Mac Gems: GemFest 2009: All-time favourite affordable software

Roman Loyola
1 July, 2009
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We’ve reviewed hundreds of affordable applications over the years, from tools with just a few key features to complex software that can compete with more-expensive programs. Some of the Gems we’ve found are applications we can’t live without. As a grand finale to GemFest 2009, here’s a list of some of our all-time favourite Mac Gems.

Got an affordable program that you can’t live without? Tell us about it by posting in the comments section.

1Passwd An excellent way to store and manage Internet passwords ($US40/$A50); Agile Web Solutions.

AppleJack This clever utility lets you perform a number of troubleshooting procedures at startup, without requiring a Mac OS X or third-party CD or DVD. Free; The Apotek.

Default Folder X Adds much-needed improvements to OS X’s Open and Save dialog boxes. As the name implies, it lets you assign a default folder for each application. In addition, it makes recently used and favourite files and folders, as well as open Finder windows, easily accessible. $US35 ($A44); St. Clair Software.

Document Palette You can create a new document in the current folder via a keyboard shortcut—just choose the type of document from the palette that appears. Payment requested; Cold Pizza Software.

Growl This notification tool runs in the background of your Mac. It can alert you of finished downloads, the arrival of e-mail, incoming chats, and a lot more. Free; Growl Team.

Handbrake makes it easy to rip DVDs to your hard drive. Free; Eric Petit.

LaunchBar A launcher utility that makes you more productive by letting you control your Mac via the keyboard, reducing the amount of time you have to spend clicking around with your mouse. €24 ($A42); Objective Development.

MondoMouse Give your cursor capabilities it never had before. Move, resize, or identify windows without having to first switch to them. $US15 ($A19); Atomic Bird.

NetNewsWire One of the best RSS readers. It stands out for its extensive feature set, easy-to-use interface, and ability to sync your feeds across multiple devices. Free; NewsGator Technologies.

SuperDuper Helps you create a fully bootable backup of your system. $US28 ($A35); Shirt Pocket.

TextExpander Can save your fingers hours of typing each month by assigning abbreviations that automatically expand to full text snippets when you type them. $US30 ($A36); SmileOnMyMac.

TinkerTool and TinkerTool System Takes much of the risk out of using tweaking utilities by separating safe actions from potentially risky ones. €7 ($A12); Marcel Bresink.

Witch If an application doesn’t respond when you press Command-`, it’s time for Witch, which restores proper window-switching behaviour. €10 ($A17); Many Tricks.

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