Converting to a Mac was one of the best computing choices I’ve ever made, the beauty and simplicity of the OS X operating system is astonishing and always a pleasure to work with, making me cringe when I even have to think of turning my PC on to play Eve Online. Freeware on the Mac is a thing of beauty, with large amounts of freeware applications spread throughout the internet enhancing user experience and productivity in more ways than one can count. Today we’re going to list more of our favorite OS X freeware, applications we find crucial to our daily use and crucial in our obsessive need to be on the cutting edge.
Shrook – RSS feed reader
Vienna – RSS feed feader
Both are solid and free RSS readers with features on both sides which give them an edge. Vienna features a nice mini-browser, smart folders and flagged articles. Shrook however wins me over. It’s a bit more lightweight, going for simplicity, which is always admirable for application design. One of Shrooks major features is it’s sync abilities, allowing users to signup to Shrook.com (for a small fee) and then use Shrook over multiple Macs without having to carry your RSS feeds anywhere, open Shrook, log-in and bam, your RSS feeds are there waiting for you.
Deer Park web browser (Optimized Firefox 220.127.116.11 for G4, G5, and Intel Macs)
The official Firefox for Mac drives me insane. I want so badly to use it, but, the performance is so sluggish and unusable that it almost makes me miss IE 5.0. Thankfully there are Mac OS X hackers who’ve had enough and have begun distributing Firefox updates in a Mac-friendly form, under the name Deer Park. Deer Park isn’t a perfect solution but it’s a step in the right direction that’s for sure, taking the usual Firefox updates and puting a little more effort into optimizing them to run more smoothly on G4, G5 and Intel Macs, without the Firefox branding of course as it’s not an official Mozilla product. Switching to Deer Park is easy, you won’t lose any of your bookmarks or other user settings and I haven’t found an extension yet that hasn’t worked with the Park.
Dashalytics – Google Analytics Dashboard widget
A highly recommended Dashboard widget for any obsessive compulsive blog owners who leave a Google Analytics tab open at all time. Dashalytics is a handy little freeware widget which gives you a quick and clean overview of your site’s day, week, monthly and yearly page visits and page views, supporting multiple sites as long as you have them setup with Google’s Analytics service.
Letterbox – Widescreen plugin for Mail.app
Widescreen is the future of computing (and gaming!), you can take that to the bank. As more and more users switch to widescreen resolutions, the need for widescreen support in many applications will be a must. For instance, Mail.app, OS X’s ultra-powerful email application included with every version of Apple’s operating system. It’s not so friendly for a widescreen resolution, especially for those of us with multiple email accounts and thousands upon thousands of emails. But there’s hope in the form of a simple little Mail.app plugin named Letterbox. By rearranging the Mail.app interface into 3 vertical columns, Letterbox instantly transforms Mail into a widescreen users email heaven, allowing the user more vertical space for mailboxes as well as a large preview pane.
QuickName – File utility for renaming large amounts of files
QuickName is a program that I need only a few times a year, but still an important little tool to have. QuickName is as straight-forward as it gets, a small utility that allows you to quickly change the naming conventions of large amounts of files. For instance, you have 275 images in your blog that you were given the suffix .JPG, but you want them to be .jpg. Launch good old QuickName and let her rip, renaming said files in a matter of seconds.
Ventrilo – Group VOIP for OS X
TeamSpeex – TeamSpeak for OS X
VOIP is a godsend for gamers and businesses alike. Ventrilo and TeamSpeak are the standards for group-chat functions in the gaming world, with clans from Counter Strike to World of Warcraft to Eve Online using the applications to communicate during group activities in-game (and out). It took awhile, but there are finally stable OS X builds for both applications, bringing Mac gamers (or those of us who use their Mac for Ventrilo while playing on their PC) into the world of group VOIP communication.
Read more: 10 favorite applications for OS X