Joe KissellSenior Contributor, Macworld

Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series, including the just-published Take Control of Apple Mail.

Easy Mac backups

If your computer is stolen, damaged, or incapacitated, you can always repair or replace the hardware and software. But what about your data? Without good backups, you could lose your hard work and precious records forever.

Tri-BACKUP 4.0.4

I found Tri-BACKUP made many activities that should have been simple unduly confusing. Unfortunate choices of interface and wording make this otherwise versatile program less attractive than others.

Personal Backup X4 10.4.5

Personal Backup X4 10.4.5 certainly contains some flashes of brilliance, such as extensive network server support and direct recording to optical discs, and for basic backup operations, it works well. But bugs and a poor restoration feature mar an otherwise attractive package.

Retrospect Desktop 6.1

If measured purely in terms of the number and depth of features, no other Mac backup program can hold a candle to Retrospect 6.1. If you want to back up a small network, it’s the best choice, by far.

Data Backup 2.1

Other than the weak support for optical discs and a below-average synchronization feature—neither of which is crucial for backing up your data to hard drives—there’s little not to like about Data Backup 2.1.

Backup 3.1

If you’re a .Mac member, you have access to Apple’s Backup 3.1. Among numerous changes since version 2, Backup now backs up new or changed files on each run, without erasing older copies.

BounceBack Pro 7.1

BounceBack Pro 7.1's focus is clear: making a bootable duplicate of your startup volume onto an external hard drive, and updating it every time the drive is plugged in.

Your apps in your pocket

Imagine carrying the applications you use all the time in your pocket, ready to run on any Mac,, with all your preferences and plug-ins just the way you want them. Welcome to the world of portable applications.

Get more from Mail

Apple’s Mail is not only easy to use, but also much more powerful than it may appear. If you feel that you’re not making the most of Mail 2.0, try using these tips to dig into some of its interesting and less obvious features.

VisiStat 4

What VisiStat does, it does very well—with almost no effort on the user’s part. If you want absolute simplicity in Web analytics—and can live without the details VisiStat is missing—you’d be hard-pressed to find a more elegant tool.

Your Mac's secrets revealed

59 ways to use your applications better, smarter, and faster

SnapMail 5.0

SnapMail offers secure, simple interoffice messaging and file transfer. If you’re looking for a no-frills internal messaging system, this fits the bill.

Tame e-mail

If you spend a lot of time dealing with the Web, chances are you have a cluttered inbox. Sometimes just deleting and archiving messages isn’t enough. So our crew of Mac experts offered up 15 ways to master your inbox and eliminate spam.

Surf smarter

Web browsing these days is more than just point-and-click. Tabs, shortcuts, passwords, PDFs and other productivity tools can help you find what you’re looking for. But getting a grip on it all can be a daunting task. Our team of experts offer these 15 ways to quickly find what you want online.

Firefox extensions for geeks

Mozilla’s Firefox browser is a great tool for surfing the Net. And thanks to a growing number of free Firefox extensions, it’s an especially good tool for people who want every possible ounce of browser power—and who are willing to tinker with their Mac to get it.