Essential Mac Apps & Software – Part 2 – Mac Means Business
In the first part of this three part series (I feel like a director now!), I talked about some basic apps and software that really improve the overall Mac experience and create a unified approach to productivity across your mobile and laptop. This post continues on that theme but as promised it focuses on business productivity and browsing.
# 1. Xmind
I simply can’t take notes at a meeting or present a plan for ANYTHING without Xmind. This is what it is: mind-mapping (spider diagrams if you like) tool that’s free. It’s incredibly intuitive. My favourite on the list. Please download this now. Please…
# 2. Skype
You’re probably saying “You’re kidding right?”. Nope. I’m gobsmacked at the amount of people who don’t use Skype and even more surprised at the number of companies that don’t use it for basic conference calls that one-to-one. It’s free (when you call from computer-to-computer) or on any device provided you don’t call an actual phone number. It’s got great features inc. screen-sharing and instant messaging.
This is a great app. I do a lot of business calls on Skype. This app records those calls. Why? To remove ambiguity and help you type up minutes after the call. This is particularly handy if you are taking a ‘brief’ from a client so you can not only avoid, but ensure their ‘Oh I thought that was included’ techniques don’t work. It’s a must though that you tell the person you are recording the call. I would hate to think someone was recording me without telling me.
# 4. Meme Generator
I love memes. But what have they got to do with productivity? Inspiration for your social media content, that’s what. If you have a Facebook page or a Twitter account for your business or client, a meme with some industry angle is a great way to generate engagement and create a ‘voice’ for your page. The meme generator for me is a content generator.
# 5. VLC
A lot of players like Real Player etc. drive me daft. Sometimes they’re buggy and you can end up being targeted with a lot of marketing rubbish. VLC is not one of them. It’s a not-for-profit dream player. I’m no techie so I don’t fully understand the science of it, but VLC plays almost everything and you’ll rarely get a ‘We’re sorry, this player does not support video.x’ messages.
# 6. Pocket
If you’re like me, then you browse a lot about different topics and pages everyday without fail. Before Pocket, if I didn’t have the time to read a great page I came across I emailed myself the URL. Inevitably, they ended up in trash without being read. You download the Pocket app on your Mac and iPhone. If you use Chrome as your browser, you can download it as an app on the browser too. So now when I land on a page that I like I just press the ‘Pocket’ button and the page is saved down in an offline format so I can read it later on the move with my iPhone/iPad or at home on the Mac. Now all your pages are stored together ready to read and you can categorise them as you wish. Happy browsing!
# 7. Sketchbook Express
Frankly, it’s beyond me how this app is free. I’m not complaining though. This is a really, really great drawing and art app. If you’re nifty you can create some really great images which can be added to your site. It certainly beats MS’s ‘Paint’ in terms of what you can produce. Admittedly it’s no alternative to what Adobe offers but it’s great considering it’s free.
# 8. Wunderlist
Do you use the notes feature on your iPhone or the post-its on your Mac? Tut tut! What happens when you lose your phone, upgrade or leave it at home when you go out to run a few errands? Wunderlist is the way forward. I talked about Evernote in my last post which is great, but Wunderlist is great for the smaller things like a shopping list or reminders. Quick and easy and it saves to the cloud so you’ll never permanently lose those important little notes.
# 9. CodeAcademy.com
Ok, so this is not really an app or software. It actually teaches you to code. For free and at your own pace. Why learn to code? Simply because it’ll save you time and a lot of money rather than hiring experts to do the little things. You may not build your own website from scratch but if you can do a bit of styling in CSS you’re winning! Another option is Team Tree House – this is a paid alternative. If you already know a bit of code and want to publish something download a free programme called ‘Sublime Text 2’. Make 2013 the year to learn HTML – it’ll not only help you reduce costs but make you a lot more employable!
# 10. Google Chrome
Safari is a great browser. Google Chrome is the greatest. Faster than Safari and Mozilla it also has its own app centre plus Google docs etc. If you want a truly centralised browsing experience use Chrome. In fact, it has so much to offer, it deserves a post of its own.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the third and final installment! What do you think of the apps above? Have you any you’d like to add to the list?