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I love arcade-style games. They offer such simple pleasure, with quick thrills, a mantra of easy to learn but hard to master, and you can drop in and out of them at any time. The Mac has seen its share of great arcade space shooters over the years, thanks to shareware classics from the likes of Ambrosia Software (Maelstrom, SketchFighter, Mars Rising) and Pangea Software (Pangea Arcade), among others.

While Sad Cat Software’s Violet Storm is a decent and mostly-fun game, it doesn’t hold a candle to these or other popular recent games owing to the legacy of 1979 arcade hit Asteroids (such as Geometry Wars, to which Violet Storm is highly indebted). But at $1.99, it might just be worth a look anyway. Allow me to explain why.

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Whenever Apple releases a new version of OS X, the blogosphere goes wild, typing tens of thousands of words about the latest features and changes in the operating system we all love. There’s always new core features that are hidden to most of our eyes, as well as the more subtile changes you might not notice in the UI without a reviewer pointing them out.

It’s only been one short year since Lion was released, but even with the quick release window for Mountain Lion, reviewers still went through the OS and found plenty to write about. Our own Alex Arena wrote a thorough overview of the new features and apps you’ll use most in his Mountain Lion Review. In our opinion, it’s a great place to find out what to expect from Mountain Lion if you don’t want to spend too much time reading about the deepest changes in the OS. We even included a giveaway of 3 copies of Mountain Lion, so be sure to check it out and enter in our drawing if you haven’t upgraded already!

But, if you’re looking for more detailed info about Mountain Lion, here’s some of the best Mountain Lion coverage from around the ‘net, as well as some extra Mountain Lion info you should keep in mind.

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The summer is drawing to a close for many and the summer vacation season is also near the end. The need to share all of your great vacation photos with your family and friends is becoming more apparent and now is the time to do it. You could of course just email all of your photos to family, but that would be cumbersome and boring. While there are many online photo sharing websites, you might like something with a little more flare. Hoping to bring that little something extra is Photo Album by FlippingBook.

Photo Album allows you to transform your photos into sharable photo albums. The goal of Photo Album is simplicity and ease of use, but does it live up to that expectation? That’s what we’re here to see.

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It’s time for a friendly reminder because Apple’s online storage service for iWork documents, the iWork.com Public Beta, is closing up this Tuesday, July 31st. As of July 31st, you will not be able to access any of the documents you might have hosted on the site as part of Apple’s universal transition to iCloud.

For now, there isn’t an Apple-powered alternative to iWork.com as Apple is yet to integrate iCloud even into it’s own, Mac App Store-distributed office suite. There’s a potential that’s going to change in a rumoured-to-be-very-soon update to the iWork suite that will see such integration (Update: as expected, iWork has been updated to work with iCloud and Retina Displays, but it’s still not a full new version of iWork), but, for now, it’s time to backup anything you may have saved and start looking at alternatives.

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Finding images on the Internet tends to be difficult and time-consuming. You have to switch from one search engine to another, clicking through to a separate page for advanced settings if you need specific types of images. Then, looking at a larger version takes you to another page, from which you can check out the full-size image or the website it was found on (with yet another click and page load). I hate it.

Skyscraper (formerly Pandora; renamed to avoid confusion with the popular music service) tries to solve that problem, giving you an app to search for images online from the comfort of your Mac. It has a raft of handy features that stand it as a major player in the image-search apps arena, and does a decent job of fulfilling its tagline: “Find and download images of anything.” (more…)

This past weekend, the Sparrow team shook the Mac app world by announcing they had been bought out by Google and wouldn’t be adding any new features to their popular email app. Sparrow was a great example of the amazing Mac-only apps you can get from the App Store, an app that was lovingly created by a team that really knew what they were doing. Now, the team’s moving to work on Gmail, and odds are Google will totally forget about the Mac app the team had built in the first place.

For those of use that use email all the time, many of us exclusively use Gmail or Google Apps on our own domains. However, we usually don’t use Gmail online, preferring instead to use Mail.app, Sparrow, or other 3rd party email apps to manage our email workflow. Sparrow was an especially good choice for Gmail users, as it supported Gmail’s features in a brilliant Mac interface, and just worked so good.

It’s not like Sparrow quit working overnight, but most of us are seriously considering alternate email apps now that Sparrow won’t be in active development going forward. That’s why we’re wondering if you’re going to keep using Sparrow, or if you’ve switched to another email app. We’d love to hear what email app you’re using, and why, in the comments below!

Special thanks to @CoolD78 for the poll idea!

Our giveaway is now closed. Thanks for entering, everyone! Congrats to @gustaoo and @Derek_Covatch for winning a copy of TerraRay, @keifun and @lucaschurchill for winning a copy of Sip, and @MohamadAshraf_ and @itkidx for winning a copy of Squirrel!

It’s always fun to snag a great deal on an app. $2 Tuesday has lately been keeping Mac app deals in the headlines with their great deals on popular apps every Tuesday. I personally got a copy of TaskPaper through the $2 Tuesday discount several weeks ago, and it’s quickly become part of my daily workflow.

This week, there’s 3 new apps on $2 Tuesday that just might end up becoming part of your daily workflow soon. All day today, you can get each of the following apps for just $2 (or really $1.99 plus tax in the App Store):

  • Squirrel – A great personal finance management app that was a former Apple Design Award winner.
  • Sip – A simple color picker app for developers that lets you pick colors and copy them with simple keyboard shortcuts.
  • TerraRay – An easy to use terrain rendering app that lets you easily create your own 3D landscape.

Each of these apps are a great deal for just $2, but the best thing is, we have 2 copies of each of them to giveaway to our readers!

Tweet to Enter

If you’d love to win a free copy of today’s $2 Tuesday apps, it’s easy to get your entry submitted. All you have to do is click the link below and send out the resulting tweet (or just copy and paste), then leave a comment below with a link to your tweet and the app that you want to win. That’s it! We’ll then randomly pick 2 winners of each app when we close the contest.

We’ll announce the winners tomorrow on July 25th, so hurry and get your entry in today! Or if you can’t wait, just head over to the App Store and grab a copy of Squirell, Sip, or TerraRay for yourself. After all, they’re quite a good deal for just $2 each!

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

Our weekly sponsor this week is Postbox, a first class email app for your Mac. It’s a powerful way to make you more productive with Gmail and other email accounts, helping you find the conversations and attachments you need while keeping you connected to your contacts.

Most of us use email daily, and often find ourselves sending dozens of emails a day, so your email app can be one of the most important apps on your computer. But as Mozilla’s stopped Thunderbird’s development, and Sparrow has been bought out by Google, you might be feeling like you need to find a new email app to take on your messaging challenges. Postbox might be just what you’re looking for.

It includes advanced Gmail features like labels and keyboard shortcuts, as well as advanced conversation view that makes it even easier to keep up with your email conversations. It has a powerful search tool that can help you find messages and attachments. Better still, it includes social network integration, and lets you send Dropbox links to files instead of having to deal with attachment file size limits. With a native Mac design, support for touchpad gestures, and a team that’s actively developing it, Postbox is easily one of the best email apps today.

Go Get It!

If you’re ready to get started managing your email better on your Mac, it’s a great time to try out Postbox. You can try it free for 30 days, then buy it for just $9.99. Or, if you’ve tried Postbox in the past and have a license for an older version, you can upgrade for just $4.95! Postbox also has new team discounts, so you can outfit your whole company with Postbox’s powerful email features for less than ever.

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

Fresh off the presses, here is MacAppStorm’s weekly news roundup.

Happy reading!

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It seems like most of us are taking more and more pictures with every passing year.. The only thing that matches the amount of photos we are taking is the shear amount of photo editing apps available on the Mac. These apps range from photo editing apps costing hundreds of dollars to $1 simple filter apps. The problem is finding something that works for your needs. FX Photo Studio hopes to be that app.

FX Photo Studio is a photo app based on filters that offers more customization and the ability to transfer into other photo editing apps. Who exactly is FX Photo Studio for? Is it any good? Well, all of these questions and more will be answered in this review, so let’s dive in! (more…)

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