That's right, free. And if it's free, it's for me. Software promoter MacHeist is my new best friend, and for the next five days is giving away nanoBundle, a package of six Mac OS X applications including the highly-rated Twitterrific, which normally sells for US$15. In all, $154 worth of applications for your Mac OS X (10.4 or higher) for nothing. Nada. Gratis. Free, as in beer. But tap it while you can; the keg runs dry this Friday the 13th.

In addition to Iconfactory's Twitterrific, which is also available for iPhone, the nanoBundle includes two word processors (one of which is not fully unlocked), a cool looking game called Hordes of Orcs, a screen sharing utility called TinyGrab, and ShoveBox, a clever-looking utility that I intend to try out immediately. The tool, which normally sells for $25, provides a "box" into which you drop items that are important but cannot have your attention now. A URL you accidentally came across, someone's resume attachment, a picture of that used car you're selling. Shove them in the box for later action, or send them to your iPhone.

NanoBundle isn't the first MacHeist. Back in March MacHeist drew attention for offering an even larger bundle of apps worth more than $900 retail for just $39. The response was reportedly mixed, with some in opposition asserting that the software was being given away for too little. The move even spurred a group of independent developers to launch One Finger Discount, a coat-tail operation that offers a 20-percent (one-fifth) discount of the retail price. Hardly a similar reduction, but hey, whatever works.

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I am Technical Editor of the [url=http://www.crn.com]CRN Test Center[/url], a kind of computer-centric "Consumer Reports" for retailers and VARs ([url=http://crn.com]www.crn.com[/url]). I bought my first computer in 1980, an Atari 800. In addition to adventure games like Zork, I also played with the hardware, dabbling with ROM dumps and mods to the 810 disk drive. That's also where I learned BASIC programming. After 1984, I moved to PCs, clones and NetWare, and then to Apple IIs and Macs until around 1990. In July of that year I got my first job at a publishing company, supporting about 25 Mac users (including the staff of "MacWeek").

Between '06 and '09 I was editor of [URL=http://stpmag.com]ST&P[/URL], a software testing trade magazine. I also wrote a software [URL=http://www.sdtimes.com/content/testqa.aspx]Test & QA [/URL]newsletter, and was chairman of the [url=http://stpcon.com/]Software Test & Performance conference[/url].

hoe.

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