Here are ten Mac applications and add-ons that are useful right after they are installed. Plus, they offer additional capabilities for power-users who want to use their advanced features. These are applications every Mac user - novice or power-user - should have on their Mac.
Just by installing Quicksilver, you get a great application launcher that let's you open applications without your hands having to leave the keyboard - you just type the application's name.
Power users can install plug-ins that can run scripts, send instant messages, dial phone numbers, look up words in a dictionary, queue up songs in iTunes party shuffle, and much more.
Install Growl and applications that support it (and there are a lot of them) will notify you about what they are doing in a consistant, elegant way without having to switch to the application: when a download has completed, when someone is trying to chat you, when a software update is available, etc.
Use settings to configure how notifications are displayed. Install other Growl applications, such as GrowlMail, GrowlSafari and GrowlTunes, to control how Apple Mail, Safari and iTunes display information and notifications.
This is still the easiest way to get movies from your DVDs, to watch on your iPod, iPhone and other devices. Insert a DVD. Select a Preset (for the device your going to view the movie on). Handbrake then converts the movie, creating a movie file on your Mac. (Read about how easy it is to bring movies from DVDs to an iPhone or iPod touch.)
Advanced users can fine tune transcoding settings for video, audio, subtitles and chapter markers.
It takes just a few minutes to install DropBox and create an account to have 2GB of online storage for simple syncing of files (documents, photos, music, etc.) between different computers - Macs and PCs, and iPhones, too.
DropBox power-users use email to send files to DropBox, sync applications such as OmniFocus, Things and 1Password, and start bit-torrent downloads remotely.
Install SpamSieve and you will rid your inbox of spam. Really, it just works. SpamSieve learns and adapts to your mail, so it's able to block nearly all the junk without putting good messages in the spam mailbox. And, it works with Apple Mail, Entourage, PowerMail, Mailsmith and many other mail programs.
VLC Media Player
If a video or audio file doesn't open in QuickTime Player, it will open in VLC Media Player. VLC has the most complete support of audio and video formats, including formats that QuickTime Player doesn't support, like AVI (all codecs), DivX and ogg. It can play DVDs, too.
Video technophiles will enjoy VLC Media Player's support for VCD and various streaming protocols. VLC can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network.
A wonderful web browser, Firefox is a more than capable alternative to Safari. For power-users, add-ons provide Firefox capabilities that Safari comes nowhere close to matching: Video DowloadHelper (download You-Tube videos), GreaseMonkey (customize the way a webpage displays), Web Developer (robust set of tools for web development) and lots more.
If you use a number of chat clients - AIM, Facebook, Google Talk and many others - Adium let's you access them all in a single application. Plus, Adium is very, very configurable. Select from a number of appearances to suit your taste or create you own. For avid online communicators, Adium offers many advanced settings so you can receive and send messages just the way you want to.
For recording a speech, lecture, seminar or sermon, Audacity is as simple as clicking the record button. Yet Audacity can do much more.
Digitally record old cassette tapes and CDs. Create audio podcasts. Edit audio clips. Apply sound effects. Chock-full of audio recording and editing capabilities, Audacity (free) can do what many pay-for audio recording applications can do.