A few weeks ago, I asked the rest of the Mac Devcenter contributors to their favorite new app of 2006. Nominations had to have been released - or reached 1.0, or some other similar milestone - within the last 12 months.
So here are our favorite new apps from the last year. What’s yours?
Oliver Breidenbach: I would suggest Midnight Inbox and Bonsoir as being the most interesting new apps this year. I would not call them my favorite and I do not (yet) use any of them regularly, but they open new perspectives.
Jason Deraleau: I’d have to say my favorite app of 2006 is Bare Bones’ Yojimbo. It came out right at the beginning of the year and my Yojimbo library has steadily grown as the months have gone by. At first I was just using it to store web site passwords and the occasional transient web article, but now I’ve started filling it with much more information. Now I’m using it for grocery lists, keeping tax information and PDF scans of pay stubs, even source code for some of my scripts. User’s guides, service manuals, old emails and some new, Yojimbo’s a great place to record just about anything. It’s integrated right off the PDF menu on every Print sheet, just waiting to file things away for later. And when I need to find it, I can store items in a variety of containers, tag them up, and with a few words in the search box, I’ve got that information at my fingertips. Great app.
Giles Turnbull: +1 on Yojimbo. I use it as a general notes and snippets store, and as my personal address book. The only other app from this year that has caught my attention to the same degree is WriteRoom from Jesse Grosjean. It’s the best full screen writing tool I’ve used for a long time.
Erica Sadun: My favorite app for this year is the stripped down, iPod only version of Handbrake called Instant Handbrake. It’s not the most flexible DVD ripper. It’s not the most awesome user interface. But it works, and it works well, and it works reliably. I throw in a DVD, choose the tracks I want to rip, and then walk away and let my new dual-core Mac Mini do all the work. An hour or so later, my video is iPod ready. This software has saved me on innumerable car- and plane-trips. And it’s great for finding and converting those easter-egg video tracks that you really don’t want to have to hunt for.
Todd Ogasawara: Old riddle: How does a Windows user use a Mac? Answer: With great trepidation. Ok, so, it is not funny. But, it is true. When I bought my G4-based Mac mini back in early 2005 I had to buy a different version of Office (for the Mac), lose Visio use, and go find replacements (if available) for a few Windows-only (or Windows/Linux-only) Open Source applications. This issue disappeared by mid-2006 when Parallels Desktop for Mac 1.0 was released and let you run Windows, Linux, and a other x86 based operating systems in a virtual machine at the same time as Mac OS X. Want to run Microsoft Visio or some other Windows-only or Linux only application? Install the OS in a Parallels VM, boot up, install the application, and start using it. Want to test an upgrade or new server software for Linux server without touching the production machine? Install Linux, boot, upgrade/install software, and start testing. Want to run an old game that only works in (gasp) Windows 98 (like LEGO Loco)? Yep, you got it. Parallels solved a lot of issues for me.
Derrick Story: Right now my leading contender is Fission. I’m constantly having to cut and snip audio, and Fission gives me exactly what I need without sapping the heck out of my laptop, even the older ones. And once I’m finished editing, I can just save the
file without having to recompress it. Very nice, especially for MP3s, because there’s no quality loss. Amazing how much I can do with Fission, Audio Hijack Pro, QuickTime Pro, and GarageBand if I need it.
David Battino: Ecamm’s Call Recorder for Skype is pretty handy. I wrote about it earlier this year. Several bigger applications come to mind, but Call Recorder’s Mac-like simplicity made it an insta-buy for me.
Chris Adamson: While it wasn’t released during 2006, Flip4Mac’s WMV Component for QuickTime had a major change in status early this year when its basic version became a free download — from Microsoft, no less — as a replacement for the now-abandoned and never-adequate Windows Media Player for Mac OS X. The free version of this component allows any QuickTime app, including the QuickTime browser plug-in, to play non-DRM Windows Media files and streams, and pay versions let you export to other QuickTime formats and author Windows Media as well. You don’t have to like WMV to use this plug-in, you just have to want content that wouldn’t otherwise be convenient for Mac users, like the videos on CNN.com or streaming audio from KFOG.com (gotta have my 10@10, even here in Atlanta). In general, I think Mac users would do well to be more aware of the many QuickTime components that open up new formats, such as the 3ivx and DivX components to handle DivX video, and the (no longer available) LAME QuickTime MP3 Encoder component to export MP3 from any QuickTime app.
Jochen Wolters: While we’re covering QuickTime plug-ins, there is one other product that could well be the only QT component you may ever need besides Flip4Mac. It’s called Perian, it’s open-source, and it works extremely well for a piece of software that is currently at version 0.5.