About a year ago there was a popular meme advising people to post their top 10 applications (freeware or shareware) for Macintosh computers. Each type of user had different programs that were most useful to them, although there were always a few standard applications that most everyone agreed were great. A few weeks ago I purchased/credited a Mac laptop, and so I’ve been spending a good portion of my life scouring all these lists, picking, choosing, and then trying programs for me to use on a regular basis. I’ve tried many, and many of the many are awesome and just what I’m looking for. And so it is with a confusing mix of sheer joy and solemn trepidation that I revive the meme. Except this time the stakes have been upped: instead of your Top Ten Mac Programs, the meme is now for your Top Five Mac Programs. Exciting!
Without much further ado, here’s my list of Mac programs that I’ve decided to be my favorites. My main criteria for choosing the titles is that basically they have to be awesome. I hope other people, maybe a year from now, can use this list to help maximize their new Mac.
My Top Five Programs for Macs!
(note: all these programs are free)
This magical program grants the user the ability to add mustaches to people in photographs. There are many different styles of ‘stache from which to choose — Hitler, English Gentleman, Ben Affleck, and so on. I added the “Straight Gayness” mustache to this photo of my most prized Rock Card, Kip Winger. The first time I used this program, all the images I chose to add ‘staches to were really teeny in the preview window. I didn’t know what was up with that. But now they’re normal. Check out the iStache tag on Flickr.
(That second photo, to be clear, is not a product of iStache. It’s just a photo of a friend of mine right before he cut off his mustache and saved it on a piece of tape.)
The coolest thing about this program is that it makes opening a program seem like starting a level in Megaman. The weirdest thing about this program, or rather, my choosing it for this list, is that I haven’t actually used it. The guy who made it is currently moving his website around, and so the program is unavailable. But maybe in a year from now, when you’re reading this (??), it will be back up and running.
Perfect for the holiday season — or, rather, the Christmas Season — Christi’s Tree adds a little christmas tree to your desktop! You can add or remove or even customize ornaments. I’ve keep keeping my tree in the corner of my screen, and I make sure that no windows cover it up. Usually I turn off the blinking lights, though, because they can be annoying. This image is the actual size of the tree. I’m thinking I might even pop open this application during the off-season, just to bring some warmth into my life.
Celestia is a virtual planetarium. Unlike practical planetariums, which confine our bottoms, and thus our eyes (wait, maybe not our eyes), to the substratosphere, Celestia propels us, virtually, far off into the galaxy. Come skywalk with Celestia — explore hundreds of thousands of stars. The program has many addons and expansions. And I’m sure even more content will be added once we construct that terrarium on the moon, where legions of robots will harvest moon rocks and turn them into space-mulch, and that’ll help turn the moon into a fully life-sustaining system. And then these alien overlords will attack Earth, kill everyone, and those who had been living on the moon will be the only survivors. So then those survivors will build a huge satellite named Luna, which will orbit around the Sun (or maybe it’ll just be a heavily colonized moon), and on the satellite will be amusement parks modeled after our favorite places on Earth. It’ll be pretty crazy — we’ll be able to live for hundreds of years, change sex on a whim, battle the freaky Brain Gods that control the other planets…. oops, I believe we just took a trip from Celestia, to a short story I wrote called Space Robots from Outer Space, about the future robot proletariat, and then to the Eight Worlds of John Varley (with a little Gaea Trilogy thrown in). Still, that’s all probably going to be the future, so I won’t delete it.
Lastly, but not finally, there’s:
Pixen is the pixel art-making program that I used to do many of the designs on this website. I’m not very good at it yet. But I’ve come to find that you don’t need to be very skilled to produce decent designs. I used Pixen to make the banner image at the top of this weblog, and also the tiled background, and also those little buttons on the portal page. In Pixen, the cursor moves around on a grid, so it’s easy to place everything in the right place. There are lots of handy functions, such as layers, fills, straight lines, and even an option for making pixel art animations. I don’t know why I like pixel art so much. Well, actually I probably do know; it’s probably from all the Nintendo I played as a kid (as a kid, yeah).
If you don’t see any programs that I’ve missed, but you know of some, then feel free to tell me about them in a comment!
And a bonus:
Programs I Would Like to See for Macs
I would like to see my favorite Linux program (I was using Linux before I got this new computer): Cowsay, ported to Macs. Cowsay is a brilliant program that turns whatever you type into a text bubble coming out of a cow’s mouth.