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Top 10 Mac Software for 2013 December 26, 2013

Posted by Andre Vellino in Software Review.

This is a top 10 list of Mac software for 2013. Most of them are not new, but many are new to me for this year.

(1) 1Password : https://agilebits.com/onepassword

This is single-handedly the most useful and valuable piece of software I own.  It’s a password-vault that securely generates and stores passwords for all your logins. Free and Open Source equivalents include Password Safe and KeePass but 1Password has them all beat in their user interface and that’s important when you use something every day. It’s true that Open Source alternatives have the security advantage that anyone can inspect the code for back-doors and security mistakes, but I am willing to trust Agile Bits.  Maybe it’s because they’re Canadian.

(2) BoxCryptor : https://www.boxcryptor.com/

Worry about storing your files in the cloud no more. Boxcryptor provides file-encryption  for cloud storage services, including Dropbox, Google Drive and SkyDrive.  For file encryption or even disk-level encryption I would have recommended TrueCrypt except that it hasn’t been updated in more than a year. For Windows systems, I would suggest Axcrypt.

gpg-tools(3) GPG Mail : https://gpgtools.org/

GNU Privacy Guard (GPG) is a tool for encrypting, decrypting, signing and verifying files or messages. Despite adding my GPG signature on all my e-mails for the past 5 months, no one has yet sent me an encrypted e-mail, but once everyone uses it, I predict it will be the spam-killer app.

things2(4) Things 2 : http://culturedcode.com/things/

If you’re not the most organized person in the world you’ll be grateful for this tool: it helps remind you of what you need to do, and when you need to do it.


(5) TeXStudio : http://texstudio.sourceforge.net/

TeX is 35 years old and still going strong.  TeXStudio is a pretty good text editor and a pretty interface for this rather complicated typesetting system.  Essential for writing camera-ready copy, particularly if it involves mathematical equations and symbols.


(6) Pixelmator : http://www.pixelmator.com/

If you don’t have the patience to learn Photoshop or even Gimp, Pixelmator likely does most of what you’ll want if you are a casual photo editor.

(7) WhatSize : http://www.whatsizemac.com/

Even a rarely used software item can be quite valuable.  Sometimes you really need to see how your space is allocated on your disk when you see your space disappear from it. WhatSize does only one thing but it does it well.

(8) GoBan : http://www.sente.ch/

I don’t play computer games much, but when I do it’s the game of Go – still by far the most beautiful board game ever invented.  This UI app is very nice for playing others on line or against Go software like GNU Go or Pachi Go.

stellarium(9) Stellarium : http://www.stellarium.org/

Starry Night used to be the king of the hill of sky simulators for astronomy – and perhaps it still is – but Stellarium is a quite a fine Open Source alternative that is quite a bit less complicated.

(10) Audacity : http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Audio editing software is probably frustrating no matter how good the user interface. And Audacity’s user interface is frustrating!  But I keep coming back to it because it’s so available and does so much that’s useful (noise reduction, normalization, export to various formats, etc.)

Needless to say, I have no commercial or other interest in any product mentioned above and I have paid for all my personal product licenses for the commercial software listed above: 1Password, Things 2, WhatSize, Pixelmator and GoBan.


1. Richard Akerman - January 1, 2014

Why 1Password over just using the Apple Keychain? You can add passwords or secure notes to the Keychain in Applications->Utilities->Keychain Access, File menu. And sync the Keychain across devices now using iCloud.

Andre Vellino - January 1, 2014

I don’t especially want to be bound to iCloud is one reason. Another reason is that I just don’t get the UI for Keychain. And last but not least, I don’t know of an Android app for Apple Keychain. I also like the 1Password plugins for non-Apple browsers (I’m not big fan of Safari).

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