[Home], [Setting up Mac OS X envrionment]

My Personal Review of MacOSX Softwares


OmniOutliner 3****
Very intuitive outliner. It is so easy to use and manipulate, so one can concentrate on the idea. The outline can be exported to Keynote. You can also make a column to sum numbers. This is useful for keeping track of the sum under different categories.
With v3, you can drag URL and files into the Outliner file.
OmniGraffle 3***(*)
A great tool to draw diagrams. It also works as a drawing tool. When you connect a line between two boxes, and move a box, the line moves together with the box. V3 has "smart guides" as Keynote, which greatly helps drawing time and improves the quality. You can also change the line width, filling patterns etc. of multiple items with the same style at once.
The only drawbacks are that, hatching patterns are only available on 'professional' version, and you cannot draw arcs with an arbitrary angles.
If you are a student or an educational faculty, you get the best price at Omni Store [Edu Store]. The academic discount price is $41.95. (The normal price is $69.95. It costs 7800 yen at act 2, a distributor in Japan.)
AppleWorks 6***(*)
Simple word processor, drawing, painting, spreadsheet, and database tools are seamlessly unified together. Most of the work can be handled with this nice integrated software. I much prefer this over Microsoft Word and Excel. However, it shows some age (looks like Classic application), and the EPS output is not quite valid to be included in LaTeX.
FileMaker Pro 6****
Easy and powerful database. Only with a short introduction, secretaries can make their own database and various forms. I use this to collect information through web. I also used this to handle registration and other business for a big interenational conference with ~1000 participants. People entered information on the web, which went into the database immediately, and people received a confirmation Email automatically.
Simple and intuitive presentation software which generates a razor sharp images for plots and figures. This software convinced me to finally switch from transparencies to computer presentation. Here are some of my tips for using Keynote. And, Keynote 2 (a part of iWork'05) is even better. The prensenter's view shows the current and next slides, you can skip over slides without showing them to audience, you know how much time you have, etc..

TeX and related stuffs

TeXShop 2.14****
TeX and LaTeX editor/compiler. With pTeXShop stuffs, it can also handle Japanese. From V1.29, you can select a rectangular part and drag it to Keynote, for example, as a PDF image. Extremely easy and beautiful (no jaggy edges even after rescaling).
How to install X11, TeX, TeXShop, Ghostscript and GhostView
LaTeXiT 1.14.3****
A great tool to typeset equations using LaTeX, and make PDF images that can be dragged into Keynote, etc.. You can also keep equations in your library, organized in folders. This is similar to LaTeX Equation Editor, but has many more nice features, such as keeping history, remembering the preamble for each equation in the library, etc.. You can even create Feynman diagrams on it.
LaTeX Equation Editor**
A simple tool to generate equations in PDF format, to be dragged into Keynote slides etc. The current V1.3 does not work under Japanese environment, but Keisuke Fujii made a patch to the V1.3 source to fix the problem. Here is the fixed version (.sit).
LaTeX Equation Editor is not working under Tiger for me anymore. Now that LaTeXiT is available, I highly recommend LaTeXiT over LaTeX Equation Editor.

RPN (Reverse Polish Notation) Calculators

RPN Calculator 1.9.6****
Simply the best. Accurate in both numericaly and RPN functionalities. Very powerful and has many functions. Well thought-out keyboard shortcuts allow you to calculate without using a mouse. It has base conversions, but does not support operations in Hex/Oct. (The software is so good that I will forgive the shortcoming.)
Review of other RPN calculators

Text editors

mi 2.1.6***
Simple Japanese editor. Previously known as Mimikaki Editor. You can use it to convert Japanese character codes, too. Since it is light, I have
	alias mi open -a mi
in my ~/.tcshrc. This way,
	mi foo.txt
on Terminal opens file foo.txt.
Japanese editor
JChecker 3.0***
HTML checker/editor
Vim = Vi Improved; simple but powerful editor. It comes with OS X, but if you want to handle Japanese, here is how.
Carbon Emacs for Japanese***
Emacs application that can handle Japanese. How to set up.


iPulse 2.1.8****
Very useful and beautiful application to show CPU/memory/disk/network activiites and time. The new v2.0 also shows detailed information on CPU, memory, network, disk, etc. just by sliding the mouse over iPulse. No need to launch a Process Viewer. Also, it incorporates a logarithmic scale that I requested.
LaunchBar 4.3.4****
Great tool to launch applications, web sites, and to open folders, etc. from a keyboard, without remembering shortcuts. To launch AppleWorks, you can type "appleworks", "app", "aw", etc.. It prepares various abbreviations, and learns how you launch them automatically. It also works as an application switcher. Super productive.
CodeTek Virtual Desktop***
Makes multiple screens. You can have separate desktops for different tasks. Turn on Preferences>Applications>Special Handling for All Applications> "Automatically swithch to the desktop of the topmost window" option. Then by selecting an application in the dock or by LaunchBar, it switches to the desktop which has the (topmost) window for the application.
I find this superior than Space.app, since CodeTek Virtual Desktop allows windows of each application to be on different desktops. Instead, Space.app simply hides or shows windows of certain applications. For example, with Virtual Desktop, you can have web browser, editor, Terminal windows for a certain task on one desktop, and another browser window and Terminal window for another task on another desktop. In another words, Virtual Desktop is "task-oriented", instead of "application-oriented".
After Expose became available on Panther, I have not used Virtual Desktop anymore, to tell you the truth.
WindowShade X 4.1.2***
You can collaps a window to a title bar, mimimize it in place, make the whole window transparent, etc..
Does NOT work under Leopard. Uninstall it before upgrading the OS to Leopard.
xScope 1.5****
A set of screen ruler, guide lines, cross-hair, loupe, etc.. The ruler can be rotated to any angle, so it is useful for reading the slope of graphs. The best screen ruler for OS X. Review of other rulers.
A nice FTP/SFTP utilitiy to transfer/synchronize files between machines.
THE FTP client for Mac since old days, has been modernized. Fetch has been, and still is the only FTP utility that supports Kerberos security system. The new Fetch can handle SFTP, and also supports mirroring. You need Kerberos Extras to use Fetch under Kerberos.

Synchronize/backup utilities

SuperDuper! 2.1****
Simple and powerful utility to make a bootable backup. Making full bootable backups is FREE. With $27.95, you can do differential backup, scheduling, and use many other features.
Synchronize! Pro X / X Plus***
Easy to use, runs fine. Shows a preview before copying/deleting, with directory structure. Pro X can make a bootable backup, but it is expensive ($99.95). X Plus cannot make a bootable backup but costs less ($29.95). Backup Simplicity can make a bootable backup ($49.95). After 2 years, you need to pay $49.95 for Synchronize! Pro X or $24.95 for Backup Simplicity to use newer version. Kind of expensive...
Very simple, and there is no preview feature. It used to be able to make a bootable backup on OS X 10.2, but not anymore on OS X 10.3.
Hangs up while trying to backup to a Firewire hard disk. (p9r8). It actually damaged directory structure. Previous versions ran, but the preview does not show directory strucutre, and cannot control by folders.

Encyclopedias, Dictionaries and viewers

SuperNipponica 2003 DVD Macintosh version****
Very comprehensive encyclopedia.
Searches multiple dictionaries simultaneously through internet.
It searches multiple dictionaries on hard disk in many different formats including EB, EPWing, FreePWING, Eijiro, etc.. Collins Cobuild English Dictionary on CD is also supported. Great tool.
Eijiro Viewer 1.2.10***
It only handles Eijiro dictionary, but it is fast, and it works. If the entered word is not in the dictionary, it lists guessed words. The meanings of all the candidate words are listed, so it is faster to look things up.
EIJIRO dictionary viewer (Classic app).
DViewCocoa v0.7.1.1**
Searches EIJIRO dictionary, but cannot display Japanese under English OS (unless you run it from Terminal with some other commands).


2008-02-11. Taku Yamanaka