Fun and Free (or almost Free) Mac Software.

BackLight 2.0

The freeware BackLight 2.0 provides a menu extra that allows you to use screensavers as your desktop background. It can also change your screensaver and open the preferences. The developer recommends a Quartz Extreme-capable machine to use the utility.
Notice: This does degrade the performance of your system, but it is fun.

Synergy, Menubar control interface for iTunes

Synergy is a tiny app (for Mac OS X 10.2 and later) that puts three buttons to control iTunes in your menubar: previous track, next track, and play/pause, as well as providing you with visual feedback about the currently playing tune. Synergy can even automatically download and display the cover of the currently playing album. Synergy is only $5 (USD).

Xmenu, Application Menu and Launcher in your Menu Bar

XMenu 1.0 (freeware) “brings back the Apple Menu to Mac OS X and also includes a complete application launcher. By adding one or more global menus to the right side of the menu bar, you can easily access your preferred applications, folders (and subfolders), documents, and files.” It runs on Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

Splendid City, Team Sport Scheduler

Splendid City (formally known as ‘Advanced Team Scheduler’ ) is a free, easy-to-use, full-featured Team Sports Scheduler and Sports Scheduling System dedicated to the volunteers who spend countless hours towards the noble cause of organized sports. Let’s move those kids away from their TVs, off the streets… and into the arenas!


DeepVacuum is a helpful web utility based on the GNU wget command-line tool. The program includes a vast number of options to fine-tune your downloads through both HTTP and FTP protocols. It enables you to download: whole single pages, entire sites, FTP catalogs, link lists from a text file, filtered types, ex. Images. DeepVacuum is a donationware.


Audacity 1.2 (free) is a new version and a significant upgrade to the free cross-platform audio editing software. Audacity can record sounds, play sounds, import and export WAV, AIFF, Ogg Vorbis, MP3 files, etc. Built-in effects include Echo, Change Tempo, and Noise Removal; the software also supports VST and LADSPA plug-in effects.


VideoCapture 1.0 (free) allows users to grab images from any video source or webcams. It works with any USB/FireWire video source (including the iSight) and supports IOXpert’s drivers. It runs on MacOS X 10.2 or later.

EasyWMA 1.0

EasyWMA 1.0 (donationware) is a small utility that allows users to convert Windows Media Audio (WMA) files to MP3s for better compatibility with Mac applications such as iTunes.

About Ian Aberle

Ian Aberle is an Adobe Creative Educator and the Senior IT Communications Specialist & Trainer for the Office of Information Technology (OIT). For over 25 years, he has helped the SMU community use technology and implement digital and web media through multiple roles with the Digital Commons, SMU STAR Program, and now OIT. Ian enjoys photography and road trips with his family in his free time.
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