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Adam Williams

Adam is a tech and music writer based in North Wales. When not working, you’ll usually find Adam tinkering with old Macintosh computers, reading history books, or exploring the countryside with his dog Finley. You can follow him on twitter here

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We’re big fans of apps which reside in the Menu Bar here at Mac.AppStorm. Personally, at least two of my most essential Mac apps live up there in the top right hand corner of the screen. However, with the proliferation of useful, lightweight Menu Bar apps, things can begin to get a little crowded in no time at all.

Well, for this admittedly niche problem, there’s an elegant solution in the form of Surtees Studios’ Bartender. Its a utility which promises to give users about as much control over the Menu Bar as one could reasonably hope to have.

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Though I’m not quite ready to jettison my bookcase full of real paper books, ebooks have definitely won me over and convinced me of their worth due to both their portability and the fact that historical, classic and other copyright-free texts such as Leo Tolstoy’s complete works or Homer’s Iliad can be downloaded for free legally through resources such as the wonderful Project Gutenberg.

While there’s a decent selection of ebook readers for Apple’s portable devices, I’ve found the Mac software somewhat lacking and so welcomed the opportunity to give Kitabu a try.

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With a stable Internet connection, we need not be physically present in order to control a computer, access its files and run applications. By making use of VNC (or Virtual Network Computing) technology, it’s possible to remote control not just other OS X machines with your Mac but other platforms too, such as Windows or Linux. However, VNC has never been the most seamless or intuitive software for non-geeks to get started with and perhaps this is has held it back from being adopted by the average user – which is where iTeleport comes in.

Having already garnered a strong reputation with a superb iOS app, users were clamouring for iTeleport to make a proper Mac app and thankfully the iTeleport team stepped up, bringing many of the user-friendly innovations from iOS to OS X. Let’s take a look at the resulting application.

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If you’re reading this article then in all likelihood you spend a significant amount of time on your Mac, whether for work or play. However, while the increasing digitization of the modern world has led to real tangible benefits such as unparalleled communication, the easy spread of ideas and, of course, Lolcats, there is a more harmful side to heavy computer use and that is the effect it can have on our health.

These health risks often present themselves with issues such as back pain, RSI (or repetitive strain injury) and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. In an ideal world, we’d simply not work so much and go outside and enjoy some exercise but since this is not always possible, there’s Time Out Free.

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Rome Total War was originally released on PC back in 2004, but for many years Mac owners were unable to get in on the action and enjoy this game which combines elements of classic turn-based strategy and live battle. Luckily for us, Feral Interactive eventually stepped in and ported a robust Mac OS X version, which was subsequently added to the Mac App Store to almost uniformly strong reviews, despite the game’s age.

Rome Total War Gold packages both the main game and a second expansion pack, Rome Total War: Barbarian Invasion, the latter ramping up the tension and the terror to an almost unmanageable position as the player is tasked with holding a quickly crumbling Roman Empire together. So, how well can this eight year old title hold up today? Let’s find out.

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Even if you’re new to all things Mac, you’ve most likely already realized that your computer comes packed with a great selection of built-in applications designed to cater to most people’s basic needs. However, it’s when installing third-party apps that the fun can really start and there’s a massive amount of software available for OS X, much of it free or priced competitively.

It would be impossible to cover every single app in one article but we can make a good start here, so with this in mind let’s take a look at ten apps which should be considered an essential download or purchase for every new Mac user.

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Unveiled alongside that Superbowl Commercial all the way back in 1984, the Macintosh was to become Apple’s main focus and through the years saw host to such iconic designs as the MacBook, iMac and, more recently, the MacBook Air. However, while the Mac is undoubtedly close to all our hearts here at Mac.AppStorm, there’s been a perception as of late that Apple are letting things slide with regard to their computers, in large part due to the phenomenal success of iOS. As the argument goes, in a huge profit driven company like Apple it’s the bottom line that counts and last year saw more iOS devices sold in one year than the entire lifetime of the Mac.

Don’t be too quick to write off the future prospects of the Mac just yet though, while portable devices such as the iPad, iPhone and iPod are all very important to Infinite Loop, Mac sales are strong and increasing market share significantly. Indeed, Apple are finding that there’s more demand than ever for their computers and I’d like to make the argument that the Mac’s strongest years are quite possibly ahead of it, with Apple set to increase their efforts and ensure that the Mac becomes yet more popular still.

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Despite operating within the profit-driven world of consumer technology, Apple has often maintained a distinctly rebellious public persona. Launched by two former telephone hackers Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak (in addition to Ronald Wayne), Apple forged their own path by ignoring the status quo and offering such innovations as the first widespread GUI and desktop publishing software which was easy for anyone to use.

As Apple lost a series of running battles with Microsoft over market share and the company faced a number of vicissitudes, Apple embraced their underdog status and turned their near destruction into a rallying cry. Never had a technology company made financial disaster seem so cool and owning an Apple computer could feel like being part of an exclusive club. However, as Steve Jobs and co guided Apple back from the brink to renewed success, there is a perception that perhaps they lost something of their free-thinking spirit along the way, that Apple have become part of the establishment which they once so gleefully ignored.

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Forged in the wake of Mozilla’s decision to drop support for the entire Mac PowerPC platform, TenFourFox is a web browser which brings the Firefox experience to PowerPC Mac users, whether one is running a G3, G4 or G5 PPC. While there have been several attempts at furnishing PowerPC users with a compelling web browser, TenFourFox is perhaps the first to provide a Firefox build which is tuned so well to cater to the PPC platform, that it can offer remarkable JavaScript performance, offering a reported twofold benefit over Firefox 3.6 and surpassing even Safari 5 (which is only available for Leopard users) in some respects.

Clearly, the TenFourFox team are to be lauded for their efforts, but can they really deliver a modern, stable and secure browser to the aging PowerPC? Let’s take a look.

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When you take the plunge and purchase a brand new Mac, you’re receiving far more than simply a beautiful computer wrapped in svelte packaging. The modern Apple computing experience is complemented by various online services, features and products which Apple offer exclusively to their customers, in the hope of compelling Mac users to stay within the cozy confines the Cupertino company’s ecosystem.

All that’s needed to delve right into this ecosystem is an Apple ID, so let’s get started on this third part of Mac 101, which will take a look at creating an Apple ID and using it to maximum effect.

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