After Sunday’s big wipe-the-Mac-Mini-and-reinstall-Tiger exercise, I took a look at my collection of recently-installed disk images to see what items turned out to be the most critical for getting back up to speed. Admittedly, I’m using the Mac Mini for recording and playing back TV so these images skewed heavily video. There are many titles I use daily on my main Mac (like Photoshop and Microsoft Word) that would never show up on my test unit. And there are some items, like MPEG Streamclip that are seeing a lot of use these days on the mini, which wouldn’t get all that much day-to-day use on the primary Mac. Hopefully there might be someone out there in readerland who will get a kick out of the following list.
QuickTime Pro. Just about as soon as the new OS was installed and running, I unlocked QuickTime Pro and installed my MPEG-2 component. Apparently, I cannot live without a full-featured QTPro. Added to this mix, I loaded Perian and Flip4Mac to complete the QuickTime experience. Perian allows me to play back nearly any file format, except for Windows Media. Flip4Mac picks up the slack there.
Firefox. Every single computer I own gets its own copy. It’s such an essential tool and it’s not part of any standard OS install that I’m aware of.
Audio Hijack Pro. Nearly every single article I write ends up referencing how I used Audio Hijack Pro to accomplish some task or another. From an Audio point of view, it’s the must-have hacking tool. AHP allows you to capture audio from any program on your Mac and to apply signal processing to that audio in real time. Just for the curious, it works great under Intel Tiger, not so great yet under the unreleased developer OS also installed on the Mac Mini, but you know it will when that unreleased OS moves closer to reality.
iSquint and Instant HandBrake. These are two of my favorite media conversion and DVD ripping tools. iSquint calls itself “iPod Video Made Easy” for a good reason. I have just downloaded MediaFork the new GPL open source forked child of HandBrake and can’t wait to play with it.
MPEG Streamclip. When working with MPEG video, it’s a tool you can’t afford not to be using to convert, transcode and otherwise process your MPEG.
VLC. VLC is the hacker’s media player of choice. I’m always discovering new ways to use it and have a dozen “to learn” items on my things to do list. It slices, dices and julianne fries media.
QuicKeys 3. You might think of this as an odd member of the “media” software, but I control nearly everything I do from the keyboard and QuicKeys allows me to customize all my the other programs to accomplish this. Plus it allows me to program my macros in addition to just reassigning keys.