I get quite a bit of email every week from companies that want their products reviewed in My Mac. While two years ago this was great for receiving free software and for getting to try out great new products without the risk of wasting money on software that doesn’t deliver, it’s no longer as ‘cool’ as it used to be. Why? Time.
What would you do with all that software? You could not possibly ever use 95% of it. How many graphic programs can you use? How many word processors? How many nifty utilities can you possibly take advantage of at one time? Of course, much of the software now reviewed in My Mac is done by other writers. I simply act as a means to procure that software for them. (And yes, at times I keep and test the software myself. Hey, ownership does have its privileges!) But for the most part, I tend to use the same software all the time. Programs which have found a permanent home on my hard drive; programs which I use on a daily basis, or at least often enough that I don’t want to have to load the software from a Zip disk or reinstall every time I use it. And so this month I will share with you my “keepers,” those software titles which I find the most useful. If you use a different program and think I would be better off using it rather than the one I have, convince me otherwise. Write in with your reasons for using your favorites rather than the ones I like.
To connect and browse the Internet, I use Netscape Navigator. Usually, I upgrade to the latest and greatest version that’s out there, but I have felt comfortable using 4.04. Why? Because for me, the latest version, 4.5, just wasn’t as stable on my system as 4.04 has been. 4.04 works great and does what I want it to, so why should I change? Yes, I know all about the latest features in 4.5, but for the most part, they’re features I’d never really use.
For email, I use the built-in email client in Navigator. No, it’s not the best by any stretch of the imagination, but I like integrated programs of this nature. It is simply easier to check my email when I’m out browsing the Internet by simply clicking the mail button rather than launching another program. However, for sending out email in large quantities, I use Eudora Lite. Fast and it works!
For chatting with my My Mac buddies, I use AOL Instant Messenger™. It is often buggy, but it seems the staff and I have sort of settled on it. Besides, some of our staff is only online with AOL, and this lets us all chat at the same time. It works, but it tends to crash my computer when I’m running Netscape Navigator for any length of time while chatting with AIM.
When I have to upload something to our website, or one of the other websites I work on, I use the FTP client Fetch 3.0.3. Is there a newer version? I’m not sure, but this program does just what I want it to. I read Adam’s review last month of Transmint, and while it sounds like a fine program, why switch? Fetch 3.0.3 works, is fast, and takes next to no memory to use. It’s an all around winner in my book.
To actually dial into my ISP, I use either Remote Access on Mac OS 8.5, or whatever the latest build of FreePPP is available. Some days, RA works better. Other days, FreePPP does. I have a strange local dial-up account service, let me tell you…
Utilities / Helpers
This is a very large category. It could be better named, true, but that is the name of the folder I keep these programs in. So, for lack of a better name, U/H is it !
If I’m going to send out a bunch of letters, and I need to make some labels for them in my printer, I use MacLabelPro™ 1.64. This program was made back in 1995, and while it’s not PowerPC native, it works fine. The interface is a little hard to get used to for a novice user, but I have been using it for so long it would be really weird to use another program. In all these years, I have never checked to see if there is an updated version of this software. I hope there is, and someday when I feel the need, I may check into it. But this program works well for printing Avery labels, works well with my printer, and I have no plans on changing to another program anytime soon. However, if you know of a better program, do let me know!
It is a rare time when I need to fax something. When I do, I simply use the fax software that came with my Mac, FaxSTF™ 3.2.5. Are there better fax packages out there? I’m sure of it. In fact, I had a fax program that came with a Supra Express 14.4 modem a few years ago that ran rings around FaxSTF, but I can’t remember the name of the software nor did I keep a copy of it when I sold that computer/modem. But as I said, it’s a rare day that I need to send or receive a fax, so this works just as well. It’s somewhat easy to use, was on the hard drive when I got the computer, so here it stays until something better falls in my lap.
GURU is a software utility which will give you some important information on every Mac and clone made to date. Roger Kasten at Newer Technology created this little gem of a software program, and it’s free. Not sure how much email Roger gets on this project, but it’s not enough. Hey, everyone email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him this is a great program! Tell him Tim sent ya!
StuffIt Deluxe™ 4.5 is the best program for stuffing and decompressing programs you download and upload from the Internet. Really! Yes, Aladdin also offers a freebie version of the software, but to really appreciate the miracle of compression, you should buy this version. They recently released version 5.0, but it’s not backwards compatible with older versions of Drop Stuff and Stuffit Expander, so I have held off upgrading until a fix is made available. (And yes, I have 5.0 right here in the box ready for review, but I refuse to load it until the compatibility issue is resolved.)
HDT Primer™ PE 1.6.2 sits in this folder ready to mount any SCSI device I may throw at it. For instance, I found that when I keep the Zip disk extension active on my computer, it crashes often. So when ever I want to use a Zip disk, I must first launch HDT to mount the disk on my desktop. It’s cumbersome to go through this extra step, but I find the stability more than worth it. HDT 1.6.2 was made back in 1994, but it works for me and is fast. What more do I need?
Well folks, that’s all for this issue. I will continue next month with both graphic programs and text (word processor) programs. Until next month, stay safe and send me some email!