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Reid Leamaster

PhD candidate and freelance writer who loves to use and review Mac and iOS apps.

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It has been a while since we reviewed Pear Note and several readers have requested we take another look at the app. When we looked at Pear Note back in 2010 it was a 1.x version, but is now into version 3. Pear Note is not your all around note taking app, but for certain note taking uses it’s the best option available.

Read on to find out how this note taker has evolved and if it can be useful for your note taking needs. (more…)

Todoist—the popular online task management app—recently came out with a Mac desktop app available through the Mac App Store. The app is free, so I gave it a test run. While the app does have a couple of nice features such as a quick add shortcut and a menu bar icon that shows the number of due and overdue tasks, I quickly reverted to using Todoist with Fluid.

In case you haven’t heard, Fluid is a great utility that allows Mac users to turn any web app into a de facto desktop app, or Fluid App. Read on to discover my handy Todoist/Fluid set-up, as well as some other use cases for Fluid.

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I know what many of you are probably thinking. Another notes app? Really? But Notebooks is truly a unique take on a notes app, enough to pay attention to. Notebooks started out as a powerful note taking / task management / file storage app on iOS. Demand for a desktop version with similar features prompted the Notebooks team to put out beta versions of Notebooks for Mac and PC.

I have had my eye on the iOS version of this app for a while now and jumped at the chance to test out the beta version for Mac. Comparing Notebooks to two of its main competitors, Evernote and Simplenote, I would say it is more Evernote than Simplenote, but still very distinct. Read on to find out more about this compelling note app.

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After the holiday break, and with students heading into the new semester, many of us are trying to catch up on research for writing projects. Keeping track of sources for accurate citations is an important but time consuming part of research. Consequently, there are quite a few apps available to help organize citation libraries. Literature is a new app that seeks to provide a low cost alternative to other reference managing apps.

Currently, Mac users can choose from four main apps to organize their reference libraries: Endnote ($249.95), Papers ($79), Sente ($129.95), and Bookends ($99). Mendeley is also a viable free alternative with many useful features. At $19.99, Literature cannot compete with the feature sets available at the high end of this app category. Instead, it attempts to create a streamlined alternative that will attract users wary of the high price tags listed above. Let’s see how well it can fill in this segment of the market.

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With the new year coming up, Mac AppStorm wants to make sure you get introduced to apps that will make you more productive in 2013. Mind mapping apps just may be the type of tool you need to boost your productivity in the upcoming year. From project management to presentations to brainstorming, mind mapping apps are flexible tools that assist users in storing and processing information of all types.

This review includes two apps that take a more minimalist, simplistic approach to mind mapping—MindNode and SimpleMind—and two apps that take a more power user approach—XMind and NovaMind. Read on to find out which app may best fit your needs.

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2Do has been a mainstay among iOS task managers for quite sometime. Previously, editing tasks in 2Do was limited to using Toodledo’s web interface—for many users this is a less than ideal experience. Consequently, many 2Do users have been anticipating a desktop app for sometime. That day’s finally come, and 2Do for Mac is finally here.

How did this popular iOS app transition over to OS X? Pretty well I would say, as you can probably tell from the title. In this review I’ll compare 2Do with two popular competitors, Appigo’s Todo and The Hit List, and we’ll see how it holds up.

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Outliners are handy for a lot of different things: task lists, outlining longer manuscripts, or note taking to name a few. For some users, bullet list functions available in your standard work processor or note taking app are all you need, while other users prefer the functions provided by dedicated outlining apps.

If you are—or think you might be—in the latter category, read on to for a review of three of the top outlining apps. We’ve taken Scribe, Tree, and OmniOutliner Standard for a run and compared their features in-depth, so you can find the best Mac outlining app for your needs.

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One source of frustration for Mac users, especially those switching over from Windows, is the inability to switch between windows of an application using command + tab. Fortunately, many developers have come to the rescue offering solutions that allow for switching between open applications and windows within the same app using a keyboard shortcut.

One such application is Optimal Layout . But to think of Optimal Layout as just an application switcher would be a serious understatement of this app’s capabilities. It’s more of an application / window switcher plus all-around window manager. This app has become indispensable for me in my daily computing. It is set to open at login and seems so natural to OS X that in my mind its functions should be standard in in the OS. Read on to find out why this app fits so well into daily computing on OS X.

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Alfred is awesome. Over the last couple of years this app launcher has garnered a substantial and loyal following, and its easy to see why. It’s an awesome app launcher in its own right, but as we have noted elsewhere, with the Alfred Powerpack, this app becomes much more awesome. It turns into a clipboard manager, iTunes player, file browser, and with a bit of tweaking, the ultimate notes manager.

Whether you prefer to manage notes with Mountain Lion’s native Notes app, or would rather keep notes in plain text files, Alfred has you covered. Read on to find out how to turn Alfred into the ultimate notes manager.

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Have you ever searched the Mac App Store for task management apps? If not, go check real quick; we’ll wait. Surprising, isn’t it? There’s literally hundreds of results. Outside of the mainstays (Things, Omnifocus, and Wunderlist to name a few) there are some diamonds in the rough out there, great apps that might not be as polished but deserve more than simply being ignored in the App Store. Onlytasks may just be your diamond in the rough.

By implementing several unique features—such as Evernote sync and Calendar integration—Onlytask provides an appealing option in the task management category. Odds are, you’ve never tried it before, so let’s take a look.

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