MacNN's Friday freebie column for September 18, 2015
Everyone likes getting something for nothing, especially when there's no or relatively few catches. Freebie Friday is the post where MacNN's writers find stuff you can make use of, without spending anything. This time, improve your designs with a ton of OpenType fonts, get someone to make you a logo, remotely access your Mac, and add some artistic filters to your videos. All for free.
Headline news app now free
If you're confused by The New York Time's range of online and mobile apps, the short answer is that this is the one you want, this is the one that ought to be on Apple Watch -- and this one is now free. It used to be a subscription-only app, but this week that changed, and you can the get the good one, the NYT Now 2.0.1 app, for nothing.
Excellent free app psychoanalyzes your batteries
The curiously-named CoconutBattery 3.2 is a free app that examines the batteries in your MacBooks and your iOS devices. One click and you know everything: it gives you the skinny on every possible scintilla of information about the state your battery is in.
'Classic' hip-hop band De La Soul offering free albums for 25 hours
Nineties hip-hop group De La Soul, mired in copyright issues preventing iTunes digital distribution of previously-released albums, has temporarily released their back catalog to the public for free. Available for download (in exchange for an email address at the De La Soul website) are the albums 3 Feet High and Rising, De La Soul is Dead, Buhloone Mindstate, Stakes Is High, both offerings in the Art Official Intelligence series, and a compilation of "remixes, instrumentals, and rarities." The offer is valid through noon eastern standard time on February 15.
Free iOS apps today, including Wikilinks, Walking Dead Assault
Cyber Monday has brought many deals, and this includes notable discounts on apps. Here is our Cyber Monday round-up of iOS apps currently free on iTunes.
eBay Now's same-day delivery service free until Christmas Eve
Auction site eBay announced today that its local shopping and delivery service, eBay Now, is offering free delivery from now until Christmas Eve on orders more than $25. The eBay Now service is available for customers in San Francisco and the Bay Area, San Jose, parts of New York City and Chicago for delivery of local products within an hour of ordering online.
Intel Atom CE5300 brings faster video to TV
Intel's smart TV efforts got a lift early in the week with a newly updated Atom chip for digital media hubs. The CE5300, nicknamed Berryville, is its first 32-nanometer chip of its kind. Details are short, although it should carry two cores, "advanced" graphics with H.264 B-frame hardware encoding, and support both Hyperthreading (for up to four code threads at once) as well as virtual machines.
Free claims competitors hitting below the belt
ARCEP, the French telecom regulator, has said it is going to inspect low-cost wireless provider Iliad's backbone network to make sure it is compliant with its bandwidth licensing requirements. The action takes place after Iliad's competitors raised complaints about Iliad's network performance and customer service. Iliad, which operates its wireless service under the Free name brand, denied the claims, discounting them as false rumors.
Free may have cheapest iPhone usage plans yet
Free's new mobile division has become the fourth major carrier in France to offer the iPhone. The Iliad-owned group plans to carry the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S on January 27 with one of the least expensive plans yet. At 20 euros ($25) a month for a 16GB iPhone 4S with unlimited voice and texts as well as 3GB of unfettered data before a cap, Apple's smartphones would cost roughly half as much or less to own as a phone with an equivalent plan.
Freebox to bring TV, phone, Internet, gaming
French ISP provider Free has introduced the Freebox v6 Revolution, a modem that promises to bring with it TV, phone, Internet and gaming capabilities. The device is powered by Intel's Atom CE4100 embedded chip and sports a 250GB hard drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, a Blu-ray drive and web browser. A remote with a built-in gyroscope and a joystick are bundled with the Freebox as well.
DealNN deals MacBook
DealNN roundup: Currently DealNN is featuring a wide selection of great deals on Apple products. Get $75 off a MacBook plus get FREE Parallels Desktop 3.0, and a FREE Epson Stylus printer all for $1,018.99 at MacMall.com. Apple lanyard headphones for the first generation iPod nano have been reduced to $25 from $54 at BestBuy.com.
DealNN deals MacBook
Today's deals at DealNN include the 13-inch MacBook in white with a 2.1GHz processor, 1GB of memory and 120GB hard drive for $999 with a FREE Mobile Edge carrying case (after mail in rebates) from MacConnection.com, also at MacConnection is the Western Digital 320GB My Passport Essential in blue for $115.
TeamViewer now free
German Developer TeamViewer GmbH is making the full version its flagship desktop sharing software free to non-commercial users. TeamViewer is a cross-platform appication that allows 'information sharing between two computers located anywhere in the world." The company says TeamViewer is easy to use, and supports screen and file sharing between firewalls without compromising security.
Smilebox now supports Macs
Calling its photo-sharing service is a “natural extension of the Macintosh application experience,” Smilebox on Tuesday announced support for the Mac platform by releasing a free application that allows Mac users to download photos, videos and music and offers “seamless” support for iPhoto, iTunes and Photo Booth. Smilebox says it has more than 700 designs and templates for scrapbooks, slideshows, greeting cards, photo-books and post cards. Launched in 2006, Smilebox says it has 2.6 million PC users each month. Users can create and share their own designs, or purchase "premium designs" from Hallmark, Making Memories, Madison Park Greetings, K & Company and Smilebox's in-house designers. Individual items can be bought for $2-$4 or through a $5 monthly subscription.
Swing Academy comes to Mac
Swing Academy has brought its free online swing analysis software to the Mac. The Academy site allows users to upload video of their golf swing and get pointers from a variety of different sources. The Self-Analysis function allows users to evaluate their own swing, while Side-By Side Analysis compares a user’s swing against a library of others.
Graph Paper Maker
- Logo Design Studio Pro 1.8 ($60) logo design software brings together a full vector editor with pre-designed conceptual logo templates and objects. The new update to Logo Design Studio Pro now includes increased support for SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) files; over 1300 pre-designed SVG objects that anyone can fully edit; a new browser that allows you to preview each SVG object in a variety of categories, and the latest version of the Sparkle framework.
- Composer FX Movie 1.7.6 ($20) video effects processor application with over 400 special effects filters. Harnesses the power of Mac OS X 10.5’s Quartz Composer for adding visual effects to your movies. Acts as a companion program for iMovie 08. Composer FX Movies includes: Comic Book, Hearts, 3D Video Wall, Plasma, Glass, Sky, Aquarium, Snow, TV, Pencil and many more. [Download - 14.2MB]
- Graph Paper Maker 2.0 ($20) lets you create your own custom sheets of graph paper. It is ideal for students, teachers, engineers, scientists, researchers, businessmen, and others who need to create specialized sheets of graph paper.
The latest release of Graph Paper Maker adds options to create custom sheets of Cornell Notes paper, as well as custom designed grids of dots and crosses. [Download - 1.4MB]
- Text Up and Text Up Pro (free-30 Euros) TextUp is free. It creates subtitles which build up from the bottom of the screen as you type in a way which is needed for standard subtitling. It also features 'Outline', 'Drop Shadow' and 'Box'. It's a easy to use 'one stop' generator for most of the subtitling issues. TextUp Pro additionally includes 'Line wrapping' which will fit the text automatically into a given title safe area. So copy/paste text from a script or using an external application to import titles (like our TitleExchange) will make the workflow even easier. TextUp Pro also adds vertical alignment options, you get 'TextCenter' and 'TextDown' as well.[Download - 1MB]
- Scorecard 1.3 ($30) golf scorecard and statistics application for Mac OS X. Offers comprehensive statistics, helping users discover trends and explore aspects of their gameplay that might otherwise go unnoticed. Scorecard 1.3 gives golfers further insight into their problems areas with the new Best vs Worst statistics. Best vs Worst presents a comparison of key performance indicators which allow the golfer to quickly and easily see what part of their game went wrong when they didn't perform well. They can then focus on improving that portion of their game to improve their overall game play. [Download - 1.2MB]
- Keyboard Maestro 3.1 ($20) set of macros through which you can control applications, windows, or menus; insert text; open documents, applications or URLs; execute scripts and more. The Program Switcher lets you cycle through applications or windows, closing, hiding, launching, and performing other functions. This release adds many new clipboard features including persistent clipboard history via the new Clipboard History Switcher (command-control-shift-V by default), actions to set or save the clipboard, actions to filter the clipboard to apply BBEdit Text Factories to the clipboard, and support for moving and resizing and keeping open the various Clipboard Switchers. [Download - 5.6MB]
- DiscLabel 5.2.2 ($36) CD/DVD label design software for Mac OS X. It can import track lists from iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD, Finder, and Toast; import images from iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD and Finder; multiple layers, drawing tools and gradients for creating custom
designs; use more than 1300 clip art files via the DiscLabel Clip Art Browser and more. The update features various bug fixes. [Download - 12.6MB]
- fennel DVDManager 1.7.5 (53) (free) supports the latest version of Amazon Web Services to help you manage the workflow of your DVD library. This new version brings a clean, modernized new look to better match Leopard's theme, and includes support for the iTunes-like ranking mechanism. Compatible with Tiger and Leopard, it is available in 12 localizations, and features a software update mechanism so that you always use the latest version. [Download - [1.9 MB]
- License Keeper 1.4 ($20) stores and organizes important software license information, helping to prevent the loss of valuable software assets and making it accessible when needed most. Automatic serial number scanning and software information detection greatly reduces cumbersome data entry. Attachments keep related email and documents safely archived along with license and registration records. The new release will import registration data from spreadsheet compatible text files in the common Tab Delimited and Comma Separated formats. [Download - 1.8MB]
Apple's .Mac service, once a promising method for sharing media, performing online backups and more, has paled in the presence of free alternatives and represents an untapped opportunity for Apple according to a recent report from CNET. The articles posits "$99 a year is hard to justify for the .Mac service. 10GBs of storage? I can get that for $20 from Google, and I can get much more if I want it. Photo sharing? I can do that for free on Flickr, and upload as many photos and videos as I want for $24.95 a year. Build my own Web site? Lots of services offer that capability for free."
- Sound Studio 3.5.6 ($80) sound recording and editing tool. This new version provides enhanced marker support, localization updates and bug fixes, and is a free upgrade for existing owners of Sound Studio 3. The new release also includes Unicode marker name support in AIFF, AIFF-C, WAVE, and Sound Designer 2 formats and updated Japanese localization resources. [Download - 34.7MB]
- iMedia Browser 1.1 (freeware) a stand-alone utility, the Karelia iMedia Browser lets users easily browse and drag content from their entire collection of photos, music, movies, and bookmarks, including their Pictures, Music, and Movies folders as well as applications such as iPhoto, Aperture, iTunes, GarageBand, and several leading web browsers. The Karelia iMedia Browser can be activated either from the dock or from a small icon in the menu bar. Version 1.1 adds Adobe Lightroom support and vastly improved movie thumbnail generation. The new release also includes a useful online Help feature.[Download - 1.9MB]
- TextExpander 2.1.1 ($30) customizable typing shortcut tool for Mac OS X. With TextExpander, users can define abbreviations for frequently-used text strings and images, also known as snippets. When an abbreviation is typed, it expands automatically to the full snippet. The new release fixes post-expansion cursor positioning, handles delimiters using the shift key properly, has minor fixes and improvements. [Download - 3.9MB]
- Trade Manager Pro 1.1 ($150) investment tool. This release has tracking of trade data in the currency of choice. Mac OSX provides Global International currency selection from the International Preferences in System Preference; accessed from the Apple Icon menu item. Once that is set, Trade Manager Pro 1.1 will display the designated currency. The security quotes are no longer displayed with a currency designation to allow for fractional quotations. [Download - 4.4MB]
- TimeTable 1.2 ($15) time tracking and billing utility for Apple iCal. This new version includes German language support, blog style notes export, To Do Items, Quick select timeframe dates and more. With TimeTable, you can view, analyze and total the number of hours recorded in iCal. [Download - 1.5MB]
App4Mac, the company behind RapidoWrite, CheckUp and other Mac OS X tools, has announced net4mac, a new, free social networking service built exclusively for Mac users. Users can create a profile including your location, job, activities, skills and the type of Macs, iPhone, iPod, etc. owned, then add friends to your profile and manage them. Users can also create their own groups of interest and invite friends to join them (people using the same application, in your same location, sharing the same passions, etc) and create events and invite Mac users. Registered users can search members using different of criteria and discover local Mac users..
Collanos Workplace 1.3
Collanos today released Collanos Workplace 1.3 (site down at publish time), an update to the cross-platform collaboration software that is thoroughly optimized with extended teamwork functions. The latest release includes a Team Instant Messenger environment, and allows team members to share results with other team members across any supported platform as quickly as similar server-based applications, according to the company. Collanos Workplace 1.3 is available for free (system requirements were unavailable).
Free ad-supported videos
HIRO today launched what it says is the first free ad-supported video download solution for Mac users. The software allows Mac users to view free, ad-supported video downloads in either Windows Media Player or via Apple's QuickTime format with dynamic targeted advertisements integrated into the programming. The Mac version will make its first appearance in Israel, and will roll out in other areas -- such as the U.S. and Australia -- throughout 2008.
RAGE SEKeyword 1.1
RAGE Software today released RAGE SEKeyword 1.1, a free application for website owners designed to discover niche keywords among Web searches. The software uses Yahoo! Search technology to find the most relevant keywords for a particular website, according to RAGE, and suggests the most popular searched keywords based on site content. RAGE SEKeyword 1.1 informs users about what search engine keywords competitors are targeting by reading the meta keywords of competing sites. The software is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
LifeShaker 1.1 released
Funky Cloud today released LifeShaker 1.1, a free update to the to-do list application for Mac OS X. The latest release enables printing of LifeShaker's lists and unique grid interface to a handy booklet, in addition to a number of bug fixes and performance improvements. The booklet format provides an ideal way to print from LifeShaker with the grid view shown on the front page, listing of goals and steps on following pages and space for notes at the end. When multiple page are required, LifeShaker prints in a format that allows the folded pages to nest together. The software is priced at $30, and requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later.
Free iPod Phrase Books
Coolgorilla.com today announced that it has released a series of free iPod Phrase Books that are available for download from the iTunes Store. Provided via a sponsorship agreement with lastminute.com, the Phrase Books are available in six different languages to translate English text into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Greek audio. A separate podcast for each language delivers the necessary sound files, while another download installs a familiar phrase book menu system on to an iPod for quick and easy access to hundreds of audio translations.
Stunt Playground for Mac
A software developer has successfully ported Stunt Playground to Mac. The fully 3D stunt driving game features realistic physics that are fully integrated into both the driving and the editor. Users can arrange various props and jumps as desired, and can save as well as load creations for later. Players can record instant replays of up to 15 seconds in length while driving and play the clips later from any angle. Stunt Playground is available for free, as is the game's source code.
Ch 6.0 released
SoftIntegration today released Ch 6.0 and Embedded Ch 6.0, its embeddable C/C++ interpretor for cross-platform scripting and 2D/3D plotting. Ch and Embedded Ch 6.0 are the most stable releases to date, according to the company, and add debug features as well a a new Ch Integrated Development Environment with the professional edition. Ch runs on Mac OS X, Linux PPC/x86, HP-UX, FreeBSD, QNX, Solaris, and Microsoft Windows. The standard edition is available for free for both commercial and non-commercial uses on all platforms, and the professional edition is priced at $400.
iTunes Live, London
Apple is hosting a series of concerts for Londoners at AIR Studios starting February 21st, featuring artists such as KT Tunstall, José González, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, and many more. Rather than purchasing tickets, those interested in seeing any of the 25-plus artists must win the tickets through a free draw in order to attend the events. The event, called iTunes Live: London Sessions, will span over 11 nights, with each night featuring two to four performance artists.
Panda Systems today unveiled PandoCalendar 7.0.6, an update to its desktop calendar application, adding several new features and bug fixes. In addition to increased Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard compatibility, users can also browse through all recurring events by group in a dedicated window. Two new File menu options allow users to create new notes and appointments, while a popup menu with preset snooze times has been added to the reminder window. PandoCalendar is available for free from Panda Systems' web site.
Free calls on iPhones
Software has surfaced for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch (with an accessory microphone) that allows users to make free phone calls to other users. The application, titled 'Siphon,' requires an unlocked iPhone and connects users to the freephonie network. iPhone owners or iPod touch owners with microphones must activate SIP functionality and enter a username/password combination to authenticate with the network.
EMI, NY Daily giveaway
Following in the spirit of Radiohead's "pay-what-you-want" offer, EMI is flat out giving away music tracks to subscribers of the New York Daily News. CNET writes that the voucher is good for three song downloads from the labels collection of over 120,000 tracks, including an unreleased track, "It's Love", by Ringo Starr. EMI's promotion will run on this coming Sunday, as well as the one that follows.
'Things' public preview
Cultured Code today released the first public preview of Things, its task management application. After sending out private alpha invitations to more than 17,000 newsletter subscribers, today's announcement marks the second major step in the lifetime of the application, according to the company. Things Preview requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later, and is available as a free download until the final release ships in the Spring of 2008 for $40.
QuartzCube 2 released
JS8 Media has released QuartzCube 2, an update to its configurable wide-angle rotating video cube software for Mac OS X. The latest release uses the HUD format in the inspector window, adds a cube rendering pause button to the toolbar, brings a snapshot item to the view menu, and improves Leopard compatibility. QuartzCube 2 is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
FutureBASIC now free
Staz Software has announced that its FutureBASIC integrated development environment (IDE) is available as freeware, but reassured users that work on the product will continue. "Does this mean that work on the product will come to a halt? Absolutely not," the company wrote in response to potential user questioning. "For starters, you will be able to download a revised editor that addresses problems with OS X, System 10.5." Staz says users will also be able to download a new translator under construction by the FBtoC team that will make FB code compilable with the gcc compiler. FutureBASIC requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later on newer Macs, or Mac OS X 9.2 or later on older systems.
Ambrosia issues updates
Ambrosia Software has released updates to two applications and one game, signaling the arrival of WireTap Studio 1.0.4 along with iSeek 1.1.3 and pop-pop 1.0.6. WireTap Studio 1.0.4 is a free update to the audio recording and management application that offers enhanced Leopard compatibility alongside other fixes and enhancements. WireTap Studio is priced at $70 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. Upgrades for WireTap Pro users are priced at 30.
iAlarm 2.0 released
Xultrasoft.com today released a major update to iAlarm, adding podcast support alongside a new user interface and complete Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard compatibility. iAlarm is designed as an easy to use alarm application for Mac systems that wakes users up with iTunes music, local weather, news podcasts, custom messages, or a classic beep. iAlarm 2.0 runs natively on Intel-based Macs as a Universal Binary, and features Alarm presets for quick selection of custom alarms. The software is available for free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later with iTunes 3.0.x or newer.
Stream music to iPhone
Orb Networks has released an application that streams music from a Windows-based PC over the internet to select iPhones, effectively making entire music collections available to iPhone owners on-the-go. Users install the Orb application on a Windows PC where music is stored, then surf to the free service at mycast.orb.com using an iPhone to play any track stored on the home computer. Orb also enables users to send friends text messages with links to music, and the software is available for free.
Web-based iPhone player
Avot Media today unveiled Avot mV, a new Web-based application that allows iPhone users to quickly locate and view any Web-based video on the cellular handset. Avot mV maintains no limits on video selection, and utilizes no transcoding process to achieve almost no latency, according to Avot. iPhone users can watch TV-quality video in near real-time, and the softwrae works across mobile carriers with high-speed data networks as well as Wi-Fi. The iPhone-specific application is available for free.
LiveSet Gen. for LighWave
NewTek today released LiveSet Generator for LightWave, a free plug-in for LightWave 9 that facilitates the authoring of computer generated virtual sets. LiveSet Generator for LightWave provides a simple solution for the creation of custom, photo-realistic virtual sets. The software is designed for use with LiveSet, the proprietary virtual set technology found in NewTek's TriCaster STUDIO, Portable Live Production System, and VT Integrated Production Suite.The LiveSet Generator for LightWave is available for free, and requires LightWave 9.
Streaming music to iPhone
Simplify Media today released Simplify Media Mobile, a new native application for Apple's iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to access entire music collections from any Wi-Fi hot spot. "Unlike websites and web-streaming, you can listen to remote music and can still surf the Web," the company touts. "Play song after song without having to stop to select a new one." The download is free, and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later with iTunes 7.x or newer.