Adobe Reader (formerly Acrobat Reader) is the industry standard tool for reading and interacting with PDF (Portable Document Format) files (although Mac OS X's built-in "Preview" application handles the vast majority of PDFs with aplomb).
The version 8.1.3 update addresses a number of customer workflow issues and security vulnerabilities while providing more stability. These issues are described in detail in the online release notes.
Version 9.3.3 - the latest release for Mac OS X 10.4.11 and later - addresses a few security and stability issues. Version 9.0 added/changed the following:
Version 9 is for Mac OS X 10.4.11 and higher; version 8 is for Mac OS X 10.4.3 and higher; version 7 is for Mac OS X 10.2.2 and higher. Version 4.05 is available for OS 7.5.3 - 8.5; version 5.05 is available for OS 8.6 - 9.0; and version 5.1 is available for OS 9.1 - 10.2.1. All of these downloads are available at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.
the Mac OS X 10.2.8+ (Carbon / PowerPC) full installer (7.1.0; 33.4 MB).
the Mac OS X 10.4.3+ (Carbon / PowerPC) full installer (8.1.3; 23.7 MB).
the Mac OS X 10.4.4+ (Carbon / Intel) full installer (8.1.3; 21.8 MB).
the Mac OS X 10.4.11+ (Carbon / PowerPC) full installer (9.3; 47.6 MB).
the Mac OS X 10.4.11+ (Carbon / Intel) full installer (9.3; 44.9 MB).
the Mac OS X 10.4.11+ (Carbon / PowerPC) updater (9.3.3; 3.4 MB).
the Mac OS X 10.4.11+ (Carbon / Intel) updater (9.3.3; 3.7 MB).
to the Adobe Reader download page to select a version for an earlier release of Mac OS.
Decoder is a favorite UU- / Base64 / yEnc decoder for many people, which includes such niceties as built-in picture previewing. Version 4.0 was a major overhaul, adding and improving the following:
Version 4.0.4 adds the following:
[4.0.1] "A useful utility I often use for extracting encoded files from emails I receive (my email program has no attachment support). Sadly, half the time it either doesn't extract or properly decode all the attachments leaving just garbage files, or it fails completely. For some reason it will often work if I FIRST open the email in a text editor and delete all the message headers and content leaving only the attachments, and THEN open the email with Decoder. But this work-around is time consuming and not 100% effective. Until Decoder improves I cannot justify paying good money for it. It's a little more likely to properly extract encoded files than Stuffit is - but that's not saying much. Still, UNLIKE Stuffit I've never had Decoder crash on me, so at least it's stable."
—Jamie Kahn Genet, August 12, 2006
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The basic DivX package consists of a free decoder plugin for QuickTime that runs on Mac OS 9 or Mac OS X (Carbon), allowing Mac users to create, distribute and watch full-screen, DVD quality video, offering a very high level of compression with advanced encoding tools and interlaced video support. DivX Video is available in free and "Pro" ($19.95) editions, the latter including a more recent version of the encoder/decoder - providing more advanced features and better performance - and includes support for MP3 encoding.
Version 7.2 - the latest release of the combo QuickTime Decoder / Encoder / Player / Web Player for Mac OS X - adds/changes the following:
Adobe's Flash Player is perhaps the most ubiquitous Web browser plug-in of all, allowing you to view all kinds of nice interactive animations many people have produced for their Web sites.
Version 7 is the final version of Flash Player that will be produced for "Classic" Mac OS. Starting with the release of the December 18, 2007 security bulletin, APSB07-20, Adobe is discontinuing support of Adobe Flash Player 7 and will no longer provide security updates. Adobe recommends that all Flash Player users on supported systems update to the most recent version of the player through the Flash Player Download Center. Adobe's support policy for Flash Player is to support the current and previous major release. Flash Player 7 was updated with security fixes as a courtesy to customers on Microsoft Windows 95, Microsoft NT, and Macintosh Classic operating systems, and for Linux and Solaris customers prior to the availability of Flash Player 9.
Version 10.1 (the latest release for Mac OS X) includes the following new features:
Version 10.1 is the last release of Flash that will support PowerPC-based Macs.
Version 10.1.81.24 "Gala Preview" is available for Mac OS X 10.6.3 (Carbon / Intel) (May 25, 2010), adding support for H.264 video hardware decoding on Mac OS X 10.6.3. Gala allows developers to preview Flash Player with hardware acceleration of H.264 video on supported Mac computers equipped with the following GPUs: NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, GeForce 320M or GeForce GT 330M. See the special site for more information.
Flip4Mac WMV (also described by Microsoft as "Windows Media Components for QuickTime by Flip4Mac"), enables you to play Windows Media files (.asf, .asx, .wma, and .wmv) directly in QuickTime Player and view Windows Media content using your Web browser. Flip4Mac WMV has been highly optimized for Power Mac G4 and G5 computers and supports playback of high-definition Windows Media video files. The components work quite a bit more smoothly than the dedicated Windows Media Player software - offering not just smoother playback, but much greater levels of customization and control - and are highly recommended.
Note:In January 12, 2006, Microsoft officialy stopped development of Windows Media Player software for the Mac. Versions 2.0 and later of Flip4Mac are now provided free of charge, and the software is distributed (and essentially endorsed) by Microsoft as well. Therefore, the future of Windows Media on the Mac lies in these Flip4Mac components. Luckily, they are very good indeed.
By purchasing an upgrade for Flip4Mac, you can import Windows Media files for editing and create Windows Media files for distribution.
Flip4Mac WMV supports the following audio and video codecs:
Version 188.8.131.52 adds/changes the following:
Flip4Mac WMV requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, as well as QuickTime 7.0 or later.
[2.1] "Easy to install and it does exactly what it says it will - allows you to watch WMV movies in QuickTime, either in the QT standalone player or in your web browser. This is MUCH better than the old, never updated, clunky Microsoft Windows Media Player for Mac. The only downside that drags it down for me is that on older G3 Macs playing the WMV clips is more CPU intensive, and you will need a reasonably fast Mac to watch them. Other than that, this is great software. Shame on Microsoft for making such a useless player and then killing support. But kudos to Telestream for coming up with an alternative that integrates with QT and does it very smartly."
—Jamie Kahn Genet, August 12, 2006
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GraphicConverter allows you to open, edit and convert almost any graphic format that exists. It's amazing, powerful (a poor man's Photoshop--really), and very, very fast.
Version 6.7.3 adds the following new features:
Version 6.7.3 updates the following features:
Version 6.7.3 makes the following bug fixes:
"Quite simply the best shareware value in the world of Macintosh. I have used GC for about fifteen years, and consider it indispensible; back when you actually snail-mailed checks to shareware authors, I sent Mr. Lemke $50 instead of the $35 he was asking. Yes, it's that good. It's updated regularly -- about once a month -- at no charge; a few years back Lemke asked for another $30 from us old-timers for his efforts in continually improving the product, and I was happy to contribute. Before you shell out seven hundred smackeroos for Photoshop, give Graphic Converter a try; chances are very good that it will do everything you need. "
—Pieter D Breitner, 2/19/2006
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MacGhostView is a general purpose Postscript and PDF previewer for the Macintosh and is based on ghostscript 7.05. If a Postscript document conforms to Adobe's Document Structuring Conventions, the pages of the document can be displayed in any order. The program includes installation and registration instructions.
Starting with Mac OS X 10.3, Apple's Preview application can "display" Postscript files. Each time you try to view a Postscript with Preview it is converted to PDF and the PDF file is displayed, not the original Postscript file. Since conversion can be quite slow, MacGhostView is much faster at displaying Postscript files.
Included with MacGhostView is macps2pdf, an interface to Unix ghostscript which can be used to convert Postscript files to other formats. Beginning with version 6.0, ghostscript is capable of embedding Type1 fonts in a PDF document, making it a viable alternative to Adobe's Distiller. Prior to 6.0 ghostscript could only convert Type1 fonts to bitmaps, resulting in PDF documents which displayed poorly in Acrobat Reader. MacGhostView includes a complete installation of Unix ghostscript 8.50, which is used by macps2pdf. Any version of ghostscript later than 6.0 can be used with macps2pdf.
Version 4.6 makes the following changes:
Miro is a fantastic new free, cross-platform media player, BitTorrent client, and media organizer based upon VLC Media Player, but with a refined user interface and many, many more features, including the following:
While version 3.0.2 is primarily a bugfix release, version 3.0 added/changed the following:
Miro requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later and QuickTime 7.
MPlayer is an incredibly useful video player that enables you to view files that are otherwise unviewable on your Mac. MPlayer plays most MPEG, VOB, AVI, OGG/OGM, VIVO, ASF/WMA/WMV, QT/MOV/MP4, FLI, RM, NuppelVideo, YUV4MPEG, FILM, RoQ, PVA files, supported by many native, XAnim, and Win32 DLL codecs. You can watch VideoCD, SVCD, DVD, 3ivx, DivX 3/4/5 and even WMV movies, too (without the avifile library).
The latest release is the fourth release available as a Universal Binary, running natively on Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs. This release also makes a positively huge number of improvements, which are fully detailed in the online release notes.
Please note that the future of MPlayer for Mac OS X seems to be in the MPlayer OSX Extended project, which sees much more frequent updates than the base application. The latest version of MPlayer OS X Extended has been linked for convenient download below.
MPlayer OS X Extended Revision 13 adds/changes the following:
PDF Browser Plugin is a free (for home, nonprofit and educational use), alternative PDF viewer plugin for Mac OS X browsers that provides most of the needed functionality to view almost any PDF directly in your Web browser, unlike Adobe Acrobat's plugin. But what makes this a particularly winning piece of software is that PDFs render incredibly quickly, eliminating the agonizing wait that so often occurs when you unwittingly click on a PDF link.
Version 2.3.2 supports Firefox 3, Safari, iCab, and OmniWeb on both PowerPC and Intel Macs, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. This version restores nearly all of the functionality of previous releases, and supports Safari 4 on Intel and PowerPC Macs. The only downside is that it doesn't appear to support mouse wheel scrolling within Firefox. The free Firefox PDF Plugin for Mac OS X is still able to do this in the meantime. Here's hoping that, soon, there won't be any need for this extension!
A site license for commercial use on all computers in a single organization within a 5 mile perimeter is available for $69.
Perian is a free, open source QuickTime component (provided as a Preference Pane) that adds native support for many popular video formats, including:
Perian provides a great, free way to convert all of the above formats to other video formats using the QuickTime Player itself, including the iPod video format.
Version 1.2.1 adds/changes the following:
QuickTime 7 (for Mac OS X only) is the standard method for playing QuickTime movies and MIDI music files on your Macintosh. QuickTime 7 brought integration of support for H.264 video; elimination of required setup; introduction of new playback controls; and support for 24-channel audio.
QuickTime 7.6.6 (for Leopard only; unfortunately, version 7.6.4 for Tiger & Leopard is no longer available) adds/changes the following:
Version 6.0.3 is the latest release for Mac OS 8.x - 9.x. This download includes the system extensions, the Movie Player, MPEG Extension, and the Netscape plug-in (with QuickTimeVR support built-in). Version 6.5.3 is the latest release for Mac OS X "Jaguar," providing "enhanced support for iTunes and other QuickTime-based applications" specifically for Mac OS X v.10.2.8 users. Version 7.5 is the latest release for Mac OS X 10.3.9 "Panther."
Version 4.0.3 is still available for 680x0-based Macs.
RAR is the official RAR archive utility for Mac OS X (offered as a command line utility), especially useful while reading all those alt.binaries newsgroups.
Version 3.9.3 adds the following new features:
To use the RAR command line application, place the files in any folder on your hard drive, and call the utility by typing in the full path to the application (e.g., to run from the current directory, type "./rar" or "./unrar" followed by the appropriate parameters). Typing the application name (rar or unrar) without any parameters will produce a helpful guide to each program's usage.
From the RCDefaultApp home page: "RCDefaultApp is a Mac OS X 10.2 or higher preference pane that allows a user to set the default application used for various URL schemes, file extensions, file types, and MIME types. Mac OS X uses the extension and file type settings to choose the application when opening a file in Finder, while Safari and other applications use the URL and MIME type settings at other times for content not related to a file (such as an unknown URL protocol, or a media stream). Finder's Get Info panel can be used to set the default application for file extensions and file types, but it's not intuitive. Apple's Internet preference pane in Mac OS X 10.0 through 10.2 (Jaguar) allowed you to set the Web and Email applications, but no other URL handlers. In Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther), these settings have moved to Safari's and Mail's preferences -- meaning you have to run those applications if you want to choose to not use them. RCDefaultApp allows the setting of all of this information, and ties everything together in one preference pane."
Version 2.1 - the first release in nearly 3 (!) years - adds/changes the following:
RealPlayer 8 (for "Classic" Mac OS) and RealPlayer 10 (for Mac OS X) deliver audio and video over the Net without the wait, with surprisingly good quality. The links below will take you to the RealPlayer download page, where you'll be able to select the player and version you wish to download.
Version 8 - the latest version for Mac OS 8 & 9 - adds a few new features, including better quality audio and video, but is otherwise not a radical departure from version 7.
Version 11.1.0 Build 1116 added/changed the following:
RealPlayer "SP" version 12.0.0 - the latest version for Mac OS X 10.4 and later - added/changed the following:
Older versions are available as well.
Adobe's Shockwave Player is one of the most ubiquitous Web browser plug-ins, allowing you to view all kinds of nice interactive animations many people have produced for their Web sites. While not quite essential, this will make your Web browsing experience much more enjoyable.
Version 10.1.1.016 - the latest version for Mac OS 9 - addresses a security vulnerability.
Version 184.108.40.2069 - the latest version for Mac OS X - adds support for Director 11.5, including new 5.1 surround sound, three new video formats, and import and dynamic translation of Google's popular SketchUp (skp) 3D format.
Skim is an pleasing, powerful and essential substitute for Adobe Reader that also happens to be free. It is a both a PDF reader and note-taker, designed to help you read and annotate PDFs. Features include:
Version 1.3.6 adds/changes the following:
Smith Micro Software, Inc. produces the ubiquitous StuffIt line of file compression products, including StuffIt Deluxe, which enables you to create StuffIt .SIT archives to reduce file sizes for quicker transmission over the Internet.
While version 14.0.1 is a maintenance release, version 14 - the latest release for Mac OS X 10.4 and later - adds/changes the following:
StuffIt Expander is the essential utility for de-BinHexing and decompressing all of those .BIN, .SIT, .HQX, .ZIP, .GZ, .TAR, .RAR and .UU files out there.
Version 14.0.1 - the latest version for Mac OS X 10.4 or later - ostensibly brings compatibility with the new StuffIt Deluxe, along with a refreshed look and feel, but not much more.
VLC media player, like MPlayer, is an incredibly useful video player that enables you to view files that are otherwise unviewable on your Mac. VLC plays most MPEG, AVI, OGG/OGM, ASF/WMA/WMV, QT/MOV/MP4, FLV, RM, and many other formats. You can watch VideoCD, SVCD, and DVD as well.
Version 1.0.5 - the latest version for PowerPC-based Macs - adds/changes the following:
Version 1.1.0 - the latest version for Intel-based Macs - adds/changes the following (among other things):
Windows Media Player is a player for one of the most increasingly common media groups found on the Web these days: Microsoft Windows Media. This player supports the following video codecs: MPEG4 v2, MPEG4 v3, MPEG4S, and JPG (Illustrated Audio); and audio codecs: WMAudio v1, WMAudio v2, Acelp.net, Voxware MetaSound, and MPEG II Layer 3. Version 9 for OS X supports the embedded playback of media in Web pages, digital rights management (DRM) functionality, and includes support for content in the Windows Media 9 format.
Note: As of January 12, 2006, Microsoft has officialy stopped development of Windows Media Player software for the Mac, and are offering Flip4Mac WMV instead. Versions 2.0 and later of Flip4Mac WMV are now provided free of charge, and the software is distributed (and essentially endorsed) by Microsoft as well. Therefore, the future of Windows Media on the Mac lies in the Flip4Mac components. Luckily, they are very good indeed.
yEnc TZ is a a simple, freeware program that decodes yEnc encoded files, and (for some interesting trivia) it's one of the very few pieces of software that I can think of that is available natively for all Macs, from 680x0-based machines to the lastest Mac OS X boxes. Version 1.13 adds/changes the following:
ZipIt is probably the best of the graphical PKZip/PKUnzip utilities for the Mac . . . a must for compressing and uncompressing all those .ZIP files from your PC friends. However, if you have Mac OS X 10.3 or later, much of this functionality is already built-in to the operating system, and you probably won't benefit much from this program. On earlier versions of Mac OS, however, this is indispensable.
Can't find what you're looking for? Try a search:
Also, if you have an older Mac, be sure to check out the "Classic" applications page for more options.
Finally, take a look at ALEMIA if you think you know that name of an application, but aren't quite sure.
These are applications that are newer and of potential interest, but which I haven't yet selected for permanent inclusion. Have a look, and let me know if you think they deserve to be part of the permanent collection!