Mac: Popular shareware software bundler and discounter MacHeist has released a new bundle, offering up seven premium apps for $US20. If you don't feel like shelling out the dough despite the hefty discount, let's take a look at free alternatives.
Get Evernote Instead of MacJournal
It may seem strange, but despite Evernote being for "notes" and MacJournal being for "journals", they both do the same thing. Essentially, they replace your word processor with an app in which you can add all sorts of media to what you're writing, including recording things straight from your iSight, and keep it all synced to the cloud. If you're already using Evernote, you can just go ahead and make a new notebook for your journal, and you've got instant journaling software. Lots of people tout MacJournal as blogging software too, but it seems pretty lacking in this department — there aren't really any free blogging clients for Mac (if you know of one, let us know in the comments), but if you're going to pay for one, you're probably better off with MarsEdit anyway.
Use Handbrake Instead of RipIt
There are a lot of DVD rippers out there, and lots of them are free — our personal favourite here at Lifehacker is the unbeatable combination of Handbrake (read more) and VLC (read more). If you have VLC installed, Handbrake can rip DVDs and offer loads of compression settings. If you're looking for a straight rip of the DVD, MacTheRipper will rip the VIDEO_TS folders right to your hard drive (which can be viewed with DVD Player by going to File > Open Media). It won't always work with some of the newest encryption techniques, but most DVDs should rip just fine. To be fair, though, RipIt may have a better success rate and could work where Handbrake and MacTheRipper fail.
Download Jumpcut Instead of Clips
Our last look at MacHeist alternatives suggested Jumpcut as a clipboard manager, and little has changed. This time, MacHeist is offering Clips, which is a pretty powerful clipboard manager. If you need, say, live search features, clipboard sharing and smart clipboards, Clips is the way to go — and, as with most of the other MacHeist offerings, it includes a ton of eye candy — but if all you need is a simple way to manage multiple clipboards, you can't go wrong with the lightweight Jumpcut.
Use iTunes instead of CoverScout
Possibly the most disappointing offering in this bundle is the album art finding CoverScout, which not only costs money, but makes you give them your email address so they can invite you to their newsletter (which, let's be honest, is a huge turn-off). iTunes already has a cover art finder built-in, and, if you're looking to get the artwork embedded directly into the metadata of your files, then this handy Applescript will do you just fine. If you are part of a smaller population that listens to really obscure music and you are missing lots of cover art, however, then CoverScout might be the way to go. It also works if you use a media player other than iTunes that doesn't have a cover art finder — though I'm curious as to what you're using, since the OS X media player scene is ridiculously limited.
Get Cyberduck Instead of Flow
If you have a lot of FTP needs, look no further than the open-source Cyberduck (read more). It's come a long way and has a lot of features, including integration with external editors (one of Flow's most touted features is in-app editing). Flow is pretty seamless, but Cyberduck is probably more than good enough — again, unless you have an insatiable lust for eye candy.
OK, RapidWeaver's Not So Easily Replaced
There's no tiptoeing around this one, RapidWeaver is miles beyond Apple's own iWeb, and there don't seem to be any great free alternatives. RapidWeaver's biggest competition is Adobe Dreamweaver, both of which are fairly expensive — if you have need for a website creation app, you might as well get the nanoBundle just for RapidWeaver, seeing as the bundle itself is 1/4 RapidWeaver's normal price.
The Bottom Line
Most of the apps offered in the latest MacHeist bundle are good, but only offer a few minor features over their free counterparts. If you absolutely need one of those minor features, then go for it — but in general, most of the free apps should suffice. The exceptions are RapidWeaver and the game, Tales of Monkey Island (which isn't really replaceable, but also doesn't really fit in the productivity category). If you want either of these, you can grab the bundle now and save yourself a ton of money. Also, if you need plenty of eye candy to keep computing fun, these apps won't disappoint — but eye candy is probably their biggest draw. If you're already on the fence about the whole thing, though, you might as well move along — even at the low price of $US20, it's hard to justify paying money when there are so many great free apps out there.