This is part three of a theoretically infinite series.
It’s been roughly five months since I brought home the MacBook Pro and almost that long since my last update to this series. I’ve become incredibly comfortable in the OS X environment and, with a very few exceptions, can do anything I ever did in Windows. In the event I do need Windows, I can use VMWare Fusion to boot Windows XP from a Boot Camp partition with seamless desktop integration. Just today I found a solution to one of the last Windows requirements — syncing my HTC Mogul phone, a Windows Mobile device. Normally one would use ActiveSync to sync a Windows Mobile device, or pay $30 for Missing Sync. I’ve found a free product that does exactly what I need and no more: Eltima Software’s SyncMate. It syncs my contacts and calendars to the Mac’s Address Book and iCal, respectively, and can mount the WinMo file system as an external volume on the Mac for file transfer.
Here’s a current list of third-party software I’m using.
- Angry IP Scanner — the built-in Network Utility has most of this application’s functionality; I use either or both depending on what exactly I’m trying to do.
- Book Collector
- ChronoSync — I haven’t actually started using this yet, but I’ve installed the trial and am checking it out.
- CrossOver Office — supposed to allow (some) Windows applications to install and run directly in OS X, but I’ve had little success as of yet.
- Fetch — seems to be the best ftp client for OS X.
- Google Earth
- Jolly’s Fast VNC — even in public Alpha, this is the best VNC client I’ve found for OS X, and (apprehensive of using an Alpha) I tried quite a few before this one. Does what it says on the tin.
- Logitech Harmony Remote software — Web-based programming tool for my Harmony 880 and 670 universal remotes.
- Movie Collector
- NetNewsWire — my choice for RSS newsreader. I started with the built-in Mail application, but it couldn’t handle 200+ feeds with any stability; I tried Endo and gave it a couple of months, but eventually gave up on it after one too many crashes and system resource grabs — plus, its UI is a nightmare. NNW does what I want and does it well.
- OpenOffice.org — the excellent free, open-source alternative to Microsoft Office I’ve been using for years, now in a spiffy new OS X-native version.
- Opera — if you’ve been reading Project Insomnia for lo, these many years, you know I’ve been an Opera fan for quite a long time. Since switching to Mac I’ve converted almost completely to Safari. I keep Opera around for alternate-browser testing and also use it when I need to have more than one Google Account session open simultaneously, but it’s pretty much fallen off my radar in general.
- Remote Desktop Connection — the only Microsoft software on my OS X partition is a fine port of the standard RDC client.
- SketchUp — nifty 3-D sketching tool which I have so far been completely unable to learn. I’d like to use it to model the cabinet wall we want to build in the living room.
- SplashID — password vault, works with the Mogul to keep all my many and varied passwords safe. Syncing SplashID between the Mac and the Mogul is one of the very few remaining tasks for which I still need Windows; the Mac version doesn’t sync directly but only imports saved files.
- SyncMate — see above.
- TextWrangler — this is a terrific text editor that handles code of all kinds, from PHP to HTML to Java.
- TinkerTool — essentially the OS X equivalent to TweakUI.
- Transmission — BitTorrent client.
- VLC Player — for the rare filetype that QuickTime + Flip4Mac can’t handle.
- VMWare Fusion — see above.
I’m assembling a list of useful tips and tricks, things I’ve learned by trial and error or lucky Googling. That will probably be the subject of part four of this series.