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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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Microsoft Office is the one set of software you can almost guarantee will be on any computer you touch. It’s been out for the Mac since 1985, 5 years before it was on PCs (as hard as that seems to believe today), and has dominated the word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation market long enough that’s it’s the de facto standard.

There is competition, most notably on Macs from Apple’s own iWork, but also from open-source office apps. OpenOffice.org, a Sun Microsystem project, was the most prominent free office competitor for years, but was then forked into LibreOffice after Oracle bought out Sun. LibreOffice 4.0 was recently released, with native versions for OS X as well as Linux and Windows, so it seemed time to take it for a spin.

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We’ve just closed our giveaway, and our lucky winners are Joel, Richard, Marc, Paul, and Noah!

If you read Mac.AppStorm yesterday, you likely saw Pedro’s review of Tadam, a new minimal tool staying productive with the Pomodoro method. It’s a simple little menubar app that helps you time your work and breaks, elegantly.

Tadam is a rather cheap utility, at just $3.99, but we’ve got something better: 5 free copies of Tadam to giveaway to our readers. Just enter a comment below and let us know what other Pomodoro method apps, if any, that you’ve used before. You can also share the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or App.net, and share the link to your post in a new comment for an extra entry.

Hurry and get your entry in; we’ll close the giveaway a week from now on Wednesday, February 27th.

Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.

If you’ve ever wanted a more advanced to-do list app for your Mac, you’re bound to have tried OmniFocus or Things – or both. They’re the two most popular – or at least most talked about – task management apps on the Mac, with a somewhat similar feature set and seemingly equally fanatical fans.

OmniFocus 1 first came out in early 2008, while Things 1 came out in early 2009. Each have received a number of updates over time, and Things just released their second full version last year. OmniFocus 2, on the other hand, is one of the apps we’re anticipating most in 2013.

Both apps sync online, are designed to work with the GTD method, let you schedule tasks and organize things, though in their own manner. They’re really both great apps, though Things shines a bit more right now in the design and ease-of-use department, and OmniFocus is definitely the more geeky and “hackable” of the two.

So, which is your favorite of the two? Or have you foregone both Things and OmniFocus, and spent your GTD dollars on other apps?

For the record, I’m an OmniFocus guy, and can’t wait to get started using OmniFocus 2 ;)

Looking for a way to make your Mac’s background a bit more exciting? Then you should give Live Wallpaper, our sponsor this week, a try. It’s been the #2 paid app in the US Mac App Store, and is still the #9 top paid app today, months after getting released.

Live Wallpaper lets your Mac showcase more than just a pretty picture. It lets you see the date, time, weather, and custom text, integrated into a beautiful picture or animated background. It’ll work on multiple monitors, too, giving you a great way to take advantage of your extra screen real estate. Even if you use full-screen apps or spaces on OS X, Live Wallpaper will work just the way you’d expect – like your default OS X wallpaper.

Live Wallpaper includes over 20 themes, with more being released all the time. You can fully customize the themes in Edit mode, changing the background and moving around the time and other objects in the theme. Or, you can download custom themes and talk to other users on the Live Wallpaper forum.

Go Get It!

If you’ve been wanting a simple way to liven up your Mac’s desktop, and make it a bit more useful at the same time, then be sure to try out Live Wallpaper. It’s just $0.99 in the App Store, plenty cheap enough to try out and see if it’s what you need to keep your Mac’s desktop from growing too boring. Plus, it just might be enough to keep you from ever having to switch over to Dashboard again.

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

There’s one major problem with going paperless: everyone keeps sending you paper, and you can’t just tap a “Save to Dropbox” button on paper. You’ve still got to take it digital. Scanners are nothing new, but they’re typically synonymous with bulky all-in-one printers that are clunky and frustrating to use. Unless you’re really dedicated, odds are you’ll never digitalize all the paper you keep around with a traditional scanner.

The Doxie team recently sent me a Doxie One, their newest and simplest scanner, to try out. I’d recently purchased an HP printer+scanner, one that’s nice enough to have built-in wireless AirPrint. It’s no match for the Doxie, though, but then, the Doxie’s still no match for it either.

Here’s why.

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With every passing day, online security gets increasingly important. Hardly a day goes by without hearing of a high-level hacking. But unfortunately, far too many people rely on insecure passwords, and reuse those same passwords on all of their online accounts. If one account gets hacked – boom – everything account they have could be easily logged into.

There’s a ton of password managers out there, but for many, they seem too much trouble. They can get rather expensive, and require installing extensions in your browser and more. PassLocker is trying to make password management simpler for everyone with a menubar app that’s incredibly easy to use. (more…)

Macs have kept their reputation as the machines of choice for those in creative fields – and hey, why let them take the title away? After all, there’s a ton of creative apps on the Mac that can help you make just about anything you want, and Apple itself has quite the portfolio of pro creative apps that are exclusive to the Mac. Take, for instance, Motion.

The sidekick to Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion is a great and relatively affordable way to make cinematic effects and animations from your Mac. It’s a lot to master, though, if you’re starting out, but that’s where templates come in. Our parent company Envato’s VideoHive marketplace has a ton of great Apple Motion templates that can make it simple to produce high-quality animations in Motion on your Mac. We’ve looked at some great Motion templates here before, and now’s the time for another look at what VideoHive has to offer.

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There’s two kinds of Mac users: the ones who love the iOS-style simplification that’s come to OS X in recent years, and the older-school Mac users who love the keyboard shortcuts, automation, scripting, terminal, and more that make OS X one of the most powerful – and productive – operating systems on the market. These two camps seldom find common ground.

When PopClip first came out, I tried it out, but decided I vastly preferred tried-and-true keyboard shortcuts, and uninstalled the trial. It just wasn’t for me, and felt like iOS eye candy compared to what I was used to.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that PopClip is quite the productivity tool these days, one that geeks and everyone else can love. What made the difference? Extensions.

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We just closed our book’n'keep giveaway. Congrats to our winners: Cody, Kim, and Michael!

There’s a lot of little things you need to keep up with to make sure your business’ bookkeeping is straight. That’s what the new app book’n'keep from the team behind Employment:app is designed for.

book’n'keep is designed to make accounting simpler for the sole enterprise. When you’re working on your own business, the last think you want is to have to spend too much time managing the accounting, when you could be designing new products and giving better service to your customers. That’s why book’n'keep helps you keep track of all of your receivables, payables, payments and assets, store detailed info on your customers and suppliers, keep track of due dates and payments, and more. It’ll even sync via iCloud so all of your data is on all of your Macs!

The bookkeeping app for the sole proprietor

book’n'keep usually costs $29.99 on the Mac App Store, but today we have 3 free copies for our readers. Just comment below and tell us a bit about the business you’ll be managing with book’n'keep if you win the contest, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win! You can also share the giveaway publicly on Facebook, Twitter, or App.net and share a link to your post in a second comment for an extra entry in our giveaway.

We’ll be closing our giveaway on February 20th, 2013, so hurry and get your entry in!

Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.

If Apple keeps up with its new annual OS X release cycle, then we should be expecting to see a new cat roaring on our Macs before the end of 2013. Mountain Lion was released last July, and its claim to fame was bringing more iOS features to OS X. iCloud, Notes, Dictation, Reminders, and more came as a reminder (pun not intended) that iOS was Apple’s more well-known and widely used operating system these days.

There’s little more from iOS we can imagine that Apple would bring to the Mac, aside from Siri and possibly Maps (oh, and iBooks), but there’s quite a few power user features that iOS users are clamoring for in iOS 7. If anything, it seems that Apple needs to bring some Mac features to iOS this year.

That’s not to say there’s nothing for OS X 10.9 to conquer this year. At the very least, I’d love to see a vastly improved iCloud and Messages, perhaps Siri, Maps, and iBooks, and some much needed love for older OS X apps like Automator. It’d also be great to be surprised with some new, OS X only features, stuff to make Macs stand out even more than they already do from the competition – and Apple’s iOS devices. iWork and iLife could desperately use a new upgrade as well, though that’s hardly a core part of OS X.

With Jony Ive the head of Apple’s software design, it’ll be interesting at the very least to see what design changes, if nothing else, show up in the next version of OS X. So what are you hoping to see in the OS X 10.9? It may just be wishing, but we’d sure love to see what you hope to see from Apple this year in the comments below!

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