Mac freebies for Christmas


Spaces is new in Leopard bringing virtual desktops to the masses. Leopard gives you a number of ways to switch between spaces including a menu-item drop down and configurable keyboard shortcuts.

To move a window to another space you drag it to the edge of the screen and wait a moment but curiously you can’t use this great technique without a window to switch!

MouseWarp adds that missing feature and provides configurable delay, an optional keyboard modifier to activate it and the choice of whether the mouse stays where it was or flips to the opposing edge on the new space.


I’ve tried and recommended a number of Bit Torrent programs in previous Mac software posts but BitRocket sports a great modern Mac look. The user interface tends to get a bit confused wen switching around a bit but being open source this could be fixed quite promptly.

Update: I can’t recommend this program whilst it crashes so often, check out the alternatives Jane suggests in the comments.


Tools to replace the Mac’s choice of system icons are surely only going to get more popular with Leopard’s annoying almost-identical watermarked folders. Whilst LiteIcon isn’t quite as slick as the commercial app CandyBar it is $29 cheaper and still lets you use the multitude of pre-made iContainer packs from the likes of IconFactory.


Are you one of those people that get distracted by other apps on the screen? Me too, which is why I now use Spaces but Think is an alternative darkens the other running applications to your taste.

Carbon Copy Cloner

If you are a Boot Camp user like myself you might want to be able to backup that Windows partition to disk somewhere and Carbon Copy Cloner comes to the rescue. This is fine for the occasional backup but I’m finding myself wanting something like Time Machine for Windows – suggestions anyone?


MacHeist is an odd concept to explain but starts with a couple of free apps and alternate reality game. If you can solve the missions then your name is probably Jonathan Creek but the rest of us can take tips, or combinations wholesale, from the official forums where those with more brains, resources or time have collaborated on solving it.

As you enter more combinations you unlock additional free (but non-up-gradable) applications and the odd discount for a forthcoming bundle in January which you are under no obligation to buy. You can also get an extra free app for Christmas by referring a friend. Just remember to backup the downloadable installers and serial numbers as once they’re gone that’s it!

So far the apps are (and I’ll update this tomorrow when I can unwrap the other three:

WireTap Pro

WireTap Pro lets you record any sound your Mac can make – thereby effectively allowing you to rip anything you can play if you don’t mind the the degradation in quality of lossy re-compression. It also lets you record snippets from DVDs you are watching or games you are playing for perhaps review purposes.


Encryption has lots of uses, not all nefarious, and BitClamp offers simple drag-and-drop encryption of your files into 256-bit AES or Serpent encryption or super-secure 448 bit Blowfish. It also offers gzip compression and the ability to bundle a Mac-only decryption program into the file.


Screen-casts are getting slicker by the download and now includes web-cam-in-picture and a variety of keyboard and mouse trigger effects so you can see what they are doing. Mouseposé won’t help you with the webcam bit but it can darken the rest of the screen and highlight the mouse, visually show clicks on the screen and display your keystrokes.


A free game that I haven’t yet played, sorry. The only gaming I’ve been doing of late is Guitar Hero II/III although I’m hoping to get a couple of DS games tomorrow as well as a nice backpack to store my shiny new laptop in :)


An address-book style application for storing items such as credit card numbers and serial numbers/registration details secured with 448-bit Blowfish encryption.


Let’s you store an index of all your media on your computer for ease of scanning. These sorts of programs made sense in the days of floppy disks and small hard drives but seem pointless to me now…


Weird puzzle game that bears a little resemblance to the pipe-mania style games (that also made an appearance in BioShock under the guise of ‘hacking’).

Podcast Maker

Assembles XML files to describe Pod-casts with support for adding images and links. Useful because it’s free but I can’t see how anyone would have previously paid $29.95 for an interface to editing specific XML files.

Freeze Frame

Allows you to pause applications when you need the CPU back. Err, okay…

Voice Candy

Here’s a cool fun little app reminiscent of 80’s TV show Whiz Kids and later messing around on my Amiga. It basically lets you talk into your computer whereby it will adjust the wave-forms so you sound different. Like a chipmunk, Darth Vader, a robot, on the telephone, on an old radio, like a bad sci-fi movie, a sore throat or a mouse. You can also record the audio for later mixing up in GarageBand. Good fun and if the next version includes configurable effects I might have to actually buy a copy.


Note taking and organizing application.


What appears to be a minimalist browser on top of the WebKit/Safari engine.

Billy Frontier

Space cowboy shoot-em-up game.

Monkey Lover

What appears to be monkeys fighting for their life on an American Football pitch. Not really my thing.

Sofa Control

Extends the use of your Apple Remote to applications besides iTunes and FrontRow :)


Another tool to prune applications of the languages and architecture segments you do not require albeit with a much better interface than Monolingual.

Hope you have a great Christmas (or a great Tuesday if you don’t celebrate that ;-)


6 responses

  1. Avatar for Jane

    BitRocket was a great idea, but alas an unacceptable client on a fair number of trackers. I'd suggest Transmission, then rtorrent and the webui for rtorrent called Clutch, and Azureus. None of them are perfect, but all three by far are updated, have a fair number of features, and generally work everywhere.

    Jane December 28, 2007
  2. Avatar for Damien Guard

    Yeah I've been having all sorts of pain with BitRocket since I installed it - mainly crashing and restarting.

    Will give those others you suggest a try.

    Damien Guard December 28, 2007
  3. Avatar for Damon Stephenson

    Agreed, Transmission is superior by far. BitRocket is banned from quite a few trackers, although Transmission is banned from only a few for some reason. I find it extremely stable.

    Damon Stephenson December 29, 2007
  4. Avatar for Jane

    @Damon, All the clients have their individual quirks and bugs yet-to-be-fixed that sometimes cause issues with the trackers involved (and once in a while it's a client-side issue, e.g. with one of the previous builds of Transmission and data corruption). Generally sticking with Az or latest Azureus 3, latest rtorrent stable, or latest Transmission stable minimize the chances you might run into any problems. Pretty much most other Mac clients have issues on their own..Bits on Wheels hasn't been updated in years, there's a bunch based on faulty libraries (e.g. BitRocket), and well..Xtorrent is in a category of its own, being one of the first shareware clients I've come across in years of using BitTorrent.

    Personally I use Azureus at home for all the advanced settings I can't get anywhere else, and rtorrent and torrentflux (a webui based on BitTornado) on my server for convenience. Transmission's never been and probably never will be as advanced as Azureus is, and the cli version isn't that fantastic compared to bittornado and rtorrent. Transmission's the only one with a half decent more "native" looking interface, so if that is appealing to you..shrug.

    Jane December 29, 2007
  5. Avatar for Jane

    hi again :P

    Just wanted to mention that people should be careful using tools like monolingual and xslimmer. you might unintentionally be removing parts of the program that may still be required to run. the latest version checks for code-signed apps and doesn't touch them (oh what a sh*tstorm that would be), thankfully.

    the last time i used monolingual to remove architectures it completely hosed half my applications beyond repair, and I ended up reinstalling the whole system and all the apps from scratch. granted, i'm on an Intel mac, but so are many, many other people.

    if space is that much of an issue, maybe they have other things that need deleted. i haven't heard of any significant gain of space after removing localizations and architectures, unless you happened to have like 200 apps installed. :)

    Jane January 8, 2008
  6. Avatar for Damien Guard

    Yeah some apps can barf. I've saved probably 1.2GB on my Intel MacBook from pruning binaries and only had a couple of apps screw up which was a quick download and reinstall of those packages.

    Apple really should provide some sort of mechanism to determine whether they are installed/stripped into the OS.

    Oh well, perhaps in 10.6.

    Damien Guard January 9, 2008