It’s not that Mac OS X is really lacking in utilities. Remember, the Mac is a “personal computer.” To make it personal we add utilities and applications.
There are thousands of good utilities to choose from today. The number is growing. Here’s my list: Top 10 Best Free Utilities For The Mac. Ever.
If you’re a Mac user for any length of time you’ll find a few of your favorites on this list. There’s a bonus attached to the end of the article, too. Read on…
The Top 10 Best Free Utilities Ever list would not be complete without something to save your skin, neck, and data. All at the same time.
#1 – SuperDuper!
The Mac has a few dozen utilities to back up your data. My favorite is SuperDuper. The best free utility for saving your bacon costs no bacon at all. SuperDuper!. Wait! Doesn’t SuperDuper have a price? Yes. Except, the basic SD also clones and there’s no cost for that. What a bargain.
#2 – Tie: Stuffit Expander QuickSilver, DesktopManager
Stuffit no longer comes with Mac OS X. A new version is available online (use MacUpdate.com or VersionTracker.com). Although Mac OS X comes with the ability to make disk images and zip files, many Mac files are still “stuffed.” This utility may disappear next year, but QuickSilver won’t.
Why Apple doesn’t have a ‘DesktopManager’ built in to OS X is beyond me.
#3 – FreeRuler
I do a lot of graphic work for the web and measure everything in pixels. It’s handy to have a utility that measures anything. All you need to make FreeRuler perfect is a good pair of glasses.
#4 – NetNewsWire Lite
This great little app from Ranchero software stands the test of time. It’s an RSS reader. Hook it up to your favorite web sites and you won’t use your browser to click, click, click to find information. NetNewsWire Lite brings it to you. Tiger’s Safari has RSS built in and it’s still not as good as NNWL.
#5 – JAlbum
The best HTML digital photo gallery software is also free. Works on Windows, most Unix and Linux flavors, and Mac OS X. Highly customizable yet easy to get started. The best.
We’re half way through the Top 10 Best Free Utilities Ever. Bonus? Yeah, a few extra utilities that I couldn’t do without and you’ll have a chance to tell us your favorite FREE utilities.
#6 – You Control:iTunes
This nifty little app went free a year ago so it makes the Top 10. You get an iTunes control in the menu bar. I think there are 500 apps to control iTunes. Pick your poison. I went with one that works from a company that does good Mac software.
# 7 – MailScripts
It’s a well kept secret for most users that AppleScript does cool things. Apple’s Mail.app is great but can be enhanced and MailScripts is the best enhancer. Free.
#8 – PTH Pasteboard
Don’t get me wrong, I like CopyPaste. I bought it and use it. PTH’s version is also very good and priced right. Think of this as an application that remembers the last 10 things you copied and pasted. Isn’t that great?.
# 9 – iPick
If you do any kind of web or color work, you’ll appreciate iPick’s simplicity, elegance, and price. This small utility will show you all the color information (#FFCC00) you need to product accurate color results on web pages.
# 10 – Tie: Cronnix, MenuMeters, JellyfiSSH, iStumbler, and TextWrangler. Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.
Cronnix is a GUI front end to Mac OS X’s cron utility. It makes it easy to set up timed applications.
MenuMeters sits in your menu bar and tells you how fast your net connection is, how much memory is left, how much hard disk space is being used, and how much the CPU is being taxed.
JellyfiSSH is a GUI front end (sorta) to Mac OS X’s terminal application. If you don’t use terminal, don’t use this just to figure out how. If you use terminal, you’ll appreciate the extras from JellfiSSH.
iStumblerdeliberately stumbles upon all the wi-fi hot spots available to your Mac. It’ll tell you what channel, cold, warm or hot signal, and the type of wireless device. Handy. iStumbler is version .95 which may be the last free version.
TextWrangler and FileWranlger. Think of TextWrangler as BBEdit for the rest of us. Nothing better for the price. FileWrangler lets you rename files in bulk. Just swifty.
What a bargain. More than 10 items in a Top 10 List. That’s how we get more reviews done here; we cheat on the count. I didn’t have time to create links for each utility but here’s my first stop when looking for utilities—MacUpdate.
OK, here’s the bonus. What’s your favorite FREE Mac OS X utility (Widgets, browsers, and email don’t count). Sound off by clicking Comments below to share your thoughts with all readers, or Click Here and send me your list of favorites.