MacMost Now 608: Must-Have Lion Apps

Check out Gary's list of apps that he suggests most people install on a new Mac on the first day. The list includes some utilities and browser plug-ins. You can get the links and make your own suggestions at

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's epsisode, let's look at my list of must have applications for Lion. I've seen so many lists of must have applications that I just don't agree with. It's not that the applications listed aren't useful or good, it's just that they're not for every user, they're for specific types of users, maybe web developer or video producer.But I've got a list of applications that I think just about any Mac user could use. Let's take a look. So first, we have iWork. Now, this doesn't come on your Mac, iLife does, but I think most Mac users should get these applications right away. They're only twenty bucks, and if you don't like these specific applications, then another office suite would do, for instance, Microsoft office. You can also find some free ones, but I find that for twenty bucks apiece, these are well worth it. Specifically pages, because most users are going to have to write something, whether it's a report or a journal or an essay, or just a nicer to place to write an email or message to somebody before sending it to them. Numbers and Keynote, maybe not for everybody. Keynote can be a lot of fun to play with, but if you don't need to make presentations, you may want to put of getting that until you need it. Numbers, mostly for people that want to work with figures, but of course, if you balance your checkbook at home or something like that, Numbers can come in really handy. Now, Jumpcut is a free extention that works perfectly in line, and what it does is adds this little menu up here at the top. Let me show you what it does, you can copy something to the buffers as you know, like I'll command C copy MacMost dot com there, and I could paste it below. I can copy something else, like an email address, copy that paste it there. But what if I wanted to actually have more than one thing in my copy buffer, and be able to paste which one I want? Well, if I look up here at the Jumpcut menu, I can see that I've got both of the two things that I've pasted previously in there, and I could actually paste the one before the last, or I could just copy as many things as I want. The more I copy, the more appears in here, and so you can see you've got this history of your clipboard. It's very useful. Another good one that does basically the same thing but it's more bells and whistles is ClipMenu. Jumpcut is great for most users because it's very simple and it works, ClipMenu has some advanced functionality, both are free. Now the next four things I want to show you will add functionality to your browser. If you don't have Flash installed on your Mac already, you're going to want to get it. And even if you do, you're going to want to download the latest version, because there are always updates. You do that by going to get dot adobe dot com slash flash player. And that's where you can download it there. And while you're tyou're there, get the Shockwave player as well, which is get dot adobe dot com slash shockwave. This plays a lot of older content on the internet, usually and some 3D games that are on there as well. Both are free, you can just get them, they work great online. In addition to that, you're going to want to sometimes playback WMB files, these are Windows Media video files. They don't play back on your Mac unless you have an extension for QuickTime. You can go here to this Microsoft page to get it, actually I've created a shortcut because it's such a long url. Just go to MacMost dot com, slash j dash wmv, which will take you to this page here which is actually is on Microsoft, but it allows you to download a third party application called Flip For Mac, it's free, and it allows you to then play back Windows Media videos in Quicktime and Quicktime player, and also in the browser. And last but not least, there's also Java, which doesn't come installed with Lion, but you can get it just by going to this page here, at the Apple website. Not only does it support more websites then, but there's some applications that will actually require Java for some parts of them to run. Now is another must have, it's free, go to Dropbox dot com. I've discussed it in many videos in the past. With iDisk going away next year, it's great for users to have a way to post files online to share between other users and to sync between your Macs. Last but not least, we've got OnePassword, which is very important because it allows you to use strong passwords on all your websites and protects you from phishing attacks, so you can't be fooled into actually using a strong password on a site that't not the real site. It does cost a little bit, but it's worth every penny. There are alternatives, like for instance, LastPass, whatever you do get one of these utilities that allows you to use strong passwords and store them securely on your Mac. I want to encourage everybody to check out my guide to online password security, I consider it a must read. It will teach you just the basic things you need to know to stay safe while surfing online, so your passwords and accounts aren't stolen by others.

Comments: 34 Responses to “MacMost Now 608: Must-Have Lion Apps”

    Bob Hodgson
    9/21/11 @ 10:08 am

    I use VLC. It will play any video file without any problems on my Mac.

    John M. Hammer
    9/21/11 @ 12:16 pm

    Gary- Terrific video, as always.

    One note: The third item of your bulleted list provides the link for Flash instead of the link for ClipMenu.

      John M. Hammer
      9/21/11 @ 12:24 pm

      ..and… fixed!

    9/21/11 @ 2:16 pm

    Some more I would recommend for everybody:
    Perian, TNEF’s Enough, TimeMachineEditor and Screen Shot Plus Widget

    9/21/11 @ 5:07 pm

    Growl: Centralized message notification system:

    TechTool: disk utility/repair ($):

    Carbon Copy Cloner: backup utility:

    9/21/11 @ 9:38 pm

    can you make a video solely on freeware.
    I believe that there are good freeware alternatives to many paid applications.

      Donna Brooks
      10/22/11 @ 5:46 pm

      I’d be interested in this, too. I use freeware apps for everything. I agree that ClipMenu is indespensible! I am still running Snow Leopard & it works great!

      I also have used Realplayer Downloader to download 100s of videos over the years. I wouldn’t be without it.

    Gav Scott-Brooker
    9/22/11 @ 8:55 am

    Handbrake! for moving DVDs to iTunes Library

    Lance R
    9/22/11 @ 9:05 am

    Here is the list of apps I keep in evernote (perhaps my favorite app) of my first day apps.

    dropbox – online file storage
    electric sheep – screensaver
    backblaze – online backup software
    copypaste pro – clipboard stack program
    boinc – uses unused computer time for “greater good” projects
    growl – notifications
    vlc – plays any video
    Textwrangler –
    Vuze – bittorrent client
    Delicious – networked bookmarks

      Walter Molnar
      4/21/12 @ 8:46 am

      Hi lance
      I just started using Evernote is their a book out that I can use to learn about what I can do with evernote also just got Dropbox how can I use it with Evernote my email is *** I live in Niagara Falls Canada. I buy and sell Srandardbred Race Horses
      Throughout USA and Canada

    Dave Faczan
    9/22/11 @ 9:32 am

    I still use Drag Thing to launch apps

    and iStat Menus for system info (I occasionally like to set the fans to medium speed when I’m using HandBrake a lot since it can use all the i7 CPU’s, and the fan speed can be set from the temp display in the menu bar).

    9/22/11 @ 9:42 am

    Totally… It’s the best alternative all in one.

    9/23/11 @ 6:31 am

    What’s up with Lion not supporting MS Word docs and the error message “PowerPC applications are no longer supported”? Is there an alternate app for opening previously created MS Word docs w/o having to buy MS Office for Mac? Or better yet, can I open MS Word docs in Pages? Thanks.

      9/23/11 @ 8:20 am

      It sounds like when you go to open an MS Word doc it is trying to use an old application that is for PowerPC (old Macs) only. Those old applications are not supported in Lion. Do you know what application it is?
      Anyway, you can open Word documents in Pages, yes. TextEdit will open them too.

    Kay Fisher
    9/23/11 @ 4:36 pm


    9/23/11 @ 10:46 pm

    Hi Gary,

    Great suggestions. Here’s my 2 cents of must-haves that enhance the Mac experience even more:

    LaunchBar. Just too handy, plus it includes excellent clipboard functionality.
    ShoveBox…handy, handy, handy scratchpad, clipboard tool, etc.

    9/24/11 @ 2:08 pm

    I lie Msecure over 1 Password – Great app!

    9/25/11 @ 4:38 pm

    Great list, Gary. I, too, would include growl and vlc in addition to your list.

    I consider MenuMeters ( be another essential. I was first just looking for a way to know if my hard drive was reading or writing anything and got a ton of other helpful info. If not for MenuMeters, I’d have gone a long, long time suffering slow speed, not realizing that a document was stuck in the print spooler keeping one processor pegged at 100%.

    Donna Brooks
    10/22/11 @ 6:17 pm

    Gary, I have Perian and Flip4Mac installed, but I honestly don’t see how they add any capability to my iMac! I just use VLC to watch anything that doesn’t open in QT. How can I tell if Perian & F4M are even working correctly? I’m actually considering removing Perian & Flip4Mac since VLC is a no fuss video player.
    Regarding other people’s suggestions, personally, I’ve never seen any need for Growl, and I’m wondering what MenuMeters would tell me that I can’t find out using the Mac’s Activity Monitor, which I run when my Mac is running slow. Also, Spotlight can be used as an app launcher. Just hit Command-Spacebar & the cursor will go to the Spotlight field and you can type the first few letters of an app & launch it from there. You can also do math calculations in the Spotlight field w/o opening Calculator.

      10/22/11 @ 7:15 pm

      The advantage of using a QuickTime extension like F4M is that you can view those video formats right in QuickTime instead of launching another player. For instance, if one of the videos is embedded in a web page.

    10/29/11 @ 1:27 pm

    It is significant to note that both Apple and Microsoft cite Flash as
    the number one reason their OS or applications crash and plan to
    disallow it in future:

      10/29/11 @ 3:27 pm

      You have to understand that Flash is an entire environment capable of doing all sorts of things from playing videos, displaying vector graphics and animation, games, applications, real-time text, audio and video communication, etc. It runs programs that have been created by thousands of developers worldwide. Some of those programs are good, some aren’t. Just like applications, web sites or anything else. You can disable it if you want. You can also disable JavaScript, cookies, images, and soon you might as well stop using your browser altogether. Then you’ll never have to worry about it crashing.

    10/30/11 @ 2:12 pm

    Just quoting 2 of the largest OS mfr’s. I’m sure they thought alot about this before going public with their positions.

      10/30/11 @ 3:29 pm

      But you are reading o much into it. What about all of the other software that is not included with your Mac or PC? If it does come pre-installed then it isn’t good?

    10/30/11 @ 2:14 pm

    After all, the choice isn’t limited to “Flash” or “No Flash”. HTML5 is just the beginning of alternatives beyond Flash…

      10/30/11 @ 3:30 pm

      That’s great. Alternatives are good. But HTML5 doesn’t do anywhere near what Flash can do. So it is only an alternative for some types of content.

    12/29/11 @ 11:38 am

    Hi Gary, I want to start using my Mac for online banking and other sensitive/personal business. Thing is though I have such a concern about using 3rd party software on it (i.e. Java, Adobe Flash and Microsoft Office 2011 for the Mac). What I am wondering is my concern legitimate or am I just being paranoid? Do I need to worry about any security vulnerabilities happening on my Mac while using these 3 application, even if I keep them up to date?

      12/29/11 @ 11:48 am

      Well, there is always risk in using anything. But unless you want to keep your Mac off the network completely, at some point you have to weight the benefits of using a computer to do business against any risks. But I’d be much more worried about simple security issues like using a weak password (See than some extreme hacking using exploits. Why would someone go through all the trouble to break into your computer to get your info, when thousands of people protect their bank accounts and e-commerce accounts with passwords that can be easily guessed?

    12/29/11 @ 12:27 pm

    You make a good point, Gary. Now let me ask you one more thing. Is Java and Flash required when one wants to use Ichat, FaceTime, and Imail as well as watch movies in iTunes?

      12/29/11 @ 12:32 pm

      Flash is a browser plug-in (in the context you are talking about it, anyway). None of those things are using the browser. Java is mainly a browser plug-in, but can also be used for some apps. Not for any of those, though.
      You probably don’t need Java unless there is a specific site you visit that requires it. Flash is more prevalent, and a lot of sites use it, so you would miss that if you don’t have it. What is your fear of having Flash?

    2/28/12 @ 3:42 pm

    One of my favorite apps is Evernote which keeps copies synced cross-platform. There are apps for Macs, iOS devices, Android, Linus, Blackberry, and more. Notes can also be accessed through their online site. Evernote recently bought Skitch which does a wonderful job of annotating documents, maps, photos, etc. with text, arrows and more on Macs and iPads. Both apps are free and available from

    Walter Molnar
    4/21/12 @ 8:54 am


    I just started using I Work and drop box

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    12/8/12 @ 2:38 pm

    I have Flash, Perian,VLC,Real Player.Flv Crunch, Zipeg, and Siverlight Preferences.
    I got rid of Flip4Mac,and Growl. I read about them on the websites and if they make common sense to me then i install them. I used to have the old version of the Windows Player,but when i upgraded it was no longer supported.
    One thing that bother`s me is VLC is still a free App,and is backed up by all the downloads of it. If it came to having to buy it,then i would.

Comments Closed.