Let’s face it, a word processor lets you type words on the computer screen, store them as files, use them in business or exchange between co-workers, businesses, or friends. At the basic level, word processing is free because it comes with your Mac in the form of TextEdit.
Of course, “free” isn’t really because you have to buy a Mac to get Mac OS X (or buy an upgrade—but still “buy”) which gives you all the applications we know and have come to love (mostly).
How about those applications that are free (don’t really cost you anything other than download) but are highly useful and do much more than you expect? The Mac platform has plenty. Here are my favorites.
If you don’t have it, get it. FW is one of those nifty Mac applications that does automatically (or, at least, more quickly) what you’d have to do one at a time. Like renaming files.
For example, let’s say you have 30 digital images from the holidays and you want to make a nice album, put it on a CD and send to friends. The digital images are all named something like DCN23467.jpg. File Wrangler makes it easy to rename files.
Stuff into a folder everything you want to rename. Add characters, take away characters, modify characters, check the results before clicking “do it.” Even export a file (as a text file) list of files in your folder. Sweet.
FW modifies file extensions and will trim filenames to exactly 31 characters (for Mac OS 9.x folks and those still-crazy Mac apps that don’t handle long file names). FW even adds step numbering to files.
FileWrangler just works, does those things not easily done in Mac OS X, and it’s FREE. Click Here for the MacUpdate review, download link, and the 5 Star rating.
This is such a handy application. A friend showed me how it can do something I never expected (or needed). Basically, MPEG StreamClip converts MPEG 1 and MPEG 2 files into other formats, notably QuickTime or DV. And what it does to porn…
What’s the big deal? Well, there are plenty of MPEG 1 and 2 files all over the place that you’d love to have converted to DV so they’ll show up in iMovie, right? MPEG StreamClip to the rescue.
Guess what? Toast doesn’t handle all versions of unmuxed MPEGs. MPEG StreamClip had demuxing options for Toast and DVD Studio Pro.
What’s that about porn? Well, a friend showed me you can download sequential porn clips as MPEG 2 files. QuickTime reads and plays the files OK. MPEG StreamClip will link the clips together into one larger clip, strip out the broken time code (essential), and convert the file to QuickTime or DV.
I’m getting warm just thinking of the possibilities. Click Here for the MacUpdate review, download link, and feature list. Oh, it’s free.
Dent du Midi
This sweet little Mac application is free but not for everyone. If you’re a Garageband user then you already know how easy it is to create very cool music using your keyboard and Apple loops.
However, the web is loaded with a gazillion “free” MIDI files. Wouldn’t it be cool to download all those free MIDI files of music, load them up into Garageband and create your own background music?
Except Garageband doesn’t import MIDI files.
Dent du Midi to the rescue. All it does is take a standard MIDI file and generate an AIFF container for each track. Then it’s just drag and drop the AIFF files (all of them at once) into Garageband, and BANG—all the MIDI music is just there.
Garageband’s special effects can be used on the AIFF files and you can mix your own vocals with the MIDI music right in Garageband, which, of course, if free with each Mac in the iLife package. Dent du Midi is free, too.
Click Here for the MacUpdate reviews, download links and 5 Star rating.
See? All those apps are free and do much more than you’d expect, fill a need not handled well by Mac OS X. What’s on your list? Do you have a favorite “FREE” Mac application that does more than meets the eye (or click)? If so, share you experience with other readers. Click on the Comments link below.