I’ve long said that the best tools are the ones that do one thing well. There are some app categories that really benefit from this, but something I’ve been learning with all my photo-taking tools is that photography apps often benefit the most from it. I love my all-in-one kits like Photoshop and Aperture, but they’re not perfect. There’s certainly room for improvement in certain areas.
One of those areas, at least for me, lies within vignettes and focus points. I like to tinker with them, and they often cause really cool effects, but I never like to keep them — they never turn out well. For the longest time, I thought it was just me, but I’ve come to realize it’s also the tool. It should be no surprise to many that MacPhun, one of the kings of photography apps, has come up with an incredible solution for this problem called Focus 2. Read on to find out what makes this a must-have for photographers who love a little focus in their lives.
I bought Day One as a gift to myself on all of my devices last January. I’ve always wanted to keep a diary and have been consistently impressed with the diligence of those who return to a journal day after day. I just never seem to keep up with daily personal writing, and I inevitably misplace my journal, eventually forgetting about it entirely for months at a time. Day One’s omnipresence on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad seemed like it would fix all of that for me.
And it did! Now Day One has updated with some great new features on the Mac app, and I wanted to take a closer look at all the improvements. (more…)
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” wrote Charles Dickens, in a sentence that happens to sum up almost every human experience in my opinion. But for technology, the one thing that brings that quote to mind most is eBooks. See, eBooks are a brilliant idea. With a simple tap, you can download a full book that’d otherwise have taken a trip to a book store or a wait of a few days from Amazon. That downloaded book can be read on your phone, tablet, Mac, or eReader, devices which you already cary around and most of which weigh less than the average hardback — and which can also hold hundreds and thousands of books. It’s a bookworm’s dream come true.
And yet, eBooks are far from perfect. For every beautifully detailed eBook, like those made for iBooks with iBooks Author, there’s a horribly formatted Kindle book that doesn’t do justice to any text. Or, there’s the low-quality scanned PDFs of books that you’ll find online from questionable sources, that’ll quickly convince you eBooks are a terrible idea.
But eBooks shouldn’t be a bad idea, and you shouldn’t need an interactive, multimedia eBook to make it nice. Enter Vellum.
Storage space is at an all time premium these days, with the shiniest new Macs shipping with incredibly fast — but also rather small — SSDs. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re not wasting space on your Mac, which is exactly what MacBooster, our sponsor this week, is designed for.
MacBooster will scan your Mac for bloated caches, the old files left behind by apps you’ve uninstalled, duplicate files, and more. It’s stuff you could delete yourself, but nobody has has time for that — and odds are you’d overlook most of the stuff taking up space. So MacBooster does the hard work for you, finding what’s taking up space and clearing it out for you. Minutes later, your Mac will have a lot of free space that was simply taken up by junk.
There’s more, too. MacBooster will help you fully uninstall apps the next time you’re removing an old app. It’ll also find the biggest files on your Mac, so you can perhaps find those old videos that need a new home on an external drive to free up space for the stuff you’re actually using. Then, it’ll show you what’s starting up when you boot your Mac, so you can turn off the stuff you don’t need and speed up your startup time.
If your MacBook’s SSD has started feeling cramped and you want to save yourself some cleanup time, here’s the tool that can clean it up and free up the valuable space you need before the holidays. It’s the perfect Christmas gift for your Mac!
Get MacBooster 60% Off for Christmas!
Best of all, you can get your own copy of MacBooster for just $19.95 from now until December 25th in the MacBooster Christmas Sale. That’s 60% off its normal price, and if you’ve been wanting an app to make it easier to clear out your app caches and fully uninstall apps, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to a cleaner Mac for Christmas.
A week or two ago, I read an article that talked about the concept of Enough.” The idea is that you don’t need to make a million dollars a year to be happy, you just need Enough to buy what you need when you need it. Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine and I have a conversation about his shoes, of all things. Turns out that he owned a pair of Dr. Martens shoes, and for the past seven years he’s just had them resoled, keeping them in his rotation ever since the first day he bought them.
So what the heck do these two things have to do with Apple? It’s about a little epiphany I had the other day. Bear with me, there’s a point to all this. (more…)
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.
For a brief moment on June 10th, it seemed like Apple was going to support notification syncing between your iPhone and your Mac. It seemed like they said if you got, say, a New York Times push notification on your phone, you could get it on your Mac as well. That feature turned out to be just Safari Push Notifications — an option to let websites push notifications to your Mac the same way mobile apps push notifications on your iPhone. A nice feature still, perhaps, but nothing that’d bring the iOS and OS X synergy we thought was coming.
And yes, Safari Push Notifications are a good idea and a nice new feature, to a degree. But at the same time, they can be one of the most infuriating, in-your-face new features on the Mac. Here’s why.
There’s hidden beauty in your pictures, even those that look too dark to see any details. You just need a tool that makes it incredibly simple to bring out the best in your photos, and that’s exactly what Macphun’s new Intensify is for. It’s the app that’ll help you discover the beauty in details.
Intensify is designed to help you bring out every detail in your photos with precise control that lets you tweak your photos exactly like you want. You can use the dozens of settings to intensify any part of your photos, while Intensify is smart enough to keep out artifacting and noise in your edited images. You’ll be able to reveal hidden details, make your colors richer and more vibrant, tweak the sharpness of micro details in your images without adding extra noise, and so much more. All of your edits are done in layers as well, so your original photo is still intact. It’s everything you need to make your photos beautiful, enough that pro photographers are already adopting it in their workflows.
There’s two versions of Intensify, so everyone can use it to get the most out of their photos. There’s the cheaper Intensify from the App Store that’s a standalone app with all the power you need to tweak your photos, and then Intensify Pro from the Macphun Store that integrates directly in your professional photography workflow. With Intensify Pro, you can run Intensify inside Photoshop, Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop Elements directly as a plugin, open layered PSD files in Intensify for editing, and speed up your workflow with advanced shortcuts and extra tools to make tweaking your photos even easier.
“…it’s one of the best photo editing apps for professionals.”
Nathan Snelgrove in our AppStorm review of Intensify Pro
Intensify Pro impressed us when we tried it out for our review, where we found it far more powerful and useful than its price tag would indicate. It’s the tool that award-winning photographers like Urs Buhlman and Lucas Gilman choose for their work, and we’re certain you’ll love it as well. It’s the one tool you need to make every detail pop in your photos.
Get Your Copy of Intensify!
You can get your own copy of Intensify from the Mac App Store for just $29.99. Or, if you want the most power and want to use Intensify inside Photoshop, Lightroom, and more, get Intensify Pro from the Macphun Store for $59.99 — a steal for all the tools it includes. And, if you purchase Intensify from the App Store and then decide later you’d like to upgrade to Intensify Pro, you can purchase an upgrade from the Macphun store for just $24.99.
We just closed our giveaway — congrats to our winners: Devin, Neal, and Bilal!
In the search for the best new email app, one comment we frequently get is that many people still love using Gmail’s web app, and find it far more intuitive than any of the competing full-featured email apps for the Mac. And for good reason: Gmail has great keyboard shortcuts, is fast and responsive, and all of your emails don’t have to take up any local storage space on your Mac. What’s not to love?
Well, Gmail.com will only get you so far. It lives in a browser tab, acts like a web app, and doesn’t use all of your Mac native keyboard shortcuts like CMD+N for a new message. Managing multiple accounts is annoying at best, and using your native Mac Contacts.app email addresses will require copy/paste. It’s not perfect. That’s what Mailplane seeks to solve. It’s a native Mac app that turns the Gmail you love into something much more like a standalone app, complete with Mac keyboard shortcuts and Contacts integration, simple multiple account support, and more. The latest version even makes it simple to keep up with your Google Calendar in the same semi-native interface that gives you the best of the Mac and the web at once.
Mailplane 3 usually costs $24.95, but we’ve got 3 copies of Mailplane to giveaway to our AppStorm readers this week as an early holiday gift. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below and let us know why you’d love a copy of Mailplane — then share the giveaway and leave a second comment with a link to your post for an extra entry.
Hurry and get your entries in — our giveaway closes on Friday, December 13th.
Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.
Apple’s brought a number of iOS features back to the Mac, and some of them are really great. I happen to love the new iBooks for Mac (even though, oddly enough, I preferred the old version of iBooks for iOS), and both Reminders and Notes are a nice little addition even if they’re not the apps I use for their respective functions. But some of the new features just aren’t as useful on the Mac — Game Center, for instance, is likely an app you never open on the Mac.
But there’s another OS X addition that’s both useful and not at the same time: Notifications and their home, Notification Center. I like the native notifications for OS X and rely on them throughout the day, and the new interactive notifications are a rather nice addition even if they’re not something I use that much. But Notification Center is simply something I have to clear out every so often since I’m a neat freak. I never go there to check for things I missed, and the few times I accidentally open it I notice dozens of long-past notifications that just need cleared out. Usually, I’ll see a Mac notification and it gives me the info I need, so there’s no reason I’d need to click on it for it to do its job. And yet, that unclicked notification will end up in Notification Center waiting for me to clean it up.
So I wonder: do the rest of you use Notification Center? Do you check it regularly, or would you be just fine with only plain notifications and no Notification Center to keep track of missed ones? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!