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Tessa Thornton

Freelance web developer and writer based in Toronto, Canada

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I’ve been using Reeder since the very beginning, since back when it was just a wee little app with no subscription management or automatic refresh.

Since that first public beta, reeder has grown from a buggy iOS port to a fully-featured, beautiful Google Reader client. There’s no shortage of Mac RSS applications, and many have developed loyal fanbases across many niches. In this crowded market, can reeder really offer something new?

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We all struggle with procrastination from time to time, especially when overwhelmed with the size or scope of a project. There have been a number of studies and books written lately about the benefits of working for shorter periods of time, with regular short breaks in between. In combination with setting specific small goals to accomplish, this technique is supposed to help you stay focused on the task without getting overwhelmed, and makes you less likely to procrastinate.

The developers of Vitamin-R aimed to create an unobtrusive menu-bar app to help you manage your “time slices” and breaks, while encouraging you to stay focused on small tasks. Vitamin-R integrates many of the ideas described by these new productivity techniques into its functionality, but can it really help you stay focused?

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The internet has opened up a whole new world of recipes, available to anyone, anytime, without the need for piles of sauce-stained cookbooks. With so many amazing recipes out there, it can be hard to keep track of your favourites. Some people are content to use bookmarks, but what if you want to keep your recipes more organized, or want to add recipes of your own?

MacGourmet is designed as an “iTunes for your recipes”, allowing you to import, store, sort and update a huge library of recipes. Can an app take the place of a stack of recipe books and loose hand-writen recipes? Find out after the jump.
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A couple weeks back, I reviewed an app called Yep, a scanning and tagging app for managing documents. I love the idea of tags and am just starting to harness their power in other apps like Things and Evernote, and nudge:nudge’s Punakea attempts to offer tagging support for documents and folders of any kind.

I purchased this app in a bundle a couple months ago, and I’m sure there are many other people out there who have this app sitting in their applications folder unused like I did, so perhaps it’s time to take a look at what it can do!

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It is a rare but welcome occasion when an app is developed to do something I’ve always wanted an app to do. Fantastical is precisely that app. Often, when adding an event to iCal, getting frustrated with date and time fields, and giving up on adding any details but the name, I’ve pondered “shouldn’t there be another way?”

The developers of Fantastical have endeavoured to answer this plea with a menu-bar iCal tie-in promising the ability to quickly add events in natural language.

Upon further research, I learned that Fantastical wasn’t the first app to offer such a handy feature, apps like the cheaper QuickCal promise the same features. So, is Fantastical fantastic enough to justify the price?

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I’ll be honest: the past 18 years of school have made me a forgetful, disorganized, unmotivated procrastinator. Since I like shiny, pretty interfaces and putting off doing work, I’ve spent a lot of time looking into various GTD and to-do list apps. During the school year, I used a full-featured GTD app (Things) to track and organize dozens of readings, assignments and exams.

However, now that school’s out and I’m freelancing a lot more, Things is starting to seem a bit excessive, and I’m still waiting on the promised iPhone cloud-sync. Enter SpeedTask, the iPhone-turned-Mac to-do list app that promises clever, easy-to-use features and powerful cloud sync.

SpeedTask deserves to be looked at from three different angles: as a Mac app, as an iPhone app, and as a cloud-syncing solution, so we’ll discuss each feature one at a time.

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If you’re anything like me, your downloads folder is a huge mess of disorganized PDFs, Word documents, Keynote presentations and text files with uninformative names like form.doc and scan0111.pdf.

To clean up this mess, Ironic Software developed Yep, promising iPhoto/iTunes-like management for your documents

I’m a die-hard Alfred fan, and when I’m being good and giving my documents appropriate names, it’s a huge help. However, when I’m downloading and reading dozens of documents on a short deadline, all my good habits go out the window with my to-do list.

Yep claims to be the document organizer for the lazy and forgetful among us, find out if it delivers after the jump!

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On my 13-inch MacBook Pro, screen real estate is at a premium, so I often have a hard time seeing all the windows I need to see at once. BetterSnapTool aims to help organize windows on your Mac for more efficient multitasking, or for working with multiple apps at once.

Since Windows 7 introduced Snap, several Mac apps have surfaced to mimic its window-resizing behavior, including Cinch, SizeUp, and Divvy.

BetterSnapTool is the new kid on the block — how does it compare?

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When you open up your computer to get to work, you open up a world of distractions. As a writer, you could just pick up pen and paper, and forgo the entire digital realm – until, that is, you have to type up what you’ve written and double your workload. Minimalist writing apps like Byword attempt to recreate the simplicity of the pen-and-paper experience while supplying the benefits of digital convenience.

Whether or not these apps are necessary is itself a whole argument (Kevin Whipps’ article proved that people are very passionate about their workflows) but love them or hate them, how does ByWord stack up? Read on to find out whether it’s worth giving a try!

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When running your own business, it can be extremely helpful to have a system for keeping track of progress, tasks, documents, contacts, etc. There are many apps available that help facilitate project, client and customer management like Daylite, Elements, or Outlook.

These apps fall into a category called CRM, or Customer Relation Management apps, which is a fancy way of describing the management of people and projects in a business.  Relationship from Jumsoft aims to help organize projects, team members and customers with a powerful feature set in a native Mac app environment.

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