Saturday, February 16, 2008

OSX freebits

Android is the new open source mobile phones platform created by Google et al. based on linux. Last week it became the center of attention during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona despite kiwi concerns about it's vulnerabilities or a tight competition by LiMo. I think that the move into open source is a great idea and hackers usually leave open source applications in peace. Now that mobile phones are not just the phone, but they run small applications like a palm pilot, they would certainly benefit from contributions from small developers as well.

Open source is not bad after all. For example: There was a time when freeware was limited to small utilities. Thanks to many developers, now we can find really extraordinary software that actually competes against established commercialware. Here's a list of some of the freeware I've been gathering for the last couple of months. To be honest, I haven't found anything decent to replace photoshop... so I'll have to wait until next month's release pf PSE6. Anyway, here's a list of my favourite mac OS X freeware:


open officeForget about microsoft office or iWork... why pay for any of those? when open office is absolutely compatible with all your MS-office files and it's absolutely free!

button builder
Button Builder lets you create aqua like buttons... Yes, I should change/upgrade the ones here, but I haven't got the time.
special kiwis
Live Quartz
Live Quartz claims to be a "photoshop for the rest of us..." well, it's still a bit short of features for my taste, but it gets the job done for simple layer management. Definitively better than preview.

morphXAlways wanted to do a cool morph movie like the one in Michael Jackson's videoclip?* Norrkross MorphX can blend a single image or morph one into other. Cooool!

* (If you need music for your morphing clip, look below for Jared)
clamXav
I know that being scared of viruses for mac is useless like the terrorist alert alarms... but a little precaution doesn't hurt. ClamXav is a free antivirus scanner with free updates, so you can have peace of mind when downloading e-mail attachments or office documents.

adiumAdium is an instant messaging application for mac OS X that can manage all your accounts into just one window. The actual chat window uses "cartoon" style bubbles like iChat, and the emoticons are limited, but it's still nice to have it all in one.

dtaDownthemall (dTa) is a very practical firefox add-on to batch or single FTP download images, videos, or embedded links.

Video download helper is also a firefox add-on that detects flv and other media... which is fantastic, because in just one click, it lets you download videos directly from you tube or any other website containing flash videos.

burnYes, having toast is a good thing... since the OSX finder built-in burning folder is just horrible! Then again, why pay for toast and jam? Burn may not have an amazing look, but it's very powerful... it can encode flv videos directly into DVD or VCD. Let's explain that in plain words: remember that you can download youtube videos as flv files? ... well, you can now burn them into a DVD. Simple.

audacityThe only thing I've been missing the most from my PC times is CoolEdit. Not anymore, thanks to audacity!

Jared widgetAlone? Nobody to talk to? Even cockroaches leave ya alone? Jared is a faithful application that "will serenade you in ways you didn’t think possible. Every Mac in the world should have this."

lotsaescherLotsaesher is an hypnotizing screensaver. (yes, it's the one I have currently)

E Tux RacerIf you are a fan of Tux the penguin and/or miss the old tux racer you should get this game! Extreme Tux Racer is a very cool game (in many semantic levels). Lot's of Herring to catch, action... it's coooool!

USB overdriveOnce you become a Tux's extreme racing addict, you'll need a joystick... and well, in my case I needed a free driver for my logitech Attack 3. USB Overdrive is actually shareware, but it lets you use it unlimited times, you'll just get those annoying messages when you turn it on: "you are a cheap ba...rd! you should pay for this software!"

gromobileGromobile are very strange 3D kinetic puzzle gizmo devices to play on your desktop. It's hard to explain, but it's amazing to play with those gizmos.

nice player

QuickTime 4
Nice player it's actually very nice! Let's be honest, quicktime had the most horrible interface created by apple until iMovie'08. And $30 bucks just to play full screen mode it's a ripoff. Here' an excerpt from the Quicktime review on the interface hall of shame:

"In an effort to achieve what some consider to be a more modern appearance, Apple has removed the very interface clues and subtleties that allowed us to learn how to use GUI in the first place. Window borders, title bars, window management controls, meaningful control labels, state indicators, focus indicators, default control indicators, and discernible keyboard access mechanisms are all gone. According to IBM's RealThings, and apparently to Apple, such items and the meaningful information they provide are merely "visual noise and clutter". While the graphical designer may be pleased with the result, the user is left in a state of confusion: unable to determine which objects are controls, which are available at any point in the interaction, how they are activated, where they may be located, and how basic functions can be performed."

MPEG streamclipStreamclip MPEG has been the most useful video utility for me for many years. It let's me demux (separate audio and video) and encode movies or series of movies with a much precise control on dimensions, codec, target size, target speed, fine hue and volume, etc, etc. I can't survive without it.

miroForget about freeview! With Miro you can get thousands of free TV channels in HD. I love that many of them are in German... including Sendung mit der Maus, Deutsche Welle ... and may others like TED.

FLV playerEltima's swf & flv player for mac OS X. Well, it's just that, a player for flv files... it crashes sometimes when it starts. The pro version has some extra features, but for me... playing is enough.

fractalworksFractalworks is a very cool fractal viewer created by Duncan Champney. He also moderates a flickr group with images generated with his program. His tip: use "control" + click to create a Julia set when you click on a "seed". My tip: use "option"+ click to zoom out (took me a while to learn that).

cracks of reality
Cracks of reality is quality renderer (not exploring) for imported fractal parameters (including fractint palettes).
fractal treesFractal trees X is a very simple trees generator. "It draws somewhat realistic silhouettes of binary trees with a fractal structure. It allows you to interactively change the properties of the tree, like the broadness, fullness, and number of branches. You can also introduce normal (gaussian) randomness into the length and angle of the branches." Nice for drawing old fashioned clip-art trees for architects.

xaosXaOS is the mother of all fractal zoomers. The most amazing feature is recording a "fly through zoom"... and all the colouring variations, calculation planes, and adjustments you can make... like the pseudo 3D filter. Wow!
mandelbotLovely about MandelBot is the animated palette cycles. You can let it display all palettes and then stop it with a click. If you don't select "limit color rollover" (apple+L) it's like a hippie psychedelic magical mystery tour.
starmoresStarMores is a fractal based star generator, simple and yet fun to create star patterns.
spirographxSpirographX generates animated (or not) spirograph drawings. It works like a spirograph, but with limitless possibilities. "Add more loops, tweak loop diameters, and set colors to create endless visuals. The animate feature will even let you animate them in real-time." It's the ultimate retro fix!
ciao
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2 Comments:

Blogger Dzeni said...

Brilliant post. Thanks for all those cool links :)

7:25 PM  
Blogger Fernando Vallejo said...

You're welcome. Please feel free to suggest any other cool freeware you might know of.

ciao

12:28 AM  

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