Some Great Little Mac Apps

First let’s define what I mean by “little”. Little means often overlooked, something that may not get a ton of press, but that is massively useful. Little does not mean: cheap, limited, useless. Now that I have that out of the way here are some great ‘little’ apps that I love.

The Apps

  • Hazel: I talked in depth the other day about it, but it really is a great app that is often overlooked.
  • Droplr: This is an app that sits in your menubar and allows you to share things, files/code/notes/links/pictures with a short URL ( It is fast, easy and free. There are many others out there that can do the same thing, Droplr does it all in style though – especially the beautiful iPhone app.
  • IOGraph: This may not be useful for many people, it tracks your mouse path and creates a lively looking path photo out of it. Like digital art for people who suck at painting (me). The most interesting part of the app is that it can visually show you where you are wasting a lot of time with the mouse, and then I try to see if I can reduce that mouse movement using the keyboard more. For example my mouse seems to never go to the bottom right corner of my screen, but spends way too much time clicking on Menubar items.
  • Img2Icns: Just like the title says it takes an image file (preferably a PNG) and converts it to a ICNS, Folder Icon, iPhone icon, Favicon. I use it all the time for creating custom Icons and especially for creating Favicons.
  • Soulver: This is a real mans calculator, well a real computer geeks calculator that is. You can write equations in app and is spits out an answer, you get line references and a running total of all lines. I love that fact that you can see where you messed up, and you can save the files to come back to them later. It is like a mini-Excel for running some quick calculations.
  • xScope: Just about any Mac using designer is going to swear by this tool. I love it because I can measure the dimensions of stuff on the web, and check to make sure that things really are lining up. It really is a handy little tool, the demo is very gracious as well, so you can download it and use it for quite a while before you decide to buy.
  • TextExpander: I could not write without this, well I could but it would be slower and riddled with more typos. This allows you to type a short code and then it is automatically expanded into the full text that you set. For instance if I type: “MBA” it expands to “MacBook Air”. If you blog about gadgets or find your self typing the same long phrases/names out over and over then this is a must have tool for you. You can though do somethings this app does with the built in tools on Mac OS X.
  • Growl: A preference pane utility that adds a notification system to OS X. I use it to monitor Tweetie and Dropbox, but there are a host of other applications. Just remember that these notifications can and will be distracting if they are constantly coming up.
  • Perian: Another preference pain utility that allows QuickTime to open a lot more file formats than it can out of the box. It is a truly handy tool to have in your toolbox.
  • Keyboard Maestro: This allows you to program a ton of keyboard shortcuts that do everything from launching apps to moving your mouse one pixel to the left. I am working on a full write up and a look at how I use it, until then you can get a pretty good idea from the examples that come with the app.
Originally posted for members on: December 10, 2010
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