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DaisyDisk Helps Keep Your Hard Drive Fresh
December 17, 2013
Since the dawn of personal computing, managing storage has been a persistent challenge. Certainly the pressure has eased up on the desktop with the proliferation of 1 TB hard drives, but for laptops and lightweight notebooks, the struggle continues. One of the problems with grappling with all the data on a hard drive is transparency. Eyeballing thousands of file names in the Finder is both tiresome and inefficient.
'Anchorman' Scotchy Toss App Might Be Better After a Shot or 2
December 16, 2013
One of the best side effects of Apple's app ecosystem is spinoffs -- in addition to great games and apps for most everything imaginable, successful franchises can create apps to keep stoking the adoration of fans. If you haven't noticed the invasion of Duck Dynasty-branded merchandise in department stores everywhere, you might have stumbled upon the surprisingly delightful Battle of the Beards app.
Turn Your World Into Vibrant Comic Life
December 10, 2013
Comic Life's latest incarnation has some really useful new additions: a script editor, new filters, a background knockout feature and some new fill options. With great new features, though, come greater complexity and greater demands on screen real estate, which can make the software more difficult to use for newbies and challenging to manage on Macs with smaller screens.
Tweetbot 3 Makes Your Twitter Timeline a Thing of Beauty
December 09, 2013
Let's get this clear up front: I am not a Twitter expert. I've used multiple accounts for different purposes; I enjoy following a few personalities; I like searching through Twitter. Until now, I've rarely bothered to tweet or mess with Twitter on my iPhone or iPad, preferring to use the standard browser-based method on my Mac. I know I'm missing out, though.
Mailplane Gives Gmail a Nice Lift
December 03, 2013
Gmail may not be the prettiest email program in the world. Yahoo Mail is easier on the eye. Microsoft's Outlook online has a clean and modern appeal. Nevertheless, many of us use Gmail -- warts and all -- so any app that adds utility to the Google offering can be worthwhile. Mailplane has been around for six years, but its developers have given it a makeover in this latest edition.
Zamurai Whiteboard App Makes Brainstorming a Breeze
December 02, 2013
If you've spent a good portion of your life sitting around a table with colleagues who need to plan and strategize, then you've likely used old-school markers to jot notes on sheets of white paper -- or on dry-erase whiteboards. There is a better way. Enter Zamurai Mobile Whiteboard for iOS, a well-designed app that lets you drag and drop handy and commonly used icons onto your whiteboard.
MacBooster Can Help Keep Your Mac Humming
November 26, 2013
Surf over to the Mac App Store, and you'll find plenty of utilities for keeping your Apple personal computer in tip-top shape. There are tools for freeing up RAM and cleaning files from disks and thoroughly uninstalling apps. Have you ever wished, however, that you had a an app to perform all those tasks under the same hood? IObit is doing that with MacBooster.
Clumsy Ninja May Tug Your Heartstrings
November 25, 2013
NaturalMotion first wowed Apple fans at last year's September Apple event with a tantalizing demo of a new game, Clumsy Ninja, which was teased to hit iOS sometime during the 2012 holiday season. Santa came and went, and no little kids played Clumsy Ninja. And then boom, Apple reveals Clumsy Ninja as an Editor's Choice app in the iTunes App Store with, get this, a video trailer.
Baseball Simulation App Hits One Out of the Park
November 19, 2013
With the Major League Baseball season over, some fans of the American national pastime have started to suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Others are hashing over the past season and mulling the next in Hot Stove Leagues. Out Of The Park baseball should bring a smile to both these groups of diamond followers. The baseball simulation game lets a baseball fan experience the game from outside the lines.
Oceanhorn Taps Zelda's Goodness in All-New iOS Adventure
November 18, 2013
Oceanhorn is a delightfully odd adventure game for iOS, at once fresh and yet heavily inspired by The Legend of Zelda, a classic title from the days when Nintendo ruled video gaming. Beyond evoking fond memories of exploring a wide open land while trying to save a princess, Oceanhorn is interesting because it's on iOS. Success? Definitely. It's a fun diversion.
Thunderbird Lets You Fly Through Your Email
November 12, 2013
Mail clients have lost their luster in recent times. Between social media fulfilling the messaging needs of many people and webmail's growing popularity, desktop email apps are beginning to look passť. Still, email clients have their adherents. I count myself among them. I like the idea of having all my email on my computer, not in someone's cloud where someone I don't know might peruse it.
Duck Dynasty: Battle of the Beards: Redneckify Yourself
November 11, 2013
Duck Dynasty is an American reality television series on A&E featuring a band of redneck family men who sport ratty beards. They became wealthy by making the popular duck call, Duck Commander, and the reality show itself? It's a wild phenomenon -- the fourth season premiere snagged a whopping 11.8 million viewers. When I saw that the show had a No. 1 paid app game, I had to take a closer look.
igHome Offers Cozy Abode for iGoogle Orphans
November 05, 2013
Google birthed its personal portal software, iGoogle, during simpler Internet times. Online applications were few. Clamshell handsets were all the rage. Combining "social" and "media" was an oxymoron. The portal wars began. Online titans like Yahoo, Microsoft and Google vied for eyeballs and the mantle of most visited Internet destination. Personal portals emerged from that competition.
Stop Motion Studio Brings Out the LEGO Moviemaking Geek in All of Us
November 04, 2013
Stop Motion Studio is an app that lets you take photos and string them together to create a stop-motion video. It's super easy, and the results are naturally sort of dorky in an undeniably fun way. The app is free, but before I pulled the trigger on the in-app extras, I saw Stop Motion Studio Pro for $4.99. I promptly deleted the free version and bought the paid Pro version.
Mavericks Can Be Fountain of Youth for Old Macs
October 29, 2013
As someone with a reluctance to upgrade his hardware as often as Apple would appreciate, two aspects of OS X 10.9 Mavericks immediately caught my attention: its memory management and its battery-life enhancements. Mavericks makes a number of changes in power management that improve battery life substantially -- even on my old 2009 13-inch MacBook Air.
Making Short Spark Videos Is No Fuss, No Muss
October 28, 2013
Yet another video camera app? What gives? Can it really be that cool? To find out what Spark Camera brings to the world, I bought it -- and I was pleasantly surprised. First, the interface is super simple, clean and effective. To start recording, you just put any finger or thumb on the screen and hello, you're recording. Take your finger off the screen, and you stop recording.
Default Folder X Gives a Power Boost to Everyday Ops
October 22, 2013
How many times a day do we open and save files on our Macs? The operations are so common, we don't think twice about doing them. Fortunately, the folks at St. Clair Software have cooked up an app to improve them. Default Folder X is available from the company's website for $34.95, although you can try it free for 30 days. What DFX does is add features to Save and Open dialog boxes.
Launch Center Pro Delivers a Jolt of Speed in iOS 7
October 21, 2013
Like most gadget geeks, I get obsessed with the speed of things, the fast and snappy feel of a Mac, an OS, an app. After an upgrade to a new iPhone or Mac, my brain inevitably catches up to the speed boost and it feels as if I'm once again waiting for things to happen, waiting for apps to launch, for transitional graphic swooshes to do their thing.
Cloud Mate Makes iCloud a Breeze
October 15, 2013
For a company that prides itself on creating intuitive applications, Apple stumbled when it created iCloud. As a Dropbox user, I found little in iCloud that I needed. In fact, finding iCloud on a Mac can be adventurous, although it has a nasty habit of showing up as a default save location when I want to save a file from an app to my hard drive. Cloud Mate aims to take some of the mystery out of iCloud. It gathers up everything in your iCloud and displays it in a single Finder-like window.
Dragon's Lair App Lets You Relive Dirk's Glory
October 14, 2013
One of the amazing things about our new connected world of software development and easy access to consumers is how old-school games can find new life with entirely new audiences through iOS and OS X. Case in point? The Dragon's Lair 30th Anniversary app for iOS. Dragon's Lair is a really old arcade game. Seriously old, as in it was a laserdisc video game. I barely remember laserdiscs.
KeyCue, Secret Spy Folder Fight the Good Fight
October 08, 2013
Keyboard shortcuts can be a way to accelerate productivity, but their number can be overwhelming. The average OS X app alone has from 40 to 80 menu shortcuts. That's a lot of memorization for one program, let alone the multitude of programs an average user runs on a Mac. Wouldn't it be nice if, with a single key press, all the shortcuts for a program would pop up on your screen?
Shadow Puppet Makes You the Narrator of Your Life
October 07, 2013
Despite the nonperfect and confusing name, Shadow Puppet is the best new app I've seen in weeks. Basically, Shadow Puppet lets you select photos from your iPhone or iPad and then record audio as you talk over them in a slideshow that Shadow Puppet turns into a shareable video. Along the way, you can tap to highlight certain areas of a photo and, better still, you can zoom in and move the photo around.

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