One of the tasks I undertake here at About: Macs is searching for new or updated Mac software that meets our requirements for exceptional value. I labor away at finding the best apps, which sometimes go unnoticed and other times are well-known, best-of-their-class applications.
What all of the apps have in common is that they're well thought out, have an excellent user interface, and provide exceptional quality for the price.
Each new software pick is announced on Saturday in the About: Macs blog; it's also included in our yearly list of Tom's Mac Software Picks. You can find previous years' 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
If you have a favorite app, feel free to nominate the software for inclusion in Tom's Mac Software Picks. I can't guarantee I'll include it, but I will check it out. If it makes the grade, it may find a home on our list.
coconutBattery lets you monitor how well your portable Mac's battery is performing. Have you ever wondered how many times the battery has run through a complete charge cycle? How about how hot the battery is running? coconutBattery is a free battery utility that can keep you in the know about how well your Mac's battery is operating.
FastTasks 2 from SQWARQ is a simple menu bar addition that provides quick access to commonly used Terminal commands and system information. If you're tired of trying to remember a specific Terminal command, or if, like me, your fingers have a mind of their own and insist on making mistakes when you're trying to type a command, FastTasks 2 can save you time and aggravation.
Skitch is an easy-to-use screen capture and markup app from Evernote. Skitch can save images to your Evernote account, but it also works just fine as a standalone app. If you need to take screen shots and then mark them up with descriptive text, callout symbols, or shapes, then Skitch may be the perfect choice. And it won't cost you a cent.
ChronoSync is a backup and syncing utility that provides tremendous control over how your files are backed up or synced between devices. ChronoSync supports syncing between Macs, PCs, and iOS devices, and can perform the syncing without the need for a cloud-based middleman. Instead, ChronoSync uses your own network, keeping your syncing local and ensuring a secure solution to file syncing.
NotesTab 4 is an easy-to-use note-taking utility that lives in the Mac's menu bar and provides quick access to notes you've already taken, via the table of contents view. You can also mark notes as favorites for even quicker access. NotesTab is available as a free app; you can also upgrade to a Pro version that adds iCloud sync support, additional formatting options, and other features to make taking notes even more of a breeze.
MacJournal 6 takes the art of keeping a diary or journal and raises it to new heights. It supports many types of media, including images, video, audio, and web content. It also allows you to create multiple journals, each dedicated to a specific purpose. Last but not least, you can create MacJournal entries and upload them to your blog.
WinZip Mac Edition 2 from Corel is an easy-to-use compression utility that works with quite a few archiving formats beyond those native to OS X. If you have ever struggled to expand a compression archive from another computing platform, WinZip may be just the utility you need.
WinXip also provides an easy-to-use zip compression tool for the Mac that delivers capabilities beyond those available with OS X's built-in archiving tool.