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We’re very proud to announce the release of Freelance Confidential, Rockable Press’s newest book on freelancing. This book aims to provide the hard numbers on the biggest issues of freelancing and advice on how experienced freelancers can improve their business.

More than just another single person’s view on freelancing, Freelance Confidential contains contributions from the Editor of FreelanceSwitch, Amanda Hackwith, a panel of 10 expert entrepreneurs, and 3,200 freelancers worldwide.

If you’re a Mac-using freelancer, read on for a little more insight into what the book includes!

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Although many people are perfectly happy using Gmail on the web, I’ve never particularly enjoyed the experience. I spend quite a bit of time reading and replying to email, and prefer to have an appealing interface in which to do so – Gmail might be functional, but it certainly isn’t pretty.

For the past five years or so, Mail.app was my preferred client of choice. It did everything I required from an email client, and synced well across my various devices. But development has slowed in recent years, and little has changed in the app since the release of Leopard.

I’ve recently made the move across to Postbox, and couldn’t be happier. It’s a fantastic piece of software, and one that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. If you’re tired of Mail.app (or your webmail interface), Postbox is definitely worth giving a try.

Of course, there are plenty of other alternatives. Take a look at our roundup of 8 Awesome Alternatives to Mail.App on Your Mac for some inspiration.

I’d be interested to hear what you think. Are you content with firing up Gmail.com, or do you prefer a desktop email companion? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to vote!

I’d like to take a moment to say a big thank you to this week’s sponsor, Twitterrific. I absolutely love every application that the Iconfactory produce, and this is no exception. It’s thoughtfully designed, beautiful to look at, and a pleasure to use.

If you’re growing tired with sparse updates to the official Twitter client (or the gradual integration of ads), look no further than Twitterrific. It’s a great alternative to the official Twitter client, and performs far better in many areas.

It supports multiple accounts, multiple windows, translation, a unified timeline, themes, and full keyboard control throughout. The latest release, version 4, was a huge update which brought a range of new functionality and a clean, minimal design.

You can buy Twitterrific on the Mac App Store, download the free version, or check out our in-depth review. I’m a huge fan, and really can’t recommend this app highly enough. Go try it out!

Winners Announced

I’m excited to let you know that we’ve chosen the ten lucky winners! Did you make the cut?

  1. Zhe
  2. Sébastien Lavoie
  3. Stefan
  4. Bryan
  5. Toby Adams
  6. Aeox
  7. Florian L.
  8. Quine
  9. Ewan
  10. Glyn

Congratulations – we’ll be in touch soon with your promo code!

Competition Now Closed

As well as sponsoring the site this week, the lovely developers behind Ensoul have been kind enough to donate ten licenses for our awesome readers.

Ensoul is a great application for creating and preparing beautiful iPhone backgrounds and contact images. It has a stunning interface, a simple workflow, and even handles the process of transferring the images across to your phone (you can read our full review here).

Entering the competition is really easy. All you need to do is leave a comment below, telling us how often you change your iPhone background! Is it every month? Every week? Or every day?

The competition will run for one week, and I’ll pick ten winning comments at random on Thursday, 24th March. Best of luck, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say in the comments!

With this week’s release of the iPad 2 (in the USA, at least), I know that many of you will now be sitting at home feeling ever so slightly less satisfied with the original iPad sat on your desk. It’s a strange phenomenon. Your iPad is no less amazing today than it was last week, but it feels that way…

Very few Apple fans can afford to buy each and every new product release, and the feeling of being slightly “out of date” is something that we’ve all come to accept as the norm. This isn’t exactly a bad thing. Let’s face it – a twelve month old iPad is still a long, long way ahead of any other competing device on the market.

But how does Apple’s release cycle operate, and is their approach working?

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Generally speaking, I usually find the “insurance upsell” to be a total rip-off. Only last week I was offered the chance to insure my new kettle against damage. I mean, really? It’s a kettle…

But when it comes to Apple products, I tend to have a different opinion. I’ve bought AppleCare for two machines in the past, and both times I made the most of the extended warranty with repairs or replacements for various parts.

Although it may look like a solid, magical piece of aluminium, your MacBook is actually a very complicated piece of technology. And things do go wrong! Although AppleCare costs a few hundred extra bucks at the outset, I’ve always found it to be a worthwhile investment.

But do you feel the same way? I’d love to hear your opinion, as this is a topic that doesn’t come up all that often. Are you an AppleCare user, and if so, have you ever actually needed to use it?

I’d like to take a moment to say a big thank you to this week’s sponsor, Ensoul. With this nifty Mac app, you can create beautiful iPhone backgrounds and contact images with just a few clicks, work in a gorgeous interface, and transfer everything to your iPhone easily. Meet your iPhone’s new beauty advisor!

We were admittedly sceptic the first time we heard of Ensoul. I know my way around Photoshop fairly well, and didn’t think that I’d need such an app; after all, why spend money on something that you can do already with your own tools?

But after trying Ensoul for just a couple of minutes, it became clear to me that this app really is worth the $9.99. It’s incredibly easy to use, removing the need to think about screen resolution, cropping, resizing, or even transferring the images to your phone. It’s a breeze to use.

Add to that the ease with which you can assign photos to your contacts, and Ensoul is the perfect app for those of you who like to personalize your iPhone and enjoy the process thoroughly!

Take a look at Ensoul on the Mac App Store, or check out our in-depth review!

It’s time for another “Ask the Editor” post today. A big thank you to everyone who sent in their questions – it’s great to have the chance to help you out with your Mac-related queries and quibbles.

Today I’ll be offering some advice about software for managing your font library, explaining a (slightly geeky) process for taking a look at the applications accessing your hard drive, suggesting software for helping with academic research, and helping a reader get to grips with GeekTool.

Read on for plenty of handy Mac knowledge, and I hope you’ll find most of it useful for your own situation as well!

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People have mixed opinions about notifications. Is it better to have a subtle popup appear every time an email arrives, or would you prefer to just check it manually?

And what about changing iTunes tracks, Twitter DMs, Dropbox uploads, and everything else that happens in the background. Should you be informed about all these events as well?

The worst case scenario would be that each of these events is handled by different applications, leading to a complex mess of different notification locations, styles, and sounds. Thankfully, we have an application called Growl that does a wonderful job of solving this problem.

Put simply, Growl is a central “notification server” for your Mac. It takes information from all your different applications, and shows relevant notifications in the same consistent way. You may even be running Growl without realising it, as it comes bundled with many popular Mac apps (though they’re not particularly happy about it…)

I’d be interested to hear what you think about notifications. Are you a Growl-lover, or do you prefer to work uninterrupted? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, and vote in our poll above!

I’d like to take a moment to say a big thank you to this week’s sponsor, Jumsoft. In particular, their latest release of Keynote Themes. This is a fantastic selection of fifteen beautifully hand crafted themes for Apple’s Keynote, designed to make your presentations stand out from the crowd.

The whole pack includes 15 themes: from the clear and crisp “Subtle Mind”, to the cold, stylish “Glossy Metal” and the richly-textured “Nostalgia”. Each theme includes 50 master slides – a mix of bullet, text, and photo-oriented layouts – plenty of versatility for any presentation.

If you’d like to find out more, be sure to visit the official Keynote Themes site, and take a look at what’s on offer. The full collection of 15 themes is available to buy now for $79. Definitely worth considering if you’re a regular Keynote user!

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