Jay's 10 favorite free Mac apps of 2009
Without further ado, let's get to the apps!
This simple, elegant Twitter client from Atebits Software blows everything else in the Twitter arena out of the water. Not only is it attractive, it's also got the most intuitive UI out there, and includes easy URL shortening and Growl support. Tweetie deserves all the good reviews it's received. No wonder the iPhone version won an Apple Design Award!
This excellent video player has really come into its own this year, with updates to version 2 and then version 2.5. Not only can you use it to subscribe to web video channels and podcasts, you can also use it as a BitTorrent client. Using RSS feeds, you can set Miro to download new episodes of a TV show as they come out, and use it to play them, too.
One app for all your video needs? Sounds like top 10 material to me.
Another cross-platform gem, Namebench speeds up your Internet connection by finding you the fastest DNS server in your area. You can optimize it for your particular browser, and it'll give you a results page with a comparison of all servers, and how much faster the best one is, as a percentage. Namebench came out of Google's "Twenty Percent Time," where employees work on side-projects one day a week.
Firefox 3.5 Intel-Optimized builds
Love Firefox, but wish it performed a lot better on your Mac? Snag an Intel-optimized version of the latest (non-beta) Firefox release for all the stability (and add-on compatibility) you expect from regular Firefox, but with a little extra speed in the tank. I think you'll really notice the difference.
I couldn't finish any of my Download Squad posts without Skitch, because I use it for all my screengrabs and resizing. Skitch is the slickest, quickest screen capture tool you can get for free. Just snap, add some text, arrows or drawing if you want, resize, and then drag your new image anywhere you need it.
Although it's still only in beta, Google Chrome made a huge splash as the fastest browser you can get on your Mac. Once extension support and bookmark syncing are enabled in the final version, it'll give Firefox and Safari both a serious run for their money.
Ommwriter creates a minimal writing environment, free of distractions. It has very few controls or formatting options, which means a lot less to fiddle with instead of writing. It also has a few different backgrounds, and even a selection of soothing music by which to write. Another full-screen writing app I love, although it didn't come out in 2009, is Writeroom.
For online file storage and syncing, it's tough to beat Dropbox. It integrates with the OS X Finder, so you can drag files to and from your Dropbox as if they were stored on your hard drive. Dropbox folders are easy to manage and share, and - as if the desktop app weren't cool enough by itself - there's also a Dropbox iPhone app.
This pick almost isn't fair, because Fluid is more than one app: it lets you turn any web app into a standalone browser. The power of Fluid might not be immediately obvious, but once you start pulling Google Reader or Gmail down to your desktop, it becomes clear how useful Fluid really is. To get a good idea of some of the sites you can Fluid-ize, check out my list of 10 web apps you should be running on your Mac with Fluid.
Sequential is one of the best image viewers I've used on the Mac. It can see inside folders and ZIP or RAR archives, and it shows the EXIF data for your photos. It's fairly light and snappy, especially compared to bulky apps like iPhoto. The real reason I love Sequential, though, is that it's my favorite comics viewer on the Mac, supporting CBR and CBZ files and making it easy to navigate the pages and view them at any size.
... and there you have my top 10, Download Squad readers! I know I left off a few essentials that you'll call me on in the comments - VLC and Transmission, especially - but I wanted to hit some lesser-known gems, too.
What's on your personal top 10 list?