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Mac-freeware articles

More free gems for the Mac  

It must be that time again already… here we go!


Everyone needs a calendar to hand. In Windows using the time in system bar seems to be the quickest option although it’s obviously not meant for that and one false click sends you to the future.

Vista and OS X come with widgets to do this but there is something just satisfying about this calendar-in-the-menubar app.


Mac OS X comes with a built-in package installer that won’t uninstall applications. Curiously NextStep had just that but it never came across to OS X with everything else although the installer does still write the receipts (logs).

Perhaps Apple believe dragging the .app to the trash is enough but if you like to also junk the various other files occasionally held in places such as in /Library/Application Support/ then AppDelete is for you.

App Update widget

This cool widget checks Apple, MacUpdate and VersionTracker for new versions of the applications you have installed and lets you download with a couple of clicks.

It’s a little buggy sometimes at recognising you already have that version especially when the developers use build numbers etc. but the author anticipated this so there is a “yeah that’s the version I have” option to let it know.

kuler colour widget

Adobe’s web site exists to help you create sets of 5 matching colours, name them, share them and rate them. It’s the Flickr! of colour palettes and comes with a handy widget for OS X.


Heat, fan, power and battery monitoring on the Mac  

Screenshot of coconutBattery in actioncoconutBattery

coconutBattery lets you see how much of a charge your battery currently has, how much it can still hold and how this compares to when it was manufactured. It’ll also show you how many times you battery has been charged.


SlimBatteryMonitor is a replacement for the Apple battery indicator in the menu bar with something more compact.


CoreDuoTemp shows the temperature of your CPU along with it’s current operating frequency. Available in both Widget and Desktop application formats.

Fan Control

Not content with just reporting information Fan Control hands over the base RPM speed and the upper and lower temperature thresholds so you can tweak it to your working conditions.


smcFanControl is alternative fan control program that provides user-defined cooling speeds and an in-menu temperature readout.

MiniBatteryStatus Widget

MiniBatteryStatus shows you battery status in a compact form on your Dashboard.

iStat nano

The iStat nano widget has added a battery section to it’s list of information.

Temperature Monitor

Temperature Monitor provides comprehensive temperature monitoring including drives and support for non-portable systems, graphs and remote monitoring.


Mac software picks – Parallels, GMail+Growl, Uno & TheftSensor  

Another round-up of the best Mac OS X software I can find.

Parallels Workstation

Piping Microsoft and VMWare to the post relative unknowns Parallels are on beta 6 of their Parallels Workstation for Mac OS X/Intel.

As well as being able to guest OS/2, DOS, BSD, Solid, Linux and all flavours of Windows their product also features support for Intel’s VT virtualisation technology built into the Intel Core chips giving it an edge in performance.

Parallels also offer Windows and Linux versions of their software as well as a virtual disk compressor that works with VMware and VirtualPC as well as their own Workstations products.

They are currently offering the OS X version for $10 off so you can grab a copy for $39.99.


Growl allows other applications to pop-up messages in a very customizable way and is used by the likes of Adium messenger and Colloquy IRC.

This universal app however uses Growl to offer you a sneak preview of your latest Gmail’s as they hit your inbox. Yummy.


I’ve blogged in the past at just how annoying and inconsistent the Mac UI has become with Aqua, BrushedMetal, Platinum, ProTools, Dashboard and GarageBand UI’s all being totally different. There are even variations between those…

Uno lets you choose between Platinum or it’s darker iTunes variant for Aqua and/or BrushedMetal apps and be done with it. It’s free, fast and easy.


One of the cool things about OS X is the way Apple build cool features into the OS for application developers to use. Some examples include dictionary/spell-checking, voice recognition, iSight and AppleRemote access, system-level address-books and calendaring…

The result is you find very innovative applications using these features in new and interesting ways. One such example is DeliciousLibrary, another is TheftSensor…

TheftSensor allows you to use your AppleRemote to “lock” you machine just like you would a car with a remote locking fob. Should somebody attempt to move your laptop then an alarm will continually sound until you deactivate it with the remote. This is made possible because of the movement sensor inside Mac laptops put there to protect hard disks in the event of being dropped :)

Remember to pair your remote with your Mac so that other people can’t unlock your laptop with theirs.

TheftSensor is free but the the company behind has another more advanced non-free application called Undercover. Install this and should your Mac be stolen notify them and the next time your Mac hits in the Internet it’ll realise it’s stolen and start sending iSight cam pics of the perpetrator using your PC as well as IP tracking information.

If that doesn’t do the trick it starts to simulate hardware failures and then should it find itself on an Apple certified service center IP allocation it’ll let the service tech know it’s been stolen.


More iPod fillers and Mac apps  


Check out podiobooks who have put up a number of free audio-books from various authors. Neil Gaiman has managed to get the first chapter of his new Anansi Boys book read by Lenny Henry up too.

Mac applications

Fluid is a screen saver that gives you, well fluid visual effects. It has a whole bunch of preset effects and a mixing desk to mix up your own. Works okay on my PowerBook but ideally needs something more powerful! Mac Mini owners need not apply.

CoverFlow gives you an alternative interface to your music by presenting you with a gorgeously rendered user interface of album art.

USB Overdrive lets you enable and assign all those extra buttons on your mouse without having to purchase Apple’s rather overpriced Mighty Mouse. You can get the superior laser-tracking Logitech MX-1000 for the same price if you shop around.