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Cool stuff for OSX

2003-12-07 , ,

Early in the acclimation phase of a new system you spend a lot of time trying stuff out, loading up software and customizing before (one hopes!) getting to productive use. Here are some of the cool additions I’ve found:

  • uControl – Must have. GPL-ed kernel hack for Panther with a control panel app that enables you to remap the special keys without editing the system’s language-specific keyboard map XML files. I have no use whatsoever for the CapsLock or Enter keys so I remap them as Control and Command, respectively. Perfect!
  • Space – Multiple virtual desktops for OSX. QPL-ed (so free for non-commercial use) pager familiar to X-Windows users. It doesn’t support dragging windows from desk to desk but you can use the Dock to pop them up and leave them on a new desktop.
  • OmniGraffle Pro – This commercial diagramming tool ($119 to register) is the only thing I’ve found on any platform that opens Visio files and templates. It’s great in it’s own right and the import/export is icing.
  • Chromatron – Excellent little freeware puzzle game. Fifty levels of bouncing "lasers" against mirrors and through beam splitters. Later releases, each with 50 additional levels and new devices, are shareware. This one’s a big time killer.
  • Jewel Toy – Another freeware puzzle game in the vein of Tetris with a dash of Reversi. Clever, pretty way to waste time.
  • Dock Extender – Excellent! Popup configurable menus from the Dock and from the menu bar. $20 registration unlocks multiple menus and limit of eight items in menu.
  • IOXperts 802.11 driver – I hate the licensing on it- $19 and tied to the MAC address of a particular card, so I haven’t- but it’s the only seamless way to use anything but an Apple Airport card in the powerbook now that Apple dropped support. An opensource driver exists and as it matures it’s going to be the better option.
  • Litsoft’s AcrossLite for OSX (via NYTimes) – Free commercial app for playing the crossword puzzles available from the New York Times and others.
  • Fugu. BSD-licensed GUI SCP, SSH and SFTP client. OSX has all that at the command line but drag and drop is nice sometimes.

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