Mind Mining Medium

January 17, 2008

Must Have Free Mac Apps

A few friends of mine have recently switched over to Mac(Macintosh). I have been using my Macbook for some time now and have grown accustom to some applications. This will be a two part article. The following will be free applications.

This is the first tool I load on any Mac I use. What Quicksilver does is allow you to launch any application without actually looking inside the Finder/Application folder. Still confused? Check out many resources that explain all the ways to use Quicksilver.

If you use any sort of IM such as AIM, Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, Google Talk, or others, then Adium is perfect for you. It combines them all without any adds or an ugly design.

WILL. PLAY. ANYTHING. Well, just about everything. VLC does play more than Quicktime and the interface does integrate well into Mac OS X.

A must have. Growl displays little notifications on your screen for a few seconds. Great for anything and everything. A lot of programs use this.

Mac OS X has a wonderful power management system. To conserve power it first dims your display before going to screensaver. As useful as that is, sometimes you can’t have your screen dim or go to screensaver. One example is when you are giving a presentation or watching/reading something. Caffeine sits on your menu bar. To turn it on, click it. To turn it off, click it again. It’s that simple.

Currently the best browser out there. Even though Safari is bundled with Mac OS X, I have grown to love Firefox a lot more. There is so much to say about Firefox. I would suggest reading “Feature by feature: Firefox vs. Safari” or doing your own research.

Flickr Uploadr is the best thing for uploading to Flickr. Enough said.

While Quicktime handles most types of videos, one problem is runs into is Windows Media files (mpg, mpeg, etc). Flip4Mac fixes this problem.

Chicken of the VNC is a VNC client for Mac OS X. A VNC client allows you to connect, display, and use a remote computer. The different between this and Microsoft’s Remote Desktop is the speed and usability. Although both are free, I prefer this over Microsoft’s product.

If you use Last.fm, then iScrobbler is a perfect tool for your iTunes collection. It beats out Last.fm’s own app. It does everything you need without taking up much space or resources.

As an avid webcomic reader I read around 10 different comics almost daily. This produces the problem of loading all those websites. iStrip takes care of all that in a very simple, yet intuitive interface. I just hope it was opensource, but alas it is not. It does have 100s of webcomics already.

Mozy currently offers 2GB of free storage. I would suggest anyone to check them out. It automatically backs-up your important documents and application settings. It does a nightly backup and it can be configured to your hearts content.

While Flip4Mac fixes Windows Media for Quicktime, Parian fixes most others.

smcFanControl is an amazing app that allows you to control your Mac’s fan. This is a must have for any user of Macbook or Macbook Pro.

The Unarchiver is so much better than the industry “standard” StuffIt Expander. I’ve learned that StuffIt Expander is EXTREMELY bloated and can be completely replaced with this or some others tools.

As a regular IRC user, I have tested out many apps for just that. Not many have come close to mIRC on Windows, but Colloquy has come the closest.

I am lucky to own a very nice digital camera but it does not have GPS. Geotagging is a must for avid photographers, however Geotagger solves that problem. All it requires is Google Earth (which is a free application) and your photographs. Easy as that.

BitTorrent has taken over the world as the best way to share media files. While many believe it is only used for illegal uses, it is actually being used by many reliable sources, such as NASA. Transmission is by far the best tool for just that.

I wouldn’t suggest Trimmit for everyone, but for a select few, this is a must have. Trimmit removes ‘pointless’ languages and other things from programs. I would think twice before using this on all your applications while it may cause problems. The developer says it is completely safe. I haven’t ran into any problems myself, but take that with a grain of salt.