Mac money-savers: fill up your Mac for free

Budget movie making

iMovie is a great video-editing package, if a little limited compared to something like Final Cut Pro or even Final Cut Express, though they cost money, of course.

Jahshaka is an open source video editing and compositing tool that runs on a number of platforms. As well as editing video, it lets you create special effects, animate objects on film, paint on moving pictures, create music and work at multiple resolutions in different formats. It doesn't feel particularly Mac-like, but free applications with this functionality are few and far between.

Another great video app is MPEG Streamclip, which functions like Apple's Compressor that you normally only get with Final Cut. It's a video convertor, player and editor and can encode video files to multiple formats including iPod. It can also cut, trim and join movies and download video from YouTube and Google Video.

The only drawback with some of these ports of open source software is that they require X11. You can find this on your OS X install DVD. See for more.

Online storage

Online storage is getting more and more popular as a backup method. Despite the many home broadband connections having slower upload speeds than download, it's still possible to transfer data upstream in a reasonable time. Also, the storage capacities of server farms has increased massively as hard drives have become bigger and cheaper.

Apple's iDisk is integrated into Finder, so if you do have MobileMe you can jump straight to it. However, there are alternatives. GMX Mail is primarily a free email service but also offers free online file storage.

You get 1GB of space for any kinds of files, protected by a secure SSL connection. Access is via a browser so you can get at your files from any computer with a net connection. By creating an alias to the drive you can access it easily from the Desktop.

ADrive offers a huge 50GB of storage space with its basic account, works through a browser and supports OS X. It also allows file sharing, folder uploads and features an online document editor, which claims to let you edit word documents online without having to save files locally before opening them.

Xdrive offers a similar package with 5GB storage space. The downloadable tools are Windows only but you can still perform uploads and downloads via a browser. Humyo offers 30GB of space with the basic free plan as well as mobile phone access, but no encrypted transfer. All of these plans feature an upgrade option of some sort that gives you more space and features.

Online backup

Some online services are more focused on backup than file sharing, and a good example is iDrive. With low system requirements, it features a downloadable application with scheduling and logging features specially for the Mac as well as a Finder plug-in.

The software features incremental backups so only changed files are copied, data compression for faster transfers, 128-bit SSL encryption, automatic backup of key folders, snapshots, bandwidth throttling and a facility to power off the Mac after a backup completes.

The Finder plug-in gives you drag and drop access to your 2GB of online space with a basic account, or you can upgrade to get 150GB for just $5 (£2.50) a month. You may also want to look at Mozy which gives you 2GB of free space and a downloadable backup program for Mac that also features strong encryption, scheduling and incremental backup.

Free email has been around for a while, but the amount of storage you get is now incredible. Gmail has an ever-increasing upper limit and is now up at around 7GB for every standard, free mail account. Even Hotmail, which for a long time lagged behind in the storage stakes, now offers 5GB. Gmail's spam filtering is very good and it offers some handy tools like forwarding and aliases.