Recommend Some Mac Software

A buddy of mine “gave” (i.e. I have to pay him when I get a job) me his old iMac G4 (running OSX 10.3) and given that I’ve got no clue about where to find legally free software for it, I need some suggestions as to where to find some and what kind of programs to use. My friend set the machine up fairly well, but given that I’ll be using it for different things than he will, he’s not able to provide me with too much help.

One thing I’d like is a pop up blocker/ad block similar to Proxomitron for the PC. I’m currently running Opera (and no I will not consider switching to Safari or Mozilla/Firefox, I don’t show up in pro-Safari/Mozilla/Firefox threads screaming that folks should switch to Opera, so please don’t do it here) and I have it’s pop up blocker function enabled, but the pop unders still get through occassionally. (All of them, hysterically enough, tell me that “Windows needs to defrag the registry”! :D) When I was running a PC with Proxomitron none of that crap got through, and ads embedded on pages didn’t show up, either.

I’d also like some free mindless games like Solitaire and the like. OSX seems to only have chess installed, and I’m not a big fan of it, so there’s no point in playing it. Any other general Mac related advice would be greatly appreciated as well.

I won’t tell you to switch to anything. But I will point out that you’re now using a platform with a relatively small market share. Use a minority browser on that platform, and you may have put yourself in a class that only has a few dozen people in it. Finding specific programs written to support such a small group may be challenging or impossible.

That said, here’s that general Mac advice. On the Apple menu in the upper left hand corner of your screen you’ll find an option labeled “Mac OS X Software.” Unlike it’s equivalent on the Windows side, this is a very useful link – it takes you to the Apple Download pages. While not every program for the Macintosh is available here, the vast majority of them are – categorized nicely by class, and less nicely by license: commercial demo, shareware, or freeware. You’ll find plenty of games there.

If you installed the “X11” option (or go back and install it now) when you installed Mac OS X, you also have access to most of the world of Linux/BSD software. Some of this takes a substantial amount of effort to get installed, some of it is easy. Try if you want to go this route, but I usually search the Apple downloads first in case someone’s already done a native port (which will behave more like a Mac application).

If you network the Mac with your PCs, and tell the PC’s to share their printers, the Mac should be able to see and use them transparently. Similarly, you should be able to mount Windows file shares (although this is easier in Tiger: Mac OS 10.4). If you find yourself spending a lot of time on the Mac, I’d spring for the OS upgrade: Mac OS X is still new enough that upgrades tend to bring speed, stability, and features rather than slowing things down.

Check out Apple’s software download page as well as VersionTracker.

I have been using a Mac since the late 80’s and the only thing I can’t do is download executable files with viruses…

On the Windows side of things, there’s plenty of programs which can work with any browser, because they’re stand alone programs, which run between the browser and your net connection. I would assume that things were the same in Macland.

And the upgrade to tiger will have to wait as this box doesn’t have quite enough RAM for it. (It runs, but my buddy who had this before me said that it did slightly slow the machine down.)

Install Fink. This will give you access to most of the major open source Unix software. For ad blocking, Fink provides privoxy, which we discussed earlier.

The world of Mac-specific freeware is extremely sparse. As with hardware, Mac users simply expect to pay a lot of money for their software. Even a good text editor will cost you money.

TextWrangler is free.

And so is AbiWord.

Here’s a whole page of Mac software links, most of which are free.

I am on a similar system: Mac 10.3 with Opera, but on a PowerBook, not an iMac, and so far, I haven’t any problems finding software. My only complaint is that I can’t watch movies on it because the processor is a bit too slow. Otherwise, I love this laptop.

Here’s two more:

link one

link two is, I’ve found, a nice place to find software—freeware, shareware, and commercial. (The latter with links to demo versions and the developers’ sites.), likewise, has quite a selection of freeware and shareware games, along with demos of commercial stuff (Halo, Call of Duty, Lego Star Wars, etc.).

Aaand…I know of a good Mac “abandonware” game site, that has a bunch of old classics that’re no longer being pubished, but I’m not sure if I can link to it, or even mention it by name. (Although, morally, I think I’d be in the clear—I doubt any software publisher’s kids would be going hungry if you downloaded the original Oregon Trail. :smiley: )

Well, I’ve managed to get Privoxy up and running (I don’t quite like it as well as Proxomitron, since it tells me that it’s blocked the ads at the bottom of the pages, but Proxomitron just blocked 'em, and I never knew they were there), which is something I never was able to do on the PC. Oh, and OpenOffice is a free word compatible text editor that’s available for PC, Mac, and Linux. The PC version is a bit odd to use, but the Linux and OS X versions are more “normal.” I haven’t checked through all the links folks have provided yet, but I’m slowly working my way through them.

IME, the majority of Macintosh freeware/shareware is actually worth using. In that vein, I’d recommend keeping links to VersionTracker and MacUpdate handy, and then searching them whenever you need to find a program.

Privoxy blocks images by replacing them with another image, and blocks everything else by replacing it with another piece of HTML. You can modify both of these however you like. If you want to get rid of the message you are seeing, just replace the file (privoxy_conf_dir)/templates/blocked with a blank HTML page. (I have to say, though, that I don’t see any good reason to do this. Wouldn’t you want to know when something is being blocked, in case of a false positive?)

For more info, see the documentation here, here, here, and here.

Regarding Abiword and Writer, those are word processors, not text editors.

Actually, no. Because if the page is so crappily coded that it triggers ad blocking software on something legitimate, then it’s probably not worth viewing, IMHO. The only time I had a problem with Proxomitron was when I viewed pages on Amazon, there it tended to block the book cover images, and given that I’m not really a big fan of Amazon, anyway, this wasn’t much of an issue. Besides, with all that crap blocked, the pages loaded much faster, and if I’m paying for high speed pr0n -er, cable- then I don’t want to experience all the joys dial up, ya know?