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Ten freeware gems for new Macs

Complimentary benefits

Remote control for virtualized desktops

SketchBook Express

RH Numbers

SketchBook Express is the free version of SketchBook Pro from Autodesk and is a great application for anything from rough concept sketches to detailed artwork – or perhaps just some doodling. With the Express version you still get all of the usual brush tools and layer support as well as the intuitive “Lagoon” tool pallet, which feels very natural and avoids mis-selecting tools.

For those of you with portable iDevices, SketchBook is also available on iOS so you can take your drawings with you. The only thing I find annoying is the nag-screen on startup which makes you wait unless you purchase the Pro version, but really – what’s a few seconds for free software?

SketchBook Express

StuffIt Expander

RH Numbers

Time was when Stuffit was the de facto standard compression utility for the Mac. The introduction of Mac OS X and its built-in .zip file archiving rather diminished its presence but if you've old .sit or .sitx files or a lot of different compression formats to deal with, then the free Stuffit Expander is definitely worth keeping in tow.

Unlike most Mac software, there’s no fancy interface with Stuffit Expander, it just does its job. OK, so you can’t actually use it to create an archive – you need to pay for the full suite for that – but it is a great replacement for the standard unarchiving facility built into Mac OS X. You get support for Zip, 7z, RAR, TAR and the like – effectively any archive type to have ever existed with password support too. There are no nag screens nor ads trying to convince you to buy the full version either.

Stuffit Expander
Stuffit Expander

More info StuffIt

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