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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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With the ever-increasing popularity of iPad apps such as Flipboard, and the impending decline of RSS, developers are becoming more and more aware that users want a new way to discover news online – Subscribing to feeds and trawling through thousands of stories is too time-consuming and isn’t a viable option in this modern world where time is everything. Users want to discover the news they want, and read it in an easy way.

This is where Mixtab comes in. Starting off as an iPad app, Mixtab has made the transition to Mac. Mixtab allows you to create tabs to browse news, based on what sort of news you’re looking for. There’s plenty of competition in this field, and I’m sure we’ll see even more in future years. So how does Mixtab compare? Read on to find out.

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iTunes. You can’t live with it, and yet you can’t live without it. Sure, it does its job, but there are a whole lot of features which are unnecessary, and necessary features which haven’t been implemented. It has Ping, a social network used by about 7 people, but no support for AVI videos, a video format loved by millions. Unfortunately for us, there aren’t many decent alternatives.

Miro 4 was released recently, and although Miro was always an iTunes competitor, version 4 has really brought it into its own. The 100% free and open source media library does all of the things you want iTunes to do, and more. But is it worth abandoning iTunes for? Read on to find out.

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Here at AppStorm, we’re huge fans of Dropbox. It’s fast, incredibly useful, and extremely easy to use. How can you go wrong with it?

That said, there are always ways to improve an app – and DropIn aims to do just that. Add some extra functionality to Dropbox in order to make your life even easier. You can get notified of changes made to your files, and quickly upload files by dropping them in the menu bar icon.

Is DropIn an incredible boost to an already awesome app, or just another unnecessary extension? Read on to find out.

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Graphic designers need to consider a number of crucial design elements when creating work – layout, colour, dimensions, typography – you name it, a designer will have to incorporate it into their designs. Although Photoshop can handle most of a designer’s needs, there are many parts of a design which you’ll need other software for.

Art Director’s Toolkit from Code Line tries to fulfill all of a designer’s needs. It has tools for layout, colour, dimensions, typography – a total of 11 tools.

In this review, we’ll discover if it’s a designer’s perfect companion, of whether they’ve made several good tools rather than one great one.

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Perhaps it’s just me and my complete lack of musical ability, but any time I open up a bit of DJing software, I get completely lost – There are far more knobs, levers, sliders, options and timelines than any man could ever want. I do, however, quite enjoy doing a bit of casual mixing, but don’t want to go through a massive learning curve to get there.

Enter Djay, a very impressive DJing app from Algoriddim, which does everything most users will want it to, in a beautiful interface which is very easy to get to grips with. Sounds like your sort of thing? Read on to see just how good it is.

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Many people have bandwidth limits with their ISPs, and with the amount of tempting content on the web these days, it can be hard to stick within these limits. Software such as SurplusMeter is great for tracking your bandwidth usage, but there’s no way of seeing what is using up your bandwidth.

Enter Rubbernet, a new app from Conceited Software which tracks what apps are accessing your network connection, and how much bandwidth they are using. If some third-party software is accessing your network without your permission, you can find out and try to stop it.

Not only is this useful for monitoring bandwidth usage, but it can be used to detect any software which might be secretly sending out personal data of yours. A great concept for an app, but does it work in practice? Let’s take a look.

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The role of the interface designer is not one that should be taken lightly – Without a great interface, chances are that you wouldn’t be using the apps you currently are. If the Safari address bar was hot pink and created in MS Paint, would you still use it? Probably not.

Luckily, it isn’t, and you can use your Mac in pleasure, thanks to countless UI designers working tirelessly to perfect their application designs.

There are numerous wonderful mail clients for Mac OS X, and everybody has their own preference, for whatever reason. However, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anybody who doesn’t marvel at the Sparrow interface – It really is something else.

Today, we’ll be chatting to Sparrow’s designer, Jean-Marc Denis, about his work, inspirations, and the interface design scene.

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These days, there are a vast number of apps that aim to help you handle your tasks and get things done. Most of them, however, have far too many features that nobody would ever use, and cost too much for the ordinary consumer. People don’t need a huge interface full of icons, they just want a quick way to jot down their tasks for the day.

Todoozle could well be the solution. With a simple and intuitive interface, it couldn’t be easier to use. But does too much simplicity compromise its functionality, or is less really more? Read on to find out.

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These days, you’d be hard-pressed to find any business, freelancer or consumer who doesn’t have a PayPal account, and for good reason – it’s quick, easy, and universally used. Considering its success, however, the PayPal website is still awkward to use –

If you leave it for more than a second, it would seem, it logs itself out, and you have to waste time logging back in again. Once you’re in, it’s not all that intuitive, and you have to navigate countless dropdown menus to do anything. In short, the PayPal site is a pain.

GaragePay can take away all of that pain. It’s a PayPal client for Mac, meaning you never have to use that pesky site ever again, and instead can handle all of your transactions from the comfort of a native app.

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So often, we marvel at the quality of interface design on OS X – the clean, simple layouts, and how you know exactly how to use an app when you first use it. But do you ever stop and think about why this is?

It doesn’t just happen by accident. There are UI designers working tirelessly to make an app look and feel absolutely perfect.

Chris Downer is the UI designer for Realmac Software, the company behind such OS X greats as LittleSnapper, Courier and Rapidweaver. Today, we’ll be talking to Chris about his methods, inspiration and much more.

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