Utility programs deepen appeal of Mac platform


POSTED: Sunday, May 17, 2009

As all who have used an iPod know, Apple computers epitomize cool, and my readers don't let me forget this. They have been badgering me for years to write a Mac column, and finally I've complied.

Recently I had the opportunity to road-test a host of utility programs published by Prosoft Engineering (www.prosofteng.com) and its sister company, Joesoft (www.joesoft.com), which both specialize in apps for the Mac platform. With the help of Mac expert Bob Berghell of Honolulu-based Island Technologies (www.IslandDocTech.com), I was able to scope out some of their best offerings:

» Data Rescue II ($99) allows you to recover files and folders from crashed or corrupted hard drives and save the recovered data to another drive or volume. One of the key features is that it leaves the original disk untouched, so you won't lose additional data. Bob tells me from personal experience with Data Rescue II, he was able to recover files that he was unable to recover with other programs. Data Rescue can save you considerable dollars over third-party recovery services.

» Drive Genius 2 ($99) is a collection of maintenance utilities to examine and repair your Mac hard drive. The interface has been redesigned and displays a “;cover flow”; like interface with icons for each task. The six icons are for the following functions: Info (drive information), Defrag (for disk defragmentation), DriveSlim (to compress drive), Repair (verify, repair and rebuild hard drive), Benchtest (test speed of drive) and Scan. You may securely erase data with seven pass DOD shred standards.

» Data Backup 3 ($59) is a simple yet powerful backup utility suitable for the novice or the advanced user. While Apple's Time Machine backup software (part of the current Mac OS 10.5.6) is the utmost in simplicity and ease of use, Data Backup provides you with additional capabilities not found in Time Machine.

» Klix ($30) is designed to recover lost or corrupted picture data from your camera's flash media.

» Hear ($50) allows you to adjust and enhance the sound characteristics on your Mac speakers or headphones. It has an audio board that a recording engineer would love but might be overkill for the average user.

» Stox ($50) is a stock investment management tool allowing you to research, track and analyze your portfolio from multiple worldwide exchanges. Although you can get much of the same capability for free with Google Finance and others, Stox does provide a nice user interface to easily organize multiple portfolios and perform standard overlays and analysis.

Cliff Miyake, general manager in Honolulu for Time Warner Telecom, can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).