harbar.net component based software & platform hygiene

My must have Mac OS utilities

Print | posted on Tuesday, May 06, 2008 4:33 AM

One of the great things about my MacBook Pro (or any computer running the excellent Mac OS X for that matter) is that pretty much everything just works and for the most part everything you need is included in Mac OS. Things have certainly changed since my early days in this "industry" cramming all manner of dodgy third party applets into the system folder!

There are however a small number of essential utilities I wouldn't wish to be without when I am on the turtle-neck side of my MacBook Pro.

Battery Health Monitor
This bad boy I hopefully won't use much, but checks out the battery to provide diagnostics. in a year's time I'll know.

Stuffit Expander
A real blast from the past this one. Despite having a cool name there are still quite a few things that are archived like this.

Startup Sound
This doesn't appear to work quite right - it allows you to modify the volume of the start up chime. I can get it to mute, but any other setting just appears to be the same as the default. Sometimes you don't want this noise (when on client site mostly).

smcFanControl 2.1
Pops a little menulet in the menu bar. Allows you to run your MacBook Pro nice and cool. Best bit is if you ratchet up the fan speed a bit and then boot into Vista, the fans stay at the same speed. nice! Still on the hunt for a standalone fan control for the Vista partition, but I can live without that.

OK, so not a must have, but a nice little gizmo. Think of this as TweakUI for the Mac.

Allows QuickTime to play Windows Media formats. Excellent this. Microsoft have dumped development of WMP for Mac but by giving this away things are as they should be - i.e. no need to have multiple music players. Well, almost. See the next bit.

A music player that supports FLAC - essential for musonazis like me who collect live recordings and wot not. Shame FLAC can't currently be added to iTunes (yuk!) or Quick Time.

So there you have it - my (current) favorite utilities for the Mac. I'm still on the hunt for a few more things, such as a decent Blog Client. Know of other cool utils? Post a comment here.