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Bodega and MacAppsThatRock help you find new Mac apps

TJ Luoma, @tjluoma
01.12.11
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I switched to the Mac several years ago, and I'm still finding apps that have been around for a long time that I wish I had known about sooner. Hopefully the Mac App Store will help, but it also raises two issues: 1) What about apps that aren't in the store (for whatever reason, perhaps because they don't fit Apple's guidelines), and 2) How do you find apps in the Mac App Store?

Turns out that "there's an app" for the former and a website for the latter.

Regarding the issue of finding apps that aren't in the App Store: Bodega lists many apps, and it even offers deals like NetworkLocation for $14.50 (50% off today). Bodega also lets you keep a wishlist of apps, and it will point out any you've got installed that are in need of updates. Another nice touch is that they have linked to the "Buy" page for apps and will let you purchase them without leaving the app (although it's important to note that you are not buying through Bodega itself, they're just providing a nice wrapper around whatever setup the developers already have in place).

But what about apps that are in that shiny new Mac App Store? It opened with almost 1,000 apps on day one, and it's already a challenge to find less popular gems that might not make the "Top" lists or the "Featured" page.

That's where macappsthatrock.tumblr.com comes in. The premise and the execution are simple: find great apps, include a screenshot, the official description and the price (if any).

I've already found a few gems through the site, including Apptivate (US$3) and Screenninja ($10). My only complaint about the site is that it just pulls the official description in from the app's description pages, making it more of a rehash of the official marketing information than "Here's why I think this app is great and worthy of your attention." On the other hand, the descriptions are usually nice and short, and (if the developers have done a good job writing them) clearly explain what the apps do. Having the prices listed right there is a very good thing too, as I find it annoying to read a review of an app with no indication whether it's free, $5 or $50.

You don't have to be a Tumblr user to use MacAppsThatRock, of course. Browse the archive or use the random page feature to find an app that was listed on the site, or grab the RSS feed.

(While you're there, don't forget about another of our favorite Tumblr sites, safariextensions.tumblr.com, which highlights more Safari Extensions than are shown on the official page.)

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