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Preview: Essential Tools for OS X

Essential Tools for OS X

tiny bits that save the day

Updated: 2017-12-28T05:44:13.050+02:00


SADict Widget - English to Bulgarian dictionary in your Dashboard


I first saw this project a couple of months ago browsing through numerous how-to threads on the forums. It is a dashboard widget that you can easily install on Tiger or Leopard. The Widget takes your query and translates it from English to Bulgarian or vice versa. To do the job it uses the online dictionary hosted by Bulgarian portal at You can download the widget

Max - the one stop audio converter/encoder for Mac OS X


If you need to convert lots of audio files in and from different file formats, you'll find Max - or Macintosh Audio for OS X - extremely useful. In can rip CD's, downloading needed metadata from the MusicBrainz database, it can mass-convert Ogg Vorbis, Flac, Monkey's Audio (Ape) and about two dozen other file formats. I'm very fond of the iTunes integration Max offers.Max is a free and open

Rember - RAM memory testing for Mac OS X


When diagnostic a computer problem it often helps to isolate software from hardware problems. And although this age of low hardware prices we tend to forget about it, the rule used to be that one of the first things one should check is for a bad memory module. There are few tools that can help you out on the Mac with a problem like that, apart from Apple's own Hardware Test CD, which they used to

Tip: Connecting MacOS X Tiger Clients to Win2003 File Servers


I remembered the hard way (or rather I remembered while reading this post on Apple's discussion forums and a howto on that Apple's Samba implementation (the built-in software that allows you connect to Windows computers) doesn't support digitally signed communication. What does this mean for the average Mac OS X user? If he or she tries to connect to a Windows 2003 - based file

QuickTime Player (finaly) alows full screen playback


It took somebody quite a lot of time to realize the impact of this but Apple have just released QuickTime 7.2 allowing for full screen movie playback without going for the pro version. You can get the latest version from AppleMenu->Software Update or from Apple's QT downloads page.(via World of Apple)

Install Leopard beta without dvd-dl burner drive


Attending developers at this year's WWDC were given preview copies of Mac OS X's next major release 10.5 a.k.a. Leopard which was firs demoed exactly an year ago at WWDC'2006. The developer betas come as 6GB+ disk images, so in order to install them you have to burn the image to a dual layer DVD. Chances are your computer's not equipped with a dvd-dl burner drive (or if you're like me you have a

Live re-partitioning, unix style


Since Mac OS X 10.4.6 the built-in diskutil tool (Disk's CLI brother) supports live repartitioning of the boot volume. The feature became very popular with different macos x related forums because of Bootcamp Assitant which first introduced it. In short words it allows you to reformat your Mac's built in hard drive without loosing your data. If you don't fear the command line

Nice Player and QTAmateur- small, feature packed freeware QT Pro alternatives


As of June 2007 Apple are still bundling each computer they ship with their QuickTime movie player that fails to do the most natural thing one would want from a movie player - play a movie or a list of movies using the full screen of the computer. For that Apple wants you to purchase the 'professional' version of their player, or QuickTime Pro. If you don't feel like it you can choose from a

Yet another backup solution


There's a nice post over at by user harrisj suggesting a bash script that will backup your stuff to mltiple DVDs. Consider it a supplement to my previous backup post.

cocoAspell - Bulgarian spell check for MacOS X


How do you check the spelling of a TextEdit document, message, your personal website if you're working on a Mac? Well, MacOS X has a built-in spell checking engine, so no matter what application you use, provided that the application supports MacOS X Services, you should be fine. Ok, but how do you check the spelling of a document in Bulgarian? Well, you can't, not with the tools into

Howto: Automate backups to external drive with Check For Disk


Thanks to the wonderful Automator action Check for Disk made available from, you can setup an Automator workflow that will execute your backup script/launch your backup app every time you plug that external volume in your computer. Here's what you have to do:1. Go to to download & install the Check for Disk action; read the online example while your at it.2. Start up

Back up your MacOS X based computer


Most of today's Macs sport hard drives of 100+ gigs and more, which you'll be happy to fill with movies, audio songs, images and what not, but the more that heap of files of yours grows in size, the more critical it grows for your digital lifestyle. What will you do disaster strikes and you loose all those mp3 fies? Well, apart from re-ripping hundreds of CD's you could restore your files from

Howto: Run Windows, Linux, DOS, FreeBSD on Intel Macs and MacOS X 10.4 (Tiger)


MacOS X 10.5 (Leopard) with its rumored built-in virtualization technology has been delayed until October, so what can you do if you want to run an alternative operating system on your Apple hardware? You have several options, each with its Pro's and Con's:1. BootCamp Beta (Current version:1.2) Officially Supports: Windows 2K, XP-SP2 and VistaPros: Fastest (in terms of hardware performance)

Project Q


Q [kju:] - a FOSS project combining the QEMU open source processor emulator with Apple developed technologies like CoreImage, CoreAudio and others. The result - free emulator that lets you run alternative operating systems on your Mac, supporting a super wide range of OS choices from Darwin through FreeBSD, several Linux flavors to Windows XP and Vista. While most of the other emulators available

Staying in good health with MacJanitor


MacJanitor is one of Brian Hill's excellent MacOS X utilities which lets you run periodic system tasks with nothing but a few mouse clicks. Periodics are tasks that inlude rotating and backing up logs, cleaning up cache files, updating search databases and so on and they usually get executed in the middle of the night. If your computer is accidentally not awake at that time they will fail to

Inquistior: web search on steroids or Spotlight for the Web


If you like and use MacOS X Tiger's Spotlight search engine you'll probably thought about the idea of having a similar utility that can search the web, with live results coming back to you as you type your query. Well, actually there is such a tool and it is called Inquisitor. It is a Safari extension that auto-completes your words as you type the query in Safari's normal search box and results

HOWTO: Watch (Cyrillic) subtitles right inside QuickTime, FrontRow


Problem: quicktime gives us great stuff like full-screen view through Front Row, AppleTV, browser integration and what not... but for most of us non-native English speakers subtitles are a must. Most of the popular video players out there like VLC or MPlayer support the viewing of subtitles along with the video content. Anybody who has ever played a XviD movie with Cyrillic(



Project Perian ( enables you to easily watch many popular, but officially unsupported video file formats in QuickTime Player. Ambitiously dubbed 'the swiss-army knife for QuickTime', Perian consists of a couple of QT component files, that allow you to use DivX, XviD, .avi, .flv and what not with a little more than a double click. And what is more, XviD to iPod video conversion is just



xCHM ( - another .chm viewer for the MacOS. This one is cross-platform, available for MacOS X and Windows(?). Opensource, published under the GPL.



xACT ( - a nice gui frontend for a couple of unix tools alowing you to transcode audio file formats. Currently the most popular format for losses audio compression on the net is FLAC, APE coming somewhat second, and I can't play any of them on my iPod, which is why I need to transcode files to something more playable such as AAC. xAct(which stands for Audio Compression



VLC ( a multi-platform video player which started as a student project, but currently is one of the most popular video players out there. It is more of a streaming solution than just a player (started as a client-server project), very nice user interface Current version has better support for cyrillic subtitles than mplayer which is enough for me. VLC is an actively developed



Transmission ( - a very quick, lightweight and robust torrent client with nice user interface. Multiplatform (various *n*x-es, BeOS), opensource (MIT license). You can download tons of stuff with this thing.



Smultron ( - is a lightweight, Cocoa-based text editor that is currently on top of my list. I've alway been a great fan of quick text editors that serve me to compose a document, which later on I can mark-up in another application if I need to do so. Smultron can be very sophisticated, if you need it to. It supports syntax coloring, line/column numbers,



Reveal ( - and exif data viewer/editor, which means that you can actually change a lot of properties of a photo, for example change the shutter speed/aperture value (not very useful) or maybe change the date a photo was taken (hmmm). It is an opensource project with MacOS X binaries available. Donationware.



RBrowser ( - afaik a unique remote GUI-enabled file system browser for the MacOS X. Supports various protocols, such as sftp-ssh, ssl/tls-enabled ftp, plain old ftp. The gui is very similar to MacOS X's column view, so new users feel at home, and can perform sophisticated tasks as remote-to-remote folder synchronization by simply dragging and dropping between two Finder-like