In Cider tips

Here’s a list of useful applications to improve your Mac’s performance

In Cider tips
Riding high on the Mac OS platform and wondering what and where you can pick up some efficient, useful but costless applications and utilities? You’ve open the right page, baby! Here’s what you should stockpile in your Mac cache — ones that every “in cider” should have. After all, as a wag once said, no one has ever become poor by giving — especially when it comes to knowledge.

Need for speed

You may have a blazingly fast machine at your fingertips but unless you’re fast with your phalanges, a lot of those speed gains can come to nought in certain situations. And to get apps off and the blocks to a flying start, perhaps there is nothing better in the gratis bandwidth than a launcher called Alfred ( This free utility not only let’s you launch applications with a couple of keystrokes, but also makes it faster and easier to search the web, find contacts, empty trash, or create new email drafts and more right out of the box. You don’t have to wade through menus with this one. A power list of configurable keyboard commands will do it all for you. You may just fall in love with it enough to shell out £17 for the advanced feature Powerpack.

Keep the Apple polished

And if you feel the your Mac is no longer the blazingly fast machine that it was, choking with the detritus of long-unused or dysfunctional programmes, you need to clean it up. And most of us know, installing a programme is often far easier than uninstalling it. While you may be able to knock off the main application there is always a chance of some additional file(s) getting sitting out orphaned and useless. A free application, AppCleaner ( is a neat and nimble way to get rid of applications you want to uninstall completely — alongwith all allied and associated files. All you need to do is drag the programme you want vanquished to the AppCleaner window. AppCleaner will unearth the related data at allow to flush everything at the tap of an OK.

Hide and seek

Talking of keyboard shortcuts, did you know you can hide apps quick by tap using the Cmd+ H hotkeys? And if that one-tap-per-app is does not zap apps away from the screen is not fast enough for you, conjure up Houdini from the Apple store. This free menu bar utility hides applications that have been inactive for a user-defined period of time — programme to programme basis. You can also hide or show applications from the menu bar.

Hey, my zip is stuck!

The Mac OS’s default archive utility stumped by the compression format you’ve thrown at it? Quick, ease your zip open with a free copy of The Unarchiver from the Apple app store. This can handle far more file compression formats — ranging from the discernible Zip, RAR, 7-Zip, ARJ ARC, and Tar to the obscure LBR, CAB, and BinHex to disk image archives like ISO, BIN, and Microsoft’s MSI. Why, it even attempts to tackle .EXE installers for that matter. Very big compressed files or non-Roman language files? Bring ‘em on too! Does it extract everything? Yeah, almost just as long as you don’t try it with your teeth.

While you may choose to bank on the archive ute as a mainstay if you want, keep The Unarchiver downloaded and ever handy for action as well for a bad zip day. As you know, one should never spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.

(The author is a personal tech writer)

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