This isn’t going to be your typical Mac app review. Minecraft isn’t sold on the Mac App Store. It’s a cross-platform game that has over 3.5 million paid players across Windows, Mac, and Linux, making it one of the most wildly successful indie games in recent memory.

Minecraft is a creative/adventure sandbox game originally devised by independent Swedish game developer Markus Persson (known to the community as Notch) and continually developed by his company Mojang. Minecraft has its inspirations, but as a gamer, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a game quite like Minecraft gain so much steam and such a huge following. What makes it so great?

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Several months ago, I wrote this piece regarding the then-current state of syncing among Mac apps and their mobile counterparts. What I didn’t know at the time was that Apple was toiling away in the forges of 1 Infinite Loop on what we now eagerly look forward to as iCloud. In case you’ve been living under a rock, iCloud is Apple’s latest attempt at a cloud-based sync service. Though we all saw the tragic end to .Mac and MobileMe, iCloud shows quite a bit more promise.

Today, I’d like to explore what iCloud means for third party developers. Specifically, I want to outline the potential I see in iCloud, and where I would like to see it go with regard to third party software.

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If you’re a freelancer, you’re probably familiar with having to split your time between your work and the more managerial aspects of your business–like invoicing and bookkeeping. Here at AppStorm, we’re fond of the apps that take the edge off of this part of our day, and we’ve likely all used some sort of time tracker software. Usually, you have to create a client, and then a ticket, fill in all of the details of the project, and start a timer, all before getting to work. But what if you just want to get started and worry about all of that tedium later?

Enter Finch, a new kind of time tracking app from TouchStudios. Finch sits in your menubar or in your dock and automatically clocks the time you spend using each app.

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These days, it sometimes feels like I sign up for a new social network every single week. So many people I know work on a daily basis with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Flickr, LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube…the list goes on. Often, managing those networks is as big of a task as the actual work you have to get done. As a result, we’ve seen growth in an obvious market for apps and services that consolidate those networks and let you manage what gets shared and where.

Life Stream is a (very) young contender in this space, developed by Bloop. It attempts to integrate all of your social networks into one stream of social media information. How well does it execute this premise? Hit that “more” link to find out.

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Desktop clutter is a popular discussion topic for many computer users, and our AppStorm community here is no different. We’ve had a lot of discussion on the merits of keeping an organized digital workspace, as well as tools that will help you do it. OS X has built-in functionality to help you hide desktop files that you don’t need to see all the time, but that can lead to some confusing organization, since you’ll need to constantly be aware of the files you have hidden. So what’s a Mac lover to do?

Skedaddle is an app exclusively for hiding desktop content, and it is one of the most lightweight and efficient apps that does so.

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Almost all of our favorite to-do list apps these days have cloud components, either in the form of a free or pay-to-use browser-access service, or Mac/iOS apps that sync over the air with a pay-per-year plan (not to mention the future implications of iCloud). But what about a free-to-use system with Mac, iOS, and web browser access?

Enter NotifyMe, a cloud based to-do app for Mac and iOS from the folks over at PoweryBase. Once the apps for each device are purchased, the syncing service is free to use, and data is stored in the cloud for easy access from any computer via a browser portal. So how does NotifyMe stack up?

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Platform games were among the first games to be designed (after, of course, the simplicity of Pong). Ever since, people have been playing platformers for their low learning curve and, in many cases, their sheer addictiveness. Just because some of the best platform games are more than two decades old (I’m looking at you, Super Mario Bros. 3) doesn’t mean that developers aren’t still doing some impressive and innovative things with the genre.

Today I’ll take a look at eight platform games available on the Mac App Store that are either traditionally rock solid, or bringing something entirely new to the table.

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If you’re like me, Wikipedia isn’t just a resource, it’s a source of entertainment. I spend hours clicking through articles, learning everything from topics that concern me (music and social media) to niche subjects that could not be further from my field of expertise (Alexander the Great and Narcissus). While I do spend quite a bit of time on it, I have struggled to find a suitable desktop Wikipedia experience.

Today we’ll take a look at Wikibot, a simple and straightforward app that brings Wikipedia browsing to the desktop.

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It seems like there’s been an influx of RSS reader reviews here on AppStorm recently.  With great new (and sometimes novel) readers like Pulp or Reeder, we can’t help but get excited about them.  However, every now and then an RSS app comes out that doesn’t dabble with novel formats or unique interfaces.  They set out to achieve the simple goal of utility, and do it well.

MobileRSS is a Google Reader client that has long been popular on iOS devices, and now comes to Mac.  How does the desktop version hold up?

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Galcon Fusion is a strategy game sometimes described as “Risk, in space, in real-time.”  Players begin with a planet that generates a certain number of ships per minute (based on size), and must strategically use those ships to overpower the forces of opponents in order to seize control of all planets on the map.  When moving ships between planets, you can choose any percentage between 5% and 100% (in increments of 5%) that represents the size of the fleet leaving the planet.

As a long time fan of gaming (real-time strategy games, in particular), I was excited to get my hands dirty with the Mac/iPad follow-up to the popular Galcon for iPhone.  Galcon Fusion carries on the same concept as the original, but bringing it to the bigger screen, along with several new game modes.

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