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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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Apple have just released a new version of Safari. It brings a whole host of improvements including noticeable speed enhancements, new ways to browse and search sites, and a range of interface changes. A few new features to look out for are:

  • Very noticeable speed improvements
  • Top Sites – a way to browse your most commonly frequented sites
  • Cover Flow implementation throughout the browser
  • Tabs are now placed at the top of the window (akin to Google Chrome)

A full list of changes has been posted on the what’s new page. I’m really pleased with the speed improvements, and feel that it’s a worthy Version 4 release. Head over to the download page and let me know what you think!

I’ve always been a fan of running multiple monitors with my Mac, and firmly believe that extra screen estate can have a huge impact on increased productivity and reduced clutter. Extending your desktop is fairly straight forward with OS X, and providing you own a compatible display it’s easy to connect to a laptop or desktop machine.

However, there are a number of scenarios where adding a new monitor isn’t possible; extending to another machine screen (e.g. an old iMac or laptop), extending to a Windows computer, or running more than one additional monitor from a laptop. ScreenRecycler is a great little app which can extend your desktop over the network to any old computer and monitor, regardless of whether it’s running OS X or Windows. This review will outline the features of ScreenRecycler and explain how it works.

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After recently reviewing LittleSnapper we’ve managed to snag a copy to give away to our loyal readers. If you aren’t familiar with the app, a good place to start is my review. Essentially, LittleSnapper is:

  • A powerful screenshot and website snapper
  • A great way to annotate images
  • A place to tag and organize inspirational sites and graphics
  • An easy way to share screenshots online

Entering is really simple – all you need to do is take a screenshot of your desktop, upload it to anywhere on the web (MobileMe, Flickr, TwitPic etc) and post a link in the comments below. I’m always fascinated to see the desktops of other Mac users, and it should make a really interesting discussion.

The competition will run for one week, and the winning comment will be chosen at random on the 2nd March 2009. As with all competitions, there’s just one legal point to make – you aren’t eligible to take part if you work for Envato. Only one entry per person please!

Good luck, and I look forward to taking a look at your desktop!

Thank you to all those who entered the WriteRoom competition – I’ve received a steady stream of entries via Twitter all week and have been kept thoroughly entertained with your messages! There were a number of great tweets, ranging from downright groveling to delightfully witty.

Read on for a selection of my favorite entries, along with the winning tweet.

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After posting a recent roundup of Mac applications for freelancers, I’ve decided to take a more in depth look at one tool in particular. Billings competes with many other similar apps for tracking the time you spend on a project, managing clients, and sending statements/invoices.

This review will focus on the main features of Billings, investigate how it enables easy time tracking, and outline how it simplifies communication with clients. I’ll also touch upon competing applications and web based software to help with similar tasks.

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Web design, traditionally, is a task which requires many different applications. You’ll need some sort of text editor, an FTP client, software for navigating documents (generally Finder), a web browser for previewing your site and often another tool for storing code snippets. This has worked well for several years, and any attempt to re-invent such a traditional workflow is commendably risky.

Coda came on the scene just under two years ago as a piece of software capable of integrating each of these different tools into one monolithic application. It received a great deal of acclaim and has come a long way since its conception. This review is far from an “exclusive” – Coda has been covered many times elsewhere over the past few years – but it will go some way towards outlining the features which make it stand out from using several independent applications. I’ll explain the main workflow process, and give my opinion on what works brilliantly and what I miss from dedicated tools.

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Spam is a problem we all face, particularly if you use a desktop email solution rather than a service such as Gmail. I’m a big fan of Apple’s Mail software, and struggled hugely with spam a few years ago – I’d tried several server-side filtering solutions, but nothing had worked particularly well. I then discovered SpamSieve. After installing the software and spending 10 minutes training it, I found that the level of junk email I received reduced to almost none.

This walkthrough will explain how to download and install SpamSieve, train it with old messages, and hopefully enter the spam free state of nirvana. I’ll also touch on a few freeware alternatives for those without a spam filtering budget.

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WriteRoom is a great tool for distraction free writing and editing. Our review, posted a few days ago showcased the major features along with my comments on the application. I’m delighted to announce that we’re giving away a copy of WriteRoom, kindly donated by Hog Bay Software. The competition will be run via Twitter, and entering is simple:

  1. Sign up for a Twitter account if you haven’t already
  2. Follow AppStorm (macappstorm)
  3. Tell us (via Twitter) why you’d like to win WriteRoom. Your tweet should take the form: @macappstorm I want to win WriteRoom because… – The funnier the better!

The competition will run for one week, and the winner will be chosen based on which tweet we found to be the funniest and most convincing. The closing date is the 20th February 2009. As with all competitions, there’s just one legal point to make – you aren’t eligible to take part if you work for Envato.

Good luck, and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment!

Whilst OS X ships with a huge array of stunning software, one area lacking is that of font management. The basic tool shipping with Leopard is Font Book, a very straight forward and simple app with few advanced features. A few tools have appeared to fill this gap in the market, notably FontExplorer X and Suitcase Fusion. Another competitor emerging in recent months has been Fontcase, developed by Bohemian Coding.

Fontcase aims to replicate the ease of use found in an application such as iPhoto, applying it to the task of managing your font collection. The interface is uncluttered and intuitive, sharing many innovative user interface design features found in Apple software. A few feature-highlights include versatile metadata support, the ability to share fonts on your local network and fantastic ways to preview all your fonts.

This review will provide an overview of what Fontcase has to offer, along with why it may be worth giving a try over your existing font management app. It isn’t yet perfect, but breathes fresh air into this area of software.

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Running a freelance business requires you to be an expert at everything – from communicating with clients to meticulously tracking your time and expenses. Doing all this manually can be dramatically time consuming, and it’s easy to make mistakes – nobody is perfect. Fortunately there are a range of Mac applications which can lend a hand and assist in the day to day running and organizing of your business.

This overview will focus on two key areas:

  1. Invoicing, Accounting & Time Tracking – Tools to ensure that you’re on top of finances and invoicing, whilst devoting most of your time to work you enjoy
  2. Organization & Utilities – Applications for managing thoughts, research and speeding up the day-to-day use of your Mac

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