New Web Site: Free Software


(Randy B. Singer) #1

Hi folks! I’ve created yet another new Web site for Macintosh users!
This one is a bit more fun. It is a list of really awesome free or
inexpensive software for the Macintosh. It’s the stuff that I get asked
for all the time. e.g. “Is there a free replacement for Mail that I
might like better?”

My hope that everyone, no matter how long
you’ve been using the Macintosh, can find something on the list that is
new to them and that they can enjoy!

The site is free and totally non-commercial:

Free Or Inexpensive Macintosh Software
http://www.macattorney.com/free.html

Please let me know what you think of the site!

This
Web site, in case you don’t know, is one of several that I have that
attempt to help Macintosh users with questions and problems that come up
often. Please spread the word about them.:

Macintosh Routine Maintenance
http://www.macattorney.com/ts.html

Macintosh Slowdown Solutions
http://www.macattorney.com/sd.html

Macintosh Beachballs!
http://www.macattorney.com/rbb.html

Macintosh Word Processors
http://www.macattorney.com/wp.html

Upgrading To The Very Latest Macintosh Operating System
http://www.macattorney.com/upos.html


Randy B. Singer
Co-author of The Macintosh Bible (4th, 5th, and 6th editions)
Head of the MacAttorney Macintosh User Group



(gastropod) #2

Looks like a useful list. It’s nice to see Tex-Edit Plus get some attention.

You might add Bean, a simple formatted text editor that I’ve used for years:

http://www.bean-osx.com/Bean.html

I also like the simple menubar TeaTimer from Josh Jacobs (though you should probably test it with high Sierra and Mojave, since it hasn’t been updated for awhile):

http://www.joshjacob.com/mac-development/teatimer.php

A couple of suggestions:

Can you format it so that the text autowraps? If I increase the font size to something comfortable, the window has to be a good bit wider than my 21" monitor, which leads to the dreaded side scrolling. And there’s no option for Reader mode. I suspect that using paragraph tags would work better than using breaks.

As the list grows, it might be useful to sort it into categories to make it easier to find specific replacements.


(Alan Forkosh) #3

You undersell Libre Office. Not only can it open Wordperfect files, but it opens many other legacy word processor files. I’ve had it open original MacWrite files and WriteNow files from my earliest days with the Mac.

Alan Forkosh Oakland, CA
[email protected]
https://al4kosh.com


(Randy B. Singer) #4

Well, it wasn’t a full blown review of LibreOffice.

But, yes, LibreOffice has some wonderful translators in it. Sadly, they still aren’t perfect. For instance I have a legal pleading template that I created in Word and it isn’t perfect when opened in LibreOffice. But it’s much better recently than it has been.

Just as a matter of academic interest, LibreOffice’s translators aren’t from the LibreOffice folks, they are from an entirely different open source project.


(David Rostenne) #5

Randy,

There are so many this list is going to get huge … even if you only list the good ones! :wink:

A few places that come to mind to look for more:


https://wangchujiang.com/awesome-mac/

Of note that I would like to see added:

BBEdit has a free mode now.
Script Debugger (for Applescript and more…) also has a free mode.
Calibre for managing an ebook library.
Audiobookbinder for merging mp3 files into iTunes friendly m4a files.

Cheers,

Dave


(John Burt) #6

I use Open Office. Similar to Libre Office but I like the spreadsheet user interface better. But it does not save to XLSX last time I checked.


#7

Hi folks! I’ve created yet another new Web site for Macintosh users!
This one is a bit more fun. It is a list of really awesome free or
inexpensive software for the Macintosh. It’s the stuff that I get asked
for all the time. e.g. “Is there a free replacement for Mail that I
might like better?”

The content of this site is terrific, very informative and a lot of fun. MacAttorney has always been a great site, and this new addition makes it even better.

But it does need a few design tweaks. You’ve got too many fonts and faces going on. The “Free Or Inexpensive Macintosh Software” subhead is almost unreadable and too large. The Mac OS X Routine Maintenance" and other subheads have drop shadows that makes it very difficult to read. And the subheads are all too large and inconsistent, making the site seem somewhat disorganized when the content is anything but. It would be easier reading and less distracting if you reduced the type size, used a bold face, and kept the subheads to one line. I don’t think a graphic is necessary, and it distracts from the title logo. You can probably use the same type that’s now in the section heads and reduce the size of the heads. This it will give a more consistent feel.

There’s enough white space to eliminate the underlining. Since you are using color and underlining to delineate links, the big lines are distracting. I’d also consider switching the body font to serif and the headers and subheads to sans; serif is easier to read. I’ve mentioned this before…think about making the lines shorter, 70 characters (including spacing) is consider max for online reading.

Any of the typography suggestions above should be easy to do in a CSS style sheet. And I hope I don’t sound like I’m being too harsh, I really do love your site even though I’m nothing resembling and attorney. It’s a great, well organized and written resource.


(Simon) #8

Very nice list, Randy. I really enjoyed browsing through your collection of free Mac apps.

I like YASU. It seems to be very simple and clean. I like the idea of having a GUI for some maintenance tasks that although routine might only be run a few times a year. Just out of curiosity, do others here use it? Is there anything bad to be said about deleting logs and caches on an infrequent basis?


(Simon) #9

Oh, I think I have one more for your list. One of my personal favorites: Time Tracker.

https://www.charlessoft.com

CharlesS has considered it “in an early state” since basically forever, but I have found it useful countless times during these many years. And of course it’s free despite being regularly updated to continue to work even on the latest macOS versions.


(Randy B. Singer) #10

My intention isn’t/wasn’t to list all of the free software that I could find. It was to list a few pieces of software that were highly useful/valuable that were free or very inexpensive that folks might like.


(Randy B. Singer) #11

LOL! Perhaps you’ve confused me with a publishing professional, or someone who knows what they are doing when creating a Web site? I used a WYSIWYG Web site creation program to create the site, and I barely know how to use it. It’s not likely that I’m going to take a course on how to use it like a pro. It’s not even likely that I’m going to learn what a CSS is or how to make use of one. My Web sites are quick and dirty sites that I put together to get the information across. Frankly, I consider it a miracle that they got done at all. It amazes even me that I got them done and that I invested the time to do so.


(Randy B. Singer) #12

Thanks! I’ll check it out!


(jweil) #13

Suggested addition: OneNote from Microsoft. It is a free tool that allows capture and clipping of web articles of all types such news articles and recipes in editable form but without most of the ads. After clipping the user can delete any of the elements, including marketing links and ads. Additionally it has the ability to turn slideshows into articles. Font size and forts can be changed as well. Requires a Microsoft OneDrive account to use, which is also free if under 5GB. I feel it is one of Microsoft’s best kept ‘secrets’ as I find it an invaluable tool for research and collecting information.


(Randy B. Singer) #14

Thanks for the suggestion! OneNote isn’t an application. It’s a Web-based service. I’ve tried to stay away from those on my Web page as I’ve found that most ordinary Mac users prefer local applications, part of the problem being that free Web-based services usually aren’t free at all. They make their money by mining users’ data. While OneNote is free, and thus it doesn’t feature the much hated subscription model, it does keep users’ (possibly sensitive) data in the cloud. Many users don’t want their data on someone else’s server. Especially Microsoft’s or Google’s server.

I know that this is all a subject of much debate, but I made the decision to side-step the issue and to not include any SASS products on my “Free” Web site. I may change my mind in the future, especially if there is a free SASS product for which there isn’t an equivalent application that is free.

Thanks again!


(Curtis Wilcox) #15

Microsoft OneNote is an application. OneNote in the Mac App Store is a free install in addition to being available as part of a Microsoft Office install. There’s also an iOS app.

However, OneNote does require an account with Microsoft. Normally it’s an Office 365 account subscription but my understanding that OneNote can be used for free without a paid account. It does keep a copy of your data in the cloud. I think OneNote uses OneDrive for storage, the free OneDrive Basic provides 5GB of space.

I just went through this tiresome exercise talking about Google. Just because an individual service is offered for free does not mean a company is making money by using the data stored with them.

Software-as-a-Service is abbreviated as “SaaS.” I don’t think OneNote is an example of SaaS but I sort of understand leaving off the list anything that’s tied to a specific online service.


(jweil) #16

Actually it is both. It is a local app on your computer for editing and browsing collected info with browser extensions to allow capture of web pages. While info is initially stored on One Drive it is automatically downloaded into the app. I have never used the actual web-based app.


(frederico) #17

I agree that this discussion is becoming tiresome, too; just because a company doesn’t explicitly state that they do not use your data for profile mining, if the user agreement says the may use your data, they, IMO, probably do.

Read the MS Win10/Cortana/OneNote user “privacy policy”; they absolutely can (and almost certainly do) scan your OneNote documents in order to “improve” that and other services; and further “may” share “certain anonymous aggregate data” with third parties.

If you want to trust Google, Microsoft, (and especially) Facebook, and other “free” services whose privacy policies do not explicitly state that they neither access or use your personal data (such as that of most Apple iCloud services), that’s totally up to you; but please don’t encourage novice or otherwise tech and user-agreement-averse people that MS and Google are saints who’ll will never take advantage of the privacy agreements they write explicitly allowing them to do what you say they won’t just because they can.

If they didn’t want to do it, they’d have no problems bragging (as Apple does) that they would not, don’t, and never will use your data as a product in exchange for a “free” service.

And none of this broad privacy policy discussion accounts for rogue internal development groups whose goals do not align with the privacy policy (cf e.g., https://gizmodo.com/facebook-was-fully-aware-that-tracking-who-people-call-1830884585/amp)

And no, the irony of the ‘amp’ in that URL above is not at all lost on me.

Happy Tuesday


(Simon) #18

Indeed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that.

It’s just that in this world, that’s usually what ends up happening. Endless data/privacy scandals keep proving that exact point.

Google and Facebook (and of course MS) have been engaged in so much nefarious behavior, if at this point you’re stll willing to trust them to safeguard your personal data, I think that’s outright foolish. Fine if you make that choice for yourself, but expect pushback when suggesting others behave the same way.


(Adam Engst) #19

Alright folks, let’s close this discussion down—it’s not helpful for those who are more perturbed by the possibility of privacy issues to harangue those who have less concern, or vice versa. No one’s mind will be changed either way.


(Charles Butcher) #20

Great list, Randy. Some good-sounding items there that were new to me. aText looks uncannily like TextExpander…

Not in your list is Onyx, an excellent maintenance utility.

+1 for the free version of BBEdit.