Apple products have long been hailed as great tools for education.  It hasn’t been too long since I was a student myself, and even since then some of my favorite Mac software has been apps aimed at students.  Because developers see the market for this, students have access to great apps like iProcrastinate for task management, Papers for project management, and even Schoolhouse for all-in-one student productivity.  If your academic app arsenal lacks a good note-taking app, Dear Panda aims to fill that gap with CourseNotes.

CourseNotes is a lightweight, yet robust note-taking app for students.  It is designed to eliminate the hassle of keeping track of your notes by organizing them into subjects and sessions, as well as making them fully searchable.  CourseNotes also has a companion iPad app that syncs with the Mac counterpart, but more on that later.
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It seems like there is a sector of Mac software that can bring out the hidden enthusiast in any of us.  There are media player apps, productivity apps, finance apps, and even apps to organize and catalog all of your real-world belongings.  Sometimes, however, the most interesting apps are the ones that take an activity that we often don’t think about, and do something completely different.  Today, the app in question caters to our inner weather junkie.

Swackett touts itself as “a different kind of weather app,” a category into which it fits quite nicely.  Checking the weather before heading out for the day can be quite a time consuming task.  When you live in a place where the weather could change at a moments notice, a “Today’s High” isn’t enough to determine what outfit will be appropriate.  Swackett aims to remedy the tedium of climate calculation by presenting the day’s weather to you in terms of your wardrobe, rather than simply in degrees.
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Let me be frank. Full, up-front disclosure: I’m not a graphic designer or a photographer. I know very little–all things considered–about light, exposure, hue, saturation and filters and all of those other things that prolific users of Photoshop concern themselves with.

What’s interesting is that it ended up seeming as though it were these precise qualities (or lack there of) that made my reviewing Imagerie rather fitting. App4Mac set out design an image editor for every day use–for people without the expertise needed for professional grade image editing software. For people like me.

But is Imagerie the tool for the lay-persons image editing needs?

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The productivity app space yields what can only be described as an embarrassment of riches these days, but is there something for everyone amongst the goods?

iProcrastinate is a productivity/to do list app clearly geared toward students.  It appears to be a one man show over at craigotis.com, but the results seem solid.  My first experience for iProcrastinate was way back before a major UI redesign, and (I believe) while the app was originally available for the first generation jailbroken iPod touch.

The app has come a long way since then, but what does it have to offer in the ever expanding sea of productivity tools?

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In the mobile, digital world in which we live, it is more important than ever to have your data, calendar appointments, contacts, notes, and to do lists up-to-date, no matter where you are or what device you are using.

In a perfect world (for me, anyway), all of the software I use would stay synced with MobileMe (and MobileMe would be free!). Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and different software developers provide different services and methods for keeping the desktop and mobile versions of their apps in sync.

So what are the options, and which one is best?

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The end of 2010 saw the release of the new Skype 5 Beta for Mac. While a lot of the functionality has already been available in the PC version for a while now, it’s the Mac version that matters to us, right?

The initial beta wasn’t unanimously well-received on account of the unusually spaced interface and clunky changes, but it’s improved significantly between the original beta and the full version now available.

I got my hands dirty with the build for about a month, testing the pros and cons, and I have to say, Skype’s now-out-of-beta release has a pretty strong ‘pros’ list.

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If you, like me, sometimes find distraction in anything and everything other than your work, paring down your digital workspace to maximize productivity can be a daunting task. Fortunately, Mac OS X comes with some built-in tools that you can use to combat your lack of willpower. These tools are cleverly disguised as Parental Controls.

Sure, OS X’s built-in Parental Controls may be used to monitor and limit your child’s usage of your Mac, but I’ve found that some crafty tinkering can turn this set of options into a powerful way of managing your distractions and keeping yourself on-task. The following set of steps is meant to be a guide on how to set up Parental Controls to increase your productivity, but feel free to amend the guide based on the distractions you need to eliminate most.

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Way back when I first became aware of the existence of a technology that could allow mobile handset-handset video chatting, my mind was thoroughly blown. Surely this was something that was only possible in the movies, and couldn’t exist in the real world, right?

But it was indeed possible. And long after it first became possible, Apple did what they always do, and refined power and utility down to awesomeness and perfection.

With the announcement of the iPhone 4, Apple announced to eagerly awaiting fans everywhere that their mobile device to trump all mobile devices would be capable of video chatting.

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What is it that grabs you about your favorite Mac app? Is it the extensive feature list, or the attractive user interface, perhaps? Our favorite Mac applications make use of a variety of things that make them great, but relatively little can impact the usability of an app more than the inclusion of seemingly insignificant integration features.

I’m talking about those little features that you almost never notice, until you use an app that doesn’t have them—features like an automatic move-to-applications-folder on download, or in-app updating.

These features can make or break the integration of an app into your daily workflow, so it’s important for developers to understand the necessity for them.

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Third party blogs provide a valuable way to find out about new software and, in the same way, a developer’s own blog is crucial for staying informed about the development process of your favourite apps. It is arguably the same tool that we use to share, review, and use great Mac applications that has also driven the increased importance of communication between a developer and a user.

Successful software developers are fully aware of this relationship, but what happens when a developer fails to uphold this tried-and-true method of communication? My assertion: pay for independently developed software at your own risk.

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