An Encore Review from Alexis’ Mac Grab Bag of History.
We love Top 10 Lists, and we love free utilities and tools for our Macs. The problem is squeezing all the great free Mac software down to just 10.
After trying really hard, 17 is close enough. They’re the best, they’re free, and they don’t include Firefox or Thunderbird.
Yes, they’re free, they’re good, but everyone knows it so let me not clutter my list. Think of it as the letters R S T L N in Wheel of Fortune.
Everyone starts with those letters, right? So, Firefox and Thunderbird, both good and free, won’t be on this list. These 17 are open source or free Mac applications that actually get used by yours truly.
See which ones compare to what’s on your list of free Mac utilities.
#17 – Instant Messaging: Adium
This is what a Mac tool should be. Instant messaging for every protocol worth connecting to. Simple interface, simple set up. Adium does IM for everything for AIM, to MSN to Jabber. Download Here.
#16 – RSS News Reader: Vienna
If you’re not using an RSS reader, you should be. The very good ones cost money. Vienna is a very good one, minus a few bells and whistles, and it’s easier to use anyway. Download Here. Of course, the even more popular and feature laden NetNewsWire is free.
#15 – DVD Ripper: Handbrake
Ripping DVDs is time consuming but has advantages in the age of iPods with video and large hard drives, and the iPhone. For Mac users, there’s only one excellent choice to rip a DVD. Handbrake, now with H.264 encoding. Download Here.
#14 – Word Processor: AbiWord
If you can’t afford Microsoft Word, and Apple’s TextEdit is too confining, then AbiWord might be what you need. Lean and quick and compatible with Word files. Mostly. Download Here.
#13 – Browser: Camino
OK, it’s really Firefox that looks prettier, but that’s the point. Firefox on Mac looks like Firefox on Windows. Camino looks like what Firefox should look like if Firefox were made for a Mac, which is the case with Camino. Download Here.
#12 – Media Player: Miro
Yes, your Mac comes with QuickTime and it plays most media just fine. But it doesn’t do what Miro does. It’s like having an internet TV right on your Mac’s screen. Download Here.
#11 – Graphics: Seashore
There’s always room for argument when discussing graphic tools for the Mac. GIMP is recognized as Photoshop for free, but Seashore is easier to use and doesn’t require setting up X11 on your Mac. Download Here.
#10 – File Transfer Protocol: Cyberduck
FTP tools get files from here to there, especially needed when setting up a web site on a remote server, or just sending large files across a network. It’s hard to believe that the polished and dependable Cyberduck is free. Download Here.
#9 – Text Editing: Smultron
Text editing is not word processing and not just an HTML editor. It’s for coding a little of everything. Use vi or emacs or pico (all included on your Mac) but spend money for lessons, or use Smultron. Download Here.
#8 – HTML Web Page Editor: Nvu
Editing or creating a web page isn’t much easier when using Nvu. Think of it as the old HTML editor in Mozilla, which is now SeaMonkey. Download Here. Or, try the updated version, Kompozer, just five or six versions away from being 1.0.
#7 – Finance: Buddi
Everybody needs to track their money, Mac, Linux, or Windows user. Buddi plays well on everything, and assumes you don’t know much about money, which is the way free software should work. Download Here.
#6 – File Sharing: Tomato Torrent & Limewire
There’s something like 27-eleven file sharing tools for the Mac. By file sharing, I mean, uh, well, finding files somewhere on the web that would normally cost you money but that you want to share with yourself for free. Download Here and Here.
#5 – Aquarium: Fish
I warned you. This is my list. I like fish. Especially the kind which require zero maintenance and go away when I’m busy. Fish lets me resurrect the fish that I accidentally forget to feed. Download Here. Yes, Fish isn’t as nice as Marine Aquarium but that costs money.
#4 – Image Editor: ImageWell
It ain’t Photoshop, but it’ll save you about $1,000 minus $20. ImageWell does most of what most of us need—resize, crop, edit, watermark, annotate, add text, drop shadows, etc. Not bad for what used to be free, huh? Now the publishers think that what was free is worth $20. It’s worth free. Not $20. Download Here or go straight to Image Tricks. Still free.
#3 – File Renamer: Renamer
If you have plenty of files on your Mac and you’re constantly changing names, resorting, then you need to use Renamer. That’s what it does. Fast, simple, dependable. Download Here.
#2 – Remote Control Mac: Chicken of the VNC
Tell me the truth. Don’t you want to control your neighbors Mac from a remote location? Sure you do. Now you can. Chicken of the VNC is like Apple’s expensive Remote Desktop, minus a few bells and whistles. Download Here.
#1 – Troubleshooting Tool: AppleJack
OK, your Mac is acting goofy, so what do you do? If you’re a Tiger user and installed AppleJack you’ve got a Swiss Army Knife of utilities waiting to jump into action. AppleJack is about the best ever toubleshooting tool on the Mac, and it’s available for ten cents less than a dime. Download Here.
See? 17 free tools and utilities, just like I promised. What? You want more? We’re all gluttons for free, you know. So, where is Alexis’ favorite list of free Mac software? Check out Mohawke’s Best of the Best.
What’s on your list? What did I miss on mine (not that I’m likely to change it—typing is hard work)? Share your fav in the Comments section below.