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Creating detailed, highly realistic 3D models from your Mac doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive with Cheetah3D, our sponsor this week. At just $99, it’s far cheaper than most 3D modeling apps, but includes the features you’d need to create 3D artwork for your next iPhone game or make your first animated character.

With a full set of polygon, subdivision surface and spline modeling tools you can focus on creating, safe in the knowledge that Cheetah3D has a breadth of features for the task. Cheetah3D makes modeling in 3D a breeze for new and experienced users alike. It then smoothly integrates the industrial strength Bullet physics engine to simulate rigid body and soft body dynamics. No matter if you want to spill a bowl of marbles on the floor or simulate a waving flag in the wind. Cheetah3D can handle it with just a few mouse clicks.

Raytracing, Global Illumination, HDRI, Caustics and much more means Cheetah3D can produce stunning images and animations using advanced techniques. In fact, from looking at the gallery, you’ll find examples of beautiful building renders, cartoon art, and more that were created with Cheetah3D. Everything you create can be exported in a variety of industry standard formats for animation (fbx, stl, 3ds, obj, and more), images, and movies (png, jpg, mov, and more). Your models can be exported to be used in iBooks Author or many popular game engines as well.

Go Get It!

Cheetah3D costs just $99, and you can download a free trial of Cheetah3D to see if it’s the 3D app for you. You can try out all of the features, then if you want to save or export your designs, you can get a license for the app.

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

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to start new things, especially a journal. Even if you may have fallen a bit behind, it’s never too late to start. I’m just terrible at keeping journals, though, and have lots of lovely books with only the first ten or so pages filled in. I need an app to help me out!

My Wonderful Days is that app, recording everything that happens to me everyday. With reminders and lots of ways to customize my entries, including images, I may just be able to stick to my journal this year. (more…)

In 2012, the Mac community lost one of the Mac OS X mail clients that many considered to be the best on the market: Sparrow. Development has stopped (which doesn’t mean you can’t still use this app, though, at least for now) since the team has been acquired by Google.

Some claim that the whole email concept needs a refresh and solutions are offered, and the previously reviewed Mail Pilot and its upcoming Mac client, or the upcoming .Mail app are proof of that. Others still prefer to use web-based apps like the popular Gmail.

I, for one, still think that Mail.app, since its OS X Lion revision, is the best. It’s built-in, offered at no cost, and is completely integrated with OS X. I’ve customized it to fit my needs and developed my own workflow to deal with emails.

In my humble opinion, you should be able to jump into your emails, process them quickly, and then get back to work. A mail client, for me, is just a way to send and receive emails, not a big messy, clunky, filing cabinet with hundreds of manually created and sorted folders. Read on to find out why, in that case, Mail.app is the best for me, even when processing hundreds of incoming messages per day.

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I spend a lot of time on the Hype Machine website, listening to the latest or most popular tracks from some of the best music blogs around the web. Constantly having a webapp open in the background can get in the way, though, especially when I get click happy and close all my open tabs.

What I need is a desktop client, but there’s nothing official out yet. Fortunately, Hypegram is filling the void, allowing me to listen to new music I wouldn’t hear otherwise without fear of my clicking finger running amok. We’ll take a look at how Hypegram stands up to the official web app and see if it’s as cool as the real deal. (more…)

Porting a physical board game to a digital platform is far from an easy task. The essence of the original game can sometimes be lost in translation as the very fabric the game lies with the board itself. Most major boardgames have been drawn in by the touchscreen revolution to largely tepid reviews. So, how do classic board games translate on traditional point and click devices? Conquist 2 has it nailed.

Strategy games, both digital and physical, have always been my favourite from childhood right through to adulthood. Risk, Command & Conquer, Age of Empires—you name it, I own it. Conquist 2 takes its inspiration directly from Risk whilst daring to best the classic at its own game. Adding its fair share of original content, Conquist has the potential to upstage its ancestor, but how does it fair on OS X?

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We reviewed an app called Characters back in August. It gives you quick access to a large number of special characters, making it an indispensable tool for web developers, technical writers, and anyone else who needs to go beyond the standard ASCII fare on a regular basis.

But I think the best tool for the job is PopChar X, not Characters, nor OS X’s built-in character viewer (and not any of the many web-based alternatives, either). It nestles itself in the top-left (or right) corner of your menubar, and it has everything you could need. Allow me to explain.
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It’s hard to throw a stone without hitting a new to-do list app for the Mac. From Apple’s Reminders app to the new, iPhone inspired apps like Clear to the old, trusty workhorse apps like Omnifocus and Things, there’s a million ways to get things done on your Mac.

The thing is, we all need different things from to-do list apps. I personally used a plain text file (with TaskPaper or any plain text editor) for the longest time to keep track of everything I needed to do, before it became too hard to keep up with the tasks that have deadlines. I then switched to Omnifocus, and rely on it to make sure I don’t miss anything I need to do. I still like using plain text files for to-dos, though, and also have taken to using Clear to keep up with lists of random things that don’t matter as much (say, apps I want to try or movies I want to watch).

There’s far too many to-do list apps to list in a poll, so I thought instead we’d just ask what apps you use to keep up with your todos. We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Our sponsor this week is MailTab Pro for Gmail, the ideal app for instantly accessing your Gmail account without having to open your web browser. It lets you do everything you’d need to do in Gmail right from your Mac’s menubar.

Logging into Gmail in your browser every time you want to check your email can get annoying, and you end up missing out on the great integration native apps have with notifications and more. But, if you’re already used to using Gmail online, using it in a native app can feel strange. MailTab Pro for Gmail is designed to give you the best of both worlds. It lets you access Gmail from your menubar, letting you see the mobile version of Gmail to quickly check and send emails, and also lets you switch to the full Gmail experience if you want.

MailTab Pro for Gmail has been designed to fit in perfectly with your Mac. It runs right from your menubar, sends native desktop notifications when you get new emails, and has retina display-ready icons in its toolbar. It even supports standard OS X keyboard shortcuts and multi-touch gestures. You can pick notification sounds and set the menubar icon to change when you get new emails. You’ll get the best of Gmail with the best of OS X in MailTab Pro for Gmail.

Go Get It!

MailTab Pro for Gmail usually costs $3, but is currently on sell for just $1.99 in the App Store. That includes all of MailTab Pro’s features, including full Gmail mobile and desktop support, notifications, chat, and more. If you’ve been wanting a simpler way to access your Gmail web app from your Mac, now’s the time to grab a copy of MailTab Pro.

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

For those that may have missed it, Running with Crayons, the dedicated team behind Alfred released the much anticipated version 2 on Saturday. I along with many other eager beta testers quickly downloaded and installed the latest version and gave it a test run.

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Point-and-click adventure games pretty much come in two varieties: comedy or serious. There are exceptions of course, like The Longest Journey or Police Quest, but the two seldom mix. You either laugh your way through absurdity and silliness or puzzle out a story of mystery and intrigue where the only irony on show is of the dramatic variety.

A New Beginning – The Final Cut falls squarely into the latter camp. It has a few laughs and some clever witticisms, but its core plot points, characters, and underlying themes are deadly serious — concerned as they are with the very ground on which we walk. If you can see beyond some rough touches and needless melodrama, it convincingly portrays a world with a bleak future — our own — that needs radical action to save its inhabitants from devastating climate change. It’s a journey worth taking, but you’ll need a lot of patience to reach the end.
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