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Top 19 Mac Apps For Tight Budgets

Get more done with Skype, Evernote, Picasa, and more than a dozen other free or cheap apps for your Apple computer.

TextWranger is a free editor for producing plain, unformatted text -- it's great for writing for the Web.
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Entering to-dos into Things is very easy. You can do it within the application from a button, menu dropdown, or keyboard shortcut. And you can also enter new to-dos from anywhere on your Mac, no matter what you're doing: Just type Ctrl-Option-Space to call up a form, type in your to-do, hit return and you're done (the keystroke command for calling up the form is user-configurable). That helps you minimize distractions and multitasking; if you think of something you need to do but don't have time to do it right away, make a note to yourself in Things and forget about the new task for now.

Things also has an iPhone version, priced at $9.99, it can either run by itself or synch with the desktop Mac version.

3. TextWrangler
Bare Bones Software

TextWrangler is a great tool for bloggers and other people who write a lot of bare, unformatted text. Use it for composing blog posts, or comments, or composing e-mail offline, writing HTML by hand, wrangling server configuration files, or any other coding job.

If you do a lot of heavy-duty coding, you might want something more robust. TextWrangler's big brother is BBEdit; it offers libraries of code snippets, code folding (which is sort of like outlining), and integration with version-control and other software management tools. It's heavy-duty, professional software -- at a heavy-duty price, $125. Ouch.


I needed more than TextWrangler, but not enough to justify shelling out $125 for BBedit, so I settled on TextMate. Coders like it, but it's also a good tool for people who write a lot on the Web, such as bloggers and journalists (like me). TextWrangler offers syntax highlighting to make it easy to read code, code-folding, automated tools for stripping HTML out of text, and more.

I use TextMate for hours every day, for virtually all my writing. In fact, I'm using TextMate right now.

5. Xmarks
Xmarks, Inc.
Free (beta)

Xmarks synchs bookmarks and passwords among Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari running on multiple computers. Xmarks also provides suggestions for sites similar to the one you're visiting, and makes suggestions when you're searching -- but I don't use those features. I just like it for synching bookmarks and passwords. Even if you only use one computer, Xmarks is a good tool for backing up your bookmarks and passwords.

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