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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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After opening Skype to have a conversation with a colleague this morning, I discovered that my trusty Logitech headset had completely stopped working. It’s served me well for four or five years, and is always useful to have on hand.

There’s something about using my in-built MacBook microphone that feels sub-par in terms of quality – especially when not using headphones, as you tend to hear quite a bit of feedback.

I also picked up a Samson Studio Condenser mic last year for recording screencasts and podcasting, and am incredibly happy with it. The quality is second to none, and it looks pretty stylish.

I thought it would be interesting in today’s poll to find out what type of microphone you use when on your Mac – whether it’s for chatting with a friend, screencasting, audio production, or gaming. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

Although we usually feature a Mac application as our weekly sponsor, today I’m excited to tell you about a different company – SoftFacade. They specialize in designing user interfaces for mobile apps, websites and the media – and their work is absolutely fantastic.

You can see a few examples over at their website, and SoftFacade’s previous client list includes FormSpring, Radium, Project Noah, Speedtest.net, Swipely, and various iOS apps.

You can contact the SoftFacade team from their site, follow them on Twitter, or check out their latest creations on Dribbble. Even if you’re not looking for any design work in the near future, I’d recommend checking out their site to see a few examples of icon and interface design at its best!

With Microsoft splashing out a few dollars on Skype this week, the communication platform has once again hit the headlines. The numbers are impressive – 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010 is nothing to be laughed at, and it’s clear that this medium is growing in a big way.

Although Apple has had a foot in the door with iChat for several years, FaceTime has been their major foray into video communication – initially on the iPhone, and now also on the Mac. It’s been almost a year since the technology was announced at WWDC 2010, but I believe that FaceTime still has a long way to come – as does the whole concept of video communication – before it becomes a pervasive technology.

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Today’s interview is with Kirill Zorin, the developer behind Catpig Studios. The company is well-known for their excellent app – Radium – a menu bar radio player that supports a variety of different services.

We’ll be talking about the origin of the company, a typical work day, the benefits of developing a single app, how the Mac App Store is affecting developers, and hearing how the company came to be called “Catpig”!

I hope you enjoy the interview.

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Since transitioning to an SSD earlier last year, I’ve become accustomed to dealing with a smaller amount of hard drive space in my MacBook Pro. Moving from 256GB down to 128GB felt like a risky thing to do at the time – the last thing I wanted was the constant headache of a hard drive that’s full to the brim.

The reality is that I absolutely haven’t noticed the decrease in size. I trimmed down my Applications directory, moved all my iMovie content off to an external drive, and started a new photo library in Lightroom (my old Aperture library was becoming an out of control nightmare to manage).

These few changes freed up over 100GB of space and, by being mindful of what I download, save, and store on my internal drive, this space is still more or less completely free.

Downsizing to a smaller drive hasn’t once caused me a problem – I’ve found that when it comes to internal drives, bigger isn’t necessarily better. But would you be happy to sacrifice all those extra gigabytes? Let us know in today’s poll, and share your thoughts in the comments.

I know that many of our readers are big fans of TextExpander, and rightly so. It’s a wonderful application that can save – quite literally – days of your time over the course of a few years. Although we usually focus exclusively on Mac software here, today I’d like to take a few moments to introduce you to TextExpander’s mobile counterpart.

TextExpander touch aims to replicate the text-expanding magic on your iPhone or iPod touch, and it does so surprisingly well! You can store snippets, then quickly retrieve them to send to Mail and Twitter clients, or use them in any other app via copy-and-paste.

In addition, you can use your TextExpander touch snippets directly in over 80 apps that support it, including Twittelator, TwitBird Pro, Osfoora, Elements, Simplenote, WriteRoom, Nebulous Notes, Pocket Informant, Things, and Todo (you can see a complete list here).

For more information, take a look at our review, or grab your own copy from the App Store for $4.99. It’ll be one of the best five bucks you spend this year.

We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in April. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, iPad, Web, or Android apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!

Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!

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If you love apps, gadgets, and great deals on software as much as we do at AppStorm, you’re going to love the new AppFanatix newsletter. It’s a fortnightly email newsletter launching in the next few days, and will regularly bring you:

  • An exclusive discount on a fantastic application
  • Some of the best content published on the AppStorm network
  • Stylish desktop wallpapers
  • And much more…

The first issue will be going out soon, and we’d hate for you to miss out on everything we have in store. Subscribe now and make sure you’re on the list to receive our first awesome app discount!

I have something of a clutter-free desktop compulsion, and can never bear to have more than a couple of icons on my desktop at any time. There’s something about having icons, folders and files stored away – rather than on display – that offers a simpler and more enjoyable working environment.

But not everyone thinks this way. Every time I log on to my parents’ Mac, I’m greeted to countless swathes of icons cluttering the desktop – from old application volumes, to family photos.

Although this occasionally gives me a nervous OCD twitch, it’s a helpful reminder that what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.

I’d be interested to hear what you think about desktop clutter. Is it something that you’ll go to great lengths to avoid, or are you perfectly happy with using the desktop as a place to store current files and projects?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Despite there being a wide range of FTP applications for the Mac, only one or two really stand head and shoulders above the crowd. One of these is undoubtedly Forklift, which I’m proud to thank as this week’s site sponsor.

Now in a seasoned version 2 release, Forklift offers everything you could need from an FTP client. It’s capable of connecting to more or less any type of server imaginable, can split/combine large files, synchronise browsing, and remotely edit files – all with full keyboard control.

Two particularly handy features are Droplets, Synclets and Disklets – three unique ways to easily and quickly sync folders, upload files, or create virtual local drives of your remote connections. These alone may well be worth the purchase price of $29.95!

If you’re new to the Mac, haven’t yet settled on an FTP client, or just want to take advantage of the awesome features Forklift offers, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. You can download a free trial, or just go ahead and pick up a copy from the Mac App Store.

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