If you’re bummed by the bad news that the new, super-thin iMac might be delayed until 2013, we’re here to remind you that 2013 isn’t exactly too far away, and this potential delay gives you time to discover some new apps or spruce up your app collection before you load it all onto the new rig.
Here are the must have Mac apps that you’ll want to put on your new computer right after powering up…
Adium is easily one of (if not) the best multi-protocol chat clients available across all operating systems. It provides an enormous range of chat protocols, from the standard messengers like GChat and AIM, to social networks like Twitter, to more obscure messengers like the Polish Gadu-Gadu. It even has a LiveJournal protocol. The client is highly customizable, and has a great modding community stuffed with a plethora of add-ons and plugins.
Adium features some of the most comprehensive and customizable icon badge notifications, able to bounce the icon in the dock, flash it various colors, show the number of unread messages, and display the names of the people leaving messages right on the dock icon. Adium also provides access to the entire contact list through its icon on the OS X menu bar. The app receives regular, comprehensive updates, so you know you’re being taken care of.
If a large portion of your day is spent staring at a computer screen, preventing eye strain might be a concern. Rather than constantly fiddling with the brightness settings on your computer, f.lux automatically changes the brightness and color temperature of your monitor according to the chosen settings. A subtle orange tint is the default choice, as it’s not too intense on the eyes. To prevent a jarring change in color, f.lux also has options to set the transition speed from one tint to the next. A slightly orange tint might take a little while to get used to at first, but in the end, it’s barely noticeable and does wonders for your eyes.
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There’s also an iOS version if you want to spare your eyes from your phone as well.
In contrast to f.lux, Caffeine keeps your Mac from automatically dimming, loading screen savers, or going to sleep. Users can either set Caffeine to put up that roadblock for a specific amount of time, or indefinitely. Caffeine is perfect for those of us who often times want to monitor our computer, like watching a file transfer’s progress or waiting for a specific message, without actually being in front of it to wiggle the mouse every so often.
The Official OS X Twitter app
Twitter clients are a dime-a-dozen, but not one of them have every feature a regular Twitter user would desire. The two best clients on OS X seem to be TweetDeck and the official Twitter client. If you haven’t given the official Twitter client a chance yet, now’s a good time. It has a sleek, compact iOS-style design, opposed to TweetDeck’s bulky multiple columns, and most importantly, is one of the few (if not the only) OS X Twitter client that features a global tweet button. Simply set up a hotkey combination, and that combination will open up a tweet dialogue from just about anywhere.
This Twitter client, like Adium, also features highly customizable notification features, such as applying badges to the dock icon, or turning the menu bar icon different shades of blue.
If you use a computer, chances are you use it to watch video; Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, or whatever service you prefer. However, if you download video files, you’ve most likely come across a few that you haven’t been able to run. Luckily for anyone that has unknowingly tried to run an obscure file type, VLC removes the need to go searching for and installing various codecs. With VLC, pretty much everything just plain works on the first go.
Pocket (formerly Read It Later) is one of the best ways to keep track of all the articles that you never have time to read. The app works in conjunction with a button on a majority of popular web browsers that sends the article to your Pocket list. The list can be accessed by various devices — tablets, phones, and an app on a computer. Best of all, so long as you connect your devices to the internet and download your stored Pocket list, you can then read all the articles offline. Great for planes, trains, and frustrating internet outages.
Other notable apps
- Dropbox: Store and access whatever files your heart desires
- comiXology: Read comics without getting greasy hands all over them
- GarageBand: Become an amateur musician and delight (or annoy) your friends with phat beats
- Steam: Fun games actually exist for Mac
- MacJournal: Keep your thoughts to yourself and hide them on your computer
- UnRarX: Easily extract or compile RAR files
- Little Snitch: Keep your computer from divulging all of your personal information