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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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Looking for a great new way to edit your photos and make digital graphics? Then you’ve got to check out Pixelmator 2.2, our sponsor this week.

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.

That’s in addition to all of the great Pixelmator features you love, including its beautiful, Retina Display ready UI, painting tools, and more. It’s got over 160 effects to make your photos pop, is designed to work great with OS X, and has the awards that set it apart.

It’s great.

Go Get it!

If you’ve ever bought Pixelmator from the App Store, but haven’t tried out the great features in Pixelmator 2.2, be sure to download it today! It’s a free update for anyone who’s ever bought Pixelmator from the App Store, and has more features than ever. If you don’t already own Pixelmator, you should get your own copy from the App Store for just $14.99. That’s cheaper than one month of a Photoshop CC subscription!

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

Email nailed communications, and tiny file sharing. Dropbox nailed syncing folders between colleagues. CloudApp and Droplr nailed small file sharing. But none of the above helped us send large files (RAW photos, and videos, and such) quickly.

Oh, there’s ways to send large files. You can FTP them to your server or put them on S3 and let your colleague download them later. If you both have large enough Dropbox accounts, you could just sync the files over Dropbox. But either way, you’ve got to upload the files, wait for them to upload the whole way, and then remember to go email your colleague that the files are sent. Oh, and once they’ve downloaded/saved the files, you’ll likely need to go delete them to clear up space.

How about something that’ll let you send files of any size within seconds of realizing you need to send them? No waiting for uploads, just drag-and-drop the files — of any size — and send the message, then forget about it.

That’s exactly what Minbox lets you do.

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It’s the season for game console news, with both Sony and Microsoft recently unveiling their new game consoles, and Nintendo having beaten them to the punch by releasing the Wii U last winter. That’s, of course, at the same time that mobile devices and Macs are becoming more popular for gaming, and with AirPlay through an Apple TV, your iPad or Mac can power some serious widescreen gaming.

That doesn’t make consoles obsolete, of course. iOS devices have great touch and motion capacities, but the Xbox’ Kinetic gesture controls and the Wii’s motion controller — not to mention the gamepads used in all consoles — give console gaming a serious leg-up. Then, there’s the exclusive titles — from Mario to Halo — that are only on consoles.

That’s why we’re wondering if you have a game console, or if the announcements of new consoles have you thinking about buying one. We’d love to hear your thoughts on console versus Mac/iOS gaming in the comments below!

It shouldn’t be so difficult to find that one document you need, but it often is. You’re stuck searching between different storage services and apps, and it’s still tough to find what you need. doo, our sponsor this week, is the app that just might change that.

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.

doo lets you find your documents wherever you work, with native apps for your Mac, iPhone, and iPad, as well as for Android and Windows 8 devices. It’ll also help you make sure you never lose documents again with its built in backup that’ll let you keep everything organized in the doo cloud with EU-standard security.

doo organizes every document in your personal and business live, giving you a quick and effective start into a paperless life.

Go Get it!

Sound like what you’ve been waiting for? Then why wait any longer? You can download doo for free from the App Store for your Mac and start finding documents quicker then ever. You can get 1Gb of doo cloud backup space for free, then upgrade to doo Premium starting at $4.99/month for 10Gb of storage and more premium features coming soon.

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

Cloud storage is anything but a panacea for small SSDs. You might have 25Gb of iCloud storage, or 100Gb in Dropbox, but you’ll need that much space free on your Mac to take advantage of it. Run out of local storage, and cloud storage will stop working for you too. On a mobile device, sure, you can use Dropbox without it taking up tons of local space, but on your Mac or PC, it’s either store everything locally too, or resort to using cloud storage from your browser.

It’s the failure of cloud storage, one that’s surprisingly not talked about that much. Evernote, Dropbox, and iCloud — even your email if you use a native mail app — all take up local storage, something that can become quite an issue if you have a 11″ MacBook Air with a 64Gb SSD, or even the more spacious 128Gb SSD that’s rather standard across the board these days.

The freshly released ExpanDrive 3, though, is at least a partial solution to this problem. It lets you mount Dropbox and other online storage services, and treat them like an external HD. All the cloud storage goodness, without taking up extra local storage on your Mac.

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You’re the oddball. There’s that one built-in Mac app that everyone else replaces, and yet, you love it. It’s built-in, works great, and you can’t figure out why everyone else doesn’t love it. But they don’t. They rave about the alternate apps, and act like Apple didn’t even include any app that could possibly do that thing.

All the while, you’re being productive each day with the built-in app you got for free, and you’re wondering why everyone else is wasting their time and money on alternates.

For me, the built-in amazing app is Preview. Everyone’s always looking for a great PDF app, or simple image editor, or annotation app … and here’s one of the best, built-into OS X for free. For our writer Pierre Wizla, it’s Mail.app, and he’s showed us how to turn it into the best email app.

So what’s your favorite built-in app in OS X, one you love more than alternates and think is a hidden gem in OS X? Looking forward to the discussion below!

It’s old news now that Google Reader is being shut down on July 1st. It’s also old news that finding the perfect news reading apps for your Mac and iPhone is a bit harder than you’d think at first. There’s a ton of options, but if you just want an easy way to get your news fix and keep your read status and subscriptions synced between your devices, it’s not so simple.

Most of the best options today are new web apps, some of which sync with native iOS apps but few of which have native Mac apps. Stalwart Mac RSS apps like NetNewsWire and Reeder are working on their own syncing solutions which will hopefully come before the July 1st deadline.

But NewsBar, a simple Mac and iOS RSS reader, has its own native RSS engine and can keep your subscriptions, read state, and favorited articles synced between your Macs and iOS devices via iCloud. Today. We’ve looked at NewsBar before, but let’s take another look and see what a year — and iCloud sync — has brought to the equation.
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Ever wanted a great way to keep track of your family’s heritage, with all the info, pictures, locations, and more that touched your relatives? How about all of that in a beautiful interface you’ll want to show off to your family and more? Family Tree, our sponsor this week, is exactly what you’re looking for.

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.

Best of all, the Family Tree app is designed for Retina Displays, so everything will look great no matter what Mac you’re using. It also includes iCloud support, so you can sync your family data between all of your Macs and perhaps work together with your family on collecting data. Then, starting with the next version, it’ll support GEDCOM import and export, so you can import data from other family tree apps or share data from your family tree with others using different apps.

Go Get It!

Ready to get started plotting your own family tree? Then head over to the App Store and get your own copy of the Family Tree app for just $11.99, and enjoy discovering more about your family and keeping track of everything you find!

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

Adobe used to be best known as the company that sells a $700 dollar photo editor that’s all but ubiquitous in the design world. Now, it wants to be known as the company you pay $50/month to, for its whole suite of apps. Adobe’s rethinking their entire business in terms of a one-size-fits-all Creative Cloud subscriptions, which is either great news for you price-wise (if you upgrade every time and own one of the pricer Creative Suites), or terrible news (if you only own an individual Adobe app or don’t purchase upgrades that often).

Now, there are great new features coming to all of the Adobe apps we love in upcoming Creative Cloud releases, but lost in the limelight at Adobe MAX and the discussion about the switch to Creative Cloud is the great free stuff that Adobe offers. They’ve dropped a few things over the years — like the beautiful online office suite they used to have at Acrobat.com – but they’ve added enough stuff that Adobe still has quite the nice set of free offerings.

There’s Mac apps, fonts, and web tools here: enough for everyone, even those who swore off Creative Suite years ago. So here’s the best stuff you can get 100% for free from Adobe, today. (more…)

At this week’s Adobe MAX event, the firm behind the leading creative apps for Macs and PCs announced that Creative Suite is now dead. Its replacement? Creative Cloud, the new subscription version of Adobe’s apps. They’re still native Mac (or Windows) apps, like you’ve used for years, only this time, you buy them via a $50/month subscription instead of paying hundreds or thousands upfront for a full suite.

That’s not all bad news; if you used to upgrade every year or so to the latest Master Collection, you’ll likely save money with Creative Cloud. But if you used the same version of Photoshop for years without upgrading, it’ll be much more expensive (over time, at least) to upgrade in the future.

Then, though, on the Mac, it’s rather easy to skip Creative Suite these days. There’s amazing image editors like Pixelmator and Acorn, vector apps like Artboard and Sketch, Apple’s own Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro for video and Audio, PDFpen and Preview for PDF documents, and more. There’s even Adobe’s own more affordable Photoshop and Premiere Elements if you need just the basics of what Adobe offers.

If you’ve switched, we’d love to hear what apps you’re using instead of Adobe’s staple apps in the comments below!

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