The Software Series: Find and install software


The Software Series: Find and install software
Mac Tip #289/16-May-2007

There are thousands of programs available to you from companies, groups and individual developers. Some cost substantial amounts, while others are free.

To find suitable software for your Mac try VersionTracker or MacUpdate, or even Google Mac.

Once you’ve found some software click the link to download it. That’s the easy part. It’s what comes next that many find confusing.

Most software is compressed or packaged up for sending via the Internet. There are different ways to do this, and you handle the file you receive in various ways. I’ll explain some examples.

Jumpcut — a tgz file

Jumpcut (free) is an application that provides access to text that you’ve cut or copied, even if you’ve subsequently cut or copied something else.

I use this program many times each day as it lets me paste something I copied earlier, even if I’ve copied dozens of other bits of text in the meantime.

The 503Kb file you download is called Jumpcut_0.61.tgz. It has been compressed using the ‘tar GNU zip’ format. The ‘tar’ part of that goes back to the days of keep archives on tapes: ‘tape archive’.

Once you have Jumpcut_0.61.tgz on your computer double click the file. Your Mac will automatically uncompress it and create another file called Jumpcut.app.

Move Jumpcut.app into your Applications folder and double click it to start using it. You can safely delete the original Jumpcut_0.61.tgz, as you no longer need it.

Don’t see the ‘.app’ part of the name? Go to the Finder menu and choose Preferences. Click on the Advanced tab and check the box for Show all file extensions. Then close the Preferences window. Showing the file extensions gives you a little more information, power and safety on your machine.

Other files you download may be zipped, or DMG files, or in other formats, and they may uncompress to be pkg files, installers or various other things. The next few Tips will reveal what they are and what to do with them.

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