Tagged: RipIt

30 Mac OS X apps and utilities I love: Part 1

Mac OS X ApplicationsOver the years I’ve installed a lot of commercial software, shareware and freeware on my Macs. I love trying new apps. That being said, most of what I install gets used once or twice, then discarded. But there is a small collection of apps and utilities for Mac OS X that I’ve found to be extremely useful and kept around for the long haul.

I have no set criteria for deciding what stays and what goes, but for the most part the app has to serve a particular need, look good, and work as advertised. The following is not a complete list of what’s installed on my Mac, but it represents what applications and utilities have stood the test of time, and what I use the most.

My favorite apps are, in no particular order:


There are lots of note-taking apps out there, but when I set out to find one that was dead simple, had a Mac and web client, and synced with my iPhone – I found only one that worked for me. JustNotes uses the SimpleNote service and syncs with all my Macs, my iPhone. It offers a menubar item for quick access, a few keyboard shortcuts, and not much more. It’s exactly what I was looking for, and it’s free.

Note: SimpleNote offers a web client, as well as iPhone app by itself – so you only need JustNotes (or other compatible app) if you want a Mac client.

The easiest way to rip DVDs to your Mac

RipItI recently had the overwhelming desire to rip a DVD to my Macbook for watching on the road. It’s not something I had done before, so I was shocked at how incredibly complicated it can be. Everything I read told me to get Handbrake because it was so simple. After giving it a try, I nearly gave up on the entire project. I sat there after hours of unsuccessful attempts thinking “there has to be an easier way.”

Handbrake couldn’t be more complex. Not only are you required to know what terms like bitrate, anamorphic, codec, and framerates are, but you also have to download VLC; another ugly and unnecessarily complex app to actually finish the job.

As it turns out, there is a much easier way to simply make a copy of your commercial DVD. It’s called RipIt from The Little App Factory, and it actually lived-up to it’s claim of being easy – a fact which earned it a Macworld 2009 Editor’s Choice award.

Ok, so it’s not dead simple. You do have to have some knowledge of your Mac to rip a DVD with RipIt. To make it easy, I’ve created an illustrated set of instructions below.


Step 1: Insert DVD. Step 2: Click Rip button. Step 3: Wait. Step 4: Watch your movie.

I would love to give a lengthy review of this app, but quite honestly it simply isn’t necessary. The app does one thing, and works perfectly. You can choose how you want to receive the resulting file(s), a single file viewable with Quicktime, or the required folders to burn a viewable DVD using Toast or other DVD burning app, a few simple quality settings, and a small handful of eye-candy preferences. That’s it. It really couldn’t be any easier than RipIt makes it.

RipIt can be purchased from The Little App Factory for $19.95, and a demo download is available. The developer claims that the app works with over 250,000 commercial DVDs – and even guarantees that if you find one that doesn’t work, they’ll buy the DVD and fix the app. I wish every shareware app I downloaded delivered on their promises like RipIt does.