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Top 10 Free Mac Apps for New Mac Owners

April 24, 2010

So you just bought your first Mac! Congratulations! Welcome to a world of faster, more intuitive computing. I know you’ll like it here. As they say: “once you go Mac, you never go back”. (Do they say that? Did I just make that up?) It was my Mom (hater of technology, her mantra is “I LOVE TECHNOLOGY” to keep herself from going insane struggling with it) who turned us all onto Macs: first by buying a laptop that she found easier to use. Then she added a desktop. Then my Dad, catching on slowly, bought himself one too. After a while, my Mom passed on her desktop to my sisters and I, and got a faster one, and then I got my computer for school. What can I say, we’re an Apple family (no iPhones though). Anyway, I have never looked back. I remember the days of struggling endlessly with our desktop computer, which is now a dinosaur, and I can assure you I will never return to those days. I do understand, though, that Macs are more expensive by far. I would argue, also, that they are better for battery, longevity and included software. It’s obviously a difficult tradeoff, but I’m not here to tell you whether to buy a Mac or a PC (these guys can do that for me :P), I’m here to tell you what to do once you have one!

The early days with your new computer are an adventure. From the minute you turn it on you’re greeted by colour and sound and shiny things. What to do?? Here are my top picks for the most useful free Mac applications on the interwebs. I’m sharing them today because so many of my friends don’t know about some of them. And they should know of them, because they’re just so damned useful! Enjoy!

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1. Caffeine. Ever have your screen peskily dim every time you try to watch something on Youtube or read an article online? Well, rather than have to touch the trackpad every time it dims, just download Caffeine and have it running on startup. That way, when you click it on (it is a tiny icon in your top menu bar) it will keep your screen lit up until you turn it off. This little app is one I use many times daily, it’s one of the most useful on my computer.

2. Todos. Although you can set up your Applications folder to appear in your Apple dock, I also find this app to be very helpful. By pressing ctrl+option+command+t, all your applications pop up in a handy little window, and you can click whichever you want. Useful for people who don’t like to keep their docks on the screen or don’t want their applications in their docks.

3. Newsfire. Whether you’re an avid fashion-blog reader, or a CNN junkie, Newsfire is a great, easy-to-use RSS feeder application. I prefer it to Google Reader because it can be accessed just from my desktop and not a website, and any feed can be added extremely easily. It’s nothing really fancy, just a simple, straightforward reader.

4. Appcleaner. An easy way to uninstall Mac applications. Although uninstalling is fairly simple to do without the app, Appcleaner does a good job of collecting all the files associated with an app. That way, you never miss any, and your computer doesn’t get clogged with useless files.

5. Mojo. So wonderful if you live in a university residence or apartment building. It’s a program that allows you to share your music & movies with all other Mojo users in the vicinity, when they’re online. It’s fast and easy, and it’s a great way to discover new bands and movies.

6. Tweetie. Great for anyone on twitter. They say the free version includes ads, but personally I get one ad every three weeks or so. This application, again, is simple, but it’s one of my favourites. It’s sleek, easy to use and provides all the features you would need. I also tried out Tweetdeck, but I have loved Tweetie more than any other twitter application.

7. Daisy Disk. An app that lets you scan your computer and zero in on any areas of high memory usage. This allows you to get rid of things you don’t need, and make sure your computer stays happy. It says only a fifteen day trial, but I am still able to use it..it just says ‘unregistered” on it, but still works fine.

8. Keymaster. If you’re anything like me, you have a bazillion passwords for strange accounts all over the internet. And they’re all different. And it’s confusing! So here’s the solution: download Keymaster, put a really hard password on it, and store all your passwords within. Perfect, and more secure than a password notebook.

9. Evernote. Obviously, if you don’t have an Evernote account this app won’t be useful to you. But you should have an Evernote account!! As I mentioned in this post, Evernote is such a wonderful system for syncing all the cool things you find on the internet or in your day-to-day life into one giant ‘notebook’. I use my Evernote mostly for collecting recipes, ideas on the go or inspiration. Definitely check it out!

10. Quinn. Basically a prettier version of Tetris. :)

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So, my dear new Mac lovers, go forth with these ten useful apps for your new computers. Live long, and prosper!

Feedback?

What do you think? Any apps I should know about? Please let me know if there’s an app you just can’t live without!!

xoxo, S.


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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    April 25, 2010 7:26 PM

    I’ve tried a lot of these apps – Todos, Newsfire, Mojo, Appcleaner and Tweetie. I really like the Keymaster one too, and I did put a REALLY HARD password on it, but then I forgot my password which made the entire app pointless and I had to delete it.

  2. Helen permalink
    August 28, 2010 7:54 PM

    Hi… I realize this might be a very late comment, but i’ve only just read this entry! One of my favourite (unfortunately not free after 30 day free trial) and most used application is “Papers” (http://mekentosj.com/papers/). It’s great for students (like myself) who deals with an extraordinary amount of literature, journal articles and whatnot… :)

  3. James P Dehnert permalink
    December 26, 2010 12:56 AM

    Dropbox (http://www.dropbox.com/) is an excellent addition, especially if you have more than 1 computer. Setting up shared folders in dropbox is a simple way to pass files between people as well.

    Im also a big fan of Hazel (http://www.noodlesoft.com/hazel.php). It keeps my desktop, and downloads folders clean for me, and it also deletes the supporting files for applications when you decide to throw one into the trash.

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