Best Apple Mac OS X Software: Part One

Our Apple expert John C. Welch picks 22 lesser-known applications that can make your Mac experience more productive and more fun. Part 1 of 2.
SketchFighter 4000 Alpha
from Ambrosia Software

Man does not live by work alone, nor do IT people. There are times when I like to be reminded that a computer can, occasionally, just be fun. For that, I have SketchFighter. I admit that I have a particular fondness for this game because it's based on the kinds of things I did as a kid in junior high when I should have been paying attention to anything else.

However, outside of that, it's really just a fun game. No need for strategy guides, no secret keystrokes, etc. You can go from launch to playing in under a minute on a MacBook Pro. It has network play, level editors, you name it. The controls are so simple that you don't need a template.

I am known by my friends for being a huge Neverwinter Nights fan, but I play the heck out of SketchFighter. It doesn't contribute a single thing to my productivity beyond giving me a reason to not hate computers. For an IT person, that can be rather important.

from Ettore Software

As you can tell by the length of this, I type a lot. I've a good speed, and my mother, a former legal secretary, taught me how to do it correctly on an IBM Selectric. I've been typing a long time. However, no one likes to type the same thing over and over and over again. For that kind of monkeywork, I have TypeIt4Me. Its job is as an abbreviation expander. So, I type "Tiger" and I get Mac OS X 10.4. It's case-sensitive, so when I type "tiger" I get tiger. "mosx" gives me Mac OS X. "mosxs" gets me Mac OS X Server. You get the idea.

This is a product that I literally don't think about until I get on a system that doesn't have it. Then I miss it. I miss it like a missing thing that's missed. It's that handy and useful. Ricardo Ettore, the genius behind TypeIt4Me has, through the years, resisted the temptations of "featureitis", so TypeIt4Me still is a lean little dear of a utility. One new feature he did add was the ability to launch AppleScripts via abbreviations. So now you can use TypeIt4Me to do...well, almost anything you can do with AppleScript, and that, dear reader, is almost anything on a Mac. If you type a lot and you aren't using TypeIt4Me, you're wasting more effort than you know.

See the rest of John C. Welch's list of Top Mac OS X products in Part 2.