Being a teenager myself, every day during summer vacation I dread the day that school starts. Being a Macintosh user, I know, along with others, that the dreadful first day of school can be made a lot easier with a couple of simple programs. Getting loaded up with a pile of work can be stressful, for any student. Not only do these applications I’m about to showcase to you help with the beginning of school and getting started off, they help throughout the whole year.

Pages Apple, Inc. ($19.99 – AppStore / iWork Suite)

Pages Logo
Being in school, your definitely going to need some sort of Word Processing Application. Whether you’re in college, or elementary school, you’re going to need something to write up those 20 page Lab reports, or the 1 page poems, and Pages is definitely the application to do that in. It features all of the necessary features any word processor would have, such as spellcheck, word count, navigation through pages, etc. Other than the obvious features, pages contains many extraordinary features that have been executed to the point where I haven’t seen any other program similar surpass it. It offers a fullscreen mode for users not in OSX Lion, which helps keep away distractions while typing up a paper, or any document for that matter. Not only does it help with the many distractions of the world, it is compatible with a lot of formats. It an not only import regular text documents, it can import Microsoft Word Documents, many picture formats such as jpeg, png, TIFF, and many more. It doesn’t stop there, though. It can also import music files such as AAC, and MP3, and on top of that, it can import movie files such as .mov and .mp4. On top of all of the formats it’s compatible with, Apple has provided many templates, over 180 to be exact, if you aren’t the type of person to craft your own masterpiece. Then, after you’re done your ideal document, you can export to various formats including a Microsoft Word Document, a Rich Text Format, a regular text format for universal compatibility, PDF, and even an ePub document for eReaders and  Applications like iBooks for iPad. With Pages being the 2nd most paid app in the Apple Mac App Store, you know your making the right choice for a word processor on Mac.

DropBox DropBox, Inc. (Free – 2GB       $9.99/month 50GB           $19.99/month 100GB)

Dropbox Logo

In this day and age, many of your normal computer users view the whole “Cloud Computing” as outlandish, and unneeded; including myself at some points. New technology where your whole computer HardDrive is based in the cloud scares me, to be frank. Then, i found this app called Dropbox. It doesn’t take cloud computing to the extent where sensitive information is stored in the cloud against your will, but rather you control what happens in it. I’ve tried many cloud applications, including the app called CloudApp, (Which has gotten rave reviews) but none of them really matched up to the simplicity, but yet power DropBox enables you with. Basically, what Dropbox does it syncs all of the media such as documents, songs, pictures, and more, to every computer signed in on your Dropbox account. It is multi-platformed to run with Linux, OSX, and Windows so you will never have to worry if dropbox will not be compatible with the computers your school uses. The directions are very strait forward – simply drag and drop what you want to your dropbox folder, and it syncs to all the computers signed in on that account. Also, the pricing is very fair. Coming in at just $9.99 a month for 50GB of space is a very well polished deal. Being a student myself, I know I would almost never use that much space, in fact I would almost never use 2GB of space. Whether you use Mac, Windows, or Linux, are a writer or a media fanatic, a College student, or a Highschool Student: Dropbox is definitely the Application to suit your cloud based needs.

Caffeine Lighthead Software, Inc.   (Free)

Caffiene App Icon

Being placed in a very computer dependent School, I know how essential is it to be productive while taking notes, and how hard it is when falling behind on them. Well, if you’re like me, then you’ve most likely experienced that time when you made the mistake to let your Mac go to sleep while taking a break from taking notes. Then, the teacher starts back up again without warning and you fall behind on notes because you have to wake up your computer. Well, this lightweight app called Caffeine solves just that problem. This applications main function is to only keep your Mac from falling asleep with the simple click of a button. It places a small cup of coffee in the Menubar of your mac, and whether the cup is filled or empty defines whether it’s on or off. Not only does it do that, but it also has a time limit before the cup gets “emptied” again and your Mac can go to sleep. You can choose anywhere from between 5 minutes, to 5 hours, or even have it not go to sleep indefinitely when you “fill” the cup up. Not only is the application good for taking notes, it’s also good for entertainment, like watching online videos or movies. The price is free – it’s practically calling for you to try it out!

MPlayerX  Zongyao Qu (Free)

MplayerX App Icon

Being a student of the modern world, I know first hand that school isn’t all about books and documents anymore. Much of it is, still, but we all know that things such as multimedia have been thrown into the mix. That’s where MPlayerX comes into play. Basically, what this application does is it replaces Quicktime Player, and even VLC player. It plays virtually all formats of video, including the infamous .MKV file. So after reading that, you’re probably still wondering how this can be used in school, right? Well, schools nowadays often offer class choices such as a Video class. Whether you’re in College, or Highschool, the classes will most likely be offered. On top of those classes, teachers often assign Digital media projects. I often run into the problem when a teacher sends a WMV format, and asks the class to write facts, do a report, or even just watch it for class the next day. Then I’m stuck with a video format that cannot be opened, and end up downloading some type of malicious software to play that file. Being a free app, MPlayerX goes far and beyond what i would expect any free app to do. Furthermore, this can be used outside of school for entertainment, too!

Carbon Copy Cloner  Mike Bombich   (free)

Carbon Copy Cloner Logo

Let’s face it, whether you have a Mac or a PC, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have some type of computer problem. Whether the problem is hardware based, or it resides inside of the OS, perhaps a bug of some sort, it is important to back up your data. Now, we all know this is a Mac based Applications post, and you’re probably wondering why wouldn’t you just use Apple Time Machine Backup. Well, this program is geared towards College users more than any student still in Highschool. The reason why? Well simply because hardware failure is imminent all the time, and in college it’s an epidemic. Not only does this program allow you to specify the backup more than what Time Machine lets you, but on top of that, it creates a bootable version backup. The reason this is so important, especially to a College student would be even if they had a hard drive failure, they could still finish their project with no worries. Then, when the new hard drive comes in the mail, you can do a safe and easy restore and be fully up and running again. Again, trying to keep all of the applications in this post cheap, this app is free as well, so if you have no dedicated backup assistant, why not try this one?

The Full Video on each app is down below if you care to click on that for a video demonstration of each App 🙂