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Mac OS X: Make Snow Leopard (and other cats) roar like Lion

Ryan Faas | April 16, 2011
Tips and tools for getting Lion-like features today.

RelatedMail (free) offers a menu option that displays any messages related to the one you're currently viewing. The relationship is determined based on features such message thread or subject, date or sender. It is free -- and technically still in beta, though it works pretty solidly -- and available for both Snow Leopard and Leopard. It doesn't provide the advanced search features Apple is promising, but it is pretty helpful.

GrowlMail (free) works with the Growl add-on for Mac OS X and displays new message details, complete with a small pop-up identifying the sender and subject and providing a short message preview. The effect is similar to the new message preview option in Outlook. GrowlMail works with Snow Leopard and Leopard.

The Mac App Store

The Mac App Store, available to Snow Leopard users since early this year, places a wide, easy-to-browse selection of Mac apps at a user's fingertips without requiring a Web search. Purchasing, installing and updating apps have been simplified to the one-click approach of the iOS App Store.

Like the iOS App Store, the Mac App Store is curated by Apple to ensure that apps run properly and that they don't violate any App Store rules or guidelines. However, apps can still be purchased and installed from locations besides the Mac App Store -- an important difference from the iOS App Store, which maintains a closed environment for iOS app installation.

These third-party stores mean good news for Leopard and Tiger users, who can't access the Mac App Store. Even better, there are several easy-to-browse marketplaces that are free of Apple's App Store terms and conditions, and some easy-to-manage update tools are available.

Bodega is essentially a Mac App Store app. It has a storefront feel and allows you to browse, purchase and download new apps and update already-installed apps (whether installed via Bodega or not) from a simple and intuitive interface. The selection of apps available in Bodega is pretty good and, like the Mac App Store, it's organized by categories and lets you see new releases, staff picks, and the top free and paid downloads.

Bodega brings Mac App Store-like functionality to Leopard and Tiger users.
Click to view larger image.

Web-based catalogs: There are many Mac catalogs worth visiting on the Web. Almost all are broken down by category and offer user ratings and reviews, and some also offer staff recommendations. Some of the top Mac software catalogs include MacUpdate, Pure Mac, CNet's Mac Software list (formerly, FreeMacWare,, App Donkey and Mac Softpedia.


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