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If there is one reason we Mac users love our computers, it’s because of their outstanding aesthetics in their hardware and OS. Having a beautiful computer and user interface is one thing, but having it accompanied by a beautiful wallpaper is another one. OS X includes a number of great desktop backgrounds, but they can get boring after a while. I used to be in a constant search for fresh wallpapers, sometimes spending hours a week on sites like DeviantArt, Customize.org, Interface Lift, and more.

Now that I found Kuvva, that quest has come to an end. Read on to find out why.

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After attending too many Thanksgiving parties and gatherings in America, it’s time to settle down in you New Zealand home. (That’s assuming you have one. If you don’t, don’t read these app recommendations and go buy one.) When you lean back in your familiar desk chair for your morning cappuccino and enjoy the beautiful sunrise over the Shire’s green mountains, it’s time to start reading this week’s edition of app deals.

Because, of course, you are eager to get some shiny new software from the Mac App Store, whether it disrupts your bliss morning or not. This week is especially profuse in such bargains, and even Pixelmator has graced us with another appearance. (more…)

Our giveaway is now closed, and congrats to Mei and Colin for winning a copy of the bundle!

‘Tis the season for bundles, deals … and our favorite, giveaways! Our friends over at StackSocial have two great bundles this week, and today we’ve got 2 copies of their Mac Utility Bundle to giveaway to our readers. The giveaway ends in just 36 hours, though, so you’ve only got 24 hours to get your entry in. That means you’d better keep reading, fast.

The Mac Utility Bundle includes the latest version of Parallels, so you can run Windows, Linux, Dos, OS X, or any other OS you want on your Mac without having to reboot. We found Parallels 8 to be a great way to run Windows programs and more on your Mac in our recent review, and if you’ve been wanting to try out Windows 8, you’ll be glad to hear that it’s fully ready for Microsoft’s latest OS.

The bundle then includes Snagit, one of the best known screenshot tools. It’s great for capturing screenshots – even full-length shots of websites – and quickly annotating and sharing them. Those two apps make the bundle more than worth its price of $59.99, but you’ll also get several utilities to go along with it.

Plus, you just might win a free copy from AppStorm! All you’ll need to do to enter is post a comment below letting us know if you’d be more excited about getting Parallels 8 or Snagit, then share the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, or App.net and share the link to your post below for an extra entry. We’ll randomly select two winners 24 hours from now, so be sure to get your entry in quickly!

Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.

When you bought your Mac, or perhaps another smart device, chances are you didn’t plan on just using the bundles apps that were already installed on it. There’s dozens of apps we all use every day that make our machines vastly more useful than they’d be on their own. When we don’t know what to use for a job, a quick visit to the App Store is usually all that’s required to find an app that’ll fit the bill.

Problem is, there’s too many apps for any of us to ever use, much less master. And there’s always that nagging suspicion that there’s a better app that could let you do what you’re doing faster.

If only you had the best app. (more…)

If you are afraid of the kitchen or haven’t gotten around to discover the trills of making a beautifully-presented dish all by yourself, but you are looking to venture into this world, you’re on the wrong website. Well, actually, this time you aren’t. See, while this isn’t a cooking website, we do tend to cover a wide variety of topics; after all, apps are helpful for many things.

This time, we will cover The Video Cookbook. The Video Cookbook is meant to help you discover and understand the intricacies of cooking. The question here however, is whether or not this app can make you into a cooking expert or simply provide you with some basic recipes.

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Our sponsor this week is Doxie One, the little scanner that makes scanning simple. Doxie One scans your paper – simply, automatically, and with no computer required. To scan, just push the button and insert your sheet. Doxie scans anywhere with a simple, elegant design.

Doxie’s different than other scanners. It’s small – about the size of an empty paper towel roll – so you can tuck it in a drawer when you’re not scanning. Setup is easy: Connect power, insert an SD card (included), press Doxie’s button, and you’re ready to start scanning.

When you’re ready to organize, sync scans to your Mac or iPad, just like a digital camera. Doxie’s elegant Mac app creates multi-page searchable PDFs you can save to your computer, send to your favorite apps like Evernote and Dropbox, or share via iMessage. Doxie even works with your iPad with both Apple’s Lightning and 30-pin SD Card Reader accessories.

Doxie’s app sends your paper to Evernote, Dropbox, and even to friends or colleagues with iMessage on iPhone, iPad, and OS X – so it’s easy to share, back up, and access your paper everywhere you go.

Doxie is paperless for everyone – now shipping for just $149. Reserve one now.

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

We’re focusing on apps to help you with writing this month, and software art practice Dark Heartfelt Software makes some of the best. They’ve already had great success with minimalist writing apps Grandview and Launchwrite, which force you to focus on the current word and sentence rather than the entire document. Now they’ve released a new app, Notesdeck, which allows you to edit and consolidate notes across four different cloud services and between your Mac and iOS devices.

We got the chance to interview the man behind Dark Heartfelt, Michael Petruzzo, about his apps and design process. Read on to hear about Notesdeck, software design as art, App Store frustrations, and more.

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When you’re always looking for the greatest new app, sometimes you forget about the awesome apps that power your life. The apps you use day in, day out to make money, stay in touch with family and friends, be creative, stay informed, and more are the most important apps, way more important that that new app that might come out tomorrow and just might revolutionize your life … or not.

Funny thing is, apps that you use all the time can fade into the background, and you’ll almost never think about them. It’s easy to take for granted the apps we use most. From your web browser to tools like Dropbox and Alfred or the launcher of your choice, there are apps you use every day without thinking about it, but you’d be hard pressed to live without them.

Today’s Thanksgiving in America, which makes a great time to stop and think of the things you’re grateful for, no matter where you call home. Our team has rounded up some of the apps we’re thankful for this year, and we’d love to hear from you. What Mac apps are you the most thankful to have around this year? Perhaps an older app that’s stood the test of time, or a newer app that’s recently become essential to your workflow. Either way, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

When it comes to Internet radio, Pandora is the king. It’s been around since January 2000, nearly 13 years, and is going strong. Even though its stock definitely hasn’t gone anywhere good since the company went public last year, it has remained the most popular Internet radio service. On-demand streaming services like Spotify have tried to compete but Pandora holds its place well.

One of the problems with this great service is its availability. It’s always been a browser-only thing and the developers don’t care to expand it to have its own native app on anything except a mobile phone. There is an official lightweight Mac app, but it requires that you have Pandora One, a monthly or yearly subscription. It’s also not a very nice app, being coded with Adobe Air and Flash. Instead, Maha Software’s PandaBar, a native Mac app that sits in your menu bar, seems like a great alternative. Let’s take a closer look.

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Our Productive Macs Bundle giveaway is now closed, and congrats to our winners Wbadger and Oli! If you haven’t grabbed a copy of the bundle yet and didn’t win, you’ve still got 4 days left to get a copy before the bundle deal ends :)

Want to start out 2013 on a productive note? Why not get started now? For the next 10 days, the latest Productive Macs bundle is on sell for $29.99. It’s quite an amazing bundle for that price, including TextExpander, Path Finder, TaskPaper, Optimal Layout, and more.

TextExpander alone makes the bundle worthwhile if you don’t already have it. It’s an essential productivity tool that can help you type repetitive text quicker, fill out forms in seconds, and more. Throw in Path Finder, a utility we recently called a full alternative to Finder that “provides so many additional features that you’ll almost definitely find at least one that’s invaluable”, and you’ve got quite a productivity bundle already. That’s not to mention the excellent plain text to-do list TaskPaper, Concealer for securing your private data, Optimal Layout to help you arrange your windows in the best layout on your Mac, and more, and this is a bundle you can’t miss.

That’s quite a shelf of productive apps.

Best of all, we’ve got 2 complete bundles to giveaway to our readers! Just leave a comment here before Tuesday, November 27th, and we’ll randomly pick two winners. You can also share the giveaway on Twitter, App.net, or Facebook, then comment with a link to your post, and you’ll get an extra bonus entry for each time you share it.

And if you don’t win, you’ll still have a chance to get the bundle, or you can go ahead and pick up a copy of the bundle right now if you can’t wait. It’s sure worth it!

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