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Mac Software Review

Discussion in 'Technical Board' started by Nettdata, Dec 1, 2009.

  1. Nettdata

    Nettdata
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    This thread is meant to discuss various Mac software.

    If you've got a problem with some software, looking for software, or have found some software you want to share, post about it here.
     
  2. hiphopguru

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    Finally got a copy of the newest Finalcut Studio... FC has yet to let me down and to this day I recommend their product to anyone interested in film-making.
     
  3. theking23

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    I have season 4 of The Wire saved on my MacBook Pro laptop. It's 13 .avi files one per episode for a total of 4.79 GB. I'd like to burn this to a DVD that I can play on my DVD player. Is this possible (I'm assuming yes)? What program(s) do I need to do this? I'd prefer something free if there are multiple options, but I'm willing to buy it if that's my only options.

    Thanks
     
  4. Nettdata

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    Best thing to do is to go and buy a new DVD player that plays .avi files. I bought my last one for $30 at Costco.

    If you try and burn those .avi's to "normal" video dvd formatted dvd's, you'll get shittier quality than if you just played the .avi files (think mp3 converting back to audio CD), and it'll take you 3-4 DVD's to do it, as you'll probably only get 3-4 shows per DVD.

    And it'll take forever to make those DVD's, rather than just burning the .avi's to a data dvd.


    $0.02 (CDN)
     
  5. Nettdata

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    Mac Suggestions



    Background: I'm a technical architect that does 90% of my development on a Mac platform. 80% of my target systems are *nix, 15% Macs, and 5% Windows, but I do it all of that development on my MacBook Pro. I'm also old, and not into all sorts of flashy shit... I tend to stick to the basic, utilitarian application set that will get the job done. I may not be up on all the latest stuff, but what I use gets the job done.



    Apple Software

    Apple's iLife Suite :: I quite like just about everything in the iLife suite of applications, and will HIGHLY recommend them, without getting into the particulars. It is SO worth the cash.

    MobileMe :: A fantastic way to keep emails, contacts, calendars, and a bunch of other stuff on multiple Mac's synched. It's a must-have if you have a desktop and a laptop, or require remote/web access to your contact data.



    FireFox and Plug-ins

    Firefox :: Web Browsers are like religions... everyone has their preference for different reasons. I prefer this one. There are others that are as good (Opera being at the top of that list), but this one has a lot of options available through their plug-ins.

    Firefox Plug-ins Can be found HERE

    Adblock Plus :: Awesome customizable ad blocking plug-in.

    Canadian English Dictionary :: Yes, I spell "colour" with a "u". And I have good teeth. So I want my own dictionary.

    CLPicView :: I cruise CraigsList for stuff a fair bit, and hate having to open up each thread to see the pics that are attached. This helps by showing the pics in-line on the main page. Kind of rough, but it works fairly well.

    Download Statusbar :: A smarter download status than the default.

    Foxmarks Bookmark Synchronizer :: Keeps my FireFox bookmarks on all of my machines synchronized, regardless of OS.

    Google Toolbar :: Enhanced Google functionality.

    Web Developmer :: Invaluable plug-in for any web developer.



    Web Apps

    Adium :: A multi-protocol chat client that is easily customizable. Nice and low impact, with a clean interface.

    Transmission :: A nice, easy-to-use BitTorrent client for the Mac.



    Audio/Visual Apps

    VLC :: THE ONLY VIDEO PLAYER YOU WILL EVER NEED. I have yet to find a valid video file that wouldn't play on it, regardless of codec. You can also do some very cool streaming stuff with it.

    Handbrake :: A fantastic, free DVD to MPEG-4 converter. Ideal for ripping your DVD's to whatever other format you want to play them in. This is ideal for ripping videos to your iPod.

    MPEG Streamclip :: MPEG Streamclip is an awesome, free video conversion application for Mac (or Windows). It's ideal for converting just about ANY input video to a format that is iPod or XBox compatible.

    Atomic Parsley :: A fantastic tool for tagging MP4 videos once they've been ripped. (This is what determines how iTunes categorizes and organizes your multimedia assets). It includes the required iTunes tags, and is easily scriptable from the command line to facilitate unsupervised batch processing.

    Rivet :: AWESOME software that turns your Mac into a multimedia server for your XBox or PS3. It's under $20 and is worth every penny, IMO.



    professional / Office Apps

    OMNI GROUP APPS :: I don't like paying for software, but I paid for EVERY one of their apps 9as listed below), without qualms. These guys are Mac App Gods in my book.

    OmniGraffle :: The Mac equivalent of Visio. Doesn't have a lot of the funky, professional "network discovery" stuff that the super-pro versions of Visio have, but it reads/writes Visio XML files, and is what I use for all of my network/application diagramming. Indispensable.

    OmniOutliner :: A very, very cool outlining tool. It's what I use to quickly take organized notes in meetings, or any other scenario when you have to, well, outline stuff. Very customizable output capabilities as well.

    OmniPlan :: The Mac equivalent of Microsoft Project. This was the missing app that finally allowed me to cut all ties with MS when doing application development and project management. Not as complete or sophisticated as Project, but it does the job I need very well.

    Microsoft Office for Mac :: They call it Mactopia. Their Office for Mac 2008 is very well done. I reluctantly spent the money for this software, and have not been disappointed. You can mess around with other open source options as much as you want, but the Mac team at MS really nailed this suite. When dealing with Windows/Office-based clients (like governments, etc), it really makes things absolutely painless and transparent. None of them have any idea I use a Mac until I show up with it on site.



    Application Development

    TextMate :: THE definitive text editor for the Mac. There is NOTHING close. The included bundles are fantastic, and it's easy to write your own. If you need a new bundle, somebody, somewhere has probably already written it. Very powerful macro set.

    Oracle JDeveloper :: A lot of "Java guys" use Eclipse, but I never got into it. I do a TON of database design and troubleshooting, mostly Oracle, and this is a fantastic tool to do all of that, including database diagramming, reverse-engineering, documentation, etc., that other IDE's just don't do. And it's free. And I helped write parts of it, so I may be a little biased.

    IntelliJ IDEA :: My Java IDE of choice. It costs money, and I've always found it to be worth every penny.

    JProfiler :: A really solid and fairly inexpensive Java Profiler for the Mac. Works great, and integrates nicely with IDEA. Again, costs money, but worth it.

    install4j :: A fairly good and inexpensive multi-platform Java installer builder.



    System Utilities

    Parallels Desktop :: This is what I use to run Windows and *nix virtual machines on my Mac, at the same time as I'm running OS X. For instance, I use TOAD development tools for Oracle development, but they are Windows-only. Running a bare-bones XP VM on the Mac allows me to use those tools without any performance degradation or loss of functionality. I also use it to run a Linux box in the background for development. I can easily copy this Linux VM between my laptop and desktop so it's easy to keep synched up, etc. This means that I can run various MySQL, Postgresql, Apache, RoR, etc., services in the Linux VM and easily develop against them from the Mac. It also allows me to work out deployment scripts, etc., on my laptop. I cannot speak highly enough about this software, and it's ability to seamlessly integrate with OS X.

    ExpanDrive :: Absolutely amazing software that makes remote administration and development stupidly easy. It basically performs remote FTP or SFTP connections and makes it accessible via a local Mac drive reference.

    Transmit :: A pretty good FTP/SFTP client for Mac. Does reasonable synching, etc.

    pocketMac Synch Manager :: Synching software for the Blackberry, freely available from Blackberry. Does a fairly reasonable job of synching contacts, email, iTunes, etc., to my Storm. Can get "confused" with some contact info and phone numbers occasionally, but overall works pretty well.

    Snapz ProX :: Really, really good screen capture and video capture for the Mac. It does a great job of letting you create simplistic quicktime videos of what you're doing on the computer, both screen capture video and audio.

    LaunchBar :: It was around before "SpotLight", and is a hell of a lot better/faster to boot. I leave SpotLight turned off and use this instead. Simply awesome. Probably the biggest "holy crap what did you just do there" comment-inducing application on my Mac, especially from Windows users.



    Peripherals

    HP Multifunction Printers have reasonable driver support, even for scanning, faxing, etc. One of the few companies that seem to take OS X support seriously.
     
  6. Nettdata

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    Shitty.

    Turns out that my favourite Mac video player is soon to be no more.

    Turns out that VLC currently has lost its sole Mac developer.

    http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1000265


    Oh well... time to start building MPlayer I guess.
     
  7. Benzilla

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    Nocturne is a useful free app for reading stuff in the dark. Install it on your MacBook Pro and it'll change between day and night automatically using the light sensors to the left and right of the keyboard.

    WriteRoom is exactly what it's advertised, "Distraction free writing." When you open it up it gives you a black screen and a flashing cursor and that's it. It normally costs ~$25 but I got it for free through MecHeist.
     
  8. hawkeyenick

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    I just got a new Macbook today, and I thought I would share that Pages in the latest version of iWork has a similar feature. You can simply click a fullscreen button and a document page takes up the entire screen and you can just type. I'm looking forward to having this for taking notes in class, as I am constantly getting distracted while reading sites like this, ESPN, etc.
     
  9. Vanilla

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    Coda: Just started using this the other day. I have some coding that requires I SSH into a server to send shell commands and files. I find this works great, and I can split screen it so I can see the files on the left, file editing on top, terminal on bottom. Works great as an FTP client or and HTML editor too.
     
  10. Vanilla

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    SuperDuper!

    Well, this just saved my ass so I figured I should do it justice and review it on here for a few people to see anyway. It can do a full clone of your drive to another or to a disk image. Additionally, it can do a smart backup, where it calculates the differences between the drive and your backup drive and make changes (so a weekly backup takes 15 mins instead of 3 hours). I do a weekly backup every Monday at 3am. Works like a charm. Saved my ass when I got a virus today. Just copied my mail folder, iCal, and documents over to the backup and was able to run off the USB harddrive while it wiped my internal clean and set it back 5 days, while keeping my important stuff up to date. Saved my life. Personally haven't paid for it. But I'm gonna tomorrow. Saved my ass, and if you use it correctly it'll definitely save yours one day too!
     
  11. MrPrime

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    So I am going to run with the fact that I think I can talk about Mac hardware here.

    Currently I have a craptop (windows based) and am looking for a new one to replace it. Something portable, good battery and a little power under the keyboard.

    I have basically narrowed it down to getting a 13" Macbook Pro, mostly for all the reasons I mentioned. One question though, what is the current release cycle on the Mac Books? I dont want to get one if the latest version is going to be released next month.

    Anyone have an idea on that? And any really important things I need to know about switching from Windows to OSx?
     
  12. scootah

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    I went to Google and entered 'Macbook Release Cycle' and clicked on 'I Feel Lucky' and got a buyers guide that answers your question perfectly.

    Given that they recently announced OS X 10.7 (Lion) - it's likely that they'll do a major release refresh soon so that they have a stable hardware model for the release due Summer 2011.

    for switching probably start here. I think it's not really a dramatic switch anymore as long as you keep current for your OS. The only thing that still really sucks about my Mac is that the mac version of UTorrent is lame, and Transmission is nowhere near as smooth to use.
     
  13. Vanilla

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    Id count on something relatively soon. They released the 13" macbook air with a 1440x900 display last week. They can't go too long having the 13" Pro getting its specs beaten by the air. Expect to see the 13" Pro go 1440x900, doubt better. The 15" will see the 1050 screen become standard. As for processing power, you probably wont see much change.

    The one thing I'd be careful with: Apple might pull a rabbit out of the hat and put some onboard flash on the new Pros so they are instant boot but keep the storage on a standard drive. It will allow them to bring the "future" of laptops they invision with the Air's near instant boot to consumers before anyone expects it.

    If you're waiting for USB3, don't hold your breath. Not gonna happen right now.

    The only other thing you can expect to see in new Pros would be a new graphics chip, the 13-inchers get the i-Series processors, an hour or so battery boost, and maybe a slightly thinner form factor.
     
  14. iczorro

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    Satirical Mac review:

    <a class="postlink" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W-ygu6_aDc" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W-ygu6_aDc</a>
     
  15. MrPrime

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    Thanks for the info. Waiting until the summer might be a little long, but then again, it might be around the corner, maybe some more research is in order. Thanks for the heads up
     
  16. hooker

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    Is anyone upgrading to Lion today?
     
  17. Nettdata

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    Yep. Downloading as we speak... both Lion and Lion Server. As well as the new XCode. I'll be updating 5 machines in my home office today.

    Unfortunately I have shit download speed at my place (joys of living in the middle of nowhere), so it will still be another hour yet, but my devs have tried the developer seed and it all looked good.

    The only real downside I've heard about has been the crappy "Mission Control" feature that doesn't work well with multiple displays.
     
  18. Nettdata

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    Just finished the update, and it went flawlessly. Upgraded one machine to Lion Server, and 4 others to Lion, and no issues.

    The only kind of weird thing I've found so far is the way scrolling works now if you're using a track pad. It's the same as an iPod or iPhone now, basically reversed from what it was before.

    Also, if you have multiple Mac boxes and want to create your own local update server, check out this: <a class="postlink" href="https://github.com/wdas/reposado" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">https://github.com/wdas/reposado</a>

    It's a bunch of free software created by Disney to basically replicate the update packages for OS X, and host them locally on a Mac.

    Basically, I have kind of shit download speed, so that means that I can set up my server to download the latest updates from Apple, and then all of my other boxes use that local box as their update server. Saves a ton of time and bandwidth and fucking around.
     
  19. Nettdata

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    Be aware that the new Lion updates kind of screw up some Windows file sharing.

    Basically, my media player (a WD Media Plus), uses Windows sharing to mount remote file systems, like the ones that my Mac has for all the torrents I download.

    The WD media players don't use strong sharing protocols, and the new Lion update is now using Apple's own version of Windows file sharing, that only accepts strong/secure protocols.

    Needless to say all my streaming media players no longer work with the Mac that I had them connected to.

    Joy.

    I'vr spent a few hours trying to hack in a Samba3 install, but am having authentication issues.

    More joy.

    Anyway, I have no doubt that there will be a fix for this soon, either from third parties or from the vendors themselves, but just beware.
     
  20. jason1214

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    Nett, What do you think of Lion? I'm on the fence about updating my MBP.

    Is Mission Control as bad as you thought? Not playing nice with dual screens is a show stopper for me.