Sorry, I love free software for my Mac. Sorry, some of it isn’t very good, some of it is excellent, must have, gotta use software.
How do you know you’re getting your money’s worth? Here’s my list of free Mac software you need, some you don’t need.
My Mac is loaded with applications, utilities, tools that do all sorts of things. Over half of the software I use is free. Much of the remainder is commercial; shareware that I’m willing to pay money to use.
That’s the way God intended Mac usage to be. Free, pay, feel good. Except with 18 month-old daughter’s ability to grab the wireless Mighty Mouse and head to the bathroom while I’m not looking.
Children are like Macs. The entertainment is free.
The best new utility for my Mac is free. It’s called AppFresh. If you keep plenty of software on your Mac and devote time to finding updates, you need AppFresh.
It scans your Mac for all applications, thirty-party, Apple, whatever—including Widgets, preference pane utilities, and many plugins. Then it compares the latest version with your version and gives you a list of what you need to update or upgrade.
Then, just to make life easier, it’s just another click to begin downloading the update. How cool is that? Did I mention that it’s free?
In between the free that’s really good, and the free that’s not even sponge worthy, are Mac utilities that do better than what Apple does.
Take iPhoto. Puhleeze, I cannot run a fully functional Mac Digital Hub™ without iPhoto. The problem? I want and need more than a single iPhoto library. I have a business with many photos. My husband has photos from his job in the travel industry.
We can keep them in iPhoto but it gets messy, even with the new Events feature. Solution? Multiple iPhoto libraries. Did you know that Apple provides that feature for free?
Press and hold the Option key and launch iPhoto. You get a dialog box asking which iPhoto Library you want to open, or create a new one. Voila! Multiple iPhoto libraries that are easy to manage, easy backup.
So, why does iPhoto Buddy exist? It lets you manage multiple iPhoto libraries on your Mac, but does it in such a way as to wonder why Apple didn’t include this kind of tool in all the iLife ‘08 library applications (iMovie, iTunes, iWeb….).
iPhoto Buddy lets you create, manage, and switch between multiple iPhoto libraries, so you don’t end up with one huge, monolithic, library with 150,000 photos and no keywords.
Another Mac utility that is on my Must Have, Not Pay For List™ is SnapNDrag, from YellowMug.
Your Mac can take screen shots and save the images as a file on your desktop, right? Handy, right?
Quick, what’s the keystroke combination for all the options to capture a screen? See? I can’t remember them, either. SnapNDrag makes capturing pieces of your Mac’s screen ridiculously easy. One key.
Then drag the image to the SnapNDrag email launcher to send it to whomever is so deserving. PNGs, TIFFs, JPEGs, whatever.
What’s free that you don’t need? Besides Dashboard Widgets, there are fewer than you might suspect. High on my list is RealPlayer. It’s been awhile since I stumbled upon a web site that used RealPlayer exclusively. It doesn’t work well anyway.
There are some utilities that all of us can live without unless we’re using something no one else in the world is using—the Creative Nomad MP3 players. If you’ve got one, I feel your pain. You need XNJB 1.4.10.
How many file readers do you need on your Mac? JustLooking is yet another one, it adds a few features not available in OS X’s Preview, but also doesn’t read PDF files. Go figure.
What’s your favorite must have Mac utility with a price tag equal to zero? What’s the worst Mac software you’ve ever used, even though it didn’t cost a dime or more? Share in the Comments section below.