What makes the Mac such a great tool is all the tools we can use that don’t cost anything. As in “Free.”
Here’s the Top 5 Free and Useful Mac Tools—for iCal, DVDs, Comics, Location changing, and Lobster petting.
Yes, the Mac’s market share has probably doubled in the past couple of years. No, Windows Vista is not a failure. And free software is not dying.
#5 – DVD Ripping
Remember Rip. Mix. Burn? That was an Apple slogan for the second generation of iMacs back in the last century. That was music, not movies.
Ripping and burning movies is just as easy and just as free with Handbrake. This nifty Mac tool takes a DVD and copies it to your Mac.
Any kind of DVD? Mostly. Any kind of DVD as in from Wal-Mart or Best Buy or Target or Amazon? Mostly. Handbrake just rips the movie from the DVD and puts it on your Mac.
Then you’re free to do whatever you want. Wil Gomez has a more in-depth look in an Encore Review of Handbrake.
Wow. If Handbrake is #5, then all the rest must be even better, right? Maybe. Some may accuse me of being in Reverse Usefulness Order today.
#4 – Your Mac’s Location
Over half the Macs sold these days are notebooks—MacBook, or MacBook Pro. That means Mac users take their Macs all over the place.
Location, location, location. That’s what Marco Polo does for your Mac. Put another way, it’s Context-Aware Computing which allows your Mac to know where you are, and change settings appropriate to a smooth transition.
Marco Polo sits in your Mac’s Menu Bar and adjusts all those settings on your MacBook or MacBook Pro, or iBook or PowerBook, whenever you move around. This includes printer settings, wireless settings, attached USB and Firewire devices, monitors, Bluetooth devices, and much more.
Think of it as a house maid or butler for your Mac. It doesn’t clean, but it keeps you connected.
#3 – Calendar Entries
iCal isn’t magic but to use it correctly it always needs to be open and running on your Mac, cluttering the screen, wasting CPUs.
CalendarCreator.service to the rescue. Did you know your Mac has a nifty utility called Services? They let some applications do things without being open. That’s what CalendarCreator service does.
Select some text in another Mac application, click the Services menu, and save the text as a calendar event in iCal. Without running iCal.
What could be more fun than entering info into iCal? Read on…
#2 – View Your Comics
Got a comic book collection? Want to view internet comics on your Mac? You know who you are.
Simple Comic does just one thing. It lets you view comics using your Mac on the internet. It’s a one trick pony from Dancing Tortoise Software. Look at comics just as they show up in the print version. Scale up to full screen. Handle comic archive formats with ease. If you understand .cbr, .cbz, .zip, .rar, .tar, and 7z, then you’ve found a home.
If not, well, there’s always the petting zoo.
#1 – Petting Crustaceans
Tell me about your love for the Mac. Tell me about your love for pets. Tell me you don’t mix the two?
Alright, so some Mac users have an inordinate desire to mix Macs and pets. That’s what aquarium software is all about. Lobster Petting just makes it worse.
Why Lobster Petting isn’t an Olympic sport is beyond me. As a utility for personal computer users, Lobster Petting has been around since the latter days of DOS, then Windows and even showed up on the Mac in 1996 (remember System 7?). It’s back and better than ever.
Lobster Petting is, well, you’d define it as, um, it could be described as, aaaaah, it’s a lobster on your Mac and you pet it with your mouse. Then the lobster makes noise. Seriously.
This is not a Mac utility to be trifled with. Options include the ability to change the background color, add a fez, boil, and disco. The sound effects alone are worth the effort to pet.
The Top 5 Free and Useful Mac Tools—from DVDs to iCal to lobster petting. Do we nail down the best for your Mac, or what? Got a useless Mac utility or one you can’t live without? Talk Back to Mac360 and enter your memorable tool in the Comments section below.