A friend of mine just got his first Mac. I’ve finally brought him into the light LOL. He’s been a PC guy for as long as he’s been using a computer so this is a big deal. I want to make sure his transition is smooth and that he doesn’t feel lost or unproductive. Just to set the context, he’s a business guy who works in technology. Thus his needs may be different that say a graphic artist or a journalist who makes the switch.
Adium is free open source instant messenger client for the Mac. What’s really cool about it is that it integrates with AIM, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, GoogleTalk and a whole lot more, all in one neat little app. No more having a whole bunch of IM clients on your already cluttered desktop. Plus, it’s mascot is a friggin green duck! How cool is that? Not some glassy pawn, or a smiley face, a flower, or the word “talk”.
Quicksilver is free app launcher that lets you start applications using keyboard shortcuts. You can do all sorts of tasks via quick keyboard shortcuts including: launching apps, opening documents, move files, email files, or even uploading files. This is a must for any power user. To put it bluntly, Quicksilver makes the Mac Dock archaic. It just takes longer to move your cursor to the desired app on the Dock than it does just to make a few keystrokes.
iWork is the productivity suite for the Mac. With this you get: Pages ’08:a word processor, Numbers ’08:a spreadsheet app, and Keynote ’08 which is the Mac presentation app that runs circles around Microsoft Powerpoint in terms of ease of use and style. To this day, I still haven’t figured out the “Ribbon.” Not to mention iWork costs $68.99! For $129.99, you could get the uber crippled *Student Edition* of the Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac. Hmmmm. No brainer. Personally, for home use, I’ve mostly been using Google Docs. It’s able to import my Word documents. I have the added benefit of just having them online. But, some companies probably frown on having their documents stored on the Google cloud.
VMWare Fusion is a virtual machine application that lets you run multiple operating systems on your Mac, without having to reboot. This is crucial for the knowledge worker that needs to occasionally run those obscure corporate applications which were written only for Windows. I use it to run Windows XP so I can Remote Desktop into the machines at work. With this piece of software though, you can install just about any old operating system like Windows XP, Windows 2000, Linux, whatever. There’s another application that does the same thing called Parallels, but based on feedback from people I know, most users preferred VMWare Fusion.
Undercover is the ultimate software in Macbook laptop security. This app runs in the background on your Mac and periodically reports to the Undercover Recover Center. If your Mac gets reported as stolen, this software will not only collect vital information like IP addresses, but also screenshots of your Mac in use in hopes that it will help reveal the identity of the thief. Here’s the best part – it uses the built-in iSight camera of your laptop to take pictures of said thief and sends it over. If my Mac ever gets stolen, this thing would be worth its weight in gold – provided the thief doesn’t just throw away my harddrive and gets a new one.
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