Mac App Store: Five best free apps

Apple debuted its app store for computers today. And it's way cooler than you thought it would be. Yes, right now it's mostly carryover from the iPad and iPhone app store, which is somewhat uninteresting because those apps were designed for a mobile touch screen. But there are some regular ol' applications on there, too. So what are the best things you can get for free on day one? 5. Garmin BaseCamp The one thing Goggle Maps doesn't do particularly well is anything you might do off an established road. Enter Garmin BaseCamp. Admittedly not as useful as this same thing is on a mobile device, but it's a great interface and excellent for sharing, storing and planning ahead for pretty much any kind of excursion into nature.

4. Alfred An early entrant in the apps designed expressly for your laptop/desktop. Sort of like spotlight, Apple's handy built-in search feature, except better in every way. Smarter (it remembers what you use often), cleaner, faster, customizable and more comprehensive.

3. Evernote Long a favorite of the mobile information/storage type apps, EverNote is most useful if you also have a smart phone to sync it with. Either way, it's a far better way to take information of all kinds (notes, audio, video, photos) and make it all make sense. This is one of the better show-off apps available early on because of its futuristic features (photos of text transferred to digital documents chief among them).

2. MindNode for Mac It's so simple -- you build flow charts for ideas. But, of course, the simplicity is the brilliance, and the world would be a more thoughtful place if everyone took ten minutes with MindNode open before they started in on projects. And we're not even generally advocates or practitioners of outlines.

1. Twitter Of the hundreds of Twitter clients out there, the company's own versions for iPad and smart phones are by far the best. And now, you can have it on your desktop. It's less intrusive than TweetDeck, gives you exactly what you want and looks fantastic. Everyone else starting to use the store agrees: It's the most popular free app on the store today by orders of magnitude. If you have a twitter account, get this immediately.

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