Due to the popularity of my first article regarding free alternatives to commercial Mac applications, I’ve decided to roll out a second part, shining the spotlight on more free applications for MakeUseOf’s Mac adopters. I hope you’ll like these applications just as well as their commercial counterparts, maybe even more since they’re free!
, as an alternative to iShowU ($20)
Jing is a screen-casting program which has come a long way since it first started. Their current version is pretty impressive because it integrates sharing to Screencast.com, Flickr and uploads to any FTP; you’ll automatically get a download link which you can share with your friends (something like Skitch). It does everything iShowU does and it even records from the microphone. The one thing it doesn’t allow me to do is adjust the video output quality. But hey, it’s pretty decent for a free app.
Burn, as an alternative to Roxio’s Toast Titanium ($79.99)
Burn extends Mac’s native burning abilities by adding various options such as creating the regular Data as well as Video and Music disks. It can burn from cue and bin images. It’s not as fully equipped as Toast Titanium with Blu-Ray Disc burning but it does the good ol’ fashion burning job very well.
Cyberduck, as an alternative to Transmit ($29.95)
Both programs are pretty much the same, supporting Quicklook, WebDAV, Secure FTP, Amazon S3, synchronization and Growl notifications. So what’s the difference? Um, the price?
macam, as an alternative to IOExperts Webcam Drivers ($20)
My first Mac was a Mini and like all new Switchers, I was excited about Photo Booth and got myself a USB webcam. Little did I know that Mac has limited drivers for webcams. After extensive research, I was ready to fork out 20 bucks for IOExperts Webcam Drivers just to make my webcam work. Luckily, I managed to find macam in time. macam is basically driver for USB webcams on Mac OS X. The name doesn’t instill a lot of confidence but trust me, it works. And it saved me $20.
Handbrake and MacTheRipper* and , as alternatives to Roxio’s Popcorn 3 ($49.99)
Handbrake is a DVD to MPEG4 convertor. Everything is handled with a single-click. It’s a very simple, free program for those without high expectations. For others who require more control, there is MacTheRipper which performs a complete backup of your DVD. With the resulting Video_TS folder, you could use VisualHub to convert it to H.264 which provides high-quality encoding. And since, I suspect you could just use it for free.
*MacTheRipper 3.0 is available only to those who donated. Check their forum for more details. You can also find the 3.0 version if you do a Google search.
Switch, as an alternative to EasyWMA ($10)
The thing about Windows Media Audio is it’s a proprietary codec unlike MP3. Hence, converting songs to and from WMA on a Mac isn’t free. For Switchers, this presents as a problem because when using Windows, iTunes recognizes WMA files and plays them without a hiccup. After transferring the iTunes library over to Mac, the songs can’t be played unless they’re converted. If you read my previous article about Migrating iTunes over to Mac, I basically teach you how to avoid this problem. If it’s too late for you and all you want is a WMA to MP3 convertor, there are EasyWMA and Switch. One is free, the other isn’t.
iGTD, as an alternative to Things ($49)
The fast-paced lifestyle most of us lead nowadays has driven notepads and To-Do lists to a whole new level. Getting Things Done (GTD) is now a zen-like teaching. iGTD is apparently the guru of all GTD applications. I’ve covered Things before when I first started writing for MakeUseOf. I would still recommend it but it isn’t free, however there is a free preview available now. So, you might want to get your hands on that while you still can.
My colleague Daniel listed five other GTD applications. Check it out.
WhatSize 10.3.91, as an alternative to WhatSize 4.3.1 ($12.99)
Yes, I realize that they’re both the same application but truthfully, I haven’t found a program which does what WhatSize can do. I’ve tried GrandPerspective but it doesn’t quite tickle my fancy. WhatSize is still easier to use and more pleasant on the eyes. I got pretty upset when it went from freeware to shareware without even a hint of an announcement. So, I did some searching and managed to find the older but more importantly, free version. DiskInventoryX is also worth a try, as an alternative to the alternative.
Dictionary Plugins, as an alternative to TranslateIt! (17â‚¬ for a 1-year license)
TranslateIt is a very popular multilingual translator for Mac. Mac’s Dictionary application comes with every Mac OS X. It’s pretty expandable too, because you can add more dictionaries to it if you can find them. Rather than paying close to $25 for a dictionary, you can just spend a little bit of time to download a free dictionary database (which I may have already found for you) and add it to your Mac’s Dictionary.
fruux, as an alternative to Spanning Sync ($65)
Spanning Sync is a very well-known commercial app which allows synchronization of Google Calendar with iCal and Google Contacts with Address Book. It can also sync calendars and contacts between several Macs. Fruux is a very fresh and free preference pane which will also allow you to sync your iCal, Address Book, Bookmarks and Task between Macs. It lacks the Google Calendar and Contact syncing, though. It’s possible to set that up yourself, with a bit of manual labour. I ain’t spendin’ $65 for that.
That concludes the second part of my Free Alternatives to 10 (now 20) Commercial Mac Applications. I hope you enjoyed it and managed to save the money you would’ve spent if you hadn’t read this post.
Are there any other applications you paid for? Share with us in the comments, maybe we’re able to find a free alternative for it!