When a hard core computer guru moves to a new operating system there is an initial period of identifying applications on the new OS to replace the tools left behind. On Windows, I typically have a basic set of applications including things like 7-Zip, EditPlus, etc. I’ve been using OSX for almost two months now and I figured it was time to lay down the list of things I find useful on a daily basis on the new platform.
My preferred tool for virtual machines, this was the first thing I bought and I use it almost all the time.
I read a lot about this before I switched, and it has lived up to everything advertised. It works great and a Mac just isn’t a Mac without it.
A lightweight editor that doesn’t suck is mandatory and TextMate is a hard core editor in a lightweight package. I’ll be learning this one until the end of time.
Windows Live Writer is nice on Windows, but it doesn’t run on OSX. I ran through a few other choices, but this one seemed to stick. Excellent integration with Flickr makes it an instant win.
The best IM client on OSX, period. I also run Skype for its ability to transcend some of the nastiest firewalls.
The organizational power of the mind map is pretty useful and I used this on Windows for a long time. One of the advantages of MindManager Pro is that the same file can be read/written on either Windows or OSX. I just keep all of my maps on my .mac WebDAV folder and edit them on either platform.
This is a mixed bag right now. There are a ton of excellent features but it is still a .0 release. After the first update this one is a no-brainer.
You need a BitTorrent client, and I think Transmission is the best one for OSX. It’s open source and a native application. This one might even warrant a contribution or two if you have some spare time to help develop the feature set.
The ultimate multi-platform, multi-format media player. Quicktime works great for .mov, but this thing handles everything else – and I mean everything else.
A very nice native IRC client for OSX. Use to visit the ALT.NET chat room.
You need an advanced FTP client if you’re doing web work and this one fits the bill. It even integrates with TextMate for editing remote files through the file browser.
This is a great lightweight image format converter, size adjuster, cropper, and most importantly easy Flickr uploader. I dig it, you should too.
I tried the simple editors, I tried to live them, but in the end Photoshop is it. I’ve been using PS since 1997 and I honestly could not handle anything else. Fortunately Adobe has a cross-grade program when you can destroy your old media to get a copy in the other OS.
That’s a pretty decent list of stuff. Many items are free, but there are some expensive items on the list as well. Hopefully this will be helpful if you’ve recently switched or are thinking about switching to a Mac. While installing BootCamp and just running Windows is an option (and a must for games), using a VM and having access to all the great applications for OSX is a really nice option.