Substitutes for OS X apps, and why I use them

Sections: Apple Software, Mac Software, Miscellaneous / Other

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Apple app substitutes

The Subetsky Blog’s Mike Subetsky says he’s noticed that the longer he uses OS X, the more replacements he’s finding for Apple’s built-in applications, noting that Apple’s in-house software tends to focus heavily on design and aesthetics, but often lacks power-user features.

I agree.

As a Mac OS veteran of nearly 20 years on the platform, and as much as I love the Mac OS, I find most Apple software applications are too mainstream consumer oriented for my taste, and almost all of the applications I use regularly are non-Apple ones. I do use Safari some, but for browsing I’m most reliant on Opera and Chrome, which are non-optional components of my production suite, while Safari gets alternated with Firefox and OmniWeb, usually whichever has been most recently updated.

I also use Eudora OSE or Thunderbird (which are interchangeable) and Mailsmith for email clients, along with more and more reliance on Gmail and GMX Mail. I have never warmed to the OS X Mail app, which I find wants to do too many things for me, and I dislike its dependance on the OS X Address Book, which I don’t use.

For text crunching, my main axe is Tex Edit Plus, backed up by TextWrangler. Text Edit is a pretty good application these days, but has some wierdnesses such as no word count feature, and if you need more formatting capability than text editors offer, Bean is a nice, free light word processor that does have word count, and is the only word processor I use any more with any frequency. Had I heavier-duty office application needs, I would lean toward the Open Source suites like Open Office, NeoOffice, or the new Libre Office, than to Apple iWork’s Pages, Numbers and Presenter.

For backups, Carbon Copy Cloner gets the nod over OS X’s Time Machine. I find it faster and more flexible and versatile.

I prefer Photoshop Elements to iPhoto for photo management, and use PSE, Pixelmator, and the superb freeware ToyViewer (as well as ancient Color It!) for image editing.

I’ve never gotten into using iChat, or the OS X Address Book as noted above, or iCal at all, and rarely Stickies. Spotinside, EasyFind, and Find Any File usually get the nod for file and content searches over Spotlight, and I find VLC more flexible and versatile than QuickTime.

Apple apps. I do use Preview (although I keep Adobe Reader around and updated) and iTunes, and I like the Spaces, QuickLook Finder features.

How about you? Apple apps loyalist, or do you shop around?

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  • MAPstr

    I use the OS X Mail, Address book, and iCal. Mail reads two gmail accounts, my ISP account and a Live account. Address book syncs with my gmail contacts and iCal syncs about a dozen gmail calendars.

    I use Thunderbird for NNTP access.

    I prefer Pages to Word for Mac 2011 because it exports to PDF – preserving the links and when I copy from pages and paste into a form, the formatting is preserved. Microsoft Research needs to port PPTPlex to PowerPoint for Mac 2011.

    I also prefer Chrome over Safari, Opera and Firefox, but revert to Safari for better PDF support and BuiltWith analysis.

    I use iChat, Google Chat, Skype, Trillian and Messenger. Skype tends to have the best fidelity. I haven't used FaceTime yet.

    I finally gave up on the LinkSys, NetGear, and DLink routers – too many dropped connections and bought an AirPort Express. I can't believe I waited so long.

    My Twitter client is YoruFukurou with 13 tabbed lists.