Hidden Gems: 10 Best Kept Mac Freeware Secrets

Ashish Bhatia        Print Edition: February 2012

From video editing software to kid-safe browsers, there is a lot of open-source stuff out there that will make Mac users drool with excitement.


Avidemux (avidemux.org)
Not only does this piece of free code make video editing and filtering a simple and speedy affair, but it also makes the task of re-encoding your clips an uncomplicated click-and-go affair. For precision editing, all you need to do is stop and crop using the utility's incremental multi-second advance and rewind tools. To save in the output format of your choice, just take your pick from a drop-down menu. It supports several popular file types, including FLV, MPEG, AVI, VCD, H.263/4 among video codecs while audio formats include MP3, AAC, WAV, and Ogg Vorbis, etc. Advanced options like a generic decoder and post-processing tools, user-defined filters, GlyphSet adjustments, etc. are also available. Avidemux is available for Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Windows under the GNU GPL license.

Crashplan (crashplan.com/consumer/crashplan.html)
Online backups are awesome indeed. But you need to keep a repository of your data offline as well. Crashplan is a neat tool that helps create reliable online as well as offline backup. So, apart from sending your data into its cloud everyday, you can also deploy it to backup automatically to attached drives as well as a second PC - be it onsite or offsite. The backups are encrypted and happen in the background. The interface is fairly intuitive, but it will take a couple of runs before you can get the hang of it.

Kidzui (kidzui.com)
The Web and vice go hand in hand-or should we say, mouse in hand… And with kids taking to the Internet like ducks to water, some level of parental control on what they browse, view and read is imperative. Unlike other browsers which make you set up filters to make the Internet safe for your progeny, Kidzui is browser just for kids.

A "walled children's park" of sorts, the entire Web content available through it has been pre-approved and pre-sifted by Kidzui editors. Children can do everything they want - search, view videos on YouTube, rate content, share opinions, and more. Popular topics like movies, TV, sports, animals and games are just a single click away on the main menu. The interface is cheerful, bold and attractive. Kidzui is undoubtedly one of the safest and most hassle-free ways of leaving you li'l one alone with the comp.

Hotspot Shield (anchorfree.com)
While we are on the issue of safety, let's take a look at a gotta-have for anyone who needs to use public WiFi networks. A safety net, Hotspot prevents hackers from infiltrating your connection from a public hotspot and spying on you. To achieve this, the programme establishes an encrypted connection to the Hotspot Shield servers and converts your HTTP traffic to the much-safer HTTPS mode. Hotspot Shield is browser-independent and appears as a toggle-off/on system tray icon. But setup can be a tad complicated. Plus, you need to suffer a tedious video every time you activate the free version.

All2MP3 (tresrrr.com/Personal/ENGLISH.html)
If you are tussling with a variety of audio file formats and wondering how you manage to get MP3 versions of the same, this program will be music to your ears. As the name suggests, All2MP3 is an audio converter that transforms several types of sound file formats into MP3. It has an idiot-proof, ultra-simple drag-and-drop window interface that allows you to work with individual files or covert whole batches in one go. It supports almost all popular audio codecs, but is not all encompassing and may trip over some formats. But, what the heck, it's free and it's fast!

Senuti (fadingred.com/senuti) Puzzled over how to get music off your little iPod and on to your computer? Well, Senuti (iTunes spelled backwards) let's you do this bit of "reverse engineering". The handy little utility extracts not only your music but also your playlists, video, et al and makes them available to you on the Mac in one single swoop. This "iPod ripper" has a straight forward user interface and guides users through every step of the way. Do go through the documentation to avoid any inadvertent disasters - like erasing the iPod after dumping your files on computer. The downside of Senuti is that it is free for just 30 days.

Perian (perian.org)
QuickTime-walas often gnash their teeth and rue the fact that they have a limited set of formats and codecs available within the software. To the rescue comes Perian, a free, open-source plug-in that beefs up QuickTime's abilities to handle a larger (over 24) set of formats. The program is easy to install and use. Install it and you'll know what we are talking about when you throw a hitherto unplayable file at QuickTime.

Courtesy:Gadgets and Gizmos

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