One of the things that I love about Mac is that there’s no shortage of small tools to make your life better. I have more lightweight apps than I do feature-packed programs. And I’m frequently surprised by the small apps I find that make my life better in ways I’d never thought of.

My most recent discovery on Mac is Intermission, a lightweight app that sits in your menubar and lets you remind, pause, fast forward, and skip back live audio. It’s been described as TiVo for Mac, and I had to give it a shot. Read on to find out how it works.

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I’ve been slowly putting together a website and a brand for the creative firm that I’m starting (it hasn’t launched, but if you’re curious, feel free to check it out). Branding is not an easy thing. It’s a large, multifaceted process that requires a lot of time, effort and yes, Photoshop skills.

That’s why I admire any company or app that tries to make certain parts of the task easier. I love playing around with text, but I don’t have weeks and weeks to make a great logo. And sometimes, I just need an easy way to experiment. That’s where Logoist comes in. The app makes it as easy as possible to put together a logo by eliminating a lot of the cumbersome heavy lifting Photoshop mandates. Let’s take a look and see if it’s worth your time and money.

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I do some professional photography work when it’s called for (engagements, product shoots and sometimes event work), but I feel the need to clear the air even before it starts. I am as absolutely sick of terrible photo apps as you are. I hate all the photography apps that claim to be “the next big thing.” There’s a special place of disdain in my heart for photography apps that don’t do what they claim to do, or are, in effect, more time-consuming than doing similar work in Photoshop.

It is with this negative attitude that I apprehensively downloaded Beautune, a photography app meant to make cleaning up portrait shots as simple as possible. I expected to hate it. At the end of the day, I ended up falling in love with this app. Beautune is singlehandedly one of the best options I’ve ever seen for professional portrait retouching. Read on to find out what makes Beautune so, so good.

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I don’t know why I keep looking at new photo editors. I’ve got a great system of my own here with Aperture, which is my preferred tool. If I felt like drifting into the Adobe world, Lightroom is fantastic (check out my review here on Mac.AppStorm of Lightroom 5). And while I love Pixelmator, there’s nothing wrong with Photoshop or Acorn either — they’re all great.

So what was it about TouchRetouch that made me curious? There was an implicit promise of ease of use that drew me too it, but more than that, its successful mobile apps prompted me to wonder what the Mac version would be like. Read on for my thoughts.

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I adore my Retina MacBook Pro. It’s powerful and fast, and that display is beautiful. As an early adopter, I’m well aware of some of the compromises I’ve had to make for this laptop. Early adopters are different than the rest of consumers — we don’t care if we need to adopt hacks or special utilities for our new toys. We already own the future.

But those hacks and utilities aren’t always easy to find. That’s why we’ve compiled some insanely useful apps for your shiny machine. It took me months to realize I needed some of these, but especially if you’re a developer, you’ll easily see why you need these tools. Here’s the best little utilities to make your retina display MacBook even better.

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In the past few months, RSS has gone through a dramatic transformation from being a one-man show to becoming a free-for-all with many players in the fold. I know a lot of people on Feedly, but I ended up going with Feed Wrangler to get things done. I think the transition to privately owned content, instead of Google’s focus on ad-serving, is highly beneficial.

But that being said, some services have been replaced by apps who operate independently of any free or paid RSS service. These are app-dependent RSS feeds that operate independently of cross-platform services. The most popular of these is probably NetNewsWire, but with version 2.0 of Leaf RSS Reader, Leaf enters the fold as a prime contender. I imported my Feed Wrangler feeds to the service to give it a whirl.

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I’ve been using Mac for years, but sometimes there are apps that everybody else swears by that I’ve never used. One of those apps is Yojimbo, which has a long history on the platform and is something many popular bloggers completely swear by.

Recently, Yojimbo was upgraded to version 4.0, which brings with it a new syncing option and — well, not much else. But in today’s day and age, is a service like Yojimbo still relevant when our Macs aren’t our sole tool anymore and we’re all using iPads and smartphones everywhere we go? Read on to find out what my thoughts are on the state of Yojimbo in 2013.

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I do a fair bit of photo editing — everything from screenshots to engagement and wedding shoots — and there are some things that take way too long to do in Photoshop or any of its equivalents. One of those things is collages. Another one is setting up a background image.

In Photoshop, you’d have to create a background layer, adjust the colour, adjust the size of your next layer, and drag them around until it fit right. That’s great if you’re really particular and know exactly what you’re looking to do. But sometimes, you just want a really cool and quick way to show off your weekend at the beach. And you want it to take about ten seconds from conception to Facebook sensation. This is where Diptic comes in.

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As a guitarist, I’ve learned there are a few tools I consider to be essentials. They’re on me all the time. I’ve got the standards, like a pick in my wallet, even though the likelihood of me playing a stranger’s guitar is precisely 2% (and I already have fifty other spares in my guitar case). I’ve got a leather strap which feels great on my shoulder and never comes off my main electric guitar. And I’ve got my iPhone. With Agile Partners’ Guitar Toolkit app, I’ve got a great tuner on hand whenever I need it. The app’s loaded with tons of incredibly handy features, but let’s be honest: my main use is the for the insanely accurate tuner.

That’s why I was excited when Agile Partners got in touch with me to show off a preview of their newest Mac app. SteadyTune, as it’s been appropriately titled, is a multi-instrument tuner that lives in the menu bar of your Mac. How awesome is it? Read on to find out.

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I’m always a little bit bemused when I see reviews characterizing one app as the absolute best compared to another. I’ve been writing software reviews for a while now, and I’ve been a tech junkie for a significantly longer period of time. I’ve learned that there is rarely such thing as an absolute proof in the software world. In fact, there are usually compelling reasons to use as many apps you can get your hands on.

Photo management and editing software is the perfect example of this. I like Aperture and Lightroom — I recently gave Lightroom 5 a glowing review here at Mac.AppStorm. Professionals are also divided: Many use Aperture, but many others use Lightroom. There is no clear winner, and since the programs are mostly mutually exclusive, I decided to do a ton of workflow comparisons and some sleuthing to see if I could make them work together. (more…)

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