Stretching your software dollar

At the end of 2006, an interesting phenomenon in the Mac world unfolded. “MacHeist” was unveiled, wherein the public could engage in a number of challenges to earn passwords. Each password would “unlock” the MacHeist vault, wherein a user would get access to a piece of Mac software with a legitimate license for use. At the end of the challenge came a deal: buy a number of Mac apps for $49 that otherwise would total several hundred dollars. Via that promotion, I picked up some great apps, such as TextMate and Delicious Library. To top it all off, 25% of the proceeds went to a non-profit organization of my choosing.

This effort was soon copied by MacUpdate, who offered a MacUpdate Promo bundle which also provided some great apps. MacHeist, not to be outdone, hacked that promotion, and offered users the ability to get additional free apps by buying the MacUpdate Promo bundle through its hack.

Well, it’s back again.

The new MacHeist II effort offers 11 Mac apps for $49. That includes the following applications:

  • 1password, $29.95
    All your confidential information, including passwords, identities, and credit cards, is kept in one secure place provided by Apple’s OS X Keychain. Sounds useful. Verdict: Keep.
  • AppZapper, $12.95
    I’ve been looking to get this one for some time. Adding and removing apps on the Mac is pretty simple, but it can be difficult to know where all an app tucked away its associated files. AppZapper makes it a simple issue. Verdict: Keep.
  • Awaken, $12.95
    Awaken allows you to set any song in your iTunes library (or a playlist) as the buzzer on multiple alarms. Sorry, but my Mac isn’t by my bedside. Verdict: Pass.
  • Cha-Ching, $40.00
    Checkbook balancing, budgets, bills and expenses handled “iTunes-style.” Me? I need automatic synchronization with my online accounts… I like software to do the work, not me. Verdict: Pass.
  • CoverSutra, $22.00
    A CD jewelcase interface for iTunes with cover art on your desktop with integration, fully customizable keyboard shortcuts, and instant player controls. Honestly? CoverSutra needs iTunes open to play music… I think I’ll stick with one app rather than two to do such a simple task. iTunes is way too bloated as is; last thing I need taking more memory is another music player. Verdict: Pass.
  • CSSEdit, $29.95
    This is considered the top-tier CSS editor on the Mac. Happy to now have a full license, as I do a considerable amount of CSS-based design work. Verdict: Keep.
  • iStopMotion, $49.00
    Use your Mac’s iSight to streamline the process of capturing and processing stop motion film. Sounds cute, although probably will only use once. Verdict: Will Try.
  • Pixelmator, $59.00
    A layer-based image editor that uses the Mac’s built-in iSight, graphics card, and a full-screen editing mode. I beta tested this app early on, and will be interested to see how it matures. Verdict: Keep.
  • Snapz Pro X, $69.00
    This one’s huge. It’s been the de facto screenshot and screen capture (i.e. video) app on the Mac for years. Verdict: Keep.
  • Speed Download, $25.00
    Downloads from your browser, FTP, iDisk, are handled and sorted by type– movies go into Front Row, music goes directly into iTunes, etc. Sounds interesting… and likely to annoy. Verdict: Will Try.
  • TaskPaper, $18.95
    A bare-bones, text-based to-do list to keep you organized. While I like the ability to edit either in the app or any other text editor, I’ve begun to take a liking to Things. Verdict: Will Try.

To top it off, MacHeist II will again donate 25% of its proceeds to one (or all) of the non-profits listed below:

As I write this, $71,491 has already been raised for these organizations. Not bad.

So, check it out. $49 for CSSEdit, Snapz Pro, Pixelmator and 1Password alone would be a good deal; the rest is gravy. And, you’ll be helping some good folks in the process.



  1. AJ Arora said,

    February 15, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

    grat info dude! i see is chock-full of apple news…i’ll be sure to get my daily dose 🙂 i pretty much owe my ‘switch’ to you and your mac help…i cant thank you enough!

  2. AJ Arora said,

    February 15, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

    grat info dude! i see is chock-full of apple news…i’ll be sure to get my daily dose 🙂 i pretty much owe my ‘switch’ to you and your mac help…i cant thank you enough!

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