Monday, March 20, 2006

i use freeware, too!

as part of the contest, i posted a list of five of my favourite free mac os x apps (formerly on my other blog, but now the previous entry on this one). but as i said in that post, i am a bit of a junkie when it comes to freeware. here are five more freebies you might want to try:
  • clamxav. even with the recent hacker 'attacks' on os x, the platform remains relatively virus free, but clamxav keeps you ready just in case.
  • itunes-lame. itunes is awesome, but the mp3 encoder that apple included with it is not (perhaps on purpose, as they'd like you to use the default [but less common] aac format). itunes-lame is a script which allows you to use the well-regarded lame encoder to add mp3s to your itunes library.
  • magic number machine. can someone explain to me why a $1000 computer comes with a default calculator that is basically worthless? i know it's an apple tradition, but still… thankfully, this freebie calculator does most everything you'd need, and the interface is clean and simple. it's earned a place on my dock.
  • onyx. one of the nice features of os x is that maintenance scripts run automatically. unfortunately, they tend to run in the middle of the night, and if your computer is shut off, it won't happen. onyx allows you to run the scripts, and if you're so inclined, to customize aspects of the os and some applications.
  • coverflow. this one's just for fun, but very cool — it's like flipping through your old vinyl lps.
my bonus freebie for the 2nd five is imote, which allows you to control itunes from the menubar. simple, but effective.

still no games, even in my second five free apps. so if you've got a recommendation, please let me know.

there you have it. as you can see, auditioning freeware could be a full-time occupation! if you don't believe me, check out's list of recommendations here.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

i use freeware!

is this a surprise? i've always been a freeware junkie, but in recent years, i haven't been able to indulge that hobby too much, as my computer equipment got a bit long in the tooth.

that all changed when i got a shiny new ibook g4 this past september. mac os x has opened up an whole new world of options. and when sponsored a contest for recommending your favourite freeware, i thought, 'why not?' here are five freebies i wouldn't do without; click on the name of the app to find more information and a link to download:
  • camino. this is my current browser of choice; it's quick and elegant — like my mac. honourable mention here is firefox; not quite as elegant, but also based on the gecko rendering engine and ultra-extensible.
  • quicksilver. it's a launcher and so much more. it's one of those pieces of software that can actually change the way you use your computer.
  • stuffit expander. i almost hesitate to include this, as it is so ubiquitous as to be assumed, but i couldn't live without it. it expands all of that compressed free software i download!
  • vienna. i never even heard of rss before os x, but i've had fun catching up. this is a stable, well-designed reader.
  • textpander. this app allows you to type in an abbreviation (usually for an frequently used bit of text, like your name or address) and expands it. could save a lot of typing.
a couple of favourites not yet on are butler (a quicksilver-like launcher that includes central storage for all of your bookmarks across multiple browsers — we all use at least four browsers, right?) and journler (an excellent personal journal that can handle photos, music, and even upload to your blog).

you may note that there are no games in my list. i simply haven't found many free games that i like for os x, a real change from previous versions of the mac os. if you have some you'd recommend, i'm all ears!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

cmds national student leadership conference

what do you get when you convene medical and dental students from across canada for a weekend? thoughtful reflection, excellent discussions, and the most ferocious game of spoons you can imagine!

this past weekend, cmds brought more than thirty students together to think, share, and reflect together about what it means for them to be christians who are preparing for careers in dentistry and medicine. they received great input from doctors harding and patrick, leading to some spirited interactions. and they talked about what God is already doing on their campuses, and interceded together about what he might do next.

in between, they connected over good food, stayed up way too late, and started friendships that now span the continent. there were also rumors of a spontaneous time of worship in the wee hours of the morning, a game (?) which involved eating paper, and some people arriving and departing in a stretch limousine, but these are unconfirmed. we do, however, have video of a near-riot during the spoons game, which has been forwarded to cbc.