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Software

Fun apps for your Mac

A collection of quirky and fun Mac apps that have caught our eye over the past few months, such as software to turn your MacBook into a virtual lightsaber and a package that allows you to change your desktop environment by smacking your Mac.

A collection of quirky and fun Mac apps that have caught our eye over the past few months, such as software to turn your MacBook into a virtual lightsaber and a package that allows you to change your desktop environment by smacking your Mac.

With Apple having recently completed its transition from Power PC to Intel chips with the release of the MacBook, we thought we'd check in on the what is available for download for the new machines and see if we can tempt any loyal PC users to switch platforms.

Perhaps "switch" isn't the correct term anymore with Apple's Boot Camp software allowing you to run either Windows or OS X on Intel-based Macs. While it may be a breeze to install, a major drawback in using the software is that you must reboot to swap operating systems.

Parallels Desktop for Mac on the other hand, which is also in beta, takes this concept one step further by allowing you to run Windows (and its applications) from within the native Mac OS X operating environment.

But enough about operating systems, here the quirky and fun Mac apps that have caught our eye over the past few months.

Using the MacBook Pro's built-in Sudden Motion Sensor, which protects your data by parking the hard drive head when it detects a fall, MacSaber emulates the sounds of a Jedi Light Saber fight as you move your laptop around. See it in action here or, for Star Wars Kid fans, here.

iAlertU is another app that uses the MacBook motion sensor. It sets off an audible alarm when the laptop senses it is moving and can be activated/deactivated when the lid is closed by using the MacBook's infrared remote control -- much the same way as you'd switch a car alarm on or off. A future release aims to use the built-in iSight camera to e-mail a photo of the would-be theif to a specified address. Here is a video demonstrating iAlertU.

Using the MacBook's built-in microphone, Voice Candy can alter the sound of your voice to eight different presets, including Darth Vader, Chipmunk, Robot, Old Radio, Sore Throat and Bad Sci-Fi.

The best use of the MacBook's motion sensor we've seen so far has earned it the nickname "SmackBook" on the blogosphere this week. Tying in with virtual desktop software Desktop Manager, this work-in-progress add-on senses when the laptop feels a smack on either side of the screen and shifts over the way of the slap to your next virtual environment. A video explains the concept much better. Here are some links and step-by-step instructions if you want to try to set it up.

Seen any other cool Mac apps recently? Have you recently switched over to a Mac? Talkback to me below!