Let’s Go On a MacHeist

Okay, I couldn’t let Josh have free reign on this blog forever without chiming in. And what better opportunity to actually have time to blog then now, the start of Spring Break? 😉

Even so, one of the sites that I’ve been following for awhile is a site called MacHeist. It’s actually a very interesting site that first launched in late 2006: it started by providing challenges to Mac users whereby a “Directorate” would provide details to agents (users) of some crime or task that would have to be completed, and would generally involve users going across the web to different participating sites whereby they would have to use logic, code deciphering, and all kinds of weird tricks to solve the heist–with the prize being free Mac shareware licenses. During the three MacHeist events that they’ve done since then (November 2006, January 2008, and February-March 2009), community members have gathered together on their site and collectively worked together to crack the code.

Well that’s been the fund part of MacHeist (and word is they’ve got MacHeist 4 coming up soon…), but the other side to their site has been the marketing of big, heavily-discounted software bundles that also serve as fundraisers for many different charities. Imagine: getting a bundle of awesome Mac software that you wouldn’t have thought to try anyway at over a 90% discount, and then 25% of your purchase goes to charity! In fact, the various large bundles and nanobundles have cumulatively raised nearly $2 million so far; this bundle along is about to hit $150,000 as I write this blog post.

The current nanobundle is only on sale until Wednesday, but it packs a punch: seven awesome shareware apps for only $19.95 (with three more for free on top of that if you tweet about it). Normally, I’m only excited about a few apps in a bundle, but this time around I’m actually excited about a majority of the apps here, most notably RipIt, Clips, CoverScout, and Flow. (Okay, Flow is for me because I’m a geek who develops websites.) And the other apps there are none too shabby either.

MacHeist isn’t the only site that does these bundles, but in my opinion they’ve had some of the best. And the great things to note about these bundles are a) all of the apps in the bundle are 100% full, valid, paid-for licenses of the apps you get, updates included; b) even though the sites claim that some of the apps won’t be unlocked until a certain number of bundles are purchased, every app always manages to become unlocked, and often additional apps are added to these bundles mid-stream; and c) yes, the developers do actually get paid for the software purchased through the bundle, though the details of how that works generally isn’t made public. MacHeist is also the only bundle site that does contribute 25% of all purchases to charity, going to the purchaser’s choice of Action Against Hunger, AIDS Research Alliance, Save The Children, Direct Relief International, Humane Society International, Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Alliance for Climate Protection, Save Darfur, Prevent Cancer Foundation, or the World Wildlife Fund. Or the purchaser can choose to split the donation between all ten.

I just like these bundles because they’re a great way of introducing me to some really cool Mac shareware apps that I would never have known about otherwise (nor would I have bothered to purchase), whether or not I decide to buy them. But this week’s nanoBundle looks pretty good, and you might want to check it out.

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About Douglas Bell

I live in Washington, D.C., and work as a Broadcast Technician at WAMU 88.5 FM, the local NPR affiliate in the Washington metro area. My primary shift is to engineer the local feed of NPR’s Morning Edition, including local news and weather, long-form features and station breaks… and yes, the shift starts at 5 am, so I’ve got the whole quasi-nocturnal thing going on. I am also the Coordinating Producer for Ken Rudin’s Political Junkie, an independently-produced podcast and public radio program. Extracurricularly, I play cello, and participate in a church choir and a handbell choir. I enjoy discovering new places, and am constantly searching for the perfect cheeseburger. I am also known as a frequent teller of puns.