Interesting Mac OS X Programs

This is a list of Macintosh-based software that we’ve found interesting over the years. Not all the software listed is free, and this is not an exhaustive list. If you don’t see your favourite program here, email us, and let us know!

Note: All links listed here are for Intel-based Macs.

Office Productivity

  • LibreOffice for MacOS X fork of OpenOffice.org using Java and Carbon instead of X11 for better integration with the Mac OS X environment.
  • Abiword simple to use cross-platform word processor.
  • Smultron open-source text editor has features such as syntax highlighting.

Web Browsers (other than Safari)

  • Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the web faster, safer, and easier.
  • Mozilla Firefox free web browser with features such as including tabbed browsing, pop-up blocker, privacy/security controls, integrated search, and more.
  • Opera Browser free alternative web browser

Email client software

  • Thunderbird free email client with features such as POP3/IMAP support, intelligent spam filters, a built-in spell checker, RSS feeds, saved search folders and more.

Utilities and functionality extenders

  • Main Menu Pro gives access to hidden Mac OS X settings and let you easily optimize your system. (US$19.99)
  • Perian extends QuickTime support for many popular types of media
  • Flip4Mac allows you to view/listen to Windows Media files on OS X
  • Carbon Copy Cloner creates bootable clones of your current OS drive, making for quick recovery in times of disaster (Donate-ware).
  • SheepShaver probably the only way we know of to run the OS 8/9 environment on an Intel Mac for those with software that just hasn’t been ported to OS X yet. Takes a bit of fiddling (not a simple setup), but actually works.

Multimedia

  • Roxio Toast one of the best ways to create your own audio CDs (allows cross fading between tracks), crunching your (personal video content) 8GB DVDs to fit the 4GB DVD spec. (US$80)

Educational / Lifestyle

  • Kindle App allows you to read your Kindle purchases on your Mac
  • Comic Life engage your children’s (or your) storytelling skills, with this app that helps you create your own comic book from your own images. Quite addictive.

Image Editing

  • Pixelmator is an image editor which is not quite a Photoshop killer, but is more cost effective, and also allows you a 30 day free trial. (US$14.95, via AppStore application).

Adobe releases security updates to Adobe Acrobat Reader & Acrobat for Windows, Mac and Linux

On May 12th, 2009, Adobe has released security updates to Adobe Acrobat Reader and Acrobat for Windows, Mac, and Linux. From the security bulletin at http://www.adobe.com/support/security/bulletins/apsb09-06.html :

“A critical vulnerability has been identified in Adobe Reader 9.1 and Acrobat 9.1 and earlier versions. This vulnerability (CVE-2009-1492) would cause the application to crash and could potentially allow an attacker to take control of the affected system. A second vulnerability has also been reported that appears to affect Adobe Reader for UNIX only (CVE-2009-1493).

Adobe recommends users of Adobe Reader 9.1 and Acrobat 9.1 and earlier versions update to Adobe Reader 9.1.1 and Acrobat 9.1.1. Adobe recommends users of Acrobat 8 update to Acrobat 8.1.5, and users of Acrobat 7 update to Acrobat 7.1.2. For Adobe Reader users who can’t update to Adobe Reader 9.1.1, Adobe has provided the Adobe Reader 8.1.5 and Adobe Reader 7.1.2 updates.”

Read the security bulletin for download links : http://www.adobe.com/support/security/bulletins/apsb09-06.html

Adobe Flash Player v10.0.22.87 released to address potential vulnerability

According to a security advisory from Adobe , Adobe Flash v10.0.12.36 (and earlier versions of Adobe Flash 9) on all platforms has a vulnerability “that could allow an attacker who successfully exploits this potential vulnerability to take control of the affected system” – meaning malicious software could be downloaded and run on your machine if you visit a website with malicious Flash content  file or video (SWF) .

To determine what version of  the Flash player you have, visit  http://www.adobe.com/products/flash/about/and to install the latest Flash player go to http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer.

Windows users should note that the Flash Player in their Microsoft Internet Explorer browser and the one in other web browsers  like Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari are separate installs. You should install and update both versions, by visiting http://www.adobe.com/go/getflashplayer in Internet Explorer and then with your other web browser.

Software Freedom Day 2008 event planning for TTCS

Software Freedom Day (SFD) 2008 will be on September 20th, 2008 and the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS ; http://ttcsweb.org/ ) needs your help.

What is Software Freedom Day?

Software Freedom Day (SFD) is a global, grassroots effort to educate the public about the availability and benefits of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Local teams around the world organise and have events
on the third Saturday in September.

Software Freedom Day is on September 20th, 2008. We need to plan now and

  • decide what to do
  • locate a suitable venue
  • promote the meeting once the venue and format of SFD 2008 is confirmed

The TTCS wiki page is available to assist with planning at http://files.ttcs.tt/ttcs-wiki-sfd2008-planning.pdf

Local Linux users, Windows users, Mac users, fans of open source software, everyone is welcome to assist with this project.

If you :

  • can help us with these tasks
  • have ideas and suggestions
  • would like to volunteer to help with planning SFD 2008 in Trinidad
  • would like to volunteer to help on the actual day(s)

please go to the planning page for further information and/or to add your contribution : the TTCS SFD 2008 wiki page at http://files.ttcs.tt/ttcs-wiki-sfd2008-planning.pdf and email admin at ttcsweb.org. Notes of meetings will be posted to the planning page with the first virtual one scheduled for July 27, 2008.

Further details will be posted to the SFD2008-planning page as well as via email to those persons interested in helping with SFD2008.

In 2007, the Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society’s entry for SFD 2007 received a “highly commended” award from the Software Freedom Day organisation! Information about that event can be found here:

Help Firefox get a world record on Tuesday 17th June 2008

Version 3 of the multi-platform web browser Mozilla Firefox will be released on Tuesday 17th June 2008. The non-profit Mozilla Foundation is attempting to set a Guinness World Record for the most software downloads in 24 hours on Tuesday 17th June 2008.

(Update : June 17th – after some initial hiccups, you can download Mozilla Firefox 3 . For live interviews with the Mozilla team, updates on the download count so far (and earlier, the problems with website updates), visit http://air.mozilla.com/ )

Firefox v3 has several improvements, not just in features but in the speed of loading webpages. Check out this screencast of some of the features in Firefox 3. There is also a Field Guide to Firefox 3 with many screenshots. To help with the record, visit http://www.spreadfirefox.com/worldrecord and click on the red “Pledge Now” button. You will be asked to select what country you are from (and yes, Trinidad and Tobago is listed as one of the countries) and optionally your email address (for the Mozilla Foundation to keep you informed on Tuesday) and click the Pledge Now button. By doing so, you are pledging to download Firefox 3 on Tuesday.

The http://www.spreadfirefox.com/worldrecord page has an interactive map where you can see the number of pledged downloads. As of 2:00am Monday 16th June 2008, the number of pledged downloads from Trinidad and Tobago is 573. So head over to the http://www.spreadfirefox.com/worldrecord page if you haven’t pledged to download Firefox 3 (and of course do so on Tuesday!)