Dave, what’s on your PowerBook? What cool apps do you have that I should know about? What Dashboard widgets? Etc. etc etc.
For the first time in a long time, I did a complete wipe of my hard disk on my 1Ghz Titanium PowerBook in preparation for installing Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, actually, so this is a great time for me to be able to answer that question.
First off, the very clean install was because I’d been experimenting with Linuxes for the PowerBook (alas, none can talk to the WiFi subsystem, which makes them HUGELY limited for my purposes) and was ready to get rid of them all and reclaim the approx 3GB of space they were taking up.
My pal Kirk McElhearn gave me the tip on how to do this too: boot off the Install DVD, then choose Disk Utility from the Utilities menu. Then just “erase” the disk and it automatically does a clean, dare I say “pristine”, install. Easily done, total elapsed time, about 45 minutes. Then I additionally installed some of the Xcode package to get more of the BSD subsystem, the gcc compiler, etc.
Then it was time to install software and utilities, and re-enter license codes to get them all happy again. Here’s what I ended up installing:
- Microsoft Office
- What can I say? I spend a lot of my time in Microsoft Word, and my email program of choice remains Entourage. info.
- I never know when I’ll need emergency access to the Internet, without anything other than a phone jack. AOL is still the only service I know where I can dial an 800 number to get a directory of local numbers, then log in for cheap. Not the best of choices, but the most functional. Don’t panic, though, I don’t use AOL more than maybe 2-3 hours/year. info.
- Roxio Toast
- Though my laptop doesn’t have a CD burner (and I kick myself for not paying the small extra $$ to get one!) it’s still a useful program for working with ISO files and creating disk images. My desktop machine also has a DVD burner, so there’s still some value there too, with firewire-target connectivity. info.
- I’ve become addicted to this powerful and flexible multi-platform instant message client. Even better, IM systems have come far enough along that I only had to create my login accounts again (I have AIM, MSN and YIM accounts) and all my buddies were promptly downloaded and saved to the system. As far as I’m concerned, Adium is what iChat should have been. info.
- QuickLink Mobile
- This fabulous little commercial app makes it a breeze to use your Verizon cellphone to connect to the Verizon high-speed (1x) network. When I’m on the road, I use minutes instead of paying for a much higher per-minute Wifi, and where there’s no wireless at all, my cellphone still works just fine. Very cool app! info.
- This is an application that I’ve only recently been turned on to, and it’s a terrific replacement for Stickies. It hides on one edge of your screen and when you move your cursor off that edge, the notepad smoothly slides into view, letting you ferret away lots of useful bits and pieces of information. I like that it helps me avoid clutter, a big win! info.
- This seems so much a part of life on a Mac that I’m surprised Apple hasn’t just bought the application, renamed it iGraphics, and included it with the operating system itself. If you don’t have GraphicConverter, you’re missing out on one of the best utilities available for graphics and digital photos. info.
- This terrific little add-on makes Safari an even better browser – even in Tiger! – and I am most addicted to its ability to save and restore every opened tab in every window. Without it, I’d have all these temporary bookmarks, and it’d be a pain. I just wish that the continual upgrade path didn’t involve constantly digging up the original purchase email for a confirmation code. info
- Desktop Manager
- This is a great Mac version of a classic X11 window manager utility, it lets you have multiple “virtual” screens on your computer. With this, I have my email in its own desktop area, Safari and my Web work in another. If you don’t have multiple screens, you might be surprised how useful this little utility becomes in just a short while. info.
Those are the main apps and utilities I copied across. The only other work I had to do was to go and reset the preferences on my favorite applications, and copy my Safari bookmarks onto the laptop.
I haven’t done much with Dashboard yet, but I am ready for someone to tell me how I can make Dashboard widgets show up – live – on my desktop! Why have them all hide whenever I want to use my computer?
Now, just a few hours later, it’s good to go, faster, better, and completely Tigerified. And Tiger rocks. But I’ve known that for months, thanks to the Apple Developer Connection and my just-about-published new book “Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger”.
If you’ve just upgraded from Panther to Tiger, what must-have apps did you find yourself loading onto your computer?