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Advice on Mac utilities - Mac Applications & Software

Hi, Sorry in advance for this Newbie question. I'm a brand new "swticher" to the Mac world, having just bought a PowerBook. I was curious about what "essential" utilities I should have on my Mac. In the Windows world, I would always load Norton Utilities, Norton Anti-Virus, and at least a software firewall (I had been using ZoneAlarm) on a machine before I ever put any of my content on it. I'm presuming the same should hold for a Mac. I know there are Norton programs available fo OS X, but I was wondering about alternatives. I'd be grateful to ...

  1. #1

    Default Advice on Mac utilities

    Hi,

    Sorry in advance for this Newbie question. I'm a brand new "swticher" to the
    Mac world, having just bought a PowerBook. I was curious about what
    "essential" utilities I should have on my Mac. In the Windows world, I would
    always load Norton Utilities, Norton Anti-Virus, and at least a software
    firewall (I had been using ZoneAlarm) on a machine before I ever put any of
    my content on it. I'm presuming the same should hold for a Mac. I know there
    are Norton programs available fo OS X, but I was wondering about
    alternatives. I'd be grateful to anyone willig to share their personal
    experience. Thanks.

    Best regards,

    Mark
    mark@markscoleman.com Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: Advice on Mac utilities

    In article <o1ATa.58011$k85.1982685twister.tampabay.rr.com >, Enough
    <enoughidontcare.com> wrote:
    > In article <CgyTa.128781$H17.41462sccrnsc02>, [email]markmarkscoleman.com[/email]
    > wrote:
    >
    > > I'm presuming the same should hold for a Mac.
    >
    > Wrong!
    Please ignore Enough -- he's our resident troll, and not representative
    of Mac users. I'd hate you to get a bad impression of the community
    you've just joined due to someone like him!

    In any case, Norton publishes all the stuff you mentioned for Macs as
    well, but IMHO Norton is not the strongest contender on the Mac.
    DiskWarrior is good, though only at one particular thing. TechTool Pro
    (which comes free with an AppleCare warranty right now) is a better
    all-around disk utility.

    Virus software isn't really necessary unless you need protection
    against stuff like Microsoft Word macro viruses. (I've seen ONE virus
    in all my nearly 20 years of using a Mac, and it didn't infect me and
    was easy to eliminate.) If you do decide you want one anyway, Norton
    Anti-Virus and Virex are two choices. (Virex comes free with a .Mac
    account -- at $100/year for the .Mac service, it's a pretty big
    bargain, especially with the other free stuff you end up getting, but
    it's not right for everyone.)

    There are myriad programs others have mentioned that are not
    particularly important, just interface gizmos. You might be interested
    in them, but that's a very personal decision. They're hardly
    indispensible items that you should feel a need to look into before
    you're ready, so don't let the volume overwhelm you. In particular, I
    noticed a number of the ones on one list were utilities designed to
    give Mac OS X some interface elements familiar to OS 9 users -- being a
    new Mac convert, I doubt you'll be that concerned about making your Mac
    work like an older version of the OS! (Sorry if this offends those
    providing the recommendations, but let's not drown the poor guy on his
    first day in the pool!) When you feel a particular need, or just want
    to play with some cool new software, then you can look into some of
    those programs.

    --
    -Thomas

    e-mail me at thomasareed at philadelphia.net minus phil
    Thomas Reed Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advice on Mac utilities

    In article <CgyTa.128781$H17.41462sccrnsc02>, [email]markmarkscoleman.com[/email]
    wrote:
    > [...] I'm a brand new "swticher" to the
    > Mac world
    Welcome.
    > , having just bought a PowerBook. I was curious about what
    > "essential" utilities I should have on my Mac. In the Windows world, I would
    > always load Norton Utilities
    In the Mac world Norton isn't held in as high regard as it used to. Disk
    Warrior and TechTool are more interesting options IMO.
    > , Norton Anti-Virus
    I've never encountered a virus in some 10 years. AFAIK there are no
    viruses for Mac OS X.
    > , and at least a software
    > firewall
    It's built-in. But by default all ports are closed, so as long long as
    you don't start any services a firewall doesn't seem that necessary.

    The built-in firewall can be accessed by GUI through System
    Preferences->Sharing (where you can also start some services and the
    router). For more detailed configuration you'll need the terminal. See
    "man ipfw". There are some third-party utilities that provide extended
    GUI access to ipfw, if you want that. I think "Sunshield" and
    "LittleSnitch" are some of them.
    (<http://www.versiontracker.com/macosx/> is one of the popular places to
    search for software.)

    --
    Free and shareware at <http://www.euronet.nl/~tekelenb/software/>
    Sander Tekelenburg Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: Advice on Mac utilities

    On 24 Jul 2003 01:52:04 -0400, [email]shaminotechie.com[/email] (David C.) wrote:
    >Another good package is Micromat's Tech Tool Pro
    >([url]http://www.micromat.com/[/url]). Version 3 only runs on MacOS 9, so isn't
    >too useful with new Macs. Version 4 is coming real soon now.
    It's out! My copy arrives next Friday.

    forge Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: Advice on Mac utilities

    forge writes:
    > David C. wrote:
    >>
    >> Another good package is Micromat's Tech Tool Pro
    >> ([url]http://www.micromat.com/[/url]). Version 3 only runs on MacOS 9, so
    >> isn't too useful with new Macs. Version 4 is coming real soon now.
    >
    > It's out! My copy arrives next Friday.
    Cool. Thanks for the news. The Micromat web site still lists it as
    "coming soon".

    I'll check more frequently and place my order when they list it as
    shipping (I don't like pre-orders.)

    BTW, for those who may not realize it, there's a $50 price for those
    upgrading from Tech Tool Deluxe. TTD comes bundled with AppleCare
    Protection Plan contracts - use it for a discounted update if you
    have it.

    (If not, buy a copy of Drive10 right now $70 and get a free upgrade
    to TTP4 before that offer disappears from Micromat's web site :-)

    -- David
    David C. Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: Advice on Mac utilities

    > >
    > > Furthermore I've seen several credentialed Mac-heads telling people to
    > > run, do not walk, run away from Norton.
    > >
    > no, run FAST!
    >
    > Drive 10 saved my system when Norton would just mumble. A long time
    > ago, Norton actually worked fine for me - but not since os-9.

    Stay away from Norton Disk Doctor.......the latest Speed Disk (comes
    with Norton Utilities) for optimizing works fine though in my
    experience. OSX disks get really fragmented...

    eg
    EG Guest

  7. #7

    Default Re: Advice on Mac utilities

    In article <m2brvkbhff.fsfqqqq.invalid>, David C. <shaminotechie.com>
    wrote:
    > Other essential utilities (IMO) are:
    >
    > - Roxio's Toast Titanium. This is one of the best programs for
    > burning CDs and DVDs. Much more powerful and flexible than the
    > disc burning programs that comes with MacOS.
    Agreed. Really essential.


    > - Dantz's Retrospect. This is one of the most popular backup
    > programs around. The Express version is a basic package that can
    > back up to magnetic or optical disc media. The more expensive
    > Desktop version offers some more powerful features and supports
    > tape drives. I regularly use Retrospect to make backups to a tape
    > drive.
    I've heard good things about this, but I've not bothered. I just use
    Carbon copy Cloner on a regular basis to make sure I have a complete
    'backup drive'.



    > - Better internet apps - web, mail and news. MacOS comes with basic
    > apps for these (Internet Explorer, Mail.app, etc.) Some people
    > like them. I don't. Do some web searches, download a bunch of
    > titles and keep the one(s) you like.
    >
    > I currently use Safari ([url]http://www.apple.com/safari/[/url]) and Mozilla
    > ([url]http://www.mozilla.org/[/url]) for web browsing, Mozilla for e-mail, and
    > Gnus (part of Gnu Emacs) for news.
    All fine choices, although my personal preference is for Camino
    (formerly known as Chimera) for browsing and Thoth for news.
    And, with a couple of weird quirks aside, I actually *like* the Mail.app
    application.


    >
    > - A text editor. The system-provided Text Edit utility is OK, but I
    > prefer something more powerful. Many people like BBEdit
    > ([url]http://www.barebones.com/[/url]). There is a free "BBEdit Lite" that
    > you can download from them ([url]ftp://ftp.barebones.com/pub/freeware/[/url] -
    > note that it's not linked from their web pages.)
    BBEdit Lite is, in my book, one of the essential mac applications,
    especially if you do any web page designing and you actually like to
    go in and work with the code, rather than just using graphical
    development tools like Dreamweaver or GoLive.

    Jim C.
    James Chokey Guest

  8. #8

    Default Re: Advice on Mac utilities

    EG <acer151hotmail.com> writes:
    >
    > Agreed, OSX does seem to handle fragmented files well but sometimes
    > you need that space freed up for dv or whatever and Speed disk seems
    > to be able to handle it...eg
    Sure. For occasional use (say, once a year or something), defragging
    isn't a bad idea.

    But I wouldn't trust a Symantec product with my drive. I currently
    do my defragging with Alsoft's Plus Optimizer (it came free with my
    Disk Warrior 2.1 CD). For those who can't boot OS 9, I've heard a
    lot of good things about Micromat's Drive10, although I don't have
    personal experience with that product.

    -- David
    David C. Guest

  9. #9

    Default Re: Advice on Mac utilities

    In article <CgyTa.128781$H17.41462sccrnsc02>, [email]markmarkscoleman.com[/email]
    wrote:
    > Sorry in advance for this Newbie question. I'm a brand new "swticher" to the
    > Mac world, having just bought a PowerBook.
    Welcome! Congratulations!
    > I was curious about what
    > "essential" utilities I should have on my Mac.
    I would recommend the following:

    1. DiskWarrior 3 - approx. $90 from [url]http://www.alsoft.com[/url] or your local
    Apple store.

    2. tail - free (check macupdate.com for a copy)

    3. Carbon Copy Cloner - $5 from [url]www.bom.com[/url]

    4. Dot-Mac (aka .Mac) - $99/year from Apple Computer.


    DiskWarrior is an essential Disk Directory Repair utility that seems to
    find problems long before they BECOME problems. It used to come with
    PlusOptimizer (a defragger in PC terms), but no longer does (a new
    version of PO should be out before long, however).

    tail is more of a "weekly maintenance" type app. I use the "Pilot"
    feature and it's hassle-free and wonderful. Again, really helps stop
    problems before they become problems.

    Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC) is for making full or incremental backups to
    another hard drive. If you prefer to make your backups to burnable CDs,
    you can investigate Retrospect *or* read on.

    My .Mac recommendation is not a universal one -- many old-time Mac users
    feel it's not worth the money, and I'll admit it's a little bit
    overpriced. However, for a Switcher such as yourself, I sincerely
    believe it offers a very good value.

    In addition to the email, web page, iPhoto page, free games, backup
    software and many other benefits it provides, you also get McAfee's
    Virex for Mac (not really needed at present, but you never know) which
    works great, and the aforementioned Backup software, which allows you to
    easily backup material not just to a CD burner, but vital data can be
    backed up to your iDisk (a remote "virtual disk" on Apple's server).

    You might be wondering why I'm not suggesting Norton for Mac. Well,
    believe me I used to be a big fan and staunch defender of Norton for
    Macintosh, and I still maintain that *when run from the CD* the
    SystemWorks or Norton Utilities package works perfectly. However, after
    no end of problems with clients who have installed it on their hard
    drives (either Utilities or Anti-Virus), I can no longer recommend the
    company's software.

    As for a Firewall: you are really best off using a hardware firewall (a
    router), but Mac OS X has a built-in one that works great, so no need to
    spend money on one.

    Hope that helps.



    In the Windows world, I would
    > always load Norton Utilities, Norton Anti-Virus, and at least a software
    > firewall (I had been using ZoneAlarm) on a machine before I ever put any of
    > my content on it. I'm presuming the same should hold for a Mac. I know there
    > are Norton programs available fo OS X, but I was wondering about
    > alternatives. I'd be grateful to anyone willig to share their personal
    > experience. Thanks.
    >
    > Best regards,
    >
    > Mark
    --
    Cheers,
    _Chas_
    [url]http://www.apple.com/switch[/url]
    non-spammers can write to chasm at mac (dot com)
    Charles Martin Guest

  10. #10

    Default Re: Advice on Mac utilities

    In article <300720030023149218%net>,
    James Chokey <net> wrote:
     
    > >
    > > So far in this thread there have been a number of reportings of
    > > corrupted disks. I find myself a bit curious as to just what
    > > software people are running...[/ref]
    >
    > In the situation I was referring to above, the corrupted drive was an
    > External LaCie Firewire that only held MP3s that I used with iTunes.
    > FWIW, I started having problems after upgrading to iTunes 4 and
    > adding pictures to existing MP3s. Whether that was a coincidence or
    > not, I do not know-- the problem hasn't come back, at any rate.[/ref]

    The problem hasn't come back since you did... what? Run Diskwarrior?

    --
    ///---
    Gerry Guest

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