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Flat design is all the rage these days, but back in 1984, flat was all there was. And back then, the Mac shipped with an acclaimed paint application: MacPaint. The legendary app showed the world that computers could, indeed, be the bicycle for the mind that Steve Jobs wanted so desperately.

Today’s TextEdit was the successor to Mac OS Classic’s SimpleEdit, but MacPaint never got a 21st century upgrade. That is, until now. Cloudpaint is a new web app that nearly perfectly replicates MacPaint in any modern browser — and it’s a ton of fun to play with. (more…)

‘Tis the season for design-friendly web tools, with Google making a free Web Designer app and Hype 2 making it simpler than ever to create beautiful HTML5 animations. But several weeks ago, a preview of an app caught my eye with its attempts to make normal web design simple for anyone with an eye for design: Macaw.

Advertised as an app with the flexibility of an image editor but designed for making clean CSS and HTML code, Macaw looks like the web design tool we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the simplicity that tools like Frontpage advertised years ago, but with the clean, modern code that otherwise would take hours in a text editor. Pulling off such an auditions project, though, isn’t so simple, which is why they started a Kickstarter campaign yesterday to fund their efforts to make Macaw and bring it to the Mac and PC.

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We’re used to Google launching free new web services (and shutting them down) on a whim, so it was rather odd yesterday to see that Google had released a new free desktop app: Google Web Designer. Designed for Mac and PC, without even a version for Google’s own Chromebooks or perhaps Android tablets, Google Web Designer looks like an Adobe app and feels like a blast from the past.

Actually, though, it’s intended to blast away a technology who’s time is long past: Adobe Flash. It’s free, and it’s called a Web Designer, but it’s directly designed to help you make animated and responsive HTML5 ads for Google’s DoubleClick ad platform, presumably both to cure the web from the last vestiges of Flash and to help ads on Google’s platforms get clicks on mobile.

But hey: it’s also essentially a basic free version of Hype that you could use to make animations for your site, even if you’re not advertising with Google.

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Missing a bill payment is more than just frustrating — it can be a very expensive experience thanks to overdue fees, not to mention the inconvenience if your utilities get cut off. But then, there’s no reason to forget to pay your bills nowadays. You could add calendar reminders or put your bills in your todo list or Reminders.app.

Or, you could use Chronicle, the Mac app for keeping track of your bills. With its brand-new iCloud sync and a fully redesigned companion iOS app that looks great in iOS 7, its the best way to keep track of all your bills and more.

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We’re two days into Fall 2013, and Apple’s promised for months now that OS X Mavericks is “Coming this fall”. Mavericks isn’t here yet, but after a blockbuster opening weekend for the iPhone 5c and 5s and the long-anticipated iOS 7 release, Apple’s finally turning its attention back to the Mac. Nope, the anticipated Retina Display MacBook Pro isn’t here, nor is the announced revolutionary Mac Pro.

Instead, first up in Apple’s fall Mac refresh is a new iMac. This year’s refresh brings a welcome but modest spec bump to the existing thin iMac design, with the latest quad-core Intel i5 Haswell processors (at the same speeds as last year’s models), high-speed 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Intel’s Iris Pro graphics on the low end. The higher end iMacs now include NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M, 755M, or GTX 775M graphics cards, respectively, for even better graphics performance, but even the base-model iMac’s Iris Pro graphics should perform better than last year’s baseline NVIDIA 600 series graphics. In a somewhat surprising move, though, Apple’s still shipping 5400rpm platter HDDs with the base iMacs, and an SSD or Fusion Drive is still an extra upgrade for all iMacs.

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This year’s iMacs likely won’t prove a temptation for anyone with a 2012 iMac, but the spec upgrade at least puts them in a more competitive spot with this year’s chips. There’s still no Retina display, or anything more exotic like a touch screen, so Apple’s got plenty of stuff left to add to the iMac in coming years.

The new iMacs should be just the start of Apple’s fall Mac refresh. We’ve still got OS X Mavericks and the new Mac Pro coming for sure, and during WWDC a new iWork was mentioned as well — something we sure hope comes sooner rather than later seeing as we’re all still using iWork ’09 today. The MacBook Air was already updated this year, but both the Retina Display MacBook Pro and the Mac Mini could at least use a similar spec upgrade as the new iMacs, so hopefully we’ll at least get that this fall as well.

Now, let’s just hope Apple doesn’t wait until the last day of fall — officially December 20th — to get Mavericks onto the App Store!

OS X Mavericks is bringing a number of features power users have wanted for year: better multiple display support, tabs and tags in Finder, all while using less system resources than before. The menubar itself, however, has mostly gone untouched.

That’s still Bartender’s domain. And with the just-released v1.2, Bartender remains the app anyone with a packed menubar needs in any version of OS X.

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It’s been a busy week for Apple, with the iPhone 5c and 5s hitting the streets today, only days after iOS 7 was finally released. Apple’s never released two new iPhones at once before, opting instead to simply discount the older model, so it’ll be interesting to see how the new strategy fares in the market.

Macs have to wait a bit longer to get Mavericks, but there’s been a ton of interesting stuff written about Apple this week — from AnandTech’s detailed analysis of the new iPhones to USA Today and Businessweek’s interviews with Apple’s leadership. Here’s the best articles from this week to fill up your weekend reading queue.

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Evernote’s a great notebook app. It makes it simple to write notes down, record audio or drag in images to remember everything, and then find it all again quickly with a click.

But then, what makes Evernote so nice — something so many people rely on — is far more than just being a notes app. There’s plenty of places you can jot down notes, from the built-in Notes app to services like Simplenote. Evernote, though, ends up being far more than just that since there’s so many ways to add info to it. You can clip web pages with the brilliant new Evernote Web Clipper, snap pictures and add notes on the go with the new iPhone app, or use IFTTT to save stuff to Evernote on the go. If only you could do something with all that info.

Well, now you can. That’s where Evernote’s new Presentation Mode comes in.

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In the rush of new apps and upgrades on iOS 7’s launch day, the app that started it all got updated, too, with some features you won’t want to miss. In the 13 years since Apple bought out SoundJam and turned it into their music library app, iTunes has grown beyond anyone’s wildest dreams from 2001. It’s where we manage our Post PC devices, or — increasingly — just that old app we forget about in the age of streaming music services.

So Apple decided to make it about music again. iTunes 11 streamlined the aging music app’s interface, hid much of the complexity, and added a rather nice mini-player in last year’s upgrade. That still doesn’t help much if you don’t buy music or rip CDs these days.

Enter iTunes 11.1. It’s the iTunes — on your Mac, PC, and iOS — that finally makes sense in the post-download age. It’ll get you listening to — and likely buying — new music more than any iTunes before.

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Email’s a tough thing to innovate, because — regardless of how much we complain about it — email is still the simplest way to send messages of any size to anyone on earth. It works. And so, we continue to use it with the apps we have, hoping that favorite apps like Sparrow will live to see another day.

Regardless of how the rest of our digital lives change, email seems destined to mostly stay the same. The best we can hope for, it seems, is tricks that make Mail.app a better email tool, and newer apps like Airmail that attempt to recapture Sparrow’s magic.

There’s one app, though, that’s trying a new approach to email: Unibox. Instead of being about your messages and reaching inbox zero, it’s about the people behind your messages. And now, it’s in public beta so everyone can try it out.

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