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Microsoft isn’t usually the first company on our radar as Mac users, but with their upcoming release of Windows 8, they seem to be actually thinking different, for once. Windows 8 is easily the most dramatic change Windows has ever seen, taking it quite far away from its original Macintosh-inspired design. At worst, it takes some inspiration from the iPad in being a touch-centric UI, but otherwise, everything new in Windows 8 is a Microsoft-based design.

New innovation is always cause for excitement, and even if we love Apple, we’re always excited to see other companies pushing the bounds and making great new products. Windows 8′s new square and typography centric design is at least an interesting step in a new direction. It might be one that leaves most PC users behind, but it’s also one that piques our interest, at least a bit.

Has Windows 8 caught your interest, and are you looking forward to trying it out? Do you think it could tempt you away from OS X and iOS? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

Social networking isn’t a new thing of 2012, but it’s sure hit a mass saturation point. You can’t ride public transit or eat at a restaurant without seeing people checking Facebook and tweeting pictures. It seems you’re more likely to see a Facebook page mentioned on an ad than the company’s own website, reminiscent of companies advertising their Aol. keywords back in the late ’90s.

So, it’s not surprising at all that the latest OS X and iOS feature deep Facebook and Twitter integration. You can share most things you do on your Mac in a click, sync birthdays from Facebook with Calendar, get Facebook and Twitter avatars in Contacts, and push notifications when you get @replies. It’s great for those addicted to Facebook and Twitter, but not so much for those who avoid social networking or who’d rather use another network like App.net.

Have you started using the Twitter and Facebook integration in OS X Mountain Lion? Do you like it, or would you just as soon they’d left it out?

Apple Stores have become all but ubiquitous in most major cities around the world. I live in Thailand, which doesn’t actually have its own Apple Stores, but their Apple Premium Resellers here, iBeat and iStudio, look quite the part of their Apple Store counterparts. And they’re everywhere, in all major malls and even small-town superstores.

Apple Stores are great places to try out the latest Macs and iOS devices, and make it rather easy to, say, buy anything from new power adapter for your MacBook or a new MacBook in just a few minutes. But if you’re not content with the default specs, you’ll want to head to Apple’s online store. There, you can trick out your Mac with all the ram and SSD space Apple offers.

Or perhaps you’re looking to save some money. In that case, you might be better heading to Amazon.com or a brick-and-mortar retailer. They don’t offer quite as fancy of a shopping experience, but they often are a bit cheaper at least.

That’s why we’re wondering: how do your buy your Macs and other Apple hardware? I personally have purchased all of my Macs from Apple’s online store, though I tend to pick up accessories as I need them at local Apple Premium Resellers. How about you?

Last week, yet another Humble Bundle was launched, and the special is still running through this week. The Humble Bundle has become one of the best known software bundles ever, and the team behind it continues to surprise with consistently high-quality bundles.

The Humble Bundle is unique in the world of bundles for the way it does business. You can pay whatever you want for a bundle, legitimately getting a ton of games for perhaps mere cents. Now, though, it offers extra games for those who beat the average price paid for the bundle, which is a great incentive to pay more for the bundle. Even still, most of the time, you can get over a dozen games for less than $6, including their soundtracks, Steam licenses, and the option to play them on OS X, Windows, or Linux. Not bad at all.

That’s why we’re wondering: have you ever bought a Humble Bundle? Do you look forward to new ones coming out so you can get more games for your library? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the most popular bundle in the comments!

Let’s face it: a new Mac can be rather pricey. There’s many reasons that they’re a great value, from their build quality to the components inside to the software they run, but at the end of the day, if you only have a limited budget for a Mac, it can be tough to find the Mac you need.

We’ve talked before about getting your Mac ready for sell, which is a popular way to recoup some of the cost of your old Mac when you’re getting a new machine. But what about buying a used Mac instead of getting the latest model straight from Apple?

The good thing is, there’s quite the active market for used Macs, and you can usually find almost any Mac you can think of for sell on Craigslist, eBay, or from a local shop. If buying used sounds a bit too risky to you, you could always go for a refurbished Mac straight from Apple, where you can get as much as $200 off many Macs.

So, have you ever purchased a used Mac? How’d it work out for you?

When Steve Jobs unveiled the original iPhone 5 years ago, many downplayed the device’s significance to the industry but still assumed it’d sell good thanks to Apple’s Mac fanbase. The iPhone quickly proved it could hold its own in the world, and thanks to the App Store and iCloud, you could easily use an iPhone today even if you didn’t own any other computer at all. Many iPhone users have never owned a Mac, and despite most Mac users love of all things Apple, there’s still many Mac users that have never owned an iPhone.

I’m one of those. I’ve owned an iPod Touch, and loved it, but continued using my old phone for voice calls and txts since iPhones are only sold unlocked in Thailand and cost more than an iPad upfront. Even with Apple’s upcoming launch of the next iPhone, I’ll be paying more attention to details about the next iPod Touch unless they seriously cut the unlocked iPhone’s price.

Whether for cost or just because you don’t use the phone that much, there’s still many of us who don’t have an iPhone. Are you in that number, or are you more devoted to your iPhone today than your Mac? We’d love to hear your thoughts in this week’s poll on the eve of Apple’s next major iPhone launch.

If you have a Mac, chances are you didn’t even consider other computers because you wanted one that runs OS X. Apple makes great hardware, but it’s the great software with great hardware that makes a Mac. Even still, there’s many times you might need to run another operating system. From running an Access database for work in Windows or testing out a Linux server config locally, there’s many reasons you still might want to run another OS on your Mac.

Thankfully, there’s many choices. There’s the built-in Boot Camp, which gives you a free way to run other operating systems directly on your Mac. Then, there’s a number of virtualization tools to let you run other OSes on top of OS X, including the newly updated VMware Fusion and Parallels desktop, as well as the free open source VirtualBox.

That’s why we’re curious: how do you run other operating systems on your Mac? Or are you just fine only using OS X? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

eBooks have become an important part the tech world these days. Many of us have dedicated eBook readers or tablets with eBook apps. I personally read more books than ever, but just a couple weeks ago purchased the first paper book I’ve purchased in years. Today, Amazon’s making more from Kindle books than hardcovers and Apple’s even had the DOJ inquiring into its eBook business practices. It’s an infant industry, but one that’s growing by leaps and bounds.

Today, you can buy almost any book you can think of and read it on your Mac or other devices in seconds. The Kindle app is ubiquitous thanks to Amazon’s extensive library of titles, but many indie publishers sell DRM free eBooks that you can read in Preview or apps like Calibre. Apple still hasn’t brought iBooks to the Mac, but many of us hope they’ll release a Mac version of it eventually.

I personally read PDF eBooks in Preview and Kindle books more than anything on my Mac, but I’m curious what you use to read books on your Mac. We’d love to hear your thoughts about your favorite book apps in the comments below!

Since 2008, Apple has shifted the design of all MacBooks with a unibody aluminum shell, starting with the original MacBook Air and continued with the MacBook Pros. Today, if you buy a MacBook, you’ll have to get one with an aluminum unibody, as that’s all they sell now. Apple’s hailed the design as stronger yet lighter than previous designs. It’s certainly proved popular with customers. Every high-end PC, it seems, tries to one-up Apple’s unibody design.

Plastic cracks and scratches, and rarely would hold up to any heavy blows or falls. Aluminum is much more resilient, but is still susceptible to scratches from hard objects and even bends from hard falls. It’s far from the hardest or strongest material on the planet. Just search for bent MacBook Air, and you’ll find some horrifying pictures online (of course, if a plastic notebook took the same blows, it likely would have cracked and shattered instead of just bending … but still).

That’s why we’re wondering how your unibody MacBook Pro or Air is holding up. Have you gotten some small scratches and bent corners, or does yours still look factory-fresh? Is the unibody design working better for you than other laptops you’ve had in the past? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

If you’ve used a Mac for any amount of time, you’ve surely heard of the Omni Group‘s popular Mac apps. OmniFocus, easily their most well known app, is the leading task management app for Mac users that want to keep up with everything about their tasks and get things done. Their other apps, including OmniOutliner for outlines, OmniPlan for project management, and OmniGraffle for creating drawings and diagrams, are all category-leading apps that have been popular for years.

The Omni Group got its start as a consulting company for NeXTSTEP, the predecessor to OSX by Steve Jobs’ second company, and later transitioned to making apps for OS X. Today, all of their major apps are on iOS as well, and are in many ways leading examples of the best iOS has to offer for productivity.

Back on the Mac, Omni’s apps are still popular, and continue to be some of the best ways to get things done, make outlines and diagrams, and more. They’re a big part of the Mac app scene, and a great example of the great software you can only get on a Mac.

That’s why we’re wondering: what Omni apps do you use? Do you rely on them every day? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the Omni apps in the comments below.

…goes to check off this task in OmniFocus as I hit publish

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