I struggle to find good software for my Mac. That may sound strange since I have about 100 applications and utilities that I use with regularity, but it’s true. How did I collect so much software? Time and patience. I try out software almost every day, discarding most, keeping a few for more in depth use.
There’s no magic. It’s a concerted effort to find software that does something unique, or does something better, faster, easier, classier, cheaper. That’s why my Mac is so cluttered with favored software.
There’s plenty from which to choose. One of my first stops each day is to MacUpdate and VersionTracker. All I’m doing is trying to find out what’s been updated, and what’s new, so it’s good first stop.
Making sure my Mac is updated with the latest and greatest is also a challenge. I like MacUpdate’s utility, and AppFresh to check my Mac and tell me what needs a new update. With 100 applications and utilities there’s always something that needs to be downloaded and updated, so I batch my effort into a once a week 20 minutes or so.
What constitutes good Mac software? Again, back to that three step process. Select something that looks interesting and useful and try it. That’s step one.
If it crashes early, or is difficult to figure out without a manual, I usually delete it and move on. Mac software should be intuitive. If it’s not, there needs to be another compelling reason to move on for a deeper look.
Performance enters into my software selection criteria. If a new utility is sluggish or has obvious flaws, again, it gets deleted quickly.
Software with some measure of promise or a few features that look attractive will be saved for further use at another time. That category gets me one out of 10 tried, not a good percentage.
I have a Mac mini which serves as my test ground. I don’t really need to have some errant Mac software mess up my day-to-day Mac. Once I find something I like and it doesn’t appear to cause me any grief during testing, I’ll move it into more use on my main Mac.
About one out of five or six of those selected will make the cut and get a recommendation, a purchase, or more regular use. Despite the low percentages, I end up with plenty of Mac applications and utilities, some of which are used daily, others which get used sparingly.
For example, everything Apple gets used regularly with the exception of iWeb in iLife ‘08. I even use Garageband to work on my music making skills. The reason you haven’t heard my music is because my skills still need some work.
What’s odd about all this effort to find Mac software is that I usually have just four or five applications or utilities open and running at one time. Safari. Mail. Together. Steel, Things, and maybe a couple of others. Mac OS X Leopard handles screen clutter better than me.
Still, time and patience is required to find good Mac software.