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Tom's Mac Software Picks 2012

Quality Mac Apps With Exceptional Value


One of the many tasks I have here at About: Macs is reviewing Mac apps. In doing so, I find many products that are decent, well-designed applications. I also see a few apps that have me scratching my head, wondering what the developers had in mind when they built such an abomination. Needless to say, those apps never see the light of day here.

I also see some Mac apps that are well conceived, well designed, and well, just simply brilliant.

Tom's Mac Software Picks are quality apps that offer exceptional value. I look at Mac software from every category; games, utilities, graphics, education, development, productivity, you name it. If it’s a quality app that works well, then it is fair game to become a Tom's pick.

Here is my list so far for the year 2012. I will add new entries each week, so stay tuned to see which apps make the grade. If you have any suggestions, be sure to stop by and submit your Software Nomination for Tom's Mac Software Picks.

Additional Years

Tom's Mac Software Picks 2013

Tom's Mac Software Picks 2011

Tom's Mac Software Picks 2008 - 2010

VLC media player

VLC is a multimedia player that comes with so many video and audio codecs that it's like the Swiss Army knife of media playback.

If you spend any time watching or listening to movies or music on your Mac, or enjoying streaming content, then VLC media player is a must-have.

Redshift - Astronomy

Redshift - Astronomy
Courtesy of United Soft Media Verlag GmbH

Redshift is a desktop planetarium app for the Mac, but it's much more than a basic night sky viewer. Redshift can take you on guided tours of the universe. With its 3D models of major local and deep sky objects, and comprehensive database, Redshift will keep you entertained as well as informed about the night skies above you.


Gemini - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2012

Gemini is one of the best apps for finding duplicate files that I've come across. If you need to trim your Mac's file storage weight, Gemini is the way to go. Its ability to find duplicates, organize them by kind, and present you with information about each duplicate make it easy to decide which files can stay and which can go. In no time at all, you'll have some extra storage space on your Mac that you never knew was available.

iStat Menu 4

iStat Menu 4 - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2012
Courtesy of Bjango

iStat Menu 4 is one of the best system monitoring apps around. Using the Mac's menu bar, iStat Menu provides an always-available peek at what the innards of your Mac are up to. The newest version of iStat Menu fully supports Retina displays and OS X Mountain Lion. It also has improved history graphs and provides more details in GPU monitoring.


Labelist - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2012
Courtesy of Chronos

Labelist is one of the most versatile labeling applications we have ever come across. If you want to create labels for an item or an event, Labelist can probably handle it. Need to print labels or envelopes from a mailing list? Labelist can do that, too. It can also create custom letterhead, bar codes, and postal codes.

DaisyDisk 2.x

DaisyDisk 2.x - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2012

DaisyDisk 2.x is a utility that helps you discover which bits of data are taking up precious storage space on your Mac's drive. DaisyDisk displays the results on a sunburst map that lets you quickly dive into the structure of your drive and unmask the space hogs. You can then easily remove some of them to free up space.

DaisyDisk's scanning engine is fast. The app is easy to use, and its display of data is easy to navigate and understand.


Hazel - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2012
Courtesy of Noodlesoft

Hazel from Noodlesoft is a system preference pane that performs automatic housekeeping chores on your Mac. Hazel can monitor any folders you specify. When an event, such as a file download, occurs, Hazel springs into action and performs the task you defined for her. This includes moving, renaming, and deleting files, as well as other file management activities. Hazel can also work with iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture to import items into their respective apps.

Hazel includes a set of predefined rules; you can also create your own rules.


Conjure - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2012
Courtesy of ConjureBunny

Conjure is a virtual desktop that allows you to treat your Mac's desktop as just that, a real desktop you can write on, organize objects, such as files, folders, and apps, even create flowcharts and organization charts.

Conjure allows the easy creation of multiple desktops, each residing in its own tab. Clicking a tab lets you quickly move between desktops.

Conjure is unique, and fun, and can even be used for presentations and educational uses.

ScreenShot PSD

ScreenShot PSD - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2012
Courtesy of txtlabs

ScreenShot PSD is a handy screen capture app that uses the PSD format to store elements of a captured screen shot in individual layers. ScreenShot PSD will place the Dock, Menu Bar, app windows, and other elements of the image into individual layers. You can edit and manipulate the screen capture in any image editor that works with PSD files, such as Photoshop and Pixelmator.


Bartender - Tom's Mac Software Picks 2012
Courtesy of Surtees Studios

Bartender lets you control and organize the Apple menu bar. You can rearrange menu items in any order, hide any or all items, or create a secondary menu bar that you can hide or show as needed.

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