Best Free (almost) Mac Apps

December.6.2006

I have always found lists of the top free Mac apps to be incredibly helpful for me to find new and useful apps that just make my life easier. There are a ton of just incredible programs designed for the Mac OS and each time I find one it helps to validate my love for the OS.

For those of you who are stuck on a PC, I apologize for the worthless nature of this post. (Or maybe this will help you leave the virus plagued jungle!)

1. RapidWeaver – I have been using this program a lot lately as I continue to work on redoing the camp’s website. I have been doing web design at an amateur level for a long time now and this is by far the easiest and still feature-rich tool I have ever used. It really allows you to dig in as much or as little as you want and have a great looking site regardless of your decision.

2. FolderShare – I know this is a Microsoft program, but it is really pretty ingenious. Here is how it works: I have desktop computer. I have a laptop. I have a work computer. I have a server at work that I sometimes need access to. While I could setup a VPN to access certain files on these computers, that still doesn’t allow access to everything on all the computers. FolderShare does. You install this program on each machine and it gives you a listing and search function of every file on every machine. Once you find what you need, you download it. You can also use it to sync folders in multiple locations (like a VPN). Oh yeah, and it’s seamlessly cross-platform.

3. Connect360 – The way the Xbox 360 was designed is genius…if you are a PC owner. The machine is capable of pulling music, photos and video off of other computers on your home network. However, if you have a Mac, this feature does not work right out of the box. That is where Connect360 comes in. Now I can listen to any song in my iTunes library while I play. And it preserves all of my playlists, genres, etc. And I can listen to podcasts. Amazing.

4. VirtueDesktops – Ever get bogged down in layer-upon-layer of application windows? I always do. Between email, internet, word processing, and some graphics program, it gets difficult to navigate what’s going on. With VirtueDesktops you create seperate workspaces that flip as you change applications. You can setup common applications to be on the same workspaces so email is always open with Word and so on. It really helps productivity.

5. iPhoto Library Manager – The one downside of the entire world switching from traditional to digital photography is the storage. Sure, it seems like storing photos on a computer is more sensible that dozens of green and red photo albums, but there was another side effect to digital photography: more pictures. These two factors combine to create gigantic photo libraries. This app helps you by splitting your iPhoto Library into separate libraries making it easier to navigate and operate iPhoto.

That is enough for now. I actually have a list of 10, so if you really want to see 6-10, you’ll have to check back soon!

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