The following is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
So you just unwrapped your shiny new Mac and are now beginning to learn the new operating system? Congratulations! I suspect you will come to enjoy the new system that doesn't crash or lock up on you and doesn't have all those security issues.
However, once you get beyond the basics, you will find there are a number of applications that are "missing,” or perhaps some of the programs included with the Macintosh are a bit simplistic and you would like to find something better. Here is my list of suggestions of low-cost and free additions that every Mac user should have.
Web Browser: Download Firefox. It's better than Safari, has more features, and is more secure. It's also free. Why would you want anything else? http://www.mozilla.com
Backups: All computers are subject to hardware failures, even Macs. You absolutely need to make frequent backups. Luckily, Apple gives you the most user-friendly and useful backup program I have ever seen: TimeMachine. Best of all, the program is included with every current copy of the Macintosh OS X operating system at no extra charge.
My advice is to run out today and purchase a plug-in USB drive of some sort, plug it into your Mac, and then enable TimeMachine. You will be glad you did.
However, keep in mind that backups made by TimeMachine to USB-connected disk drives are LOCAL backups. That is, the backups are stored within a few feet of the computer. That will suffice for many purposes, but it leaves you unprotected in case of burst water pipes, floods, house fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and other disasters that can destroy your house and everything in it, including computers and backup disk drives. Everyone needs off-site backups and, luckily, such backups are easy to perform and can even be free of charge.
I use Backblaze, an online service that backs up unlimited amounts of data from any one computer for $5 a month. I like the simplicity of Backblaze. You can find it at http://www.backblaze.com. Another very popular online backup service is called Mozy, available at http://www.mozy.com. Mozy will back up as much as two gigabytes free of charge and an unlimited amount of data for $4.95 a month. The two services are almost identical: Backblaze does offer more restore options while Mozy offers two gigabytes of storage free of charge. Take your choice; they are both excellent services.
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