Mac OS X Leopard only: Our favourite free virtual private network client for the Mac, HamachiX, has been updated (finally!) to work with Leopard. HamachiX is a graphical front end to the Windows Hamachi product, and essentially it lets you access your Mac remotely over the internet as if it were on the local network. That means you can listen to shared iTunes libraries, remote control your Mac, and access file shares as well. HamachiX isn't as easy to use or quite as stable as the Windows version, but it lets you network with PCs running the client as well. Here's how to create your own virtual private network with Hamachi.
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Mac OS X only: Rename large groups of files—like that batch of photos fresh off your camera's memory card—using simple or complex rules with Name Mangler. Simple options include numbering files sequentially, adding a prefix or suffix, or changing case. In advanced mode, you can script any number of those actions and save them. Name Mangler also produces reusable droplets you can add to Finder; then, whenever you want to batch rename a set of files, simply drag them onto the droplet without even starting up the application. Name Mangler is a free download, donations requested, for Macs running Leopard only.
Mac OS X only: Freeware application iTunesVolume is an attractive iTunes controller for your Mac desktop. Like many before it, iTunesVolume offers playback control and displays album artwork (and it looks great doing it), but iTunesVolume sets itself apart with a very simple always-on-top control: a volume slider. Through this simple slider, you can access and control everything else the app does, which is virtually everything you can do in iTunes. iTunesVolume takes a little time to wrap your head around, but once you do, it offers a really nice way to interact with your music. iTunesVolume is freeware, Mac OS X only. iTunesVolume
Mac OS X only: Fresh from the Google Mac workshop, new video application Vidnik records clips with your Mac's camera and uploads them directly to YouTube.
You can use Vidnik to create a video diary, or just to quickly record a video comment to attach to an existing YouTube video. Vidnik works with the built-in video cameras on recent Macs, with FireWire video cameras, and with many USB video cameras. You can also drag and drop existing video clips on your Mac into the left column in Vidnik to use it purely as an uploader. Vidnik is a free download for Mac only. Vidnik
Mac OS X only: Free, open source application PandoraBoy pulls the popular streaming internet radio site Pandora out of your browser and integrates it with your Mac desktop. With features like global hotkeys, support for your Apple Remote, and even integration with Growl, PandoraBoy looks to be the ultimate Pandora companion for OS X. PandoraBoy is free, Mac OS X only. Windows users looking for a similar solution, check out PandoraBrowse or our bevy of other ways to get more from Pandora. PandoraBoy
Mac OS X only: When you need a little break from regular web surfing and want some random images pulled from the internets to give you a little creative jolt, you want Visigami, a search-based photo screensaver. Tap a keyword into Visigami (may I suggest "puppy"?) and watch it zoom and pan image results from Flickr, Google Images, or Picasa and send them flying across your screen in one of three random effects. Control the zoom, spacing, and speed of the 'saver movement, and sit back and enjoy the spectacle. While Visigami is more eye candy than anything else, it's a neat way to enjoy a montage of photos associated with your search term. Visigami is a free download for Mac only. Visigami
Mac OS X only: Browse your Del.icio.us bookmarks like never before with freeware beta application Delish. URLs weren't mean to be viewed as text, according to the minds behind Delish, so the software provides a visual interface for your bookmarks by creating thumbnail snapshots of all the links, which it displays in an attractive, easy-to-use interface. Delish even supports multi-touch pinch and scroll gestures for owners of new MacBook Pros and Airs—though unfortunately you can't create a new bookmark with it. Delish is currently freeware, Mac OS X only. Delish
Mac OS X only: Freeware application RapidoSerial stores and secures your software licenses in an easy-to-access database. When you dig into your pocketbook to pay for a great software package, the last thing you want to do is lose the licence key you purchased. RapidoSerial aims to make sure that you don't. For a web-based alternative, check out previously mentioned Keyfiler. If you've already got a tried-and-true method for storing your software licenses, let's hear it in the comments. RapidoSerial
Mac OS X only: Make your own stop-motion animation videos using your iSight webcam or connected video camera with freeware application FrameByFrame. I showed you how to document your parties with a freeware time-lapse application, and now FrameByFrame is taking care of the stop-motion video angle. It's easy to use, and the results—Lego samples of which you can see on the download page—are very impressive. FrameByFrame is freeware, Mac OS X only. FrameByFrame
Mac only: Online backup service Mozy has released the final, 1.0 version of their Mac client, which doesn't have all the options that the PC side does, but still gets the job done. Choose which folders you want to back up on Mozy's servers over an encrypted connection, or simply back up your entire home directory, or pre-suggested sets of files (like your Address Book, iCal, Application Preferences, etc). I've actually plunked down the $5 a month unlimited storage at Mozy costs, and I use it on both my Mac and PC. Overall the service helps me sleep better at night knowing I've got off-site backup and and doesn't slow down my computer or work too much. I've only got one complaint.
Mac OS X only: Store your passwords, serial numbers, and web site login information in Pastor, a personal encrypted database. Much like my beloved KeePass (available for Mac as KeePassX), Pastor stores a title, username, password, URL, and notes for each entry and locks the entire database with one master password. Pastor's interface is a simple, no-nonsense single window. Unlike KeePassX, you can't organise your entries in folders, but it does include a handy password generator that tailors suggestions to rules (like alphanumeric only, mixed case, must include symbols, etc). Juicy screengrabs await, after the jump.
Mac OS X only: Back in the non-Stacks days of Tiger, you could add a folder to the Dock and expand it into a hierarchical menu. Now with Stacks you can't easily navigate subfolders from a folder on the Dock, but small utility AppMenuBoy aims to change that—for your Applications folder, that is. Start up AppMenuBoy and expand your Applications folder into a Tiger-style hierarchical menu, as shown after the jump.
Mac OS X only: Freeware application TotalTunes Control is an all-in-one iTunes controller and add-on that rolls track notifications, Last.fm integration, Growl notifications, keyboard shortcuts into one beautiful, fun to use package. When we recently featured free alternatives to the MacHeist bundle, we included handful of freeware iTunes controllers that could take the place of CoverSutra, but TotalTunes Control blows the whole bunch out of the water. It's got loads of worthwhile functionality, it's very attractive, and best of all, it's freeware. If you're looking for more ways to make the most of iTunes, check out our top 23 iTunes add-ons.
Mac OS X only: Freeware application FlashMount streamlines software installation and speeds up mounting various disk images like DMG and ISO files. Intended as a default replacement for OS X's built-in DiskImageMounter.app—the program that traditionally mounts disk images—FlashMount forgoes the progress meter, presumably because the mount is fast enough you don't need it. The second thing FlashMount does to speed up software installation is automatically bypass the EULA (the licence agreement) for downloaded software. That may be fine if you never read the EULAs anyway, but if you're particular about licenses you accept, it's probably not for you. FlashMount is freeware, Mac OS X only.
Mac OS X only: If Spotlight metadata just doesn't cut it and you want to organise your files by tag, free utility Punakea might be for you. Entering file tags is easy with Punakea: Just drag and drop any files you want to tag either to a pop-up Punakea sidebar, the icon on the Dock, or the app itself. Enter your tags. Then, within Punakea, choose any tag to list its files and also see related tags. In Finder, Punakea actually creates aliases to your files within folders with your tag's name. (You can set Punakea to actually move the files to those folders as well instead of using an alias.) If you're interested in doing more with tags but don't want to get a third party utility involved, check out how guest editor Nick Santilli organizes his files with Spotlight tags. Punakea is a free download with donations requested for Mac Tiger or Leopard only.
Mac OS X only: Free FTP application Cyberduck's 3.0 beta release adds gobs of impressive new functionality to the already excellent client, including Leopard-only features like Quick Look. Other new features include Amazon S3 and WebDAV support, Web URL support (which opens files in your browser from a corresponding URL), and the handful of already impressive features like integration with external text editors. Cyberduck continues to add innovative features that make it a viable contender to even the most popular shareware FTP clients, like Transmit. Cyberduck is free, Mac OS X only; Windows users, check out previously mentioned Filezilla. Cyberduck
Mac OS X only: Send your office documents to the cloud in one click and swipe with Gdocsuploader. Place this bare bones application on your Dock, Finder sidebar, or desktop, then drag and drop word processing documents, spreadsheets, or PowerPoint presentation files onto it to add them to your Google Docs account. You'll need to provide your Google account username and password, of course, and when the upload's complete you get the option to open the doc in your web browser. Gdocsuploader is still new and a bit unpolished; expect a few Keychain prompts to get your files transferred. Gdocsuploader is a free download for Mac OS X only (works on Leopard for sure, Tiger usage not yet confirmed.) gdocsuploader
Mac OS X only: Shareware application Syncopation keeps your music, podcasts, and video in sync between up to five iTunes libraries. The app finds music that's in one library but not others, then transfers files between computers until everything matches. Syncopation is smart, too: it automatically replicates changes to a track's metadata in one library across your others. You can even set up block lists that keep, for example, your thrash metal out of your significant other's library. Syncopation is $25 for the full version, but you can download a demo version that works with two computers for 30 days—so if you just want to run one quick sync between two libraries, it's an excellent free solution. Either way, the Mac OS X-only Syncopation is a great tool, though it'd be great to see a completely freeware alternative. Syncopation
Mac OS X only: Funes is a one-purpose app for OS X that just might inspire you to start rating songs and getting creative with smart playlists. That's because it puts a drop-down menu in a Mac's status area that displays the song title and offers those familiar ratings stars to click on. If you're not rating songs through Quicksilver, you probably have to do it (and don't do it) by bringing up the main iTunes window and clicking through to rate the song, and Funes is the low-key (and low-memory) way around that bother. Funes is a free download for Mac OS X only. Screenshot via Fousa.be Funes
Mac OS X only: If Quicksilver ain't your cup of tea but you want a quick and easy way to create keyboard shortcuts for certain tasks on your Mac, Spark's for you. Map common actions (like launching applications, playing iTunes playlists, running AppleScript) to key combinations of your choice in Spark. You can even organise your shortcuts into groups and install plug-ins (like this clipboard cleaner) in Spark. Spark 3.0 is in beta, and it's a free download for Mac only. Thanks fatherfork and Jeremy!