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Old Jul 5, 2012, 03:13 AM   #1
cr0fty
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Essential software for MacBook Air!

Hi all.

My 2012 MacBook Air is arriving today and Im curious to know what essential/must have software I should have for it.

I've been a PC user for years and pretty much have my AV, Firewall, utilities etc perfected but now I'm moving to Mac I have no idea.

Cheers in advance folks,
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 03:18 AM   #2
miles01110
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There isn't any "essential" software unless you tell us what you use - or want to use - your computer for. Microsoft Office is always handy.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 03:22 AM   #3
jojoba
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Really depends on your usage. I use the following a lot:

Microsoft Office
Circus ponies notebook
Dropbox
Evernote
Caffeine
iPhoto
Thunderbird
Skype
Better touch tool
Alfred
Scrivener
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 03:23 AM   #4
cr0fty
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Well AV and Firewall for starters. I'd particularly like a firewall that lets me control incoming and outbound access separately. Is MS Office much better than iWork? I was going to try and stay away from MS on my Mac lol.

Oh and freeware & open source is always good. I hate paying for stuff that turns out to be rubbish. Plus with open source I can usually donate to the developer :-)
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 03:51 AM   #5
jojoba
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cr0fty View Post
Well AV and Firewall for starters. I'd particularly like a firewall that lets me control incoming and outbound access separately. Is MS Office much better than iWork? I was going to try and stay away from MS on my Mac lol.

Oh and freeware & open source is always good. I hate paying for stuff that turns out to be rubbish. Plus with open source I can usually donate to the developer :-)
Whether office is better than iWorks depends on your work flow. I work in a windows environment, so to stay clear of compatibility issues I use MO. I've also heard several times that excel has more options than numbers. However, if neither of those factors are a concern to you, you will probably be fine with iWorks.

You don't need anti virus with macs.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 06:40 AM   #6
arjen92
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There are many threads about what new users should install on their mac. So you should google a little bit better (there is also a page somewhere on macrumors.com with a list of software, check to see if there's anything you want).

Anyway, you don't need AV, it will only slow your mac down. Also, AV on a mac is mostly about removing viruses for windows computers. It's primary task is not securing your mac (since it's already pretty well secured).

To check all your connections you should check "little snitch". Although I heard that uninstalling little snitch is not the most easy task.

Other than that it's really up to you. I have office, iwork, adobe, sparrow (for e-mail), and some other small programs like skype, dropbox and growl. Oh, and VLC is really nice.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 07:01 AM   #7
ozaz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cr0fty View Post
what essential/must have software I should have for it.
Obviously depends on what type of software you need. Create a list like the one below stating the types of software you need, then maybe some people will make some suggestions

Firewall
Anti-virus
Office suite
Photo manager
Bitmap graphics editor
etc
etc

You've already mentioned interest in the first 3 types. Here are my suggestions for them

Firewall: OS X has inbound firewall built in. If you need outbound, look into little snitch.
Anti-virus: No need unless you want to check files you share with Windows users for Windows viruses. There are some apps for this but I have no experience with them.
Office suite: Microsoft office if you want max compatibility with the world, iWork if you want something a bit simpler and cheaper, Libreoffice if you want to go open source.
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 06:51 PM   #8
MWPULSE
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http://guides.macrumors.com/Mac_Beginner%27s_Guide

*ahem flies away*

That should help you out
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Old Jul 5, 2012, 07:09 PM   #9
marioman38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cr0fty View Post
Well AV and Firewall for starters. I'd particularly like a firewall that lets me control incoming and outbound access separately. Is MS Office much better than iWork? I was going to try and stay away from MS on my Mac lol.

Oh and freeware & open source is always good. I hate paying for stuff that turns out to be rubbish. Plus with open source I can usually donate to the developer :-)
A program called Little Snitch is an excellent program for monitoring your outgoing connections! I've been using it for 3 years now, works great to know what websites are trying to connect, what applications are trying to call out etc.

Also iWork is excellent, I have MS Office but haven't had the need to use it yet. I much prefer Pages to word,
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 10:48 AM   #10
GGJstudios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cr0fty View Post
Well AV and Firewall for starters. I'd particularly like a firewall that lets me control incoming and outbound access separately.
There is a built-in firewall in Mac OS X, and you don't need to control outbound.

Macs are not immune to malware, but no true viruses exist in the wild that can run on Mac OS X, and there never have been any since it was released over 10 years ago. The only malware in the wild that can affect Mac OS X is a handful of trojans, which can be easily avoided by practicing safe computing (see below). Also, Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Lion have anti-malware protection built in, further reducing the need for 3rd party antivirus apps.
Mac Virus/Malware FAQ
  1. Make sure your built-in Mac firewall is enabled in System Preferences > Security > Firewall

  2. Uncheck "Open "safe" files after downloading" in Safari > Preferences > General

  3. Disable Java in your browser (Safari, Chrome, Firefox). This will protect you from malware that exploits Java in your browser, including the recent Flashback trojan. Leave Java disabled until you visit a trusted site that requires it, then re-enable only for the duration of your visit to that site. (This is not to be confused with JavaScript, which you should leave enabled.)

  4. Change your DNS servers to OpenDNS servers by reading this.

  5. Be careful to only install software from trusted, reputable sites. Never install pirated software. If you're not sure about an app, ask in this forum before installing.

  6. Never let someone else have access to install anything on your Mac.

  7. Don't open files that you receive from unknown or untrusted sources.

  8. For added security, make sure all network, email, financial and other important passwords are long and complex, including upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.

  9. Always keep your Mac and application software updated. Use Software Update for your Mac software. For other software, it's safer to get updates from the developer's site or from the menu item "Check for updates", rather than installing from any notification window that pops up while you're surfing the web.
That's all you need to do to keep your Mac completely free of any Mac OS X malware that has ever been released into the wild. While you may elect to use it, 3rd party antivirus software is not required to keep your Mac malware-free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cr0fty View Post
Is MS Office much better than iWork?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sue De Nimes View Post
I need to use these apps for business - will iWork do everything I need and will be be invisible to people I interact with? Should I just use MSOffice?
I use MS Office for Mac daily and can tell you it runs perfectly fine. I routinely share files with Windows users and have no problems at all. If you don't want MS Office for some reason, there are many alternatives, such as iWork, NeoOffice, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Google Docs, etc. Searching the forum will reveal dozens of threads discussing these various alternatives and the pros and cons of each, such as this small sampling:
Poll: iWork vs Office vs something else
Office or iWorks?
iWork (09?) VS Office 2011 for Mac
Office 2011 Mac vs iWorks?
iWork 09 vs Office 2011 on MBA
Poll: MS Office for Mac 2011 vs iWork
Poll: Office or iWork?
iWork vs MS Office 2011 for the basic user
Helpful Information for Any Mac User
Portables Fast Start: The New User's Guide to Apple Notebooks
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 10:53 AM   #11
ChristianJapan
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I recently got DaisyDisk on all my Macs; gives a very nice graphical view on usage of storage; can be helpful on limited SSD.
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 11:50 AM   #12
radicalcentrist
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My Daily Use....

Mail
Things
Busycal
Safari
Chrome (for rendering Flash-enabled web)
NValt (my general note-taking app, a fork off Notational Velocity, both of which sync to the Simplenote app on my iPhone)
iWork
Office
Growl
Default Folder X
Caffeine
Alfred
BetterTouchTool
Witch
Zooom/2
Jumpcut
Perian
VLC
Dropbox
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 01:21 PM   #13
Trunks87
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Must have software for new MBA's

Hello there,

I've just purchased a 13" MBA w/ 8GB memory, 128GB SSD and love it! Wanted to share some software that I believe enriches the experience in no particular order of importance. Besides software, here's a cool sleeve to checkout. I got one in Black/Aqua

I like a lot of everyone's suggestions in other threads. Just wanted to add a few:
  • NOD32 for Mac (Free 30-day trial). Apple's backtracked on talking about not having viruses and I'm not going to be the one caught with my pants down when things happen.
  • DropBox (Was going to use Google drive but their EULA is overboard)
  • CleanMyDrive **I guess this app has a poor reputation and was renamed so I've uninstalled it and no longer recommend it** (Delete's junk from removable devices, free for a limited time)
  • Day One (Journalling, will include encryption in next version)
  • 1Password (Expensive but manages all personal info like Credit Cards, Software License keys and website passes also compatible with iPhone/iPod, built-in syncing with DropBox)
  • VLC and MPlayerX between them, you'll never again worry about something being unable to open
  • Growl (Notification system)
  • PopClip (Appears when you select over text, in any app. Instantly copy & paste, and access context-specific actions like search, spelling, dictionary ...)
  • The Unarchiver (Like having 7zip on Windows!. I set the option to extract to same directory and delete source after successful extraction, its unbelievably efficient!)
  • WakeUpTime (Almost the best alarm clock ever, except that it can't wake up the PC if its got a pass set. Someone complained about this on a review for appstore hopefully there's a fix soon)
  • Onyx (Best feature of it is setting an informational dialog at logon prompt. I put mine to an "This bla bla belongs to ... If found please call ... or mail ..." it looks really good and doesn't make the logon experience cumbersome in-fact it enhances it as its in an aesthetically pleasing place)
  • TotalFinder didn't make the cut because I just use it for tabbed Finder view like I use Chrome for tabbed browsing. I'm waiting until the new OSX update comes out to see if its included then if not I'll be installing this too.
  • Mail (Built-in) was able to sync all 5 of my various accounts. I love that I can type something into spotlight or Alfred and it'll also cross-check my email.

Chrome - Bonus information: In Google Chrome, go to View > Fullscreen. Now you have two screens (One with a full screen instance of Chrome), interchangeable by swiping 4 fingers to move across them.
Chrome - Bonus information 2: I signed in on my Windows laptop to Chrome and let it sync, then logged into Chrome for Mac to sync again. It's impressive how they've gotten everything (except cookies) INCLUDING add-ons to install back into Chrome.

Last edited by Trunks87; Jul 9, 2012 at 01:47 PM. Reason: CleanMyDrive edit
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 01:33 PM   #14
Barna Biro
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None of the above... The only "must" is software that is actually useful to you personally and helps you get your job done in an efficient manner. Everything else is just "additional something" that you rarely open / use...

I have not even heard about 90% of the things you have listed and I can't say I'm curious to check them out either... I have the tools that help get my job done, that's really everything that "I must have" on my device.
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 01:35 PM   #15
GGJstudios
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trunks87 View Post
CleanMyDrive (Delete's junk from removable devices, free for a limited time)
It appears CleanMyMac has been renamed or repackaged, trying to hide from its poor reputation. I would not recommend CleanMyMac, based on the number of complaints that have been posted in this forum and elsewhere. As an example: CleanMyMac cleaned too much. While you may not have experienced problems yet, enough people have that it's wise to avoid it, especially since there are free alternatives that have better reputations, such as Onyx.

You don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Most only remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space, with the risk of deleting something important in the process.

These apps will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space. In fact, deleting some caches can hurt performance, rather than help it, since more system resources are used and performance suffers while each cache is being rebuilt.

Many of these tasks should only be done selectively to troubleshoot specific problems, not en masse as routine maintenance.

Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software. Among other things, it has its own maintenance scripts that run silently in the background on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, without user intervention.
Five Mac maintenance myths
Also, there are already threads on software recommendations:

Essential software for MacBook Air!
MBA: [must-have] applications
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Old Jul 9, 2012, 01:40 PM   #16
Trunks87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGJstudios View Post
It appears CleanMyMac has been renamed or repackaged, trying to hide from its poor reputation. I would not recommend CleanMyMac, based on the number of complaints that have been posted in this forum and elsewhere. As an example: CleanMyMac cleaned too much. While you may not have experienced problems yet, enough people have that it's wise to avoid it, especially since there are free alternatives that have better reputations, such as Onyx.

You don't need "cleaner" or "maintenance" apps to keep your Mac running well, and some of these apps can do more harm than good. Most only remove files/folders or unused languages or architectures, which does nothing more than free up some drive space, with the risk of deleting something important in the process.

These apps will not make your Mac run faster or more efficiently, since having stuff stored on a drive does not impact performance, unless you're running out of drive space. In fact, deleting some caches can hurt performance, rather than help it, since more system resources are used and performance suffers while each cache is being rebuilt.

Many of these tasks should only be done selectively to troubleshoot specific problems, not en masse as routine maintenance.

Mac OS X does a good job of taking care of itself, without the need for 3rd party software. Among other things, it has its own maintenance scripts that run silently in the background on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, without user intervention.
Five Mac maintenance myths
Good to know!!! Uninstalled and edited to add more info. Yeah I'm not into using Onyx for its maintenance capabilities as you mentioned, its really just there for the login dialog and that's about it ^_^
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 03:21 AM   #17
aseems
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Recommended for Trying

First STOP "Automatically open safe items in Safari"
ClamXAV
FireFox
Chrome
Kindle
Evernote
Calibre
CarbonCopyClone
AppFresh
OmniDiskSweeper
Onyx
AppCleaner
Skitch
VLC MediaPlayer
Perian
HandBrake
The Unarchiver
DragonDrop
Caffeine
CheatSheet
Adium
Skype
Pocket for Mac
4Shared
SugarSync
DropBox
uTorrent
NoMoreiTunes
Paparazzi

All Free
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