Apr 27 2009
Free got better this year, here’s how:
Best on the Web: Safari 3 beta/MobileSafari/Safari for Windows beta
Its always a slug-fest for king of the browser heap. This year, we went with a browser that has expanded its reach to Windows and into your pocket. in 2007 Safari saw a promising beta (with features like contextual search and spell check), moved to Windows and best of all, debuted on the iPhone. Screenshot shows Safari 3 beta with excellent SafariStand add-on.
Freeware Classic: NCX
In the year of the iPhone, it is only fitting to recognize Apple’s gone-but-not-forgotten handheld, the Newton. Kept alive by an active community, the free utility NCX is the OS X reincarnation of the old Newton desktop sync utility NCU. NCX is evidence of longevity off the Apple community.
It is also worth mentioning that past freeware classic winner OpenOffice.org released its first native OS X alpha version this year. So next year is already looking good.
Best App Killed by Apple: Virtue Desktop
No emails, we’re just having fun here. Not quite as bad as Tiger’s Dashboard/Konfabulator ruckus, it is fair to say that the ever-useful Virtue Desktop may have seen its day.
Back to my Mac will probably ding Chicken of the VNC, another great free utility.
Best System Extension: Think
This year was big on distraction-free computing. Think is a great screen-dimmer that looks cool and forces distractions into the background.
Best Mac-only: Skitch
I don’t see how any windows user could not drool over this one. Skitch has a great interface, easy to use tools and flexible sharing options.
Honorable mention goes to xPad, a great free text editor and Bean, a free and slick word processor.
Best Technical Performance: MacFUSE
This gem came out of nowhere to add NTFS, WebDAV, SSH and FTP support for mounting remote file systems. MacFusion makes this new feature easy to use. Check it out.
iPhone App: AppSnap’s jailbreakme.com
It could not have been more simple or clever: free your iPhone or iPod touch by simply loading a webpage. Oh, and lets fix a major vulnerability while we’re at it. Genius!
Look for more in this space as 3rd party apps go legit in 2008!
Lifetime Achievement Award: ImageWell
We first featured ImageWell in 2003 and it has tacked on features ever since. It was the first and remains among the best quick image editors and has since spawned a whole new category of Mac app.
Another great year! Be sure to check back with us in 2008 for more great Mac and iPhone freeware.