Mac essentials

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  • Mac essentials
  • wrecker
    Member

    Hello all, new MBP owner. Just wondering if there are any essentials worth getting? Could be anything; fun, useful, whatever really!
    It’s not a work horse, so don’t want to be spending a fortune on works etc.
    Any good non-online shooty games which don’t require bootcamp?
    Thanks.

    Premier Icon eddiebaby
    Subscriber

    Opera so you can run off road.

    wrecker
    Member

    I just use proxy sites anyway, does it offer anything different?

    Premier Icon eddiebaby
    Subscriber

    Just feels ‘smoother’.
    Chrome is still my browser of choice.

    comedyphil
    Member

    Quicksilver and BetterTouchTool are both very useful, I find

    Magic mouse. Bluetooth loveliness. Actually works as opposed to my PC equivalent that drops out every 5 minutes.

    All of the Call of Duty games in iTunes. I don’t use any of these online.

    Airport express for printers and music.

    xiphon
    Member

    MS Office, either new or… acquired from the internet.

    If you have an iPad, ‘Pages’ is a good word processor which sync’s using iCloud.

    I bought mrs xiphon a MBA 13″ in the ‘black friday’ sale last week.

    wrecker
    Member

    Nice one, thanks chaps!

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    If it’s a new Mac, all of the iLife and iWorks suite and now free, so get them all 🙂

    I find BetterSnapTool quite handy but it’s amazing what you can do with the apps already there. The “Preview” app for example is more than just something to preview PDFs; you can use it as a cut-out tool for photos

    Premier Icon Sandwich
    Subscriber

    Graphic converter for doing a bit more than iPhoto can manage. Easydraw for vector graphics. Movist and VLC player for those videos QuickTime can’t manage (even with the MS plugin there are some).

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    Handbrake for converting your DVDs to MP4 format for iTunes (and hence easy sharing to other Apple devices)

    revs1972
    Member

    Which MBP did you buy.
    I’m currently debating whether to go for the 13 inch retina over the standard one.
    Will be using Tekla 3d Cad on it with a large monitor plugged in most of the time , but like the idea of the retina screen when I have it standalone on site etc.
    But it’s £250 more than the standard with another £65 on top for a SuperDrive

    xiphon
    Member

    If you won’t be using the screen as the primary display, get the ‘normal’ MBP.

    Use the budget to upgrade the SSD/RAM or CPU

    stevious
    Member

    Batman Arkham Asylum/City both available on the app store and are both excellent. Work with xbox/ps3 controllers too.

    Mackem
    Member

    any video player. – havent found a video it cant play.

    Premier Icon somafunk
    Subscriber

    Mac bluetooth keyboard and Mac bluetooth trackpad, when i have to use a mouse on the pc at work (boo-hisss, utterly despicable thing) it feels so unnatural.

    External soundcard and active speakers set up up either side of your monitor, thats if you use an external monitor.

    vorlich
    Member

    Alfred
    Tweetbot

    Premier Icon kiwijohn
    Subscriber

    JI Touch to add more functions to the track pad.

    zokes
    Member

    But it’s £250 more than the standard with another £65 on top for a SuperDrive

    The screen is worth it, the superdrive is not. You can get a Samsung Blu-Ray writer for less.

    deserter
    Member

    What photo editing software?
    I just want to paint out a no. Plate if I’m honest

    wrecker
    Member

    Which MBP did you buy.

    15 incher from the refurbished store. Was very happy with it until tonight, as it’s forgotten where my iTunes music is located and steadfastly refuses to see it all even though I’ve shown it where it all is. Perhaps naively, I hoped going mac would rid me of these iTunes issues. I’ve wasted so many hours of my life getting that infernal software to work on windows (and now mac). Truly ****ed off with it.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    Never had a problem with iTunes, perhaps I’m just lucky.

    Software ? SketchBook Express I use for marking up maps (jpegs saved from OS Getamap), otherwise not much paid for stuff. Pages and Numbers (free) I use a lot sync’d via iCloud to phone and iPad. I have all my photos in iPhoto, some folk say its unstable but I like it. Easy to create photo books which appear expensive but are very good quality. As above Handbrake (free) and RipIt (paid) are very good but if you don’t have a DVD drive then RipIt is irrelevant.

    Accessories ? AppleTV, I have magic mouse which is great but you have all that and more on the trackpad.External drive for TimeMachine backup £60 for 1tb, partition it one for TimeMachine and one for Movies ?

    There are lots of features which make the mac great but which are not obvious, worth a trip to Apple store for a demo.

    MacRumors website and forum

    Premier Icon bigant
    Subscriber

    I use pixelmator for painty draw ry stuff. Would also reccomend Superduper! And an external hard drive for creating bootable backups

    zokes
    Member

    iTunes makes the love child of windows ME and Vista seem like a sensible proposition for a well thought out, reliable, and resource-light piece of software.

    Premier Icon stilltortoise
    Subscriber

    In the interests of balance I must also say that I’ve used iTunes for years on PC and Mac with only one glitch several years ago when an update rendered all music unplayable. That was fixed by Apple a few days later and had no problems before or since.

    (runs off to touch wood)

    Wozza
    Member

    Ticked for the software links. New mac arrives today 🙂

    IA
    Member

    Install Steam – quite a few games on it for Mac these days.

    Big Aperture fan here for photo wrangling. iPhoto is very good too though if needs are more basic.

    +1 on pixelmator or recent mac Gimp builds are getting a lot better if you prefer free ( don’t require X any more, far more native http://gimp.lisanet.de/Website/Download.html )

    Safari for browser preference, works much slicker and lower power use IME (though I’m chrome all the way on my win/nix boxes).

    MOBAC if you’re after offline mapping etc.

    I’m pretty into the combo of notational velocity + simplenote account + various phones.

    +1 on superduper for keeping a bootable backup (in addition to timemachine).

    iTunes is fine.

    TBH quicktime plays most stuff I want to. VLC for when it doesn’t.

    Look at how you use full screen apps and spaces (4 finger swipe between them). Miss this a lot on other OS when working on just a laptop screen.

    Premier Icon peteimpreza
    Subscriber

    How do you create a bootable backup then?

    Running Mavericks so I have no installation disc.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @peteimpreza – go to MacRumors and search forum. You can make a bootable USB stick. Also if you restart the machine hold cmd-R (need to check that) it boots into a “safe mode” also there’s another key combination which allows you to pick which drive to boot from, you can use this one to boot from a USB or external disk. Also there is an option to boot/download OS from web so you can get away without a copy of the operating system, it’s the data you really need. I learnt about this stuff when I switched my hard drive and created a backup/clone and a bootable external drive then setup the new one inside the machine.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @wrecker (and others) there have been some problems between Mail app on Macs and Gmail (not synching properly) but these are getting fixed. Biggest one I am aware of and have experienced is that you cannot send Pages and Numbers docs with gmail, either mail app or web based gmail.

    Re: Pages and Numbers these have replaced Office for my personal use. They work very well with the iCloud and you can use them even on a windows pc via iCloud.com – all docs created can be edited on phone/pad. Pages can save to word or PDF format for sharing.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @peteimprezza – backups – also you can use SuperDuper or CarbonCopyCloner (CCC) to make bootable backups. I used SuperDuper when I did my disk migration.

    12fifty
    Member

    +1 For handbrake.

    Indispensable if you don’t want to spend a fortune putting films you already own onto your iPad.

    Premier Icon peteimpreza
    Subscriber

    @ all those pushing Handbrake.

    Is it better these days?

    Previously, 2 or so years ago, I have found it very slow and the movies stopped working a few months later.

    Also what are the options for ripping Blurays?

    eyerideit
    Member

    VLC is a must.

    Handbrake is also very good.

    I’ve subscribed to iTunes match and think it’s fantastic, Iv’e got all 1665 albums in my library at home to choose form at work.

    peteimpreza : Never had a problem with Handbrake been using it for years. It’s definitely faster on the new machines.

    As for BR discs you’ll need a BR Drive. Here’s a good how to guide

    eyerideit
    Member

    Lil Snitch is a useful app, tells you what your applications are up to and you can stop them ‘dialing home’.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    I’ve been using Handbrake for a few years and have never had a problem of movies stopping working. I have found it doesn’t rip DVDs so well which is why I use RipIt. I then run Handbrake, you can do batch runs overnight if you wish, to compress files. A DVD rip is 8gb, typical mp4 from Handbrake is 500-750mb. Handbrake has quite a lot of options for including things like sub title tracks which I use a lot. Neither program is rapid.

    BlueRay specifically I haven’t done, I know others do. I think the output files are pretty big as thread I saw on MacRumors discussing it where to do with large capacity media servers.

    Don’t feed it coffee. My daughter fed my 3 week old one coffee yesterday. It does not like it. This was an insurance replacement to replace the one that she spilt water in, in July. They don’t like water either. I did learn a lesson the first time but she thought she would use it without my permission anyway.

    zokes
    Member

    I’ve never had a problem with a Handbrake rip.

    For Blu Rays, I use a USB Samsung Blu Ray writer (Amazon for about $60), and MakeMKV. You have to pay for the BluRay functionality after a while I think, but I’m not there yet.

    Three_Fish
    Member

    A DVD rip is 8gb, typical mp4 from Handbrake is 500-750mb.

    You can change format/encoding settings and get an MKV which will be more like 7-8Gb for a movie. Beautiful quality.

    danielgroves
    Member

    Alfred — great application launcher, clipboard history, iTunes controller, file explorer, and just about anything else you can dream up if you get the power pack thanks to the workflows.

    1Password — Not sure how I ever survived without this. Far more secure than anything built into a browser. Syncs via dropbox/WiFi/USB across platform including iOS. Truly brilliant.

    ByWord — Only if you write with MarkDown at all. Best editor I’ve found.

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