Apple Buyers' Guide: 14 Free And Cheap Mac Applications - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Feature
News
9/7/2007
10:15 AM
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner
Features
50%
50%

Apple Buyers' Guide: 14 Free And Cheap Mac Applications

You don't have to shell out big bucks to get things done on your Mac. These tools will help you with instant messaging, writing, password management, and more.

The Mac comes with an array of basic software already built in. The Mail and iCal software provide satisfactory e-mail and scheduling, Safari is a good Web browser, and TextEdit performs basic text-editing and word-processing tasks. But you're probably going to want more.

What follows is a list of more than a dozen free or cheap applications to help beef up your Mac. It starts with a few essentials: Applications that virtually every Mac user will find valuable. Then I move on to describe applications that are great for users with specific needs.

Ten of these applications are free, one is donationware, and the other three are priced under $30.

Quicksilver: User Interface

Quicksilver is a powerful toolkit that completely changes the way you find and use information on your Mac and on the Internet. It's a keyboard-based, completely mouseless utility that you use to open applications on your computer, open and work with documents, open URLs in your browser, perform Internet searches, look up words in the Mac's built-in dictionary, and more.


The Complete
Apple Buyers' Guide


•  Desktops & Notebooks

•  Apple iPhone

•  iPod & iTunes

•  Windows Apps On Macs

•  14 Free/Cheap Mac Apps

•  Shopping & Support

•  .Mac Online Service

•  Apple & The Enterprise


•  Image Gallery

•  Desktop/Notebook Specs

•  Reader Poll: Apple's Role
   In Business


It's really hard to describe, because there's nothing else quite like it. Application launchers like Launchy on Windows are similar. But Quicksilver is more than just an application launcher.

Here's how it works: You call up Quicksilver by typing Ctrl-Spacebar. A small window pops up in the center of your screen, with two smaller windows inside it. Start typing in the first window. Quicksilver begins to suggest filenames and actions, based on a running index of applications and documents on your system and (with the aid of plug-ins) on your browser bookmarks and history.

Quicksilver also remembers what you type, and anticipates what you want based on what you asked for in the past. An example from my own usage: If I type B, then L, Quicksilver fills in the rest with the URL for the InformationWeek Blog (to which I've assigned the keyword "blog" in my browser bookmarks). Likewise, if I type just the letter N, Quicksilver suggests a file called !next actions which is my running to-do list.

I use Quicksilver every few minutes as I work and play at my computer. The most common things I use it for: Opening applications, opening documents, opening URLs, appending text to text files, and running searches with Google and other search engines. It's completely replaced the Mac desktop and Dock as the place where I launch frequently used applications and documents, and it's replaced the Finder for many functions as well. I often use Quicksilver instead of the mouse to access application menus.

It's an extraordinary program -- and it's free.

Quicksilver is a little tricky to use at first, but Lifehacker has great directions for getting started with Quicksilver.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Previous
1 of 3
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2019 State of DevOps
2019 State of DevOps
DevOps is needed in today's business environment, where improved application security is essential and users demand more applications, services, and features fast. We sought to see where DevOps adoption and deployment stand, this report summarizes our survey findings. Find out what the survey revealed today.
Slideshows
9 Steps Toward Ethical AI
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/15/2019
Commentary
How to Convince Wary Customers to Share Personal Information
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  6/17/2019
Commentary
The Art and Science of Robot Wrangling in the AI Era
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  6/11/2019
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
A New World of IT Management in 2019
This IT Trend Report highlights how several years of developments in technology and business strategies have led to a subsequent wave of changes in the role of an IT organization, how CIOs and other IT leaders approach management, in addition to the jobs of many IT professionals up and down the org chart.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll