Well folks, it’s that time of year again when the good folks at MacHeist start their annual bombardment of my in-tray with news of this year’s ‘bundle’.
For those of you unfamiliar with MacHeist, it’s pretty much a bulk purchase scheme, whereby the kind of people who like paying for software [I’ve heard such creatures exist!] can buy a ‘bundle’ of mac apps for a ridiculously low price.
MacHeist has been on the go for years. Back when I was a spotty young nerd, wearing shorts, with a catapult hanging out of the pocket and with a plaster on my knee, you won apps by solving fiendishly difficult logic puzzles on their website —each puzzle you solved ‘unlocked’ a new app by providing you with a serial number to register it. The problem with that approach was that it didnae take long before the less patient amongst us [cough! cough!] began sharing the solutions to the puzzles on various mac forums, thus enabling everyone to gain access to all the apps, without much effort.
In the last couple of years MacHeist have changed the format to a more straightforward ‘cough up yer cash’ approach. The apps are offered as a bundle for a low price and for a limited period of time, with more apps being added as more bundles are sold, or certain apps being unlocked when the number sold hits a certain figure.
I would normally be irritated by emails from organisations I’ve barely had contact with for years and would never usually reblog such shenanigans but I have a bit of a soft spot for MacHeist: As well as the fact that the apps provided usually feature a few from smaller companies who deserve a bit of support [no Adobe or Microsoft here], plus the fact that 25% of the sales go to ‘chariddeeee’ [thus allowing you to bask in self-righteousness], I have fond memories of sitting in my freezing cold flat, way back in the day when I was on a dial-up internet connection, feverishly trying to solve one of their puzzles and unlock an app I wanted, before the phone charges exceeded the money I was trying to save.
As with all previous MacHeist bundles, whether or not it’s worth stumping up the —in this case— $29, which I make about twenty-odd quid in real money depends on how many of the apps in the bundle are any good to you. Of the ones I recognise in this year’s bundle, I reckon Evernote with 15 months premium thrown in and Scrivener are the pick of the bunch, but I already have both of those. Courier also looks interesting, although I’ve not tried it and already have other apps which perform similar functions. So, I will not be un-padlocking my wallet this year. But it may be a more attractive proposition for some of the rest of you.
One final caveat: In previous years there has been a ‘bit of a stink kicked up’ [as my oul’ granny might have said] about some software companies using MacHeist as a way of squeezing the last couple of pennies out of a soon-to-be obsolete app. ie. SuperApp 3,4 is offered in the MacHeist bundle and then two weeks later all-singing, all-dancing SuperApp 4 is released, with no free upgrade. So it’s always worth doing a bit of research first, to find out how much longevity you’re likely to get out of your ‘bargain’.
That said, not all developers are this sneaky. I remember a great wee app called PTHPasteboard being included in a MacHeist bundle a few years back, where the MacHeist license was good for ‘two major versions’ which ended up being about three years’ worth of updates.
Your mileage —as they say— may vary