There’s no shortage of useful, interesting apps for the Mac, but some of them you just can’t live without. In this article, we’re highlighting the best downloads for better productivity, communication, media management, and more.
Last year, Quicksilver was our pick here, but since Alfred recently picked up a feature-rich update and some great new automation features, we’ve crowned it as our favorite application launcher for Mac. It’s free and worth a download on its own, but if you have the itch to do some automation and serious tweaking, the $27 Powerpack is worth every penny. If you’re new to Alfred, this beginner’s guide to using it—and all of its hidden features—is worth a look, and will probably be enough reason for you to download it on its own. Once you’re familiar with it, check out this massive list of workflows you can automate with Alfred. If you’re familiar with an prefer completely free, Quicksilver is still available, and still great.
Notational Velocity and/or Simplenote
Notational Velocity has earned its massive fan-following. It has just the right number of features required to help you take quick notes and get back to them later, without a whole bunch of fluff or other bloat that you don’t need. It syncs with other services (namely Simplenote or Dropbox) and is still one of our favorite syncing note-takers. If Notational Velocity is too much for you, consider the lighter alternative, NVAlt, which includes tons of additional features. However, if you want to go right to the source, Simplenote’s Mac app has come a long long way since we last looked it over, and is worth your attention if you’re just syncing there anyway (or use Simplenote’s mobile apps.)
If you’ve been reading more post on our site for any amount of time, you know we love Evernote and once you get the hang of it, it can be extremely powerful. You can use it to keep notes, make to-do lists, create reminders, make a recipe book, save travel plans and itineraries, and pretty much anything else you can think of. It’s powerful and feature rich for some, daunting and overwhelming for others. Some might prefer the simple comforts of previously-mentioned Notational Velocity, but it all depends on your needs and how you like to work .
Which web browser is the best is a matter of opinion, but it’s our opinion that Chrome is your best, fastest option. It’s fast, functional, and syncs everything across your computers (including iOS or Android devices with Chrome mobile). Safari certainly has iCloud in its pocket, and Firefox is a great option if you use Firefox on other computers (or on Android), but Chrome is available everywhere. Both Safari and Firefox are good browsing tools, but if you want to sync up across devices Chrome is your best option.
The best thing about Skype for the Mac is that just about everyone has a Skype account, so it’s probably the easiest way to get a hold of someone via video or voice chat. It’s easy to use, and while it’s definitely a heavy install, it exists on just about every platform, everywhere. It’s far from perfect, but the Mac version has seen stability improvements over the last year. If you’re not a fan of Skype or just don’t want the extra software, Google+ Hangouts is a fantastic, web-based alternative, and Apple’s built-in Facetime is great if all of your friends are also OS X or iOS users.
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