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Weekly Poll

Everyone needs a text editor – whether it’s for in-depth coding, or jotting down a quick note. There are plenty of scenarios throughout the day that don’t require a full-blown word processor, and there’s no shortage of different options available for the Mac.

Much of your decision will likely come down to specific requirements. Do you need a simple syncing solution? Maybe Notational Velocity would fit the bill. Is full-screen, distraction free writing important? Take a look at WriteRoom.

We’ve written about this extensively before, looking at 10 Versatile Text Editors for OS X.

Personally, I flutter between TextMate for coding, and Notational Velocity for everything else – I love knowing that everything I’ve written will be easily accessible through Simplenote.

I’d love to know what your preference is – feel free to leave a vote above, or share your thoughts in the comments!

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!

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?

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!

Despite many complaints, niggles and annoyances, Apple has stuck by their cloud service for over a decade. Originally introduced in January, 2000 as iTools, it has gone through countless revisions, updates and re-branding efforts. Now called MobileMe, it’s a huge improvement over the years of neglect we saw to .Mac.

But does MobileMe cut it as a cloud service? Although it now does a pretty great job of syncing all your information, it falls down when it comes to file sharing and cloud data storage. There are plenty of rumours circulating about a major upgrade (centred around their big data centre project), but these are now over a year old and we haven’t seen an announcement.

Personally, I’ve been a MobileMe subscriber for the past five years. I love the sync functionality, and consider the price to be justified for this integration alone. Of course it’s possible to use Google’s free option, but it never feels quite as polished to me.

What do you think? Are you a loyal MobileMe subscriber of several years, or is it something that you’d never consider in the present format? Have your say in the poll and feel free to share any thoughts in the comments!

Interested in learning about some of the alternatives available? Check out MobileMe: A Worthy Investment? (And a Few Alternatives) for everything you need to know!

Whatever your opinion of the new Mac App Store, it’s certainly here to stay. I believe that it has created a fantastic new channel of distribution for developers, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the seamless process it offers for downloading and installing software.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve bought around ten applications, and downloaded many more free ones to try out. This is definitely an increase over my app-downloading activity prior to the store launch, and there’s no doubt that I’m trying more software because of it.

I wondered whether this is the same for you? Is absent-mindedly flicking through the Mac App Store a regular occurrence, or is it somewhere that you rarely frequent?

Let us know in the comments, and be sure to tell us how many apps you’ve purchased so far in today’s poll!

It’s amazing to see how Twitter has dominated over the past few years, rising to fame, fortune, and almost ubiquitous use by anyone interested in the web and technology. It’s a great way to communicate and stay up-to-date, and most people would agree that much of their success is attributable to an open API and the sheer number of applications built on top of the service.

As Mac users, we’re ridiculously spoilt for choice when picking a desktop Twitter client. I’d even go so far as to say there are probably more Twitter apps to choose from than email clients – a crazy situation for a social platform that has only been around for just over four years.

Personally, I’m a big fan of Tweetie Twitter for Mac, and love the changes that came along with the latest release. I’m also partial to Twitterrific (and am enjoying playing around with the latest 4.0 release). I like the simplicity of these apps, and have never considered myself a Twitter “power user”.

In today’s poll, I’d love to hear what your desktop client of choice is. I’ve done my best to include what I consider to be the main players in the poll, but I’m pretty sure I’ll have missed one or two. If that’s the case, accept my apologies in advance, and let me know in the comments!

I’d also love to hear why you use a particular client, so feel free to discuss the reasoning for your decision below…

The notion of a “Mac Media Centre” has always fascinated me, and I love the idea of having a home entertainment system that’s completely centred around OS X. Once you get used to the simplicity of the Mac interface, using any other piece of consumer electronics can sometimes feel as though you’re trying to navigate the space shuttle back to Earth.

Apple’s “hobby” – the Apple TV – offers a good solution to this problem for certain tasks, but it’s still fairly restrictive if you’d like to have a fully Apple powered media centre. Even if you simply want to watch live TV, you’re going to need something more flexible.

The two main candidates that spring to mind are either the Mac Mini, or a small MacBook stashed away underneath your LCD screen. Both are perfectly capable of performing media centre duties, and have the required output to send good quality video and sound to your entertainment system.

But how many of you have made the jump? I’d love to know whether you’re using a Mac to power your home entertainment system and, if so, which software you use. Are you happy with navigating around OS X, or do you prefer something such as Hulu, Plex, or Boxee?

Let us know, and do share your thoughts in the comments!

If you’re anything like most Apple users, you’ll be used to the twinge of excitement that comes around every time Apple announces a new product or gadget. The company has one of the greatest sales pitch records in the history of technology, and it’s hard not to be impressed with pretty much anything that comes out of Cupertino.

But, glitzy sales magic aside, how often are you compelled as a Mac user to upgrade your hardware? Is it something that you see as a rare necessity, or a yearly indulgence to make sure you’re always up to date with the latest Mac lineup?

Personally, I tend to stick with the hardware I have for as long as possible. I usually only upgrade when either my Mac starts to exhibit problems and become unreliable, or when a new form factor/update genuinely means that I’ll be able to do my job better.

The portability of the Macbook Air is close to hitting the second of these, but I haven’t felt the urge to upgrade from my MacBook Pro just yet…

Let us know your own thoughts on the topic, and do share your opinion in the comments!

It seems as though the recent news of Steve Jobs taking another period of medical leave was dominated by how the announcement would affect Apple’s stock. This always angers me a little, as it’s a blatant example of people caring more about their money than the wellbeing of another person.

Of course shareholders have a right to be informed of the situation – possibly more so than Apple makes clear from time to time – but ultimately, we should be happy to take a step back and accept that prying into the situation isn’t going to make life easier for Apple’s CEO.

Shareholders who value and believe in Apple as a company will be investing for the long-term, and appreciate that Steve has created a culture that goes far beyond what any one person contributes. In the short term, Apple will cope just fine (as they have done twice before). And even if Steve decides to step down as CEO permanently, everything we know and love about Apple will continue onwards.

The debate raging around Apple’s share price does raise an interesting question – how many AppStorm readers are financially invested in Apple as a company? I’d love to know if you are, and whether you have any thoughts on this whole issue.

Let us know, and do share your thoughts in the comments!

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