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Merry Christmas!

It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone already! And yet, it’s been a great year. Apple showed us they’re still serious about pro users — and, of course, tested our faith with iWork. And then, 3rd party developers did their best again this year, amazing us with great new apps and updates. There’s so many apps that it’s hard to imagine we didn’t have last year — and old favorites that have become even dearer to us.

Whether you got a new Mac today, or perhaps got an App Store gift card that’s burning a hole in your pocket, or just happen to have some holiday downtime and would like to try out some new apps, here’s the very best app reviews, op-eds, and more from Mac.AppStorm this year. So get your reading later app ready, and enjoy!

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year, croons Andry Williams, and if free stuff makes your day, that’s never more true than online during the Holidays. There’s giveaways galore — and for the next 30 hours or so, there’s a giveaway that’s come all the way from 1997 to wish you a happy 2013 holiday season.

The GOG team — the people behind the DRM free game store that re-releases classic games for the Mac and PC — have just launched their 2013 DRM-Free Winter Sale with over 600 games discounted by at least 50%. There’s different deals available every day, with everything from sets of classic games to discounts on newer games like Papers, Please and Faster Than Light. There’s apps for every genre and taste — relive classic sims with SimCity 2000 and Rollercoaster Tycoon, or take on Duke Nukem 3D, all with steep discounts. Each deal’s for a limited time, so you’ll need to hurry and grab the games you want when you see they’re discounted.

But the very best deal is just for today, so you’d better hurry and grab it. From now until 1:59PM GMT on Saturday, you can get Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics for free from GOG. These classic post-apocryphal RPG games would normally sale for $29 on GOG, and you can now download the whole set for nothing. Each game is dated — original Fallout is now 16 years old — but hey: how can you pass up an opportunity to get what Gamespot called “one of the best role-playing games to be released in several years” back when they reviewed it?

Be sure to tell all of your gaming friends — here’s your chance to almost give them a Christmas gift for free! And hey, even if you miss out on this giveaway, you might as well add some holiday cheer and pick up a few discounted games from the still ongoing sale through the end of the holiday season. You’ll even be able to vote on the deals you’d like to see, and could check some special people off your holiday gift list by gifting them a game or three while saving money yourself.

From an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign early last year to its initial release as a web app with a dark, bubbly plastic design last year to a streamlined, lighter and brighter iOS app earlier this year, Mail Pilot has had quite the journey so far in its short life. And now, that journey has finally brought it to the Mac in a native app that brings another hint of what an iOS 7 redesigned OS X could look like.

At every step, the core idea was still at play: your inbox is filled with things you need to do, so why not treat it like a to-do list? You could then check off emails you’ve completed (say, just read the message and noted the info, or replied if that’s needed), schedule emails to clear off later, and keep a list of messages you’ll need to come back to. It’s designed to simplify your email, and is now ready for you to try on your Mac.

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Turkey Day 2013 is over, and now it’s time for the biggest savings of the year: Black Friday and its close cousin Cyber Monday. And, as usual, there’s more than enough incredible deals to go around. There’s Apple Store gift cards if you buy a new Mac, steep discounts on App Store apps, and much more. Best of all, the majority of them are open to anyone, anywhere — even if you’re not in the US, there’s plenty of Black Friday offers for everyone!

Here’s the very best deals for apps and gadgets we love and recommend — but hurry, most of the deals are only for today or this weekend!

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It’s been quite some time since I’ve used Firefox on a daily basis. It simply hasn’t felt that Macish in a while, especially since Apple gave us the minimal scrollbars and multitouch gestures in Safari with OS X Lion. And if you want the latest apps and extensions, Google Chrome’s the browser with the most action these days. Firefox seemed left to being the default browser on Ubuntu, and not much else.

Yet, Firefox — the descendant of Netscape — was the original alternate browser for most of us back when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer was king of the land. In today’s Webkit-dominated landscape, it’s still the leading alternate that’s paving its own path to rendering the web. It’s hard to want to lose that.

That’s why Australis, the new Firefox redesign that’s coming in Firefox 28, is so exciting. It’s got UI innovations that keep Firefox unique and exciting, along with more OS X integration that ever that make it feel a perfect part of your Mac. And it’s ready to use today if you’re brave enough to rely on nightly alpha releases of a browser.

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Your Mac and iOS devices include the oddly named “Find my iPhone” service that’ll let you track and remotely wipe any of your Apple devices from your iCloud account. It’s a great service that’s already helped many work with law enforcement to get their devices back, and many more protect their data even when their device isn’t recoverable. But, of course, you’ve invested hundreds and even thousands of dollars into your devices, so it’d only make sense to do the best you can to make sure you can recover your devices if they’re ever stolen.

Hidden is a device tracking service we’ve reviewed several years ago, and found that it worked really great for tracking your device and more if it ever happened to get stolen. It automatically takes pictures of the thief and screenshots of what they’re doing on your Mac, and lets you see them online from anywhere along with a map of where your device currently is located. And now, with the just-released Hidden 2, it’ll track keystrokes and active processes on your stolen Mac, and works great on OS X Mavericks.

Most interestingly, it also works on iOS devices, so you can track your Mac, iPad, and iPhone all from the same Hidden account. On the Mac, of course, Hidden can run as a background process, but on iOS it doesn’t have the same freedoms. Instead, it uses the background location service on your iOS device to track your device if you report it as stolen, and then triggers a fake alarm notification on the device. When the thief tries to turn the alarm off, it’ll launch the app and take a photo of the thief, just like it would on the Mac. It’s an ingenious solution to track all of your devices with a bit more features than you’d get from Apple’s Find my iPhone.

And, this month, you can sign up for Hidden for 15% off — that’d let you track 1 device for just $1/month, or 5 devices for $3 month. Just sign up for the free trial, and use the coupon code NOVEMBER15 to keep your devices safe on the cheap. That’s a great way to keep your devices a bit safer.

Half of the world assumes that Email is dead or at least dying, while the other half of us desperately search for the Next Best Email App™. Mail.app’s a pretty great email app — especially for power users — now that its Gmail integration got fixed, and Airmail’s winning acclaim as the Sparrow replacement everyone’s been waiting for with its customizable UI. There’s also the new Unibox that aims to simplify email even more where you’ll never need to archive or file messages, and old standbys like Postbox and Outlook.

And then, there’s MailMate, a power-user email app that’d I’d managed to not notice until it was mentioned in a recent AppStorm comment. It’s lightweight, insanely fast, and is packed with keyboard shortcuts, advanced search and smart mailboxes, Markdown support, and more that make it the ultimate power-user email app. And now, its developer is raising funds on Indiegogo to make v2 better than ever.

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Ever since Google bought out Sparrow, we’ve been hoping for a new best-in-class email app for the Mac. We listed the elusive .Mail as one of the main apps we hoped to see released in 2013, but alas, nothing has materialized to date.

That’s no reason for doom-and-gloom. Instead, there’s an updated Mail.app in OS X Mavericks, along with the just-released Unibox and Airmail 1.2. Plus, there’s a public beta of Mail Pilot for Mac coming soon. Here’s the latest email choices on the Mac, with enough options that almost everyone should find a mail app they like for now.

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Did you watch today’s Apple Event live? Well we did, and just in case you missed something, here’s EVERYTHING that happened today in one convenient place. Ready? We bet you are. Then let’s go! (more…)

We’re used to syncing — so used to it, in fact, that it’s more strange when an app doesn’t sync on its own or over iCloud these days than anything. But for native apps, that’s typically where it ends. Even in new “cloud” offerings for the Mac, such as Adobe’s Creative Cloud, the only part of the app that’s online is the file and setting sync (and the fact you can download apps, but that’s anything but new). Web apps, even ones with native app counterparts, have the advantage of always running online, so they can often have nice extras like collaboration and options to add stuff via email and more.

The Omni Group is well known for their Mac and Web apps, but they also make a little free extra online service for their apps: the Omni Sync Server. It’s what powers OmniPresence, their new iCloud-like document sync service, and is also the default way to sync OmniFocus if you don’t choose to use your own server for syncing. And they’ve now taken that sync server and added something you’d expect from an online productivity app: Mail Drop.

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