New Mac Owners: Add This Software to Your Mac PDF Print E-mail
Written by Miko   
Friday, 18 June 2010 15:09

 So you finally got your new Mac and you want to do all the unhindered web surfing possible, all the movie watching possible- and you want to be as productive as possible.  But you don't really want to spend more money.  No problem!

Following are Miko's recommendations for freeware software additions to a new Mac.  Although all this software is free, I recommend donating to the philanthropic organizations who develop some of this (especially OpenOffice/NeoOffice):

Section 1:  Software you'll need to watch every movie and music video and animation online:

  1. Adobe Flash Player
  2. Adobe Reader (the Mac comes with Preview but it's worth it to have both)
  3. Adobe Air
  4. Microsoft Silverlight (needed for Netflix and actually one of the few good Microsoft plug-ins!)
  5. Flip4Mac lets you play Windows Media Files through Quicktime
  6. Perian 1.2.1 adds additional media support
  7. VLC (videolan.org) - plays basically every kind of video, even broken and corrupt videos, and plays DVDs, with more functionality than the Apple DVD Player

Section 2: Make the most of your Internet Connection

  1. Skype - who doesn't want free video conferencing with everyone else in the world?  You definitely want Skype, but you do NOT want Skype add-ins active in your browsers.
  2. Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome - having 3 browsers is better than one.  And actually, Chrome is the safest- safer than Safari- it vigorously catches Malware on websites

Free Office Suites- the Mac does nor come with and free office suite- really only TextEdit- and you can pay for iWork, but you also have these options:

  1. OpenOffice.org
  2. NeoOffice.org

You only need one of the two above.  OpenOffice appeared first in Windows, NeoOffice was some OpenOffice developers who created a version for the Mac- but finally, OpenOffoce has been developed for the Mac. They both are nearly identical, but they also HAVE begun to evolve separately.  So I'm not sure which of the two is better anymore, but they both offer a Word Processor, an Excel type Spreadsheet Program, a Powerpoint type presentation program, a Technical Drawing program, and a database program.

Multimedia editing and conversion:

Apple computers usually come with iPhoto, iMovie, Garageband, iTunes & iDVD- all of which can work in some ways with multimedia files.  However, the following two free tools offer serious added benefits:

  1. Audacity- allows editing, splicing and conversion/export of audio files.
  2. Handbrake is sometimes he only way to convert a file to format you can really use, like for your iPhone or for YouTube.  for example, it does a great job with Windows Media files.  Download and install the 64 bit version for Macs with Snow Leopard or later.

If you want to make web pages, consider these web development tools, which are not as snazzy as iWeb, but they actually produce code you can read and edit (you can't work much with the crazy source code of iWeb site pages):

  • KomPozer
  • Coda

I hope this list helps- and enjoy your new Mac!  (PC users, I will create a list like this for you also).