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Ten Free Must Have Apps For Mac Desktop Users

1) iBackup:  iBackup is an excellent remedy for hard drive failures, accidental deletions of files and other system mishaps. iBackup is a great program with the forte to back up and restore system and application preference. It also proves to be the standard support for securing files and folders. Further, iBackup gives users the option of a selective backup, or sync, that only backs up altered files. You can use an interactive backup/restore feature or schedule backups for a future date. The user friendly iBackup allows to drag and drop files and folders for backup and to restore them.

iBackup allows users to run scripts (*.scpt) files that they can set to run at the start at a backup process or at the end. This is an excellent feature for users who want to have more control over the way they backup their data. For Unix lovers, iBackup allows them to use Unix commands that further helps in managing the application.

2) Adium:This is a versatile instant messaging client with a sleek interface. Adium supports instant messaging protocols including AIM, Yahoo!, MSN, Jabber, ICQ, iChat, Google Talk, among others. For those who need to chat with several people simultaneously, Adium's tabbed messaging feature proves very helpful – a single window can contain several conversations in individual tabs. This versatile messaging client also supports Off-the-Record Messaging and lets you carry out private conversations over instant messaging with other Mac, Linux and Windows users. Adium's functionality and appearance can also be enhanced via the library of add-ons for sounds and images. These can be found on its official website and include Dock Icons, Emotioncons, Contact List Styles, Message Styles, Status Icons, Service Icons, and Menu Bar Icons.

3) Evernote:The versatile note taking and personal organization application is now available through the Mac App Store. This is an extremely popular app, packed with functionality. You can capture and store almost anything within Evernote database, and it can be also be synced with different devices and gadgets such as iPad and iPhone. All the information, documents, notes and scanned images you import are processed automatically with OCR technology. This makes everything exceptionally easy to search and find. You never need to wonder as to where you saved an important scan or document.
      Evernote is a free app but premium accounts are also available for $5/month and these add extra features to the app such as searching within PDFs, an unlimited storage allowance, unlimited file type storage, and priority image recognition.

4) Quicksilver:Quicksilver is a highly extensible application that improves productivity and ease of system use. It can find applications and launch them with a few keystrokes, reducing icon clutter. Any file found with Quicksilver can be manipulated the way you like – it can be e mailed, compressed or uploaded on to a server. Quicksilver's collection of plugins and modules also allow you to display iTunes info, find a bookmark, perform command line tasks, and it can be integrated with Cyberduck, Safari and Firefox. If a system upgrade or new software malfunctioned on a user’s Mac, important data and files could be lost but with Quicksilver there are no such issues.

5) Nvu: This application was essentially created as an open source web authoring platform and its broad feature set makes it a viable replacement for expensive alternative web authoring systems such as Microsoft Frontpage and Adobe Dreamweaver. Nvu was devised with the beginner in mind and is regarded as one of the best solutions for amateur coders. Users can readily switch between WYSIWYG and code views to manage their content with a tabbed interface. Nvu also features integrated file management via FTP. You can simply login to your website and edit files on the fly, directly from your site.

6) Firefox: Safari may be a good browser for surfing the net on Mac but Firefox's amazing archive of valuable extensions, themes, and toolbars makes it more superior. Firefox has extended support for key shortcuts, such as switching between tabs, live bookmarks and its version 1.5 ushers in a zippy browsing engine. Firefox's search function is also much more robust than that of Safari. Firefox coalesces form and functionality just as well as its sister program, Thunderbird, does. For those who find it difficult to use Apple's Mail, Thunderbird is a simpler and user friendly option to use on Mac.

7) TextWrangler 2: Recently awarded the MacWorld 2005 Editors' Choice Award, TextWrangler is a very superior text editor by Bare Bone's Software. It allows for a trouble-free editing of any file on Mac. Considered one of the most comprehensive free text editors, TextWrangler 2 features extensive FTP and SFTP support and can even perform Find Differences on a pair of files. It is the perfect text editor for beginners as well as experienced coding experts. TextWrangler 2 can be further upgraded to BBEdit that adds professional web authoring and subversion server support to its already impressive feature set.

8) Stuffit Expander  :As a free application, Stuffit Expnader proves very useful for Mac users. It can be used to open any kinds of compressed file on the system. Mac OS X does have the ability to decompress and archive .zip files. StuffIt Expander takes this feature further, and also gives Mac the forte to quickly decompress files and folders in many other compressed file formats, such as .rar, .sitx, .sit, .tar, .tgz, and more. If you are looking for a complete archiving solution on Mac, you need to look no further than StuffIt Expander Deluxe. The deluxe version comes with a faster and more efficient compression algorithm and impressive Spotlight integration for searching inside of archived files.

9) Cyberduck: Mac users looking for good full-featured FTP client find the perfect solution in Cyberduck. It is a powerful open source FTP and SFTP client with an easy to use interface. As an application Cyberduck includes support for multiple connections, resumable downloads, recursive transfers, bookmarks, folder synchronizations, among others. It works very well with Mac OS X system technologies such as Spotlight, Bonjour, Keychain and AppleScript. Cyberduck also integrates seamlessly with popular external text editors including BBEdit, TextWrangler and Smultron.

10) AppCleaner: Macs are known for 'simple installation and un-installation procedures'. To install most Mac apps, all you need to do is drag it over to the Applications folder. To uninstall, the app can be dragged to Trash. But the story does not end there. There can be a couple of mystery files left on your Mac even when you uninstall an app. They may not harm the systems but since you’re 'uninstalling' the concerned app, you will not need such files to eat up any disc space on your Mac. AppCleaner solves this problem. The applications to be uninstalled can be dragged into AppCleaner and once it displays all related files, you can delete them completely. With these apps on your system, you can ensure even more efficiency for your Mac.

About the Author: This article by Frank Johnson is the first in his series on ‘Free Apps for Mac Desktop Users’.  Frank is a regular editorial contributor on digital media products and services that help small to mid size businesses.  To know more about useful applications for Mac, you may interact with him here

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