Switching to the Mac can be a difficult process. Although the physical act of going to the Apple Store and buying a computer is easy and delightful, it’s often tough to find all the apps you’ll need to work productively and maintain a seamless workflow. There are various lists on hundreds of blogs describing what apps are necessary and best, and reams of opinions on how to convert. We decided to put together a list of apps we actually enjoy using ourselves. But really this list of switcher apps is very different. Why? Because we’re giving all of these apps away!
It’s a killer list so what’s the catch?
To win, we’re asking that you submit your switcher story – or your story of changing over to the Mac. It doesn’t matter if you switched 1, 5, or 10 years ago, as long as you’re using a Mac today. One switcher story will be chosen as the winner, and the author of that entry will win all the booty. But wait! We understand some users don’t have creative writing skills or the desire to pump us content, so we’ll also be randomly selecting one user, good story or not, and just giving that user every app listed. Every reasonable story entry is a chance to clean up!
If you’re writing, try to keep it between 500-1000 words. This isn’t Vanity Fair, we don’t need 15,000 word articles. But wait! Macs come with some amazingly creative software like iMovie and GarageBand. Feel free to make and submit a video, slideshow, iDVD project or whatever you can think of. You can bet we will favor articles using some form of rich media over those that don’t, so dig deep if you want the prize. The top entries will be published front page on MacApper for ultimate bragging rights.
Alright so we aren’t just giving away a handful of apps here either. We’re giving away (FREE!) 24 applications and other prizes worth over $750 per winner. Cool right?
Blog. First up is MarsEdit from Red Sweater Software. MarsEdit is an acclaimed blog authoring app which allows the user to create, edit, and publish blog entries. MarsEdit allows the user to see live previews of blog entries, has a sleek UI, and is compatible with most major blogging services.
Learn. Next up on the list is iFlash, from Loopware. iFlash allows the user to create flashcards and memorize them in a slideshow-like interface. iFlash auto defines words for quick vocabulary flashcards, can print flashcards and export them to an iPod, as well as place images and audio into flashcards.
Burn. Disco is on our list as well. The new disc burner serves up a fantastic interface, as well as disc spanning, a discography feature, and can burn many file types and disc types. Disco comes with some extra features as well, such as use of the sudden motion sensor inside of most Macs to prevent coasters, as well as the ability to burn VIDEO_TS folders.
Delete. AppZapper makes an appearance as well. AppZapper allows the quick and easy deletion of apps. Not only does AppZapper delete the application itself, AppZapper also deletes any associated files with the app, truly getting rid of the application and it’s resources. AppZapper allows the user to find the least used apps and how much space they take up, as well as has the ability to quickly delete preference panes, widgets, and plugins.
Download. Xtorrent is a brand new app from Dave Watanabe that is devoted to finding and downloading torrent files. Unlike most torrent apps, Xtorrent can subscribe to RSS feeds, keeping track of the latest torrents, as well as search the web for torrents. Xtorrent also handles groups, so the user can group torrents by category, essentially organizing their downloads.
Edit. TextMate, an all around editor from Macromates, is also being given away. TextMate can edit many file types, including PHP, HTML, and CSS. TextMate also tightly integrates with Xcode, replacing Xcode’s editor with a more robust solution. TextMate features tabs, a built in file browser, and tons of templates for quick starting HTML, PHP, CSS files, or many other types of files.
Calculate. Soulver, from Acqualia, is a different kind of calculator. Soulver allows math to be done in plain English sentences, and calculates problems instantly. The app finds the root, decimals, and more, instantly, and can save calculations as files. Soulver is text based as well, so problems are editable anytime while solving the equation.
Sleep. Pzizz, with the Sleep Module, allows the user to fall asleep quickly and easily. Using a series of sounds randomly put together on the spot, Pzizz allows almost anyone to get a good night sleep, easily. Pzizz naps can also be exported to iPod for on the go, or general home use.
Wake Up. Awaken, from Embraceware, allows you to fall asleep listening to your iTunes, but like its namesake the real magic is when Awaken wakes you up. With mutiple alarms settings, sleep timers, album art, and even podcast settings, Awaken is the only alarm app you need on your Mac.
Virtualize. A virtualization app, Parallels allows Windows, Linux, and other OS’ to be used side by side with OS X. Running in a separate window, or side by side in coherence mode, Parallels emulates the users CD drive, USB devices, and more right inside of a virtual machine. Parallels runs at near native speed, and is a great solution for those who need those services or apps that are not available on OS X.
RSS. An app from NewsGator, NetNewsWire is the most robust RSS reader for the Mac. NNW syncs with NewsGator to keep your feeds up to date, has a built in browser, and is completely customizable. Podcasts can be downloaded to your iPod, articles can be posted directly to del.icio.us, and Smart Lists can be easily created with the touch of a button.
Launch. Overflow, from Stunt Software, lets the user organize and launch apps, making going to the Applications folder a thing of the past. Just drag your apps into user created categories, and launch away. Overflow is activated at any time with a single click, and is a great way to get to those apps quicker, or just clean up your dock.
Upload. An upcoming FTP app from Brian Amerige, Flow does more than file transfer. Flow has a built in editor, which allows remote editing of files on the spot, and features quicker uploading by initializing multiple connections to the server. Flow allows quicker uploads and easier editing when working with remote files.
Control. CoverSutra, from Sophia Teutschler, allows you to control your music in style. Just hit F8 and the control window pops up, showing album art and controls to adjust your music without popping iTunes up. CoverSutra also submits songs to last.fm, and shows what track is playing and if the track changes. If wanted, CoverSutra will also display the current album art on the desktop.
Conquer. iConquer, from KavaSoft, is the game of world conquest for the Mac. iConquer features a friendly Aqua UI, a detailed world map, artificial intelligence, and multiplayer. iConquer also features a boss mode to hide the game when at work, as well as a map creator and in-game chatting.
Diagram. OmniGraffle Pro, from the Omni Group is the premiere diagramming application for OS X. Think Visio with amazing imagery (Scalable vector graphics) and a truly intuitive UI. if you do any kind of flowcharting or diagramming this is the only app you will ever need.
Manage. A new app from Midnight Apps, Cha-Ching lets the user manage money, bills and more. Just enter your purchase or income, take an optional picture, and you’re done. Cha-Ching also does Smart Folders, so you can track any type of purchase or income with ease. You can set up accounts, budgets, and even track your bills, all in one simple app.
Explore. When you use your Mac, file browsing options are important. That’s why Macintosh Explorer from the folks at RAGE Software offers the familiar hierarchal, two-pane file view known to Windows users with the superior Macintosh look and feel. This is a really well known app for Windows to Mac switchers.
Color. Painter’s Picker from Old Jewel Software puts an artists color wheel into the default OS X color panel that is used by many apps. Painter’s Picker lets the user choose from analogous colors and complementary colors, as well as find different color schemes to use. The plugin also blends colors, and is perfect for artists switching to the Mac.
Organize. Yojimbo from Bare Bones Software is the de facto standard in personal information managers on your Mac. You can store everything in Yojimbo from text, images, PDFs, and even your passwords and serial numbers. For something so simple and effortless you will be wondering how you ever managed your life before it.
Bookmark. For surfers we have Pukka from Code Sorcery Workshop which is a full featured client for both the del.icio.us and Ma.gnolia social bookmarking services. Running this handy app in your dock for easy drag and drop of your bookmarks, is the best possible way I can think of to interact with del.icio.us.
Backup. For backing up your Mac quickly, easily, and automatically, SuperDuper! from Shirt Pocket Software is the hands-down choice. Including features such as creating bootable disk image backups, incremental backups, and a very powerful scheduling engine, it’s the best way to back up your Mac without even having to think about it.
Edit. For quick and easy movie editing, Norrkross Movie from Norrkross Software is the perfect alternative to iMovie. The app has a green screen feature, unlimited layers, keyframing, nodal composing, and is based on Core Image. Norrkross Movie is a great way to get a lot more out of your video editing.
Collect. When winning 23 apps, you’re going to need a place to store all of those serials and keys. LicenseKeeper from Outer Level takes all of your serials, codes, and keys, and organizes them into a single window. LicenseKeeper auto-scans emails for serial numbers, autosaves data, and can export all of your licenses to a single XML file for backup. Never lose a serial again with LicenseKeeper.
Wear. The very generous folks at Insanely Great Tees will provide one shirt of their choice to each winner, and two runners-up will receive one shirt each as well. If you’ve never heard of IGT before, check them outthey have some really cool Mac-themed shirts at very decent prices.
How to Enter:
Get creating! Send your tale to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59PM EDT on Monday, April 30th. That’s one week, so you had better get cracking!
One entry per person, no purchase necessary, we don’t have a legal team or any assets so please don’t sue us, judges decision is final, yada yada yada. Good luck!
MacDrive, Macintosh Explorer, Painter’s Picker, and some really sweet shirts from Insanely Great Tees have been thrown into the bundle, and entries are rolling in!
Almost forgot: Props to our man Kyle Nilson for supplying the imagery for the contest.