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Matthew Guay

Writer. Former Mac and Web AppStorm Editor, now Tuts+ Software Training Editor. Brainstormer-in-chief. @maguay | Techinch.com

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Apple’s rumored to be releasing a new streaming music or perhaps internet radio service at WWDC next week. It could happen, of course, but then again, similar things have been rumored for years now, especially after Apple acquired Lala in late 2009.

There’s no need to wait, though, if you’re wanting a top-quality streaming music experience on your Mac today. There’s tons out there — even Google’s jumped into the fray now — but one of the best, Rdio, just got a major update to its apps this past week. It’s got a nicer design, has great new social integration that actually makes sense by letting you keep up with what’s popular among your friends. And it’s got a great music selection.

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Our writer Nathan Snelgrove takes the redesigned Rdio for a spin over on Web.AppStorm, so jump over to the article there to see what’s great in the newest version of one of the best streaming music services online today.

Continue Reading at Web.AppStorm…

It was a fateful Thursday late last July when Sparrow announced they’d been bought out by Google. The indie email app that’d taken the Mac by storm, Sparrow was a fast favorite of anyone who wanted a more modern email experience — one that was fast, minimalist, and integrated with cloud services. It hit all the right spots, soared in popularity, then nearly as quickly was taken from us. Sparrow still works, but it’s a zombie without much, if any, of a future.

The Sparrow-shaped gap on the App Store has yet to be filled. There’s tons of promises of new email apps, but few have made it onto the scene yet — at least on the Mac. There’s the old standby alternates like Outlook and Postbox, but they don’t replace the minimalist approach to email that Sparrow embraced. The iPhone can claim Mailbox, Triage, and numerous other new email apps, but on the Mac, most Sparrow fans have stuck with the aging app, while others have taken a look back at Apple’s admittedly nice Mail.app.

That’s changed this week, though, as Airmail was released to the App Store. We’d taken a look at it months back when it was still in beta, but now that it’s fully released, can it replace Sparrow for diehard fans?

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It’s the eve of WWDC 2013, and Apple’s cloud sync platform, iCloud, is one of the highest priorities in every developer’s mind. It’s been 603 days since iCloud‘s launch and exactly 1 year 5 months after the App Store burst onto the Mac scene, and yet both feel like they’ve hardly moved forward at all.

Sure, they’re both widely successful, and the App Store especially has change the way we approach buying apps. But the App Store has also made it tough for developers to make upgraded versions of apps economically feasible, leading them to add in-app purchases for new features, or add their own subscription-based services to make money. Of the two, though, iCloud has been the most problematic, leading developers like The Soulmen to have to rewrite major parts of iCloud sync code to get it to work in their apps (Ulysses III, in this case).

We’re all hoping Apple significantly improves iCloud this year, and perhaps there’ll be major announcements about both it and the App Store next week. But there’s also alternates now. Aside from just relying on Dropbox for sync, the Omni Group has built their own iCloud competitor, OmniPresence, and Paddle is making it simpler for indie devs to sell their own apps with in-app purchases, outside of the App Store. (more…)

Adobe shocked the creative world by announcing last month that it’s abandoning its Creative Suite in lieu of Creative Cloud subscriptions. Rather than paying thousands of dollars for a complete set of Adobe creative apps, you’ll only pay $50/month for everything they sell. That little change has many Adobe users up in arms, ready to desert Adobe for alternate apps.

But Adobe’s not the only one making a subscription play this year. Microsoft’s now doing the same thing with Office 365, and Autocad, Mathematica, and other major developers have done the same for years. The difference is, Adobe’s making a subscription-only play: individual purchases are no more, and subscription is the only option.

That doesn’t have to be such a bad option, though. Here’s why.

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If you were a pixel on the wall of our team’s Basecamp, listening to our conversations, you’d know that we’ve been looking for the perfect Markdown-powered Mac blogging app. There’s blogging apps for the Mac, but if you like writing in Markdown in apps like Byword and iA Writer (and we do), there’s none that fit your workflow perfectly.

So instead, we each have our favorite writing apps, export our text as HTML, and paste it into WordPress. It works, but it’s far from seamless.

That all changes today, with the hot-off-the-press Byword 2. It has built-in publishing to WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Scriptogram, and Evernote, and a handful of other improvements. If you need a focused Markdown writing app and a blogging app, it’s the one app you need. (more…)

Apple’s 2013 Worldwide Developer Conference starts on Monday, June 10th. By this time a week from now we’ll already have seen what Tim Cook and the rest of the Apple team have prepared to show the world. The whole world — not just techies this time — is anticipating iOS 7, but there should be a lot more interesting stuff.

There’s OS X, of course: it’d be tough to forget that here at Mac.AppStorm. Apple’s committed to a yearly upgrade cycle for OS X, and Mountain Lion was released at the end of July last year. That should mean that we’ll get word of the stuff coming to OS X v.NeXT.

There’s also Apple’s own apps, from iLife and iWork to their pro tools, all of which seem far overdue for a new version. There’s iCloud, which almost every developer would like to see improved. There’s also the iOS apps like iBooks that have never made their way to the Mac, even though they seem like perfect fits.

Then, there’s hardware. Apple hasn’t updated the Mac Pro in forever, and the rest of its lineup is likely due at least for a spec bump. And none of us would mind if Apple decided to release some brand-new, non-rumored hardware like a new addition to the Mac lineup.

We’d all like to see all of the above, I’m sure, but what do you want to see most? Is iOS mostly on your mind, or are you hoping for more Mac attention? We’d love to hear what you want to see at WWDC 2013 in the comments below.

And, stay tuned: our AppStorm team will be live-blogging the keynote speech, and we’ll have more to share about that later this week!

Nektony, our sponsor this week, is a company focused on creating simple and intuitive business applications. Among others there is significant line of products that started Nektony’s history – its file and disk management utilities. If you want to keep your Mac’s hard drive or SSD organized and cleaned, they’re the apps you need.

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ClearDisk is a great app to clean up your startup disk in few clicks. It helps you to get rid of “straggler” files that remain after applications usage – Cashes and Logs – as well as unwanted Language Resources for localizations in various countries. At the same time you can quickly manage your Trash and Downloads folders during the same interaction with the app. So ClearDisk is great for quick plain cleanup of most clogged system folders.

Disk Inspector is a disk space analyzer with a beautiful interface that makes travelling through your hard drive spectacular and very effective. Inspector represents file system in a form of sunburst diagram, where biggest sectors represent biggest files and folders; its special color-representing algorithm makes this process simpler and just fun. It is also able to scan any type of disks and drives, even folders with FileVault protection. Disk Inspector will be extremely useful if you need to find and delete unnecessary files and folders.

Disk Expert – Nektony’s flagship application – is an elder brother of Disk Inspector that has even more specific features that will be extremely useful during general file management. For every folder, Expert creates list of 25 biggest files, which changes during navigating. You can form “drop lists” of files from different folders and transfer them together to external drive or just to Trash at once. Furthermore, instead of scanning only full disks, it could scan custom folders and display hidden and system files. Disk Expert is like a surgical knife to perform operations of any complexity for any disk.

So don’t waist your time and energy on organizing of your hard drives! Let family of Nektony disk utilities to do all the nasty jobs for you.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

We’d like to say a special Thank you! to our weekly sponsors from May for sponsoring our site and for the great apps they make. If you would like to feature your app on our site with an advertisement, be sure to check out our available slots on BuySellAds or register for a weekly sponsorship for your app.

If you haven’t already checked out our the great apps that sponsored our site last month, be sure to check them out now!

Pixelmator 2.2

Pixelmator’s already one of the best graphics tools on the Mac, and it’s even better with its latest updates. Now, you can use custom vector shapes in your creations, tweak text as shapes, make quick changes with the quick paint selection tool, and move objects smarter with the new move tool. There’s even a new light leak effect, gradients, and color popovers to easily pick the colors you need.

It’s a free update from the App Store if you’ve bought Pixelmator already, or buy your own copy from the App Store for $14.99.

doo

doo is the one app for your documents. It brings together all your documents, wherever you keep them: in folders on your Mac, or in Dropbox, Google Drive, Skydrive, email accounts, and more. It then automatically generates intelligent tags for individual categories such as Companies, Document Types, Filetypes, People, Places and more, to help you quickly sort through your documents. It also seamlessly integrates with scanners and your smartphone’s camera, and uses OCR to let you search for text even if it’s in an image or scan.

Download doo for free from the App Store and try it out today!

Family Tree

The Family Tree app has everything you need to keep track of everything you know about your family, and more. You can include personal info about everyone in your family, complete with photos, documents about them, and more in an intuitive interface. You can track where everyone lived on a map, connect everyone’s relationship in a beautiful tree view, or switch over to the chart view to see your family info in a circle graph.

Get your own copy of Family Tree from the App Store for $11.99.

Coollector

Collector includes a whole encyclopedia of more than 100,000 movies and series in its download. By rating the movies and persons, you’ll remember what you’ve seen and how much you’ve liked it, and you’ll highlight your favorite actors and directors. This personalization, combined with the IMDb rating and the Youtube trailers, will allow you to quickly estimate if a movie is worth watching or adding to your wish-list.

Try out Coollector Lite for free, then upgrade to the full version for $19.99

And a special thanks to you, our Mac.AppStorm.net readers, for reading and sharing our articles. We couldn’t do it without you!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot and join the apps above.

Google Reader’s demise has left those of us who rely on RSS feeds for our news scrambling for options. There’s tons of web services that we’ve covered on Web.AppStorm, but if you prefer using native Mac apps for your news reading, then that only helps you so much.

Reeder and other popular Google Reader apps for the Mac have promised to add support for other sync services, but another app showed them up: ReadKit. If you’re an Instapaper fan, you’ve likely tried it out after Pocket bought out the Read Later app and turned it into Pocket for Mac. Then ReadKit came along and made an app that was, if anything, nicer for reading web articles later on the Mac.

Today, they turned it up to 11 with ReadKit 2, by adding support for sync with Fever, NewsBlur, Delicious, Pinboard, and its own native RSS sync engine. ReadKit’s now your one app for all your online reading — RSS, read later, and bookmarks. (more…)

Most people don’t spend their days obsessing over what fonts they should use. They use Times New Roman for documents, the default font (Helvetica or Ariel, usually) in other apps, and only think about switching that around when they’re making a banner or something else with special type. Then, though, there’s those of us who love collecting fonts, debate over the best fonts for coding, writing, reading, and more, and go crazy when we see a new, beautiful font. There’s finally those who are a step above the rest of us: the designers who actually make fonts.

Now, Macs come with quite a number of great fonts. In fact, they’re one of the many added values in OS X, since just adding Helvetica Neue to a PC would cost you € 35 per weight. On a Mac, it’s included, gratis. Then, if you own Creative Suite (or even just a single Adobe design app), you’ll get quite a lot of beautiful fonts from the Adobe collection. And then, there’s free fonts, including Source Sans Pro, Maven Pro, and so many more.

But sometimes, if you love typography, you’ll come across a font that you’ll just have to buy. That happened to me before when browsing the fonts on Envato’s GraphicsRiver, and it happened to me recently when I came across Klim Type Foundry’s Pitch font recently. The latter’s become my default writing font in Sublime Text, and it’s beautiful.

So how about you? Have you ever purchased a font? Tell us about some of your favorites in the comments below.

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