A while back some site or another started giving away free Mac applications, one a day. I downloaded a bunch of them thinking that they’d give me some good blog fodder at some point. Today I trashed pretty much all of them, most of them before I ever got around to installing them.
Here’s the thing about free applications. Unless you have an absolute use for them, unless there’s a compelling reason to install and test them out, they sit around taking up disk space. And they add clutter to the system, making it harder to find important files that you want to keep.
Also there’s a matter of trust. Do you really want to keep loading new applications onto your system, particularly on your day-to-day work system, without knowing their side effects? Just to get a paragraph or two and maybe a screen shot? That’s a lot of risk for relatively little reward.
And here’s the really big thing: most free software is crap. (A lot of paid software is crap too.) All that trouble for not much reward and I don’t really like posting negative reviews.
These days it takes word of mouth to motivate me to give software a try. So instead of telling you about all the free crap that I downloaded, I thought I’d mention a few gems instead. Here are some of my most recent software keepers:
The Unarchiver It’s a useful and powerful unpacker for all sorts of archive formats and it seems to work more happily on my system than StuffitExpander.
Colloquy An IRC client of all things. It has a lot more features than I thought I needed but then discovered that I really liked. For example, it lets me know audibly whenever someone types my name, so I hear it even when I’m physically away from my screen.
AppDelete A simple utility to delete all the bits and doodads that get installed along with your apps. Yes, it’s a bit crude (for example, it will only delete one app at a time) but it’s saved me a lot of time and effort cleaning out preferences files and application support material by hand.