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It’s happened to all of us: you download a new app, and are all excited over its features … only to find that it really doesn’t work for you. So it lingers in Launchpad, and in all likelihood is never opened again. That is, until you one day open it by chance, and try it again. Perhaps it got an update, perhaps you were just bored, or perhaps you kept hearing people praise it and figured you missed something the first time around.

And boom, you’ve got a new favorite app. That app that didn’t work for you the first time suddenly fits like a glove. It’s perfect for you, and you wonder why you didn’t see the light sooner.

That happened to me with Alfred. I downloaded it, couldn’t get what the fuss was all about, and went back to Spotlight. Then, I tried it again a couple months later, and thought it was nice enough, so I got the powerpack. Soon, I couldn’t imagine working with Alfred, and I’m even more addicted to the awesomeness that is Alfred 2 and its workflows.

It also happened to me with PopClip, as I’ve written about before. With it, the update that added actions flew under my radar at first, but once I tried it out, I was hooked.

So, what apps grew on you over time? We’d love to hear your stories below!

It's been over 2 years — and two OS X releases — since the Mac App Store was launched on OS X Snow Leopard. In that time, it's become ubiquitous in the world of Mac Apps, and most new apps we try out and review are exclusively on the Mac App Store. In fact, a good number of the apps I use daily are exclusively on the Mac App Store.

For the most part, the App Store is a great addition to the Mac, making it easier for developers to sell apps and giving us a centralized place for users to find apps and get updates. But, it's not all perfect: there's restrictions to what App Store apps can do, and some developers have backtracked from switching to the App Store, moving new versions of their apps back to exclusive sale on their own site.

As app users, it's not too often that we get the choice of where to buy apps. If developers sell on the App Store, usually the app is only on the App Store, and otherwise, it's only on their own site. There are apps that are an exception, such as the Omni Group's apps, which are sold on both the App Store and on their own site.

That's why we're wondering: When you can choose, would you rather buy an app from the App Store or from developers' own sites? Fill out the poll, and let us know why you choose what you do in the comments below.

One of the many new additions to OS X in Lion was AirDrop, a simple way to share files between Macs over WiFi. It sounded like a great solution, but turned out to be a bit more complicated than it seemed at first.

For one thing, the Macs would have to be on the same network, and without tweaking, AirDrop only works over WiFi. You’ll have to head over to terminal and do some tweaking to get AirDrop working over Ethernet. Then, it doesn’t work between OS X and iOS, making it only useful for sharing files between Macs on the same network — which in all likelihood means you already have another file sharing system in place.

There’s apps that one-up AirDrop’s functionality, such as Instashare, which hope to take the idea to the next level by bringing cross-platform sharing and more to the idea behind AirDrop. And there’s always the hope that Apple will do more with AirDrop in future versions of OS X (and perhaps iOS).

But as it is right now, have you used AirDrop? Is it something you use all the time, or did you just try it out for the novelty of it, and then quit using it soon after? We’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Imagine you’re walking out of the Apple Store with a brand new MacBook under your arm, or perhaps you’re carting out one of the brand-new wall mounted iMacs (yes, we’re wishing we had one of those — say, the top-speced 27″ one — too). You plug in your Mac, savor the familiar-yet-new startup ding, then connect to the internet. You’re ready to start loading up your Mac with the best apps, and you can’t wait to get it feeling like a productive machine.

Only this time, there’s a twist: you can only install 5 apps. That’s right: you can install anything you want from the net or the App Store, but you’re limited to using the built-in apps and up to 5 more apps you install. What apps would make the cut?

The past few weeks, we’ve been featuring roundups of our team’s favorite apps in the Apps We Use series, and we’ve got a ton more workflows to feature over the upcoming weeks. Some of us have extremely streamlined workflows consisting of only a few apps, while others have a ton of apps they use to get their work done.

If I could only install 5 apps on my Mac, I’d install:

  • Dropbox, since all my files live in it
  • 1Password, since I wouldn’t be able to login to almost any site without it
  • OmniFocus, which holds almost everything I need to do
  • Sublime Text for writing, since it’s great for plain-text writing as well as coding
  • Transmit for FTP, to publish articles to my site (which uses the flat-file CMS Kirby)

There’s a ton more apps I use daily and that I’d want to use, but these would be the minimum I’d need to keep working. Now, how about you? What 5 apps would you install if you could only have 5 apps on your Mac? Let us know in the comments below!


If there’s one enduring set of apps that’s practically a requirement to use in most business and education settings, it’s Microsoft Office. Love it or hate it, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are the de facto standards for their categories.

On a Mac, you’ve got a ton of options these days. You could obviously use Office for Mac, though it’s often a bit behind its Windows counterparts despite coming out for the Mac before Windows was even around (though sometimes it does seem ahead of the Windows versions — see the Publishing layout options in Word for Mac). Then, there’s Apple’s iWork apps, though you might end up with some compatibility issues if you have to regularly share heavily formatted documents (but, for most purposes, iWork really is fine, while being nicer to use than Office. Really). There’s also OpenOffice and its new counterpart LibreOffice, though they come with their own slew of issues. You could also use web apps for free these days instead, from Google, Zoho, or even Microsoft itself.

Or, you could use Office for Windows on your Mac, either in Bootcamp or in a virtual machine. That way, you could use Office 2013 today on your Mac, or stick to an older-and-trusted version of Office in an old XP virtual machine. I personally have Office 2010 in a Windows 7 virtual machine, as well as an Office 2013 trial in a Windows 8 virtual machine for testing and more. We’d love to know if you use Office for Windows on your Mac. If so, we’d love to hear how you use it, and what version you’re using in the comments below!

Last year, Adobe launched their Creative Cloud subscription service along with the newly released Creative Suite 6. Creative Cloud lets you download every one of the full apps from Creative Suite Master Collection to your Mac or PC, and share creative files online for $49/month. That’s still pricey over time, but a huge savings over the initial cost of buying Creative Suite Master Collection outright for $2,599.

If you already have a copy of Creative Suite, though, upgrading to the latest version often still works out cheaper if you have a smaller edition. I had Creative Suite 5.5 Design Standard, and upgraded to CS6 Design Standard for far less than a Creative Cloud subscription would have cost me. Another option is buying a one-app version of Creative Cloud, which is one way, say, to get Photoshop for $19/month.

Creative Cloud apps get updates more often than their traditional Creative Suite counterparts, so Photoshop users especially already have new features over those of use with Creative Suite. It’s one of the many ways Adobe is trying to push us all over to the subscription side.

About 15% of you said you plan to get Creative Cloud in our poll last year, and more said you’d consider it. That’s why we’re wondering how many of you actually use Creative Cloud. Has it worked out good for you, or are traditional upgrades still your preferred way of getting Adobe apps?

If you’ve ever wanted a more advanced to-do list app for your Mac, you’re bound to have tried OmniFocus or Things – or both. They’re the two most popular – or at least most talked about – task management apps on the Mac, with a somewhat similar feature set and seemingly equally fanatical fans.

OmniFocus 1 first came out in early 2008, while Things 1 came out in early 2009. Each have received a number of updates over time, and Things just released their second full version last year. OmniFocus 2, on the other hand, is one of the apps we’re anticipating most in 2013.

Both apps sync online, are designed to work with the GTD method, let you schedule tasks and organize things, though in their own manner. They’re really both great apps, though Things shines a bit more right now in the design and ease-of-use department, and OmniFocus is definitely the more geeky and “hackable” of the two.

So, which is your favorite of the two? Or have you foregone both Things and OmniFocus, and spent your GTD dollars on other apps?

For the record, I’m an OmniFocus guy, and can’t wait to get started using OmniFocus 2 ;)

If Apple keeps up with its new annual OS X release cycle, then we should be expecting to see a new cat roaring on our Macs before the end of 2013. Mountain Lion was released last July, and its claim to fame was bringing more iOS features to OS X. iCloud, Notes, Dictation, Reminders, and more came as a reminder (pun not intended) that iOS was Apple’s more well-known and widely used operating system these days.

There’s little more from iOS we can imagine that Apple would bring to the Mac, aside from Siri and possibly Maps (oh, and iBooks), but there’s quite a few power user features that iOS users are clamoring for in iOS 7. If anything, it seems that Apple needs to bring some Mac features to iOS this year.

That’s not to say there’s nothing for OS X 10.9 to conquer this year. At the very least, I’d love to see a vastly improved iCloud and Messages, perhaps Siri, Maps, and iBooks, and some much needed love for older OS X apps like Automator. It’d also be great to be surprised with some new, OS X only features, stuff to make Macs stand out even more than they already do from the competition – and Apple’s iOS devices. iWork and iLife could desperately use a new upgrade as well, though that’s hardly a core part of OS X.

With Jony Ive the head of Apple’s software design, it’ll be interesting at the very least to see what design changes, if nothing else, show up in the next version of OS X. So what are you hoping to see in the OS X 10.9? It may just be wishing, but we’d sure love to see what you hope to see from Apple this year in the comments below!

The Dashboard seems in many ways to be a ghost of OS X past, but the version in Mountain Lion has enough iOS-style tweaks to make it seem like Apple’s going to keep it around. There’s a number of ways you can still put Dashboard to use, even today, and the built-in widgets and Safari web clips can make it quite useful.

Back in 2011, Josh asked if you still use Dashboard, and just under half of our readers said they don’t use it. I’d figure less of us use it today in 2013, but was curious to see.

So: do you still use Dashboard? If so, what widgets do you still use? I’m still using it for the Stocks and weather widgets, as well as Safari web clips myself.

It’s been 29 years since Apple unveiled the original Macintosh, long enough that the Macs most of us use today would seem like science fiction compared to the original Macintosh. But the story of Apple doesn’t start with the Mac.

8 years earlier, Jobs and Wozniak demonstrated the Apple I, the computer that started it all, at the Homebrew Computer Club. Then, a year later, the Apple II was demonstrated, and it soon became one of the first computers to be released that was a mass success. The Macintosh came along, but it was still years before the Apple II computers had fully disappeared from Apple’s lineup.

My own first Apple computer (of sorts) was decidedly not a Mac. Instead, it was the one Apple device that seems to be the early predecessor of Apple’s real future as a mobile device company: the Newton.

So did you ever use an original Apple computer? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

And if you’re curious what Macs your fellow AppStorm readers are using, our giveaway from last week turned into an impromptu poll about that!

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