Good apps for musicians that don’t cost an arm and a leg are hard to come by on the Mac — perhaps owing to the fact that Apple provides a fine one with every computer in GarageBand. But there’s no one-size-fits-all music creation apps, since we all have different needs and use cases.
Tabular bridges the two core prongs of creating music. It’s a composition and notation app, suited to writing and editing music for multiple instruments with both tablature and the modern stave/staff format. But it’s also a MIDI reader and a practice tool, specifically geared toward — but not limited to only — guitarists and drummers.
Before Halo rocketed to system-selling success, before Marathon showed how an intricate story could weave into an action-heavy first-person shooter, it was 1993 release Pathways into Darkness that put Bungie on the map. The company’s third game, PiD combined the first-person action of id Software’s Wolfenstein 3D with an exploration-focused adventure game.
It was a revelation, quickly reaching bestseller status and earning plaudits across the Mac-focused press. And now you can play it in OS X (without an emulator), courtesy of a port by Mark Levin and Bruce Morrison. I’ve spent the past few weeks struggling through its many twisty passages, and am pleased to report that it’s still a great game.
But boy is it hard — brutally so. Allow me to walk you through a little of Pathways into Darkness’s legacy and gameplay, and to explain why — difficulty aside — you should seriously consider giving it a try.
John Calhoun’s original Glider — dating back to 1988 — may well be my favorite game. Quintessentially Mac in style, it put you in charge of a paper airplane in a rundown, dilapidated house. You needed simply to stay afloat, lifted by air vents, and try to reach the window leading to freedom.
It was a game of wits, and patience, and it’s one of the most innately-charming pieces of entertainment I’ve ever encountered. The shareware series earned a dedicated fan-base and awards from Mac magazines through its five main installments, culminating in a commercial release (Glider PRO, 1994), then gradually faded into the background … that is, until Glider Classic for iOS was released in late 2011, which was followed up last year by a Mac version simply called Glider.
Let’s see how this throwback stands up — both to modern standards and to the nostalgia of Glider games past.
City-building games got complicated really fast after SimCity 2000 released nearly 20 years ago. They remain a joy to play, but the best ones tend to come with steep learning curves.
Not so for the Virtual City series, however, as it adopts a more casual tilt on the genre. Virtual City 2: Paradise Resort offers a compact city-building experience and a lengthy scenario-based campaign to dig your mouse into. Whether you’re waiting for the new SimCity to drop on OS X or looking for an alternative city builder with a different approach, it’s worth a closer look.
Barely a week after I reviewed the promising prototype release of Evernote viewing app Bubble Browser, we were sent code for its first major update. I’ve been playing around with it for long enough now that I can confidently say it’s a big step forward.
Bubble Browser 2 addresses many of my concerns with the previous version — with a more polished interface, improved filtering and navigation, and a few new features — but it’s not yet the app I hoped for. Let’s see what’s changed, what’s still lacking, and how the improvements stack up.
With two Macs on rotation — an iMac and a MacBook Air — plopped on top of 20 years on Apple’s side of the operating system fence, I’ve come to use a lot of apps. More even than I can think of off the top of my head, in fact. But some stick out as essential daily drivers, without which I’d struggle to get anything done.
Here’s a choice selection of the apps I use and rely upon nearly every day.
Evernote may be a brilliant tool for creating text, audio, and image-based notes that live in the cloud, but it’s still not so great when it comes time to actually browse through all of your notes — especially the older ones.
Bubble Browser tries to fix this problem, organizing your notes via colorful bubbles and presenting them in a three-panel browser that make it easy to explore Evernote visually. It’s a bit lacking in a few areas, and could do with more features, but its cool interface and straightforward navigation may be worth the price of admission alone.
Mac gamers always get shortchanged when it comes to big releases. We typically get blockbuster titles after everyone else, while the smaller commercial games rarely make it over at all. That’s been changing over the past few years, thanks to the impact of Steam, the Mac App Store, iOS converts, and cross-platform support from indies. But we still end up late to the party more often than not.
Here’s over a dozen recently-released (i.e., since 2011) Mac games that took so long to reach our fairer platform that the party’s already packed up and ended for Windows and console gamers. Don’t be fooled by their age, though — as the cream of the crop from the last decade in PC gaming, they’re more than worth your attention.
It can be a bit of a nightmare trying to manage a Kindle with a large ebook collection. You can organize them into categories on the device, but that’s frustratingly slow. You could use the official Kindle app, but that’ll only cover you for Amazon-purchased ebooks.
Enter Scida, a new app for organizing your ebooks and putting them on your Kindle(s). It makes managing Kindle ebooks a breeze, but this initial release is a bit light on features. Let’s take a look.
I never liked OS X’s Spaces. Even in Snow Leopard, before Apple overly simplified their implementation of multiple desktops, I felt that something was missing. I could never make Spaces work the way I wanted, and it only got worse when Lion removed the option to arrange spaces in a grid.