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As decent app news (apart from mundane updates) can sometimes be difficult to source some weeks, we’ve redesigned our weekly news roundup to give you both a flavour of app and Apple happenings throughout the week. We will try and keep all rumours to a minimal (unless they are highly relevant or pretty much confirmed), as there are plenty of other blogs out there on the Internet that cover Apple rumours in a bit more detail.

What we here at Mac AppStorm would like to focus on is high-quality, accurate and interesting news pieces from both the world of Mac apps and Apple as a company. So, without further ado, let’s see what’s been happening this week. Hope you enjoy it! (more…)

This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on September 21st, 2011.

I used to absolutely love menu bar apps. Years ago, it was a fairly tiny niche of the Mac app market that contained only a few really solid gems. These utilities provided a quick and easy way to control iTunes, run a quick maintenance script and get back to what you were doing.

At heart, menu bar apps were essentially thought to be little things that perhaps didn’t quite merit a full on application but still merited a permanent, always-on spot on your Mac. Things have changed though and I find myself becoming annoyed when I download an app and find that it has no alternative to the menu bar mode.

Should developers move past the trend of offering menu-bar-only apps in favor of giving users the power to decide? Let’s discuss.

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Editor’s note: The following article was not up to our standard editorial standards, and we’re very sorry about that. We’re doing everything we can to improve, and hope you continue to read our site.

Couple of months ago, a movie studio obtained a John Doe order and got a bunch of popular video sharing and torrent websites offline. I found this highly repulsive in two significant ways. First, they were retarded enough to leave YouTube from the list and got Vimeo banned instead. Raise your hands if you’ve ever watched a pirated video song or a movie on Vimeo.

And second, as a proud citizen of the largest democracy in the World, I found this a gross violation of my freedom and an extension of the Great Firewall of China. That’s not a proud title to wear around your neck. Such infringements occur time and again even in highly democratic countries.

Not knowing that there are so many ways to sidestep these stumbling blocks is a mistake from our end. One of the most efficient and trustworthy services I have discovered in the last year is TunnelBear. After the break, let us see how you can enter the open Internet by just flicking a switch!

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If you love apps, gadgets, and great deals on software as much as we do at AppStorm, and you haven’t had a chance to sign up for the AppFanatix newsletter yet, then you’re missing out! AppFanatix is a classy fortnightly email newsletter that distills the very best content from around the network and will regularly bring you:

  • An exclusive discount or giveaway for a fantastic application.
  • Some of the best content published on the AppStorm network.
  • Stylish desktop wallpapers.
  • And much more…

It’s been going strong for 32 issues now and we’d hate for you to miss out on everything we have in store. Subscribe now and make sure you’re on the list to receive the next awesome app discount!

Social networking isn’t a new thing of 2012, but it’s sure hit a mass saturation point. You can’t ride public transit or eat at a restaurant without seeing people checking Facebook and tweeting pictures. It seems you’re more likely to see a Facebook page mentioned on an ad than the company’s own website, reminiscent of companies advertising their Aol. keywords back in the late ’90s.

So, it’s not surprising at all that the latest OS X and iOS feature deep Facebook and Twitter integration. You can share most things you do on your Mac in a click, sync birthdays from Facebook with Calendar, get Facebook and Twitter avatars in Contacts, and push notifications when you get @replies. It’s great for those addicted to Facebook and Twitter, but not so much for those who avoid social networking or who’d rather use another network like App.net.

Have you started using the Twitter and Facebook integration in OS X Mountain Lion? Do you like it, or would you just as soon they’d left it out?

The Mac App Store is rife with price cuts this week, so come take your bounty from Mac.AppStorm’s deals. (more…)

Our sponsor this week is Last5, an app that makes it incredibly easy to track the time you spend on work and more each day. It’s designed to be the “Minimum Effective Dose Of Time Tracking” you need, just enough to track your time without taking you away from the task at hand.

Last5 was designed by Jonathan Yankovich, a freelance web and user experience developer who found that the worst part of his job was accounting for how he spent his day. After working all day out of coworking spaces and other distraction-prone environments, he wanted a tool that would let him move fluidly between people, projects, and conversations without having to punch in or out.

With most time tracking apps, you either wait until the end of the day and try to reconstruct your day (or worse, week!) from memory, which is stressful and time-intensive, or you use timers which are prone to being forgotten. Last5 is designed to let you think as little as possible about tracking your time. You can setup your projects, then throughout the day, Last5 will ask you what you’re working on. Just hit the correct button, and go on with your work. That’s it!

You can then see a breakdown of how you’ve spent your time from the dashboard, and integrate it with Harvest for accounting if you want. Last5 is also planning to add Basecamp and Freshbooks integration in the future, and currently lets you export your data in Excel format from pro accounts. Best of all, you can use Last5 from your iPhone or Windows PC, in addition to your Mac, so it’ll work wherever you’re working.

Go Get It!

If you’ve been looking for a more efficient way to track your time, Last5 might be just what you’ve been needing. You can sign up for a free Last5 account to get started, and when you’re ready to get more serious with a project dashboard, and Excel export, you can go Pro for $8/month or $60/year.

Best of all, you can get 20% off a year membership if you sign up before the end of the year with the coupon code appstorm. What better way to finish out the year and start the next than with a discount on an app that can help you be more productive?

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

We’ve collected the top four reviews, roundups and how-to articles from across the AppStorm network in September. Whether you’re interested in Mac, iPhone, Web, Android, Windows, or iPad apps, there’s bound to be something you didn’t spot over the course of the month. Now would be a good time to explore a part of the AppStorm Network you’ve never seen before!

Thanks for reading AppStorm, and I hope you enjoy looking over some of our favourite posts from last month!

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This week has been another fairly quiet one in terms of app news but we’ve still managed to find a couple of stories to keep you ticking over till next week.

Enjoy! (more…)

MacTuts+ is the superb new site dedicated to teaching people how to use their Mac, and OS X, more effectively. We’ve got you covered for apps, but combine that with an in-depth knowledge of OS X and you’ll be unstoppable, limitless!

This is a quick roundup of the best tutorials from MacTuts+ in September, from How to Launch Any App with a Keyboard Shortcut to Awesome Reader Submitted Mac Tips and Tricks.
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