Apr 27 2009
It is that time of year again to highlight what was great and free. This year’s picks contain some perennial heavy-hitters and some newcomers that reflect exciting new trends.
As a new addition, I’ve added runners up. There were just too many too many to chose from.
Firefox released its first post-release update and stays on top of the browser market. We love the full keyboard access. Opera – sleek and fast – became free sans ads. Can’t say we’re anything but thrilled to have another free choice.
With the new features and stability, we can forgive OpenOffice.org for the slight delay on 2.0 (Remember 1.1? No? That’s ’cause it never made it to Mac). NVU hit 1.0 the same year Adobe buys Macromedia, I smell Dreamweaver alternative. Inkscape improved, but we hope next year will be bigger for this budding vector drawing application.
Widgets are great. Yahoo for Konfabulator and shame on Apple. Whatever your choice, widgets are the way to bring web-based info to your desktop.
Best Plugin: Grease Monkey
If Firefox let you take back the web, then Grease Monkey will whip it into submission. This Firefox extension has received all kinds of press – both good and bad. This user script manager lets you reshape nearly all aspects of what your browser displays.
Best Cross Platform App: iTunes + Podcasting
Podcasting went huge this year, and while Apple was late, iTunes 5 brought podcasts to the masses. Now there’s a fine selection of commercial and indie ‘casts organized in a way only Apple can.
Best Mac Switcher: Google Earth
The year almost got by without an earth-shattering port from Windows. Then the beta leaked… If you have it you know, and if you don’t you can rest assured it is in the works. The beta requires Tiger.
AJAX is cool, but Writley has shown how powerful it can be. This free web word processor promises to show that the end of the desktop is nigh. Google hit it big this year with something that’s been around for years but now is free – killer web stats.
With the power of Gaim, the slick interface of a true Mac application and a community full of add-ons Adium has set itself apart as the best choice for multi protocol chat. With its new Gizmo plugin done, and Google Talk voice integration in the works, Adium promises to become the voice chat app of choice as well. And we have to give props to Camino, the Mozilla browser with Aqua flair. Thanks in part to this project, I think it is safe to say that the best variety of quality browsers are on the Mac.
What a year!