A friend of mine recently moved to Mac with a new aluminium 13" MacBook Pro. Being a Windows user for all his life, he told me that the difference in how he used his computer is definitely visible, and wanted to know of a few apps he should get for his new Mac. Now, I have been planning to do a post like this sometime (seeing as I'm a Mac user as well), and so I now have a good reason for which to post this comprehensive list of seven free applications that I use on my MacBook, that I think would benefit any new Mac user out there. Enjoy!
This application is really handy for users who've moved from the Windows world. It allows you to play most popular video and audio formats, such as Windows Media Video (WMV), Windows Media Audio (WMA) and MPEG content. There is a version available for Windows as well, and as such it is a great "switcher" app because many people would be familiar with it, having used its Windows counterpart.
Handbrake is every iPod with video user's dream come true. It allows you to rip DVD movies to iPod, PSP and computer formats, so that you can take your video with you, wherever you go. A Windows version is also available.
One handy application that for some reason isn't on Mac OS X is a Mac counterpart for the Windows Paint application, that allows for simple but reliable image editing. I'm not sure why Apple didn't create a version standard on Mac, seeing as the earlier Mac systems (Mac OS 8 etc) included an app called "MacPaint". Anyway, Paintbrush is a good replacement, and works well. I hardly use it, but sometimes when there's a minor task needed to be done with a particular picture, Paintbrush can be called on to get the job done.
If you're after a little more power with image editing - a la Photoshop, then The Gimp is the best open source, free alternative! This is one amazing application. It allows you to do some incredible stuff with photos, including removing backgrounds from pictures, adding cool rendered effects like blurs and distortions, and even creating logos - apparently the early Google logo was created using this very app.
DrawIT lite is the free version of Bohemian Coding's stylish vector drawing application - these guys won an Apple Design Award for their products, so they're quite good. This application allows you to draw on screen with vectors, creating things like stylish logos from polygonal shapes. I used it to create quite a few cool logos, and it's really easy to learn - just sit down with it for about an hour, and you'll get the hang of it. That's how easy it is!
This stylish Twitter application allows you to stay up-to-date with your tweets. I use it all the time to connect with my followers on Twitter and update my tweets. The only snag is that the free version does prompt you from time-to-time to "upgrade" to the paid version. All in all, though, a really good Twitter client for Mac OS X.
Last but not least is one of my favourites, NewsFire, a stylish and straightforward RSS reader. It allows you to stay ahead with the latest news from your favourite blogs and news sites. I used to use NetNewsWire for my RSS feeds, but since trying out NewsFire, I'm hooked! This is the latest app added to my Mac collection, and so I can't judge it's performance very accurately, but I can recommend it as an intuitive application to help you keep your feeds in check.
Well, that's the list! If you have any comments or more free apps that you think should be on this list, please drop a line or two in the comments section.