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Conor O'Driscoll

Conor is a designer, blogger, and self-confessed Mac fanboy, based in Ireland. Check out his Dribbble profile, and follow him on Twitter.

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This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on July 20th, 2011.

Over at iPad.AppStorm, Joel Bankhead wrote a fantastic article about what makes a great iPad app icon. It caught my attention, and really got me thinking about the differences between iOS and OS X app icons – Are the principles the same, or very different?

In this article, I’ll be having a look at what you should and should not do in order to make a wonderful OS X icon.

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This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on April 14th, 2011.

Mac OS X has a very high standard of interface design, more so than most other operating systems. This is thanks to designers to work extremely hard to make your software work the way you want it to. They may spend hours perfecting a single icon that you will use once and ignore – but it’s worth it.

Dmitry Novikov is a Russian designer who works for MacPaw, the software company that has brought you beautiful apps such as MacHider, Ensoul, and a personal favourite of mine that I couldn’t live without, CleanMyMac. Today, we’ll be talking to him about his processes, design decisions, and much more.

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This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on March 1st, 2011.

So you’ve just bought a new Mac, perhaps even switching from Windows. As you’d expect, your friends come over to marvel at your new computing behemoth. So what do you show them? The way Safari expertly renders CSS drop-shadows, or how easy it is to make a sumptuous scatter graph in Numbers?

Of course not. You want to show them the fun, pointless stuff which will make them recoil in awe.

This post compiles 10 of the best apps, easter eggs and tweaks which serve little purpose but to inspire and amaze you and others. You won’t use these apps every day, but there’s no harm in knowing about them as a fun party trick…

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At AppStorm, I’ve reviewed all kinds of media players and managers for Mac, from the great (Plex), to the not-so-great (Songbird). I’ve always been looking for something that has wonderful management features, but is also a pleasure to actually consume media with. While I use and love Plex, it still hasn’t satisfied all of my media needs – There’s definitely a gap for something incredible.

Elmedia Player is a media player for Mac, which boasts a huge range of codecs, including support for SWF Flash files, and it also has support for downloading movies. Let’s take a look at how it compares, and if it’s the media player of my dreams.

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This year, with the launch of Lion, Apple has been all about “Back to the Mac” – Taking great features from iOS, and porting them over to OS X. For the most part, this has been fairly successful. For this reason, it makes sense that many iOS developers would do the same.

In this roundup, we’ll have a look at the biggest success stories in this field. The developers featured here didn’t just rebuild the interface for OS X, they enhanced the app to rival (and often surpass) their iOS counterparts.

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Native Mac clients for social networks are a massive market – Twitter is the obvious example here, with a vast number of awesome apps. Even Instagram has a few nice solutions. But what about the biggest social network out there, Facebook? It has over 750 million users, and there’s no market leader for native clients.

Today, I’ll be having a look at what options we have if we want a Facebook app, if any of them are any good, and why this market desperately needs a game-changer. (more…)

You can ask just about anybody what browser they’re using, and they will very likely respond with Safari, Firefox or Chrome. I have never met anyone who actually uses Opera for everyday browsing. This is not surprising seeing as how its usage share is 2.4%. And yet, nearly everybody has heard of it. So why do so few people use it?

Today, I’ll be taking a look at Opera, what it has to offer, and whether or not you should consider adopting it as your new favourite browser.

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At AppStorm, we pride ourselves on finding and presenting the very best apps. But have you ever stopped to think where we find all our wonderful apps? They don’t just appear on our doorsteps, we have to go out and search for the very best and most recent apps.

In this roundup, I’ll cover some of the best ways to seek out awesome apps. If you’re looking to discover new Mac software, you can’t go wrong with these wonderful sources.

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Despite Apple’s near-domination of the digital media world with iTunes, Macs have never really had a stand-out solution for watching video – iTunes supports approximately 0 codecs, Front Row is pretty cumbersome, and standalone video players like QuickTime or VLC require far too much rooting around in my movies folders to find the movie I want. I’m looking for an easy-to-use, beautiful piece of software which will make watching movies on my Mac a pleasure.

This is where Plex comes in. As a firm favourite among movie-loving Mac users, Plex allows you to watch movies on your Mac from the comfort of your own sofa – It has support for the Apple Remote and accompanying iOS apps to improve the experience. To top it off, Plex even looks great. Could Plex be the media center app of my dreams? Let’s take a look!

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Music, I think it is fair to say, is a large part of most people’s life. Many of us listen to music whilst we’re on the computer, and, being on Mac, this will probably be through iTunes. But if you want to change the song, pause it, or anything else, you don’t want to disrupt your workflow and open up the bulky musical hub that is iTunes. You could set up a few keyboard shortcuts, but what if you want more functionality?

That’s where Music Commander comes in. Music Commander is a menu bar app, available exclusively in the Mac App Store, which allows you to control certain elements of iTunes from your menu bar, so you can get back to work instantly.

Read on to see how it fares when put to the test.

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