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Jonathan Garro

Jonathan is a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter @MightyModest.

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These days, it seems like people want to share just about every little detail of their life with others online. In a world where few brunches go un-instagramed and few complaints about the DMV go un-tweeted, its nice to see personal journaling experiencing something of a resurgence.

I’ve kept a paper journal for about ten years, and while it will always store entries about the more important events of my life, I recently started keeping a daily digital journal for recording the less momentous ones. I’ve spent a few days playing around with Memories from Juicy Cocktail. Can it handle my digital journalling needs?

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Back when I first made the switch to a Mac, part of the appeal of both the OS and the hardware was the minimalist approach that Apple takes. I always hated having to delete the trial software that Microsoft lets other companies dump into their systems. Apple lets you start with a clean slate and enjoy your new machine from the second you turn it on. Unfortunately, though, Macs are just as prone to getting cluttered as anything else over time.

Even if you aren’t a digital neat-freak like me, chances are the available space on your drive shrinks a little bit more every day. If you aren’t proactive, you’re going to run out of space. If you’ve gotten a newer Mac with an SSD or replaced your Mac’s hard drive with an SSD, chances are you’re dealing with less storage on your Mac than you would have expected in the past. While SSD prices are falling, the price-to-capacity ratio still means that space is at a premium, and you’ll need to start keeping better tabs on what is eating up space. Luckily, there are a number of options for cleaning up the clutter, and we are going to take a look at a few that I’ve used in my battle to keep my laptop lean.

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When the Mac App Store opened on Snow Leopard, the very first thing I downloaded was Angry Birds. I didn’t own an iPhone, but I heard about the game all the time and was excited to see what all the fuss was about. Since then, my life has been filled up with a few more iDevices, and I own Angry Birds on all of them.

When I heard that a new Star Wars themed Angry Birds was being developed, I was prepared to throw some more cash at Rovio. How did the latest release turn out?

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Panoramic photography has become wildly popular in recent years, due in no small part to the smartphone market getting flooded with devices that have the functionality built right in. These sorts of shots have never been a staple of professional or amateur photography, but they can help give a broad perspective on interesting scenes.

Stitcha, by Florian Denis, gives you the ability to merge several different photographs or video clips into a single wide-angle shot. This simple app aims to keep the process as straightforward as dragging and dropping.

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As social networks continue to grow, users share more and more of their lives online. Services like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn are taking over as the primary places we spend our time online. Consequently, these networks are filled with years of our status updates, vacation photos, resumés, and more.

But what would happen if Instagram accidentally deleted years-worth of those 1970′s-style filtered photos of your brunches at the French restaurant down the street from your apartment? What if you lost access to your Facebook account and now would be unable to post a half-hearted happy birthday message to that guy who you vaguely remember from 7th grade P.E.? Fortunately, a service called SocialSafe has your social media life covered.

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Remember when iCal didn’t look like it had been designed by a fifth grader learning to use KidPix? The only other decision I’ve ever seen Apple make that was so universally panned as the iCal redesign was Ping, but at least you could just turn that off. Whether your aversion towards iCal is due to its tacky design or its cumbersome method of inputting events, you fortunately have no shortage of alternatives when it comes to scheduling your day.

Of course, buried beneath the eye sores is one redeeming quality: iCloud syncing. Many alternative calendars for OS X and iOS still integrate with iCal in order to utilize that syncing power. SmartDay by Left Coast Logic lets you interact with your calendar and to-do lists from the menubar, while adding a few neat features. This isn’t a new concept, so making it an appealing option for Mac users means it needs to introduce some innovative features.

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As more of our documents get moved off our local drives and into the cloud, it can be difficult to stay on top of them all. I keep stuff scattered around in my Gmail account, Dropbox folder, and laptop, among many other places, and can have a hard time remembering where a particular item is.

The developers of Found recognized this problem and created an interesting solution. Using a search concept similar to Spotlight, Found searches not only your local machine but also common cloud services. Any app designed to help you find files needs to do so quickly, using an intuitive interface. How does Found fare under these important conditions?

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I spent two years living in Paraguay, where temperatures are scorching hot and air conditioning is practically non-existent. I had my old MacBook with me the whole time, which I routinely had to open up and clean Paraguay’s ubiquitous red dirt out of. Despite my best efforts, it died an early death, and the culprit, a tech later explained, was heat.

Keeping your Mac cool not only extends its life, but also improves performance. There are a few available utilities that help you keep tabs on your computer’s temperature using the built-in sensors that Macs have. Temperature Gauge from Tunabelly Software is the latest of these apps on the scene.

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Of all the GUI features on the Mac operating system, perhaps the most iconic is the Dock. It offers users a quick place to launch commonly used apps, as well as switch between those which are currently open. However, with the explosion of available apps for the Mac, the utility of the Dock has come into question among a growing number of users. For anyone who commonly opens dozens of different apps on a daily basis, it just isn’t feasible to look around looking for what you need.

Fortunately, a number of options have emerged to help us launch apps without ever needing to look at the Dock. OS X Lion introduced Launchpad, which quickly displays all of your applications. Power-users have long found options like Quicksilver to be faster and more powerful. Bevy, from Berg Design, was designed to be fast like Quicksilver while still having a more tangible interface like Launchpad. Let’s check it out.

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