Mac Software and Hardware Resources

Links and information about useful stuff for your Mac computer or iOS device. All items are products or services that I have used or have been recommended by friends and acquaintances.

Round3_Red-1-1


Other World Computing - For secure and reliable backup I use OWC external backup drives like the Mercury Elite Pro Dual RAID 1 Mirror 1TB drive. These pre-configured drives insure that your files will not disappear if one drive fails. In a RAID 1 array data is written simultaneously to two identical drives. This redundancy provides a duplicate "mirror" copy of your data on a second drive. If one drive in the array fails you replace it and copy your files onto the new drive from the good one.

APC Uninterrupted Power Supply - Battery backup power units provide uninterrupted power during a “brown out" or total power failure. A UPS supplies stabilized voltage levels and protection against damaging power surges. These units provide enough running time to save your files and shut down your computer safely. FYI-the shutoff procedure on my APC unit has one peculiar function that I had to call APC tech support to find out about. When shutting the UPS down (and your computer/connected gear) you must hold the on-off pushbutton down for a few seconds before the unit will shut off. While this feature prevents you from accidentally turning the unit off, the necessity of holding the button down was not mentioned in the manual.

Wacom Pressure Sensitive Tablets - if you really want the ultimate in brush control while creating graphics in apps like Photoshop or Painter, a pen operated pressure sensitive tablet like those offered by Wacom is a necessity. IMO a tablet like the Intuos Pro with an active drawing area of about 6x9" is really an ideal size. Even if you're using a large monitor or your image size is larger than the tablets active area this isn't a problem-you sort of scroll around with the pen as you do with the mouse.

ColorMunki Calibration Device - while this nifty little unit will color calibrate a video projector and computer printer, I only use it to accurately calibrate my Mac monitor for consistent color reproduction. The ColorMunk software is easy to use which allows you to calibrate a monitor in about 10 minutes. One feature I like is that it measures ambient room light levels when performing the calibration.

Kensington Mouse - While I have used Kensington mice (two button with a scroll wheel) for a long time other companies that are popular on the Mac platform are Logitech (Performance Mouse MX) and Macally. Read mouse reviews to get an idea about input device performance, size and features that others like. While I prefer a USB wired mouse many wireless models have long battery life or recharge during use. Check for operating system compatibility and if a manufacturer or third-party mouse driver is available-many mice can be configured through the Mac OS System Preference pane.

Matias TactilePro keyboard - if you'd like a full-size keyboard be sure to check these out. Many who liked the feel of the Apple and IBM's high-quality "clicky" keyboards with their mechanical keyswitch technology and tactile feedback will like the Tactile Pro. They also offer keyboards with quiet key technology and a nice folding Bluetooth model for use with tablets.

Large Print Keyboard Labels - if your vision is impaired and you need a keyboard with larger characters on the keys then keyboard labels (also called a keyboard overlay) will help. These durable stick on plastic label sets are applied to all of the keys. I have purchased these label sets from Datacal and Sightconnection. Easy application with tweezers-some labels may need to be trimmed with a utility knife after their applied.

Epson Flatbed Scanner - if you need to copy flat printed material, drawings or photos into your computer a flatbed scanner is the best option. While my old Epson Expression 1680 still works okay, the company stopped writing drivers for it long ago. In the software listing look for vueScan-this is scanner driver software that will operate hundreds of different brands and models of scanners.

Round3_Blue-1-1


OmniWeb - my favorite browser is this feature-rich alternative to the popular browsers. I like it's side pull out vertical scrolling mini-webpages as opposed to the upper screen tabbed layout of most browsers.

Firefox - this is my go-to browser for sites that won’t display properly with OmniWeb. Very well supported and updated on a regular basis.

Fontsquirre - a great site for free high quality fonts to use on your Mac.

MailTags - a really nice Apple Mail plug-in that adds some much needed features like adding keywords, alternate subject line text to clearly identify an email, label colors and more.

Cocktail - a general purpose utility for OSX that lets you clean, repair and optimize your Mac. A mix of maintenance tools and tweaks, all accessible through an easy to use interface. Easily perform tasks like Repair Permissions and empty system cache files.

GraphicConverter - I bought this app to open and save some very old images on a Kodak Photo CD. It was very easy to batch save them-also you can convert almost any image format to any other format.

SuperDuper - this is a very easy to use must-have backup utility for every Mac owner. Once you do a complete backup of your computers internal hard drive (onto a dedicated external drive-divide into two partitions) the next backup is much quicker. Next time it will do an incremental backup of only new files and those that have changed. It makes a bootable backup on the external drive which can be used to completely restore (I did this with a failed Apple laptop) the operating system and all your files on a repaired computer.

Toast - this is the CD/DVD burning software used by most Mac users. Very well supported with regular updates as the Mac OS changes.

VueScan - an app for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux that functions like a driver for over 2100 scanners from 35 manufacturers. It does a nice job of operating my old Epson Expression 1680 flatbed scanner.

Snapz Pro - if you need a high quality flexible screenshot app that will also capture on-screen audio and video this is the one. Also it has a function that will allow you to capture a screenshot of open menus and dialog boxes.

Flickr Desktop Uploadr - this handy desktop app allows you to create new Flickr photo groups, add captions to your photos and more before uploading-simplifies the uploading and photo organization process.

Nisus Writer Pro - if you need a full-featured Mac word processor that will do all types of formatting, create a table of contents or an index, plus any kind of pagination you require and a moderate level of page layout using images, tables etc. this is the app you’ve been looking for. It also features a high degree of compatibility with MS Word, with fully integrated functions like group Comments and Track Changes. This was my primary writing tool when I was writing my book titled Reborn from Earth.

Mariner Write - this is another full-featured Mac word processor that incorporates many of the features found in Nisus Writer, although some of it’s page layout features are different.

Final Draft - the most widely used script writing app for movies, TV and stage plays. Seamlessly formats a script as you type by using Tab and Enter keys. Seamless compatibility between Mac/Windows versions of the same script.

TopXNotes - this well-designed Mac notepad app lets you enter text by typing, dragging, or importing text or files. Choose font, size, style, color, make live links. I use this app to store all my username and password information-the app is password protected.

DEVONthink Personal - a great piece of software that helps me to keep a large amount of text based info, bookmarks and small reference images well organized. Create subject groups in the left column, individual topic pages in the top window and enter your text info and drag images into the bottom text window. I use text formatting functions like font size and color to make specific areas of interest stand out. Devon offers other more complex versions of their software for power users.

PDFPen - this is a full-featured PDF editor. You can add signatures, text, images and correct typos plus export to MS Word. I don't use this app but it has been highly recommended by friends.

Business Card Composer - if you want to print your own business cards on Avery business card stock this is an easy to use app that has templates and stock images, or you can do a manual card layout.

Dragon Dictate for Mac - while I'm a fairly good typist I can't match the speed of this speech-to-text app. It's accuracy rate is well up into the 95% range and very easy to use. You can use it to command a large number of program and operating system functions, although I only use it for text entry.

Portfolio for iPad - this well-designed professional iPad app is for photographers, architects, artists or anyone who needs to show their work (still images or video) to customers or friends. Create a custom logo page, reorganize group categories as needed and sort your images or videos in the proper order for presentation.

RapidWeaver - there's no need to traverse the massive learning curve of figuring out how to code your own website when a program like RapidWeaver does that for you. With hundreds of template-based themes and plug-ins any type of website can be created with this great DIY website app. This website was created using the “Exposure” theme and the “stacks” plug-in.

Cinema4D - the 3D graphics on this website were created with this rather complex modeling, paint and animation program. Commonly used by architects and product designers to create images of their next project, it can also be used to create great-looking 3D graphics.

Aplus.net - this is the website registrar that I used to register the domain names that I own. They offer excellent privacy controls and good customer support.