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Jorge Rodriguez

Jorge is a student and a man of many affairs. When he's not too busy being a music geek, he likes to write at his mediocre website.

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If you’ve owned a Mac for more than a couple months, then chances are you’ve been encouraged to install an app called Growl, perhaps by another user or by an app that you are installing. Growl is the most popular notifications system available for Mac, and it has recently gotten a big revision that the developers claim to be the biggest one yet.

Want to see what it’s all about? Let’s take a look at all the changes Growl has had.
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For many users, a computer’s desktop quickly turns into a headache. If you are anything like me, you use it to keep temporary files that you might only use once, but that need to be saved somewhere temporarily. I sometimes keep items there to remind myself of things that I need to do. It is also always filled with .dmg files from installed apps, among other things.

Whatever it is that I’ve used my desktop for recently, it is usually filled with a number of items that I probably don’t need at that moment and that just distract me. Sometimes you need a clean desktop to do a presentation, or sometimes you want to quickly hide everything that is there to take a quick screenshot (like if you are a writer for a Mac app website and you need to take a lot of screenshots of running apps).

That’s why we are reviewing today’s app. It’s called Desktop Tidy and it claims to fix this problem with a few features you don’t typically see in competing apps. Does it succeed? Let’s see!

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Regular apps and menu bar apps always get all the glory. They’re always there with you, always visible and grabbing your attention. But what about the more discrete apps, the ones that perhaps change the behavior of your computer or make something cool happen behind the scenes?

Today we’re doing a roundup of the most interesting Preference Pane apps that we could find (they are those little icons that reside on the bottom of your System Preferences). You’re bound to find some useful utilities that you’ve never come across before.

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Journals or diaries are a great way to look back on things that you’ve done. You probably think that you don’t need to write down what you experience because you will remember it in the future, but if you try to look back now on anything you’ve done, I can guarantee you there’ll be some spots where your memory will fail you.

That’s why taking pictures when you’re traveling and just keeping a daily journal is a great idea if you care about having it there for posteriority. There are quite a few apps for the Mac that seek to simplify and improve that process, and today we’ll be reviewing one of them called “Chronories”. Let’s take a look!

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Gaming on the Mac has always been a sore topic for most gamer and users of the platform, as there hasn’t always been support from game studios and developers, and the topic of gaming on the Mac has always been taken as sort of a joke by most serious gamers.

However, lately a few things have changed with the Mac, like the launch of Steam for Mac and the Mac App Store, which have made things a bit different. Has it changed things much or is Mac gaming still stuck in the past? Let’s take a look.

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A while ago, when I got my first Mac, I began using Mail for keeping up with my email. It was a very good app and I enjoyed using it, but I didn’t know how I felt about having all of my emails (both important and useless) stored in one app, accessible to anyone who accessed my computer. This wasn’t exactly a problem, until that computer got stolen, and as it wasn’t password-protected, whoever stole it or bought it now had access to a good number of my emails, and I couldn’t really do anything about it but but keep him from receiving my new emails.

A few days later, when I replaced my Macbook, I thought twice about using Mail.app again after that first panic attack. I stuck with Gmail’s web app until I found a great and very complete app called Notify. Notify was cheap, it sat on my menu bar and it even used Growl to alert me when I got new messages. It was very simple and pretty, too. It allowed me to quickly check on emails without having to leave what I was doing, and even quickly reply to them or delete them and do marvelous things with them. It synced wonderfully with Gmail. It was a dream come true.

But it didn’t last very long. After I installed Lion, I noticed it started acting weird. It still alerted me when I got new mail and it let me access its menu bar interface, but if I tried to read or reply to any of them, the app would become useless, in many ways. I thought it would get updated soon, but as time went by I got anxious. One day I looked up the app and found a blog where the developers said they weren’t going to keep developing it, and that they had just stopped selling it. I understood, but I also needed to replace the luxury life that Notify had gotten me used to. And so began my search…

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You know how everybody says you’re supposed to take about a short break from the computer every hour if you want to keep your sanity? Chances are you’ve heard of this but don’t really practice it. Time moves differently while you are working on a computer, and sometimes it’s hard to keep track of how long you’ve been in front of the screen.

Today we are reviewing an app called BreakTime that reminds you of when you are supposed to take breaks from the computer. But how well does it work at keeping you away from the computer once you have those scheduled breaks? Let’s see.

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The market for download managers has always been small and shady, at least for the Mac. I’ve never really needed one, although I am also not entirely happy with how the downloads are managed through the Downloads folder. However, for people who spend a lot of their time downloading huge files, sometimes the few extra features that download managers offer could come in handy.

While the market for these type of apps isn’t very big, here we’ll present to you some of the best options we could find. Why would you need a download manager? Which one suits your needs? Let’s find out.

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Remember how useful those kitchen timers where, the ones that you had to spin around to get them counting? They could be used for a lot of things outside the kitchen, and they were very fast and easy to setup. It seems like we haven’t been able to get the same thing working for a computer app, where you can just quickly set an alarm in a few seconds without a million options or setup steps to get in the way.

Today we’re reviewing an app that wants to your go to fast timer and alarm app. It’s called ChronoSlider. Does it deliver?

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Platformers are perhaps one of the most popular, the oldest and overdone genres in gaming. They have been re-thought a bunch of times over the years by adding a few new gimmicks to them, but most of them seem to have lost their touch and are no longer fun the way they used to be.

Today we’re reviewing a platformer that brings back to form the retro style of gaming, eight-bit and all. Everything from the graphics to the music is done in a fantastic way that combines old-school gaming with the kind of deeper gameplay found in newer games. It’s called Bit.Trip.Runner.
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