Every few months I go through a phase of looking for new programs that improve my day to day work experience on the computer. Not sure why I do it in phases, but it always seems when I switch to one program I am getting 5 more. Some end up being really cool and I continue to use, and others are just a fad and I forget about them quickly. Below are quick reviews of the several new applications that are all around great apps!
Growl I something that I installed last year but stopped using it when I switched computers. I guess you can call it a unified application notification system. It gives you alerts and events from several apps as a single system. it can get annoying if you have it notify too much stuff, but once I tuned it I got it working great. I like that it tells me the itunes songs I just started playing, or that I have new email and gives a quick flash of who sent it and the subject.
Rapidweaver is a simple but feature filled web-page and site authoring program for the Mac. Since I started using the Mac I full time over Windows XP I have been lacking a good web editor. I used Dreamweaver for basic page edits, but I never liked it. I always ended up going back to my XP box for Frontpage to do web work. Now Frontpage isn’t that good either but I was used to it, and I didn’t find anything better. That was until I saw a review for RapidWeaver. It does have its limits, but for the home page I have, I was able to redo my entire site in RapidWeaver in a few hours. All 300 megs of photos and all. RapidWeaver is not perfect. I all but can’t use it on my Intel iMac (universal binary version coming soon or so they say), so I use it on my Powerbook. That being said this software was worth the money I spent on it!
HandBreak is a free utility that will take a DVD and convert it for use in iTunes or on your iPod (aka makes a Divix or H.264 format). It takes a while to run, but it works great! I can convert a bunch of DVD’s to my iPod and watch them on the way to and from work!
iSquint is another great program that lets me convert media into Divix and H.264 file formats for use in iTunes and my iPod. iSquint takes existing video files such as MPEG-2, or AVI’s and will convert them. iSquint is fast and easy to setup. With it I can take any TV show I record with my DVR and put it on my iPod to watch later or when I am traveling.