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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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This week, we have a series of articles that offer step-by-step guides for setting up your own Mac media centre. The ability to access all your video and media from the comfort of a sofa is something of “holy grail”, and a system fairly difficult to implement well. Our guide will be split into three parts:

Whilst AppStorm is (as the name suggests) primarily an application-focused blog, today we’ll be venturing a little deeper into the hardware involved in a Mac media centre. We shall compare the relative benefits of an Apple TV, Mac Mini or MacBook, and offer some advice on how to connect everything together.

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I have always held a fascination with speech recognition technology. Ever since experimenting with it in early versions of Microsoft Office, I’m regularly enthusiastic about trying a new dictation application. Unfortunately, they rarely meet my expectations. Commonly, I will experiment with one for a few days before it quickly becomes redundant. Speech recognition is a complex technology, and one very difficult to perfect.

MacSpeech Dictate is undoubtedly the leading speech recognition application for the Mac, designed for the platform from the ground up. At $200 it certainly doesn’t come cheap, but offers an incredibly powerful feature set and arrives bundled with a high-quality, noise canceling microphone headset.

This review will assess the quality of speech recognition in MacSpeech Dictate, take a look at the features on offer, and outline how it is capable of controlling your Mac.

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After reviewing the fantastic Snippet App last week, I’m please to announce another AppStorm giveaway. We have ten copies of Snippet on offer, so the odds of winning are pretty darn good.

In case you missed our review, we found Snippet to be an incredibly handy tool for anyone who needs to use the same piece of code or text on a regular basis. It sports a sleek interface, and can be controlled completely via the keyboard.

Entering is simple. All you need to do is:

  1. Post a link to this competition – either on your website, or via Twitter
  2. Leave a comment, letting me know where you posted the link!

The competition will run for one week, and we’ll randomly select the ten winners on Thursday 20th August. Good luck, and be sure to follow us on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed to find out if you’re a winner!

Facebook is a great service for keeping in touch with friends and sharing photos, though I do sometimes wish that an easy method existed for backing up all that data locally. Keeping photos, messages and comments in “the cloud” is a great system, but no system is infallable.

I was enthusiastic to try SocialSafe – a simple $2.99 backup utility for downloading all your Facebook content – friends, photos (both that you have uploaded and those you’re tagged in), and your profile. This review will take a look at how the process works, and the benefits of having access to all your Facebook information offline.

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The idea behind Bodega is that Mac users have never had a central place to find new, good quality software. It aims to replicate on the desktop what the App Store has done for the iPhone.

Bodega is completely free for both users and developers. It aims to be a one-stop shop for your software needs, all done through a simple and straight-forward interface. You can download a copy to get started.

Apologies for the occasional “pop” in this screencast – we’ll have it fixed for the next one!

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We’re kicking off a new competition today. It’s slightly different this time, and we’re partnering with one of our sister sites Psdtuts+ for this one. We’re looking for your best lightening themed wallpaper design, incorporating a Mac or AppStorm theme.

Up for grabs are numerous cash prizes, a vareity of Mac applications, and a 1-year membership to Psd Plus. It’s going to be an awesome contest, and you stand to win a copy of Things, Pixelmator, and ExpanDrive.

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing some of your desktop wallpaper designs!

Read more and enter the competition!

Various applications exist for helping programmers maintain a list of commonly used code samples – some are stand alone, others integrated into popular software such as Coda. Today I will be exploring Snippet – a great looking Mac application that allows you to store notes and snippets of code and search through them quickly.

Snippet covers all the basics, coupled with a range of advanced functionality: searching, syncing, and a remarkably pleasant user interface. This review will walk you through how to add and search snippets, explain the drawbacks, and offer a few more details about our forthcoming competition to win a copy.

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With all the hype centered yearly around MacHeist, it’s common for other bundles to be easily overlooked. One great deal announced yesterday is The Mac Sale, offering ten highly acclaimed applications for $49.99.

The software included in the bundle is:

  • Flux – An all-in-one web design app which handles CSS, WYSIWYG, coding, debugging, publishing, and even basic image editing (see our review)
  • Scribbles – Whether you want to sketch a cartoon, draw a birthday card or jot down some design ideas, Scribbles can help bring your imagination to life.
  • Interarchy – An advanced file-transfer system for OS X, including a brand new protocol built upon SSH.
  • Iris – A powerful, intuitive, and easy-to-use solution for all your photo editing needs.
  • WriteRoom – An application which takes a completely different approach to writing, stripping away all the distractions you commonly find yourself faced with when using a Mac (see our review)
  • REALBasic – A software development tool for creating high-quality applications.
  • Houdah Spot – The bestselling file search tool for the Mac, unleashing the full power of Spotlight.
  • Stuf – The professional clipboard manager built for the modern Mac.
  • TaskPaper – A task manager that recognizes and automatically formats projects, tasks, notes, and tags.
  • MarinerCalc – A powerful spreadsheet that can “turn data into information” with powerful tools to analyze, communicate, and share.
The Applications on Offer

The Applications on Offer

The sale has started already and will continue to run until the 18th August. An asking price of $49.99 is a real bargain for the applications on offer, and I’d certainly recommend taking a closer look to decide whether the bundle is worth snapping up.

Disclaimer: Although The Mac Sale are one of our advertisers, this is not a sponsored post. We just think it’s a great deal!

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