experiences, and by that metric, any brand or company loyalty should remain grounded. HOWEVER, aggregating and then separating needs and wants are (what I believe) the main steps in the purchase of consumer products, and in that respect, Apple has me covered.
Simply put, my love of Apple is not encompassed by the term "it just works", but rather in context, "it just works for ME". Nevertheless, here are some of the awesome apps that I've installed, and that I think should be considered by any, and all fans of the Mac platform.
FLUTTER: Mac and Windows Compatible
This cool app from the Mac App Store allows users to utilize gestures (yes, that's right!) to control media playback with just a wave of their hand. As of now, the program stays in the status bar (located at the top of the screen) and can turn on/off any applicable FaceTime-friendly camera connected to your Mac. Only a play/pause gesture is available currently, but more gestures are coming soon. It is compatible with iTunes, VLC, Quicktime, and Spotify.
NOSLEEP: Also Stays in your Status Bar
Another great program, Nosleep prevents my Mac from going to sleep when the lid is closed. There are many cases where I have found this to be useful, and the app itself is both non-intrusive and practical.
BETTER TOUCH TOOL: For Glass Trackpad and Mice Fans
Ever since I migrated to Mac OSX, multi-touch gestures have been my favourite method of GUI interaction, with Apple's products supplementing those capabilities beautifully. However, I found that I could also customize taps, swipes, and pinching motions to my liking, and very effectively as well. For those looking to take gestures to an entirely new level, Better Touch Tool is something I have to recommend. With customizations available for every program, as well as countless combinations of fingers and patterns, this is one of the best apps available for improving an essential part of the OSX experience.
GIMP: Not Photoshop, but Doesn't Need to be
The main point of Gimp is to fulfill the role of a great, useable graphics editor that works well. Although it might not have the flair or features of Adobe Photoshop (which I have previously used), there is one attribute that instantly attracted me; the price. At a whopping FREE, Gimp is terrific for what it costs, and does the job admirably.
UBERSTRIKE: A Free and Enjoyable FPS
This is a great futuristic shooter that I play when all the work is done, and when I want to feel the wrath of my MacBook Air's fans at full force (I recommend decent headphones). The game has good controls and great graphics for a free title, but note that additional equipment does require real-world dollars. Also, the performance will always depend on the GPU of your system, but for anyone with 2012 models, even the 11-inch's HD4000 chipset will suffice.
ISTAT PRO: For Dashboard Enthusiasts
If you love placing many unique and useful widgets onto your Mac Dashboard, then the iStat Pro will make a great addition. It displays CPU and RAM stats, as well as active processes, battery health, thermal information, and more. The "app" or widget can be configured to a very specific, individual preference, and is free.
TINKERTOOL, AND LION DESIGNER: Customization Galore
With these two apps, I have customized many aspects of my computer with great ease. Here are some of my favourite selections that can be modified:
- Backgrounds for notification centre, mission control, dashboard, and others
- Deeper settings for many of the options already offered in OS X ML
- Control speeds of gesture-related animations
BOWTIE: Control Music Stylishly from the Desktop
Whether your desktop is sporadic, streamlined, or even just lonely, this app can 'tie' it to your listening experience (c what i did there?) , and improve both drastically. By choosing from a wide spectrum of different themes and styles, Bowtie personalizes the desktop and allows you to play and control music playing from iTunes without leaving your "homescreen". Here is a screenshot of one theme, combined with a desktop that I believe suits it very well; the tray appears as you hover the cursor towards the left side of the screen, and disappears when the pointer moves away.