Essential Free Software For The Mac

A new Mac buyer recently asked me for the best starter set of software for a new Mac. I am very Apple — which means I have an iPhone, a Mac, an Apple TV and an iPad, so I like things that let me work across all my devices seamlessly. For all office work I highly recommend Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps — they are very very good, are free, and work everywhere (except the Apple TV). You won’t find a note-taking app in my list because I’m using Apple’s inbuilt Notes. I also use Mail, Calendar and Address Book — all default apps. And I can’t even begin to talk about how good iMovie is for video editing (I have been editing video since 2005, and while my professional video editing days are behind me, I love how easy iMovie makes life for me).

Anyway, here’s my list (and I would recommend installing in this order):

Essential Software:

Onyx
System Cleaner
Run it once and then set it up to auto-execute on a weekly/monthly basis. It will clear your system of un-needed files.
http://www.titanium.free.fr/onyx.html

Dropbox (iOS + OSX)
Cloud Storage
I used only free storage for around a year, now I pay for a Terabyte of storage. I cannot imagine life without Dropbox.
https://www.dropbox.com/install

Cyberduck
FTP Client
And not just FTP, supports S3, Azure etc.
https://cyberduck.io/

Transmission
Torrent Client
My favorite way to download files — uTorrent is a very good alternative, but for some reason I’ve always preferred Transmission.
http://www.transmissionbt.com/download/

The Unarchiver
File Compression
Zip, Rar and almost every other file compression format is supported
https://itunes.apple.com/app/the-unarchiver/id425424353?mt=12&ls=1

VLC
Media Player
Plays every media file out there. I use it instead of Quicktime.
http://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html

Handbrake
Video Format Transcoder
This is what I use to convert video files into formats supported by iTunes so I copy stuff over to my phone/ipad.
https://handbrake.fr/downloads.php

Brackets
Text Editor
If you code, you’re going to love this. If you like text-editors, you are going to love this.
http://brackets.io/

Gimp
Photoshop Replacement
As powerful as Photoshop and ridiculous overkill for most people.
https://www.gimp.org/macintosh/

Pixelmator (Especially, if Gimp feels like too much)
Image Editing
Powerful image editing — most of you will be happy with this.
http://www.pixelmator.com/mac/

Inkscape
Illustrator Replacement
Ridiculously good. Seriously.
https://inkscape.org/en/download/mac-os/

Pocket (iOS + OSX)
Article Reader / Saver
My favorite way to save articles I live/love — I have a pocket button in my browser, the app on all my devices and I love it. And I love the clean interface it gives me to read articles.
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocket/id568494494?mt=12

Reeder (iOS + OSX)
RSS Reader
Old school 🙂 Still use an RSS Reeder and send almost everything I like to Pocket to read later.
http://reederapp.com/

Monolingual
Removes unwanted language files (saved 3+ GB of space when I ran it recently)
https://ingmarstein.github.io/Monolingual/

Learning Ruby on Rails 3

Installing RoR3 on a Mac —

 

This is the best guide I’ve found till now. Be warned: you will need to download and install the latest version of XCode. Use the Mac App Store, it’s easier than going to the website.

The Tutorial

I am following Rails Tutorial. And boy is it good. It’s helped me discover Heroku — and I have to say I’m in love. For the moment though, the love is unrequited — I am unable to git push heroku master. It’s given me the sort of error mentioned in this thread on stackoverflow.

Have left a support request, once I figure this out will post about it