My favorite, but little-known, Mac Apps

Most of us use the same few apps on a regular basis. Whether it’s Apple Mail, something from the Microsoft Office Suite or Gmail through Safari, the most popular apps are usually only that way because everyone uses them. Same on the iOS platform, as it is tough to find good apps if they aren’t wildly popular.

After reading this piece about iPhone photography apps, I started thinking about my favorite, little-known Mac apps that I use on a regular basis. I suppose their ability to improve depends on satisfied customers like me sharing them to others, so here are my favorite Mac apps that you might not find on the first, and maybe not the second, page of most Mac app sites.

1. Notational Velocity (synced with SimpleNote on my iPhone)

It’s a text-only note program. Or maybe you can insert pictures, but I haven’t tried and I don’t care. It syncs automatically. I like to take a lot of notes and instead of always using stickies, Notational Velocity makes them syncable. Also good for grocery lists.

2. Write Or Die Desktop Edition

Mark Levy once gave me the book “Accidental Genius,” which is on his discovery that free writing can help anyone solve problems, become better writers or just be more creative people. Write Or Die helps streamline that free writing process, with timers and settings that turn off my backspace button, ensuring I keep writing. Excellent program to keep you in the absolute present. There’s also a web version that’s cheaper, but I like supporting good programs by buying them.

3. MacJournal
I believe I bought this as part of a MacHeist bundle and it’s the only program of those I’ve used. MacJournal is a program with iTunes-like nested folders on the left, which allows you to group different subjects and topics. It’s also searchable, so you don’t have to worry much about organization. You can also send your posts to a blog, MobileMe or via email with one click. Handy for keeping first drafts.

4. Audiobook Builder
I’m a huge audiobook fan, but I don’t always buy digital copies. I’ve found more than a few good, older books on CD in bargain bins and ripping them separates most of the tracks into smaller parts than I’d like. Audiobook Builder lets me combine them, add some artwork and changes the file extension to jive with iTunes sorting methods. I’m sure there’s a free way I could do this, but for a few bucks, Audiobook Builder makes it super easy.

5. VisualHub
Although it’s no longer for sale, the dude who created VisualHub rocks. It’s a minimal click video converter that makes files into just about anything you want. I use it to convert tens of AVIs at once. I’m sure MPEG Streamclip or others work well too, but VisualHub and its cousin iSquint were the best. I’m pouring one out for ya.

What do you use? Do you use Apple’s mail or web mail? What do you write with?

(Disclosure: I paid for all the software mentioned in this article and wasn’t compensated in any way to write about them.)