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>> Brian Tong: Brian Tong here with cnet.com, and if you just bought a computer and you're a new Mac daddy, or mama, you wanna load it with the best free software you can get. We're gonna assume you already have your web browser and email client figured out, so here are seven essential apps you need for your Mac, and all of these are free. iChat is fun, but it doesn't work with every chat client. Instead, download Adium [phonetic]. This chatty app talks to Yahoo, MSN, ICQ, AIM and more. You might have some issues transferring files to your friends, but it's still our top pick for a multi-service chat client. Now, if you wanna actually be productive, you don't have to spend hundreds of dollars on the Microsoft Office suite. OpenOffice from openoffice.org is more than capable of handling word processing, spreadsheets and presentations for professionals, and may not be what you're looking for, but for most of us, it's more than enough, and it's free. Our computers are entertainment devices, and QuickTime alone just doesn't cut it. VLC Media Player can play every video file format under the sun and also can be your default DVD player. Now, if you have DVDs from your personal collection that you wanna back up, look no further than Handbrake [phonetic]. Select a preset, let Handbrake do the work and your movie is ready to watch on anything from an iPhone to your PS3.
We're halfway there, and we've got four more to go. And not everyone who owns a Mac has an iPod or iPhone that syncs seamlessly with iTunes. And if you're one of those people, Double Twist is the app for you. It takes the media from iTunes and converts music, photos and videos to work with your BlackBerry, Android phone, PSP, and almost any other mobile device. Now, if you wanna take productivity to a whole new level, Quicksilver is the hot key king. Bring up the interface, search for a file anywhere on your computer, and choose from a list of actions like attaching a file in an email. It's all done with your keyboard; no dragging or dropping with your mouse. Everyone needs a backup, and Apple's Time Machine is built into the OS, but Carbon Copy Cloner gets you an on-the-spot, bit-for-bit copy of your hard drive for backups or restores, and it's saved my butt plenty of times.
Now, I know there are plenty of other great apps like One Password, Things and Pod to Mac, but those will cost you. These seven free apps are ones that our editors, readers and myself just can't do without. But you know, I had to add a few free Mac OS 10 widgets into this mix. iStat Pro is for the geek in you if you wanna see your Mac's CPU performance, memory usage and battery status. And less geeky, if you gotta have those lyrics to the latest song, Canto-Pod [phonetic] is probably still the most effective lyric grabber that I know of.
Seven apps and two widgets. I think that's a good way to get started. I'm Brian Tong with your essential free Mac apps. Use them wisely.
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