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Tom's Mac Software Picks 2013

Mac Apps With Exceptional Value


Here at About: Macs, I look at new or updated Mac applications almost every day. Over the course of a week, there are usually some pretty good apps that I think deserve a bit of notoriety, as well as a few that, well, to be polite about it, aren't quite ready for real-world use.

When I find a well-designed, well-executed Mac app, I add it to my list of potential candidates for Tom's Mac Software Picks. My picks are all quality apps that also offer exceptional value, and cover many categories, including utilities, graphics, education, productivity, games, and development.

Each software pick is first announced on a Saturday in my daily blog, but since blog posts tend to slip down into oblivion, I also include a brief description of each pick in this list.

The lists are organized by the year the software was first mentioned in my Saturday blog. This list covers 2013, but you can find more picks in the following lists:

Tom's Mac Software Picks 2013

Tom's Mac Software Picks 2012

Tom's Mac Software Picks 2011

Tom's Mac Software Picks 2008 - 2010

By the way, if you have a favorite Mac app that you think deserves to make the list, please stop by and submit your Software Nomination for Tom's Mac Software Picks 2013.

McCad EDS-Lite

McCad EDS-Lite - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2013
Courtesy of Vamp, Inc.

McCad EDS-Lite from Vamp, Inc., is a set of engineering design automation tools that cover schematic capture, simulation, and PCB design. Best of all, McCad EDS-Lite is free. Don't worry too much about the "Lite" designation; the tools have the same features as the professional level suite of design tools. The difference is the imposed limits on the number of schematic sheets, parts, and nets that can be used on a single design. For the most part, these limitations shouldn't interfere in small home projects, or as a learning tool for electrical engineering students.

SoundSoap 3

Courtesy of Soundness

SoundSoap is an audio noise reduction system that can eliminate noise, pops, crackle, hiss, and background noise from recordings, tapes, and LPs.

SoundSoap is available as a standalone app and as a plugin that works with many of the most popular audio and video workstations, including Logic, ProTools, Final Cut Pro X, Premiere, and many more.


Courtesy of Echo One.

DoubleTake is an easy-to-use stitching app for creating panoramic images. DoubleTake automates much of the process of getting the edges just right, but it also has controls that you can use to make seams vanish before your eyes. If you would like to try your hand at creating panoramic pictures, give DoubleTake a whirl.

ArtRage 4

Courtesy of Ambient Design

ArtRage 4 is a painting and drawing app for Macs, PCs, and iOS devices that provides one of the most realistic painting environments available. This is particularly true if you use a graphics tablet with a pressure-sensitive pen that mimics the pressure applied to brushes, pencils, ink pens, palette knives, and other tools of the trade. ArtRage 4 may quickly become your favorite painting application.


Courtesy of Tapbots

Tweetbot is a full-featured Twitter client that allows a great deal of customization. Tweetbot supports multiple accounts, lists, and syncing via iCloud; it also has an impressive search system.

If you're looking for a Twitter client with more capabilities than the standard Twitter client, give Tweetbot a try.

Star Walk HD

Courtesy of Vito Technology Inc.

Star Walk HD is an iPad app for locating celestial objects. Although we don't usually include iPad apps here, Star Walk HD gets the nod this week because of its ability to help you locate a new visitor to our solar system, Comet ISON.

Comet ISON may be the comet of the century or just another comet; we have to wait to find out. But in the meantime, Star Walk HD can help you see the comet, which is just now becoming visible to the naked eye.

HoudahSpot 3.8

HoudahSpot 3.8 is a front end for the Spotlight search engine built into OS X. HoudahSpot has been updated to support OS X Mavericks and the new Finder tags. With HoudahSpot, you can gain easy access to all of the underlying capabilities of Spotlight, without having to use special tricks or remember arcane commands.

DiskMaker X

DiskMaker X - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2013
Courtesy of Guillaume Gète

DiskMaker X can create bootable OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion, or Lion installers on a blank dual-layer DVD, which lets you easily install OS X Mavericks on any Mac that has a DVD drive.

Pixelmator 3.0 FX

Pixelmator 3.0 FX - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2013
Courtesy of Pixelmator

Pixelmator has been a favorite app here at About Macs for many years, and the winner of multiple Readers Choice Awards. The newest version, Pixelmator 3.0 FX, has a new editing engine that is fast and extremely responsive to almost any task you can throw at it. Pixelmator also has some jaw-dropping new features that may well make you wonder why you ever considered that expensive image editing app.

Sandvox 2.8.6

Sandvox 2.8.6 - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2013
Courtesy of Karelia Software

Sandvox is a web site development app that can help you build large web sites or simple blogs, all with your own personal touch. Sandvox provides web design tools for both casual users and pros. With its full WYSIWYG support, you can quickly create a site. Then, if you wish, you can dig down with the HTML tools to add special capabilities and features.

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