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Stef Gonzaga

Stef wears many hats during the day. Her favorites include the writer, the freelancer, the Literature major, the app fanatic, the poet and the chocoholic.

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Here at Mac.Appstorm, we love finding apps that can simplify our work — especially when it comes to Markdown writing apps that make it easier to craft our articles. We’ve looked at 35 unique Markdown apps for the Mac — a series of editors, previewers, and other categories where Markdown can be applied. Adding to the list is 9Muses’ Erato ($5.99). It’s a simple and minimalistic app designed for editing and viewing your Markdown documents side-by-side, following the split-screen concept adopted by apps like Mou and Markdown Pro.

Besides its beautiful and simple design, what sets Erato apart is how it offers additional support for Github-flavoured Markdown syntax and YAML front matter. But while these may be its unique selling points, Erato as a Markdown editor isn’t as powerful as Mou or other more robust editors. And after testing the app, I realised that it still has to iron out a few bugs, particularly with how it converts Markdown to HTML.

Let me walk you through the app to show you what I mean. (more…)

Password managers are one of the many answers to the public’s need for higher security, particularly against account hacking and the occasional snooping around. On the Mac, Agile Bits’ 1Password 3 stands as the leader of the group with contenders like the simpler Passlocker and the free alternative LastPass coming up close.

Recently, I came across oneSafe by Lunabee Pte Ltd., a brand new addition to the list of password managers. I’ve been a 1Password user for as long as I can remember, so I was curious to see what oneSafe has that sets it apart. But more than just looking at the app’s features, I’ll evaluate how it fairs against 1Password and see if it has what it takes to become a game changer of its niche. (more…)

Facebook means many things to people—a platform to grow your brand, a place to do business, or a tool to spread advocacy campaigns. To me, it’s where I house portions of my personal life, and so I share hilarious videos of my tot singing Grace Potter’s “Something That I Want” or photos of my kids’ milestones to family and friends.

But because I use Facebook for completely non-professional networking, I don’t always log in and “connect” with these people. If I have a photo or a video worth sharing, I just pull up Facebook, upload it to an album, tag people, and make my exit as soon as it’s done. Call me antisocial, but the busy newsfeed, crowded profile page, overly stacked up sidebar, and noisy (sometimes dumbing) content being shared left and right makes me want to run for the hills.

That is, until I gave Moment a try. It’s a menu bar app that aims to “reinvent the way you post to Facebook” through easy drag and drop. I’ve used it for a while now and I’m impressed with the app so far. It certainly went over and above my expectations of a Facebook-related application with features that I’m very excited to share with you in this review. (more…)

Let’s be honest, Apple’s calculator app nearly as appealing as the other stock apps on the Mac; heck, it even falls short against its iOS counterpart. With just the basic functions available, it’s one of the least used (not to mention forgettable) apps on my computer. And of all things, it has a Dashboard sidekick that’s even more forgettable.

On the flip side, this can mean more breathing room for more flexible and powerful mathematical tools for the Mac. In fact, a quick search on the Mac App Store shows a wide range of apps to choose from, ranging from scientific to purpose-specific calculators.

One of these that I’m interested in is Numi by Dmitry Nikolaev & Co, a menubar app that moves away from the typical way we use calculators by incorporating text into computation. The idea is that calculations can be made more comprehensive by adding text into the process, and so it is easier to see and understand how we’d arrive at the result.

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Since 2004, I’ve used Skype for free calls and instant messaging between friends, clients, and loved ones abroad. And because of brand loyalty, it took a while till I was convinced to try other communication apps, particularly mobile-based VoIP software like WhatsApp and Viber.

Between the two, I leaned towards Viber for its smooth user interface, the fact that it’s free to use with no ads lurking around, and how it works similarly to the way we’d call or SMS everyday. Unlike Skype’s mobile app, using Viber is like using a phone bumped with free calls and texts forever. And with over 200 million users and counting, it’s certainly becoming a strong contender against big names like Skype.

Well, that impression didn’t take long to seed as Viber announced its release of desktop versions (OS X and Windows) of the mobile app, both of which bring its best features to the desktop, along with video calling (still in beta) and call transfers from desktop to mobile. With this, Viber has taken another big step to becoming a potential alternative to Skype and many other desktop VoIP software. (more…)

Unit conversion has always been a task I would delegate to the web, since Google handles it so well. Whenever I need to convert kilometers to miles, inches to feet, and Philippine peso to any other currency, I would simply type the units in the search bar and wait for the results to appear.

There’s tons of unit conversion apps out there (we even have a roundup of calculators and converters for the Mac), but it didn’t seem like a necessity to buy or download one. I then came across Converto, one of FLIPLAB’s newer and free Mac utilities, and decided to give it a test run.

Could Converto finally break the ice and stand as the best unit converter for the Mac? Read on to find out.

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It’s been three years since making the big switch to the Mac, and within those thirty-six months I’ve tried numerous apps that have significantly changed the way I work. I’ve gotten my hands dirty with a variety of productivity tools, finance software, utilities, and photo/image editing apps of various shapes, colors, and file sizes that it’s taken me a while to actually find the apps that I can settle down with.

I’ve pretty much filled up fifteen pages of purchase history, but I’ve managed to find a couple of apps that have become integral to my workflow as a writer and an avid user of the web. These apps have won my loyalty, and I’m glad to be able to shine the spotlight on them in this week’s The Apps We Use feature.
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Have you ever wanted to share a link or a status update to more than one social networking account? You’d either have to copy and paste your message, or sign up for a social sharing app like Hootsuite or Buffer. I haven’t seen anything similar designed for the Mac until I came across a nifty menu bar app called Crosspost.

Similar to the simplistic Twitter app Wren with a little bit more to offer, Crosspost brings convenient sharing to users who’d post to multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts. It caters to the needs of the Mac social butterfly by enabling “cross-posting” to Twitter and Facebook profiles/pages from the comforts of the menu bar. Simple call out the app from the menu bar, type your message, select the accounts to share to, then click on the blue Post button.

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Cute eyes, button nose, a sweet smile—I must admit that I was drawn to BlankDesk’s Noted and its adorable app icon. Officially launched just a couple of months back, it’s a “simple, yet powerful note taking app” that may just bring something interesting and useful to the round table of notes apps.

In spite of the fact that there are many (maybe even too many) notes apps for the Mac, I wondered if Noted could have something that other notes applications lacked. I’m sure you’re asking the same questions as you’re reading this: What new features does Noted bring to the table? Is it capable of doing all and more than what my existing notes app can do? And why does Noted look like the foster child of Evernote and Notational Velocity?

Let’s find out.

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As a blogger, I’m always anticipating new apps that could take on a fresh approach to desktop blogging. Desktop blogging apps for the Mac are merely by the handful, leaving users with just a couple of blogging apps that can create and publish posts with ease. We’ve got MarsEdit 3, MacJournal, and Ecto as top recommendations, but the fact is we haven’t seen anything new in this sector of the app market for quite a while.

You can imagine my excitement then when I came across BlogEasy, a minimal desktop blogging app that publishes to WordPress blogs. Will this app finally break the silence and provide bloggers with something new and innovative to play with? Let’s find out.

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