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Alex Arena

Alex Arena is a writer, designer, and, aspiring photographer from Wayne, Pennsylvania. He has a not-so secret love of vintage Apple products, which he collects semi-obsessively.

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With the recent announcement of OS X Mountain Lion, Apple decided to bring AirPlay Mirroring functionality to the Mac. While that’s exciting to look forward to down the road, an alternative app, AirParrot, has come out of the woodwork promising to be even better than Apple’s own solution.

Does AirParrot stand a chance against Mountain Lion or should you just wait until that latter’s summer release? Read on!

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If I had a nickel for every window management app I’ve used on the Mac, I’d be a rich man. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that a small and relatively unknown app named Spectacle faces an uphill battle in the fight for their share of the window management market.

Will its simple interface, rich functionality, and open source code be enough to give Spectacle a place in this already crowded market? We’ll go in-depth after the break.

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In the Apple universe, certain developers are rockstars – from the OmniGroup to Panic, their apps are high-quality, beautiful, and full of personality. So when developer Marc Edwards and his team at Bjango released their latest app, Skala Preview, the Mac community had high expectations.

Is this tool for designers a follow-up hit from the team who created iStat, or is Bjango just another one-hit-wonder? Read on and find out!

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Let’s face it – buying a Mac isn’t cheap, but you can help justify some of that cost if you use only a few of these outstanding free Mac apps. I’ve included my favorite apps, from simple text editors to advanced publishing tools, which are available at no cost to you.

In addition I attempted to stay away from the apps that everyone uses, instead focusing on the apps which are either up-and-coming or gems in the rough. Read on and see if you can’t get some extra value out of your Mac!

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Last Thursday, Apple caught us all a bit off guard with the announcement of OS X Mountain Lion, the next major version of OS X. Now that I’ve had a few days to sit down and take a look at it, I can confidently say that this is no small upgrade. Mountain Lion is a huge leap forward in the unification of iOS and OS X (Apple has officially dropped “Mac” from the name), bringing over many much-loved features including iMessages, Notification Center, AirPlay Mirror, and a whole host of new applications.

Follow along as we dive in and take a look at all of the great new features, updates and tweaks of your next operating system.

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Acrylic Software is known for their beautiful and useful apps for the Mac and iOS. We got a chance to speak with Dustin MacDonald, the company’s Founder, Designer & Engineer. In our interview, we touched on a number of topics ranging from the history of Acrylic Software to their view on the Mac App Store and the interoperability between Mac OS X and iOS.

Enjoy the interview!

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Audio recording and editing on the Mac can seem like an pretty daunting task. Many of the available tools are extremely powerful, but as a result, too complex for the average user. Piezo, the little brother of Audio Hijack Pro, a favorite among podcasters and broadcasters, hopes to change that by focusing solely on recording audio from any application on your Mac, forgoing any addition features. With its extremely simple interface, invaluable utility, and affordable price tag, can it be the David to the audio recording Goliaths? Read on.

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While it’s no secret that iBooks hasn’t been a runaway success as Apple had hoped, the company is trying their hand at revolutionizing the book industry once more -but this time they’ve shifted their efforts towards the education market. Along with the new iBooks 2, Apple introduced iBooks Author, their simplistic, yet feature-rich solution for creating textbooks, cookbooks, and just about any other kind of book, for the iPad.

In making the app both user-friendly and free, Apple is clearly striving to make publishing available “for the rest of us”. Although the app is free, many will argue that the price of staying within the Apple ecosystem is too high for the budding author. So do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Read on.

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Whether it’s at Starbucks, the mall or Motel 6, free WiFi hotspots are popping up everywhere. While you’re using those hotspots, you might unknowingly be giving away some seriously personal information to an opportunistic hacker or two, including your social network, email, and even your online banking account login credentials.

With personal information like that at risk, you might be tempted to stop using those free hotspots altogether, but an app called Cloak by Bourgeois Bits hopes to alleviate those risks by providing Mac users with a corporate grade VPN service built into a consumer level app. Read on to see if Cloak really is the perfect companion to public WiFi.

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While Apple hasn’t had the best history with cloud computing services, their new iCloud platform promises to bring something completely new to the space. Instead of offering their traditional mix of Google Apps and Dropbox, Apple has reinvented the way they see the Cloud.

That being said, the platform hasn’t seen the rapid adoption of some of Apple’s other products, but we’ve still been able to round up a variety of great “hidden” features, newly-compatible apps, and other little tweaks to help you get the most out of your iCloud experience.

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