The Real Deal 153: Mac software

Tom and Rafe talk about some of their favorite applications and utilities for the Mac.

Tom Merritt Former CNET executive editor
4 min read

Tom and Rafe talk about some of their favorite applications and utilities for the Mac.

Listen now:
Download today's podcast

They are more expensive. And you do get more firepower than other brands.

Rafe's Mac apps
(Keep in mind: My Mac is not my primary laptop, I still use XP and Vista on two other machines.

  • Adium
  • Evernote
  • FFox (with Cooliris, XMarks, Google Toolbar, Colorful tabs--not Safari or Camino)
  • Google Earth
  • Handbrake
  • VLC
  • Office
  • Picasa
  • Skitch
  • Skype
  • Times Reader
  • VMWare Fusion
  • Tweetdeck
  • Dashboard
  • istat pro
  • nextbus
  • SSavePassSwitch


  • Caffeine
  • Disk Inventory X
  • LogMeIn
  • TimeMachineEditor
  • Windows Live Sync
  • Witch

A good cheap image editor

Need to experiment with

  • iLife 09
  • iWork 09


  • Adium
  • Colloquy
  • Firefox (with Foxmarks, twitterfox, Tab Mix Plus)
  • DropBox
  • Open Office
  • VMWare
  • Crossover
  • Nvu (for Web editing)
  • Seashore
  • Transmission (BitTorrent)
  • VLC


  • Cocktail - (Essentially expanded System preferences)
  • Onyx - System optimizer
  • The Unarchiver
  • SoundSource
  • QuickSilver
  • FileZilla


  • Audacity
  • Levelator
  • ID3 Editor
  • SpinXpress


Tom and Rafe,

Just listened to your intermediate Twitter episode. As a fairly new twitterer - just joined in the last month - I appreciated all the "how to" info, but was hoping to hear more about twitter apps not on the iPhone smile

I have a BlackJack II running Windows Mobile 6.1, and I'm using TinyTwitter. It works great, coordinating with the phone's camera and TwitPic to automatically attach images to tweets, and with the phone's browser so I can view the tinyurls on the go. I also use twitterfox when I'm at my desk, and like the small popups so I don't miss anything when I'm not on the twitter website. (did you cover twitterfox in your first episode? It's been long enough that I don't remember).

Tom, you also mentioned people using RT incorrectly, which bugged you. What were they doing wrong?

Thanks for a great podcast, I look forward to it each week.

Amy in the East Bay

ANSWER: TinyTwitter http://www.tinytwitter.com/

Works on any Java-enabled phone

** Gentlemen, As always, thanks for the work you do. Rafe commented about not understanding why someone would restrict their twitter account in episode 152. I am an airline pilot with friends scattered all over the country. Twitter is the ideal tool for keeping up with all the friends I have accumulated over the years in my career but here's the rub. I live in a fairly remote area in Texas and am very uncomfortable about announcing my absence from the ranch to other than my known friends. While I don't have any delusions about my potential for popularity in the twitterverse, I do have a responsibility to protect my family to the best of my ability. In my opinion, Advertising my abscences to the whole world fall outside reasonable risk. Respectfully submitted, Vic

Sent from my iPhone. **

by topher2041 March 13, 2009 6:33 AM PDT I love the show. All great info and I tried out DestroyTwitter and TweetDeck but i have found one that is even better. AlertThingy, http://www.alertthingy.com/ , This not only lets you do do what TweetDeck and DestroyTwiter do but also ads the ability to check Facebook, RSS and other Networks and Services, Digg, Basecamp, Flickr, Jaiku, etc. It is great. You really should try this. ***

So 2 quick things:

1. Twitter- We're always looking to save characters. Well found what appears to be the shortest url convertor yet: http://is.gd/

Hey every extra character shortened can help...

2. A interesting short cut I use on the mac (yes the short cuts episode was a little ways ago): Holding the Option key and hitting any letter/number on the keyboard. This is basically the "symbols" font, but pre-programmed to function in all programs! Most useful for me now being in the UK, hence 'Option' + '3' = '£' That makes life so much better (copy & paste the £ is way to much work for a single character)

Cheers from Oxford! Tom Merritt the Doppelganger


Hey Tom, Just emailing to say bummer about the broken Kindle. -David


sheala March 11, 2009 8:25 PM PDT Hey Tom- Sometimes when you add new hardware (drivers) to a Mac it can help to reset the PRAM. (hardware start up RAM). This is similar to the PMU reset. On restart hold Command-Option-P-R. You'll hear the start up bing then it will recycle into a restart. Hold the keys until you hear the start up bing a few times, then let it complete the start up. This may help, though my mom has a similar problem with her Windows-EVDO card. I think it's the nature of that card to keep the machine awake and draw power. sheala, GA related apple help page: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1379


Hi Merritt & Needleman,

Just caught up on a few episodes; I think it was in the Road Test that you both said you weren't using Windows 7 regularly; I did for a while, but I switched back to Vista when I started having trouble with Google Gears in Google Chrome; whenever Gears kicked in, Chrome ground to a halt, and sometimes Windows even slowed down.

Also thought I'd mention that the Win + E shortcut doesn't open "Computer" in Win7, as in previous versions: it opens "Libraries"; hope they change this!

Finally, Rafe mentioned his pro PR tips blog in the self-publishing episode; I googled around but couldn't find it; would you mind sharing the link?

Thanks, Andrew

Andrew P. Burgess

ANSWER http://www.proprtips.com/

Next Episode: Your questions! Tom will explain how we're going to do it