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David Appleyard

David Appleyard is a designer and writer based in the UK. He manages Tuts+, along with having founded several design websites including Design Shack and PixelsDaily.

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Are you a designer, developer, photographer, or just a colour lover in general? Have you ever wished there was an easy way to save any colour of your screen, and then copy that colours hex or rgb colour code? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then you’re in luck, because that’s exactly what Swatch does.

Swatch is a lightweight colour picker that sits as a paint-brush icon in your Mac’s menu-bar. So what makes Swatch better than all the other colour pickers? Read on to discover how Swatch can work for you, and also find out about a few similar utilities available for OS X!

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It’s time for another “Ask the Editor” post today. A big thank you to everyone who sent in their questions – it’s great to have the chance to help you out with your Mac-related queries and quibbles.

Some of the topics covered this week include speeding up Safari, how to create and edit PDFs using OS X, replacing your MacBook hard drive, and tracking down pesky startup items.

Read on for plenty of handy Mac knowledge, and I hope you’ll find most of it useful for your own situation as well!

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Today’s interview is with Sherman Dickman, one of the founders of the exceptional Postbox email client. Sherman teamed up with his co-founder, Scott MacGregor, to create Postbox after serving as Director of Product Management at Mozilla Corporation.

I’m a huge Postbox fan, and it was fascinating to learn a little more about what goes on behind the scenes. In our interview with Sherman, we’ll shed some light on the company, discuss the importance of desktop software in an increasingly web-dominated world, and consider the benefits and drawbacks of developing a single application.

I hope you enjoy the interview!

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Developers have taken one of three approaches with the Mac App Store. It’s either being completely passed over by a developer, used as an additional way to sell their app (as well as through their own website), or adopted as the sole, exclusive way to buy their software.

The initial anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that both of the latter approaches are working extremely well, with many developers seeing sales increase by over ten times the usual number.

But what do you think of the Mac App Store becoming an exclusive sales channel for Mac software? Many developers (such as Pixelmator) have chosen to now sell their software only through the App Store. The advantages are obvious – Apple handles payment, processing, distribution, and gives a serious promotional boost.

Personally, I’m fairly happy with this arrangement. Buying software through the Mac App Store is easy, fast, and a huge improvement over the previous disjointed and inconsistent process that varied significantly between developer websites. Many of the problems that plagued the App Store at the outset are gradually fading away, and we’re starting to see a much improved system with fewer high-profile rejections and judgement errors.

But what do you think? Is selling exclusively through the Mac App Store a great way to simplify your life as a developer, or should software creators be thinking twice before putting all their eggs in Apple’s basket? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Mac App Store has brought a few new fantastic releases, but the majority of software stealing the show has been around for some time. And although these brilliant applications aren’t new, they are worth mentioning once again for new Mac users, and those who need a quick reminder.

Today I’ll be showcasing ten of my favourite free Mac App Store apps. These wonderful pieces of software won’t cost you a dime, but will go a long way towards improving and refining your Mac experience. I hope you find them as useful as I do!

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I’d like to take a moment to say a big thank you to this week’s sponsor, Jumsoft. In particular, their latest release of Pages Templates 6.0. These are a great way to spruce up your collection of pre-built Pages designs, and some of the new graphical layouts are really gorgeous.

Jumsoft has created a handy mini-site where you can quickly view all the included templates, which gives you a good feel for what to expect.

Pages Templates 6.0 includes 100 different templates, each containing up to 12 sections designed for the type of document. Use single-page templates such as invoice, letter, and poster for basic documents, or choose one of the several multi-layout templates for brochures, newsletters, and other publications.

Most layouts include placeholders for your photos or pictures – simply drag and drop the selected image – and you’ll be able to benefit from all the other fantastic page layout features built into Pages itself. Although the stock designs included in Pages Templates 6.0 look great, they are also very easy to customise. You can choose your own font, change graphics, and easily combine multiple designs into a single document.

If you’d like to find out more, be sure to visit the official Pages Templates 6.0 site, and take a look at what’s on offer. The full collection of 100 templates is available to buy now for $39. Definitely worth considering if you’re a regular Pages user!

With the initial download issues surrounding the launch of the Mac App Store slowly being cleared up (a reboot seems to fix most problems!), it’s time to dig around and see what new software is available to download.

In this post, we’ll be taking a look at some brand new apps now available, along with a few important updates that have launched to co-incide with the App Store. We’ll also showcase a few fantastic bargains that you should take advantage of while they’re still available!

Read on to find out about the most exciting Mac software updates you’ll have seen for quite some time…

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Everyone expected an announcement at some point today, and it seems that it’s come a few hours ahead of the anticipated time of 9am PST. I’m really excited to let you know that the latest OS X update (10.6.6) is now available for download through Software Update.

The main addition is support for the newly released Mac App Store, that allows you to quickly find, download and update software on your Mac. It’s a revolutionary new way to handle the process of finding and downloading desktop software, and has received a warm reception from many popular Mac developers.

Read on to find out more about how to install and navigate around the all-new Mac App Store!

Having problems downloading software through the store? Just click Store > Sign Out, reboot your Mac, and you should be good to go!

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Hot on the heels of our recent roundup of blockbuster Mac games, I thought it would be interesting to see just how many of you do use your Mac for gaming on a regular basis.

In recent months, I’ve actually found my iPad to be the go-to choice for trying out new games and killing time. Although there are a vast array of games available for the Mac, I often find the high price point to be too much of a barrier. If I can instead pay $5 or $10 for a fun iPad game, I’m more likely to go for it.

Consoles certainly still rule the market when it comes to gaming, but more and more Mac users are finding that their machine is much better suited for gaming than they originally thought.

I’d love to hear what you think, so be sure to fill out our weekly poll and leave your own thoughts in the comments. Are you a regular Mac gamer, or do you prefer to stick to a dedicated console?

I’d like to take a moment to say a big thank you to this week’s sponsor, LittleSnapper. This is a wonderful application for collecting, organising, and sharing inspiring snippets and images you come across on the web.

LittleSnapper really does make this whole process incredibly simple and, if you’re the type of person with screenshots scattered across your desktop, it can be a huge time-saver. I love the design of the interface as well, which feels really intuitive to use.

Editing your screenshots—adding arrows, boxes, and text—couldn’t be easier. And I don’t think I’ve ever come across a more beautifully designed arrow…

When you’re done editing, sharing is versatile and fast, with support for FTP, Flickr, exporting a file, or Realmac’s very own Ember web service.

If you’re a visual person, and like the idea of a central repository for all the inspiring design work you stumble across online, you absolutely have to give LittleSnapper a try. It costs $39, but a completely free trial is available.

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