Since my other laptop that I had for almost 5 years died recently, I opted to find a new one. I did weeks of research to find the one that suited me best while I’m traveling for the next couple of years. It ended up being an Apple Macbook Pro Mid 2013 edition. With getting a Mac and a completely different IOS system that I’m used to, I ended up studying everything about it for the 3 weeks it was being processed, built, and shipped. In doing so, I learned about some of the most useful apps on the market right now. This is the list of the top 10 most useful ones that I’ve found.
Mint.com is an amazing website that pulls all of your bank/financial accounts into one place. You can set budgets for yourself, keep track of your spending, set financial goals, and categorize how important certain saving aspects are to you. The Mint QuickView app is directly linked to the website, feeding you unlimited information about your accounts and tracks your transactions so you’re up to date where your money is going. Also, the app helps you keep track of any fraudulent charge that could possibly be on your account. The best part about all of this? It’s free.
The Keeper app is a handy tool to put all your passwords for all the different accounts you have across the internet. You do have to pay 10 dollars for the app but it’s extremely secure, making it my go to app to counteract how forgetful I can be. It can also generate incredibly secure passwords for any situation and save it to each individual account you have added. It’s controlled by a master password and security question that links into your account while all your information is listed categorically. Get this app if you have dozens of websites with several different passwords and login information. There’s also an iPhone app for security across all platforms.
The Daisy Disk app is an incredible disk space analyzer that breaks down your memo
ry usage into an amazingly easy interface to read. You can analyze your computer’s built in memory or plug an external hard drive in to scan that as well. It’s a great way to look at everything you have and clean up what you don’t need on your computer if it’s starting to lag a little bit or you just need a little more space. It’s the best disk analyzer I’ve found so far. It does cost 10 dollars but it goes on sale for half off intermittently throughout the year.
Memory Diag is an incredibly useful app that handles your RAM memory, giving you a diagnostics report through a small icon by the volume and wifi icon on your computer. RAM memory deals with how fast your computer can handle multiple projects or pages at once, saving a small chunk of memory from everything you do in between you shutting down your computer. When you press the icon, a larger report shows up, giving you information on how much RAM your computer is using. It splits it up into File Cache memory, Wired memory, Compressed memory, and App memory. You can optimize your RAM, deleting any unnecessary memory usage mainly in your File Cache. Eventually you have to shut down your computer to get it back to optimal efficiency because your File Cache builds up over time with information your computer finds vital. This effectively wipes that away but this app is a good indicator when you should do that, too. It also gives you a great detailed map of your RAM drives and what’s being used. It also costs nothing. Free ninety free.
Caffeine is another free, useful app that appears as an icon next to your wifi indicator. It shows up as a coffee cup and to turn it on, you press the icon, filling it with steaming coffee. It basically turns your computer’s standby mode off so it’s always on. It’s great for downloading large files such as software updates or updates on instruments in Logic Pro X, which are notoriously large files. I use it when I’m downloading a YouTube movie. Since I’m in the boonies of Alaska, it takes FOREVER to download anything, forcing me to leave my computer on overnight just to download smaller file types. With this app, I can do that without fear of it going to sleep or just shutting down. Just dim your screen lights and you’re golden.
MPlayerX is a free alternative media player to the very limited default player on macs, Quicktime Player. It plays just about any file type, too. It’s basically the only media player I ever use anymore for movies and has all the features you would expect on a media player. It’s also not nearly as glitch prone as the default player. More features that it uses is it lets you skip through a movie or TV show by using the arrow keys, lets you control the volume by swiping up or down, and lets you zoom in and out by using the zooming tool on the keypad. It’s an ideal choice if you’re not a very big fan of Quicktime.
UTorrent is a small BitTorrent client. BitTorrents are protocols that practice peer-to-peer file sharing to distribute large amounts of information throughout the internet. Basically, everybody shares a small chunk of a file that you’re downloading until you stop the client from sharing it anymore. So for anyone that wants to download a file, they don’t have to worry about some file being stored on a specific server, which in turn means slowing down that specific server. This saves incredible amounts of space for developers getting their products out to people. UTorrent is a program that handles all of that for you. Now, let me be clear. Some people think downloading torrents is illegal but it’s not. Downloading copyrighted material through any website or distributing this material is illegal. Use your judgement which programs or files are copyrighted.
This free, handy device is used to convert any file type into one that’s useable on a Nook, iPhone, iPod, Android, iPad, and any other handheld device you can think of. All you do is open the program, choose the file you need transferred, and choose what device you want to use with it. It even has selections for PS3, Xbox 360, PSP and USB Smart TV’s. I’ve used it on several occasions to put movies on my Nook so I can watch them on a plane without having to haul my computer out of my bag. Quite convenient.
This is a no-brainer app that’s pretty essential since it unzips files for you to view. None-the-less, here it is. It’s amazing how many files I use that are formatted in a bundle (Zipped) that need to be separated with a special program. Macs do have a built-in app for this but the Unarchiver is a much more capable tool to use in most cases.
And there you have it. The 10 apps that I’ve found most useful and relevant to my needs and hopefully you do to. Please comment below if you think you have another app you’ve found just as useful. I’m always looking for more ways to make my life more organized or colorful (As represented in the picture by Marshall in one of my favorite scenes of HIMYM), so any suggestions?
***An update on me: I met a really nice couple that lived back in Utah back in the 70’s. I turned out that they lived a mere 10 miles from where my mother lives in Utah. They live in Michigan now and traveled the roads of Alaska to reach the arctic. They loved to here from someone from their old stomping grounds and I’m always astounded at how small this world can be sometimes. I also met a very nice couple that drove all the way from Georgia to see the Arctic Ocean. They were pretty surprised to find a pretty remarkable Arctic blow going on with winds up to 40 miles an hour and parts of the Dalton Highway flooded over upon arrival. They were very nice and seemed to thoroughly enjoy my cooking. We’re starting to get busier, with more Arctic tours happening every day. I’ve also been informed that I will start my 9 hour journey in a van down to Coldfoot Camp in the Brooks Range next Thursday or Friday. I’m really hoping I get to go on the Arctic tour before then and I’ve lined up an excursion to fly out to Barrow, Alaska. It’s the northern-most settlement in the United States and a major piece to the natives in the Arctic. I plan to see the whale arches of Birnirk Culture and Cape Smythe, both considered to be important links to the ancient Inupiat Natives. If anyone wants an address to send me letters or mail when I leave for my summer camp, let me know. It’s different than the one I’ve had so far. Thanks for reading!