Mac Gems at Macworld Expo

At last week’s Macworld Expo, Rob Griffiths and I took to the Macworld Live! stage to give Expo attendees a taste of Mac Gems; specifically, 17 of our favorite low-cost software products, constrained only by the fact that they had to be things that were easy to demonstrate and didn’t require extended exposition. It was a lot of fun, and we had a great crowd.

Since then, we’ve received a good number of emails from attendees—as well as people who couldn’t make it—asking for a list of the products we covered. We’re happy to oblige.

  • Saft ($12): Web browser plugin that offers ~50 new features to Safari, including better ad/banner blocking, improved auto-complete functionality, and type-ahead searching ( review ).
  • Chax (   ; free): plug-in for iChat that offers loads of new features, including tabbed chats, log searching via Spotlight, and auto-away handling ( review ).
  • DejaMenu (   ; free): system utility that puts the menu-bar menus for the current application in a handy, hierarchical menu that pops up under your mouse cursor; great for huge displays ( review ).
  • NuFile (   ; payment requested): contextual menu plug-in that lets you quickly create a new document—in your choice of formats (text, HTML, Word, Excel, etc.)—in the current Finder window. You can even create document templates and create new documents based on those templates ( review ).
  • MondoMouse (   ; $15): system add-on that lets you move and resize windows by clicking anywhere in a window, even if that window is hidden behind other windows ( review ).
  • MenuMeters (free): menu-bar indicators that display CPU, disk, memory, and network activity ( review ).
  • GrandPerspective (   ; free) and WhatSize (   ; free): utilities that let you quickly determine where your hard drive space has gone by showing you what files and folders are taking up the most space. GrandPerspective takes a visual approach, whereas WhatSize displays hierarchical lists of folders, sorted by size ( review ).
  • SuperDuper (   ; $28): backup utility that can make perfect, bootable copies (“clones”) of Mac OS X volumes. You can use the scheduling and Smart Update features to automatically update your clones on a regular basis ( review ).
  • DropCopy (   ; free for individuals; $25 for large networks): drag-and-drop utility for quickly sending files between computers; automatically finds and displays other computers running DropCopy. Also lets you share Clipboards between Macs ( review ).
  • ChangeShortName (payment requested): the only safe way to change your short username in Mac OS X; be sure to read the documentation ( review ). Disclaimer: I’m one of the developers.
  • Service Scrubber (   ; payment requested): lets you easily remove unused services from the Services sub-menu; you can also define your own keyboard shortcuts for those services you use ( review ).
  • Witch (   ; payment requested): system enhancement that offers an alternative to OS X’s Command+Tab application switcher. Instead of displaying just applications, Witch shows you all open windows, grouped by application; you can quickly switch to any particular window ( review 1, review 2 ).
  • Snapz Pro X (   ; $29 for image-only version; $69 for movie-capture version): advanced screen-capture tool that can capture both static screenshots and full-motion onscreen video ( review ).
  • Jumpcut (   ; free): multiple-Clipboard system enhancement; you can access past Clipboards via a menu-bar menu or—using a keyboard shortcut—an attractive, onscreen display ( review ).
  • teleport (   ; free): lets you use a single mouse and keyboard to control multiple Macs—a sort of “software KVM switch” ( review ).
  • TextExpander (   ; $30): time- and hand-saving utility that can automatically insert predetermined text when you type textual shortcuts. For example, when I type mwaddy , TextExpander automatically replaces that text with the full address of the Macworld offices ( review ).

(New to Mac Gems? Check out the Mac Gems Catalog for a list of all the cool products we’ve covered over the years.)

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