Switching from Windows, some alternatives on OSX

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by pincho, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. pincho macrumors regular


    Apr 15, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    hey all,

    just got my MacBook Pro, and i want to use the machine with some programs i have had on Windows, i was wondering if u guys could help me out with alternatives. these include:

    Bit Torrent - used BitComet on Windows
    P2P - use LimeWire PRO on Windows, however heard that Limewire sucks on OSX
    IM - MSN guy here, aMSN seems the best to use with iSight also, however it is not a Uninversal Binary, runs pretty slow

    Media Files - any all-in-one codec packs for OSX? (kinda like k-lite codec pack for windows) ive got different formats of videos, would like to view them all.

    5.1 Surround Sound from Optical Out- i managed to play files through my speakers, however it is only played in Stereo. The music is not encoded for 5.1, but on my Windows machine, the Creative sound card emulates 5.1

    Quicktime - when i am watching a video, the volume decreases and mutes automatically, whys this?

    thats all for now :p thanks in advance
  2. Totty macrumors member

    Apr 27, 2006
    I'm not sure about complete compatibility with Intel macs, but I love Adium for messaging.
  3. DMPDX macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2005
    A great shareware app p2p is called acquisition:Get Acquisition Here. It costs 17.00 to buy it, but it has a seemless integration with itunes, and I just love it. Give it a shot. But if you dont liike that then id go look at mac p2p. its a website devoted to mac filesharing. you can find it Here.
    Hope this helps.
  4. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Adium is universal. No video though.
  5. luminosity macrumors 65816


    Jan 10, 2006
    P2P - use LimeWire PRO on Windows, however heard that Limewire sucks on OSX

    worked fine for me.
  6. MajereXYU macrumors regular

    May 11, 2005
    Bit Torrent - Try either Transmission or see below (Acquisition)
    P2P - Acquisition, Which does BitTorrent too now.
    IM - Adium - useful desktop contact list, LOTS of customizable options (sounds, appearance etc.) and it's universal. Does MSN and AIM, Jabber, Yahoo IM and lots more.

    Media Files - Once you have installed DivX, 3ivx, Flip4Mac and Xvid, you'll be good to go.
    Any other video codec you don't have you can always download as needed. You can use VLC to identify the codec used by the video, it's usually written in the metadata of the video file, which can be read by VLC if memory serves me right.

    5.1 Surround Sound from Optical Out - You would need to find either a plug-in for iTunes or maybe a system-level plug-in could be available.
    Google OSX 5.1 upmix plug-in or something like that. Creative's version of this is called CMSS if I remember right. Reviews say it's crap so...

    Anyway, Stereo music played through 5.1 is not always the best option for sound quality/integrity/balance and soundstage. If you don't care for those, then an upmix plug-in can probably be found.
    Also, depending on your speakers/receiver, sometimes receivers offer Dolby Pro-Logic, which upmixes stereo to 5.1 channels. At least my Logitech Z-5500 Digital do.
  7. MajereXYU macrumors regular

    May 11, 2005
    Also, if that can interest you, here are some good pieces of software to make you appreciate the Mac side better:

    Dashboard Kickstart - to remove the lag in Dashboard when coming back from sleep.

    Psst - to remove the startup chime (not working on Intel yet, at least for me but keep an eye)

    iBackup - App which I LOVE. It is freeware and allows you to quickly and easily backup all settings/preferences/configurations, any files, all your widgets, your Mail.app folders and e-mails, your iPhoto library, iTunes library, Safari bookmarks, Adium themes/configs/sound sets, iCal events, Address Book entries, well, everything in a couple clicks. Restore function works perfectly.

    Mac Janitor - Simple app used to force the daily/weekly/monthly OSX maintenance scripts to run on your demand. (It's a good consolation for those switchers who have kept the ritual of always wanting to defrag/scandisk/virus scan)

    Sizzling Keys - Freeware without which I almost couldn't live. It's main purpose is to provide system-wide hotkeys to control iTunes (next, previous, play/pause, volume) but also allows you to rate songs with a simple hotkey (CTRL+ 1 to 5) without having to have iTunes as active window. Or CTRL+F8 to bring up iTunes window, CTRL+F9 to search, all of this without having to have iTunes as active window.
    Another good feature it has is a floater window that appears (by default) each time the song playing changes and it displays the title, the artist, the album, album art and rating of the song. I LOVE it.

    Menu Meters - Little app that sits in your Menu bar at the top of the screen and displays info such as CPU % occupation, RAM usage (shows how much free and how much used), network activity (throughput), Disk activity and much more. Uses little ressources, discreet yet really useful.

    Shiira - Is a really nice browser, based on WebKit (the rendering engine used in Safari) and which offers some nifty little features such as Tab Exposé. It's in early developement still but it's coming along nicely, is universal and is a joy to use.

    Those are but a fraction of all the quality, well-though and well-coded apps there are out there.

    One thing I noticed when I switched is that while there are litteraly TONS of available software on Windows, finding a quality application that does what you need/want is not always easy. Windows has some nice quality apps, but it's not the same phenomenon as OSX.

    On OSX, everything I want to do has an application coded for it and most of the time, the application is really nice, has a nice User Interface, active support (most of those small apps listed in this post are coded by independent people and have all been ported to universal really quickly), they also respect Apple's UI guidelines very strictly in most cases.

    So while OSX has less software available (in sheer numbers), it does not lack software by any means, almost every need possible is answered by a quality app (often freeware or cheap ex: Acquisition) and more often than not, the developpers seem to really put much thought/effort into their apps and it shows. From the Dock icon to the help contents, nothing is left to luck.
  8. angelneo macrumors 68000

    Jun 13, 2004
    For media files, I find VLC the best all-in-one player out there so far.
  9. BurtonCCC macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2005
    Wheaton/Normal, IL
    I use Azureus for .torrent files. I don't know how it works on an Intel Mac though. Tell me if you try it because I'm looking to get a MBP soon.

  10. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    Here's all the info you need.

    Mac Beginner's Guide:

    How to Install Applications:

    Keyboard shortcuts:

    For general switching question you have in the future, your best bet is to first look around for info that's already out there because there are lots of guides that will give you much more comprehensive and better presented info then you'll get from asking a general question.

    Welcome to Macintosh. You come to get away from MS Windows, but you stay for the ease of use. :)
  11. Lollypop macrumors 6502a


    Sep 13, 2004
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    I second VLC as well as Azureus, dont know if VLC is a UB yet, but Azureus is a java app, so it will run a bit slower than a native app, but it will look and function just as great as the windows and linux versions.
  12. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
  13. pincho thread starter macrumors regular


    Apr 15, 2006
    Sydney, Australia
    thanks for the replies guys! :)
    this is my current set up

    aMSN - the thing stopping me from switching to other IM clients is the use of video. i want to use the iSight :p

    Transmission - easy to use, small, simple

    MPlayer - while looking for a Universal binary of VLC, i came across this, and since i had used MPlayer with Ubuntu, it was easy to use, and accepted all my media files and universal binary, wheras i haven't found one of VLC

    no p2p atm, my internet has been slowed to near dialup speeds for the month, which renders software downloading and updating a PITA :p
  14. ravenvii macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Melenkurion Skyweir
  15. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    QuickTime movies can have a saved volume setting. If you muted it the last time you played it in some QuickTime application and saved it, then the next time you play the movie it will still be muted.
  16. motulist macrumors 601


    Dec 2, 2003
    As long as you are switching, if you want to do yourself a big favor, a REALLY REALLY REALLY big favor, then you should NOT use MS Word. I used MS Word forever because it was the standard program and I never even thought to look at the alternatives. But after the umpteenth time of Word crashing and losing all my hard work I did some research and found it wasn't just me who has Word crashing all the time, it was everybody. I just switched to a new word processor called Mellel and it is so much better than MS Word that I can't believe I suffered all that time for nothing. It's super cheap and super good. Don't even think about it, just switch.

  17. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004

    wow some of those apps i really need thanks for the links, also thank you to the person who started the thread, that itunes hotkey thing is going to be great for me
  18. MajereXYU macrumors regular

    May 11, 2005
    Teehee, no problem.

    I was once in your shoes.
  19. galstaph macrumors 6502a


    Jul 24, 2002
    The Great White North Eh
    frostwire is a good alternative to limewire as well, it is built right off of the open source for limewire so it will be really familiar, it is also free and has no ads:)
    I also use azerius for bittorrent

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