One Hit Wonders: Mac Applications that you can't live without!


Bloatware is everywhere. Any application ends up picking up feature after feature that well goes beyond initial scope merely 'cause it's easy to implement. Yes, I'm looking at you, Apple, and your new iTunes 11.

The apps I'll be detailing in this post all do one thing and do it well. They often replicate (or originate) features found in more advanced applications that usually cost money, but these apps are (mostly) free. Personally, I have a folder of One Hit Wonders in my Applications folder. It's got over a dozen apps, and while some features are basic or trivial, I find them invaluable!

The Network Wonders

Angry IP Scanner

This is the latest addition to the toolbox. I was doing network hacking with a Terminal window and cryptic internet instructions so I could discover the IP address of the wayward network video camera when I did a bit of digging to discover this gem. This utility makes even the newest computer user a network hacker! You can scan IP addresses, Ping DNS hosts, and more. It's got a funny name (why so Angry?) but it's easy to use and free!

Deep Vacuum

Ever want to mirror a site online locally? Use this app to automatically make a local copy of any site you can find. It can filter only images, MP3's, whatever you might like, and it works fast, and ignores robots.txt, too! I've used it to capture huge masses of linked images on websites that I was looking to mirror locally (some for speed, some for posterity), and it works great. You often have to dig through the resulting file hierarchy, cause it mirrors them from the main host to find your files. $15

The PDF Wonders

Combine PDF

This simple powerhouse of an app helps manage all those PDF files on your desktop. It can reorder pages, add new ones, delete pages, rotate individual pages, and more. All for free! This is one of my most heavily used applications lately, as I've been dealing with tons of PDF files, and this makes reorganizing them so easy!


This clunky (and an ugly UI, too) app does more PDF manipulation than Combine PDF. For example, I store all my receipts in one PDF file, and by the end of the year, it's several hundred pages long. With PDFsam, I can 'explode' the PDF into individual pages, so I can sort/delete and reorganize.

The Image Wonders



Drag and Drop re-sizing of folders of images into newly formatted sizes, including maximum width, height and box resizing. Great for pre-processing groups of pictures for standard web elements and use. This blog displays images up to 700 pixels wide, so I often turn to this app to resize all the images to the maximum width before uploading. Another freebie!



HyperDither is an OS X image processing utility that converts color or grayscale images to 1-bit black-and-white using the “Atkinson” dithering filter. Useful for all sorts of web-design effects and the like. If you had a Macintosh Plus, SE, SE-30, you'll recognize this distinctive pattern.

The Naming Wonders



Free (well, they ask you to donate to UNICEF) batch renaming app. If you need to rename hundreds of files quickly, this should be your first stop. I use this to batch rename images with sequential numbering for web delivery and accounting.

Have Your Own Suggestions?

Do you have some obscure application that you rely on every day to get work done? And it's free, too? Post a comment with your suggested app and why you find it invaluable!