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With our always-busy, always-committed-to-something lifestyle, it might be hard to keep track of all your duties. That’s where todo list and project management apps enter the stage. I’ve tried four of the most popular Mac apps in this category: OmniFocus, Things, The Hit List, and Wunderlist. But because I’m really bad at being organized, all of these apps were all too much of a hassle for me, despite being relatively simple to use.

My way of adding things to my todo list must be absolutely frictionless. Only plain text and the awesome plain text todo list app TaskPaper can satisfy my needs. If you’re like me, stay after the break to read in details about a workflow I developed to actually do things instead of just spending time fiddling with my tasks.

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Alfred is awesome. Over the last couple of years this app launcher has garnered a substantial and loyal following, and its easy to see why. It’s an awesome app launcher in its own right, but as we have noted elsewhere, with the Alfred Powerpack, this app becomes much more awesome. It turns into a clipboard manager, iTunes player, file browser, and with a bit of tweaking, the ultimate notes manager.

Whether you prefer to manage notes with Mountain Lion’s native Notes app, or would rather keep notes in plain text files, Alfred has you covered. Read on to find out how to turn Alfred into the ultimate notes manager.

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Editor’s note: The following article was not up to our standard editorial standards, and we’re very sorry about that. We’re doing everything we can to improve, and hope you continue to read our site.

Couple of months ago, a movie studio obtained a John Doe order and got a bunch of popular video sharing and torrent websites offline. I found this highly repulsive in two significant ways. First, they were retarded enough to leave YouTube from the list and got Vimeo banned instead. Raise your hands if you’ve ever watched a pirated video song or a movie on Vimeo.

And second, as a proud citizen of the largest democracy in the World, I found this a gross violation of my freedom and an extension of the Great Firewall of China. That’s not a proud title to wear around your neck. Such infringements occur time and again even in highly democratic countries.

Not knowing that there are so many ways to sidestep these stumbling blocks is a mistake from our end. One of the most efficient and trustworthy services I have discovered in the last year is TunnelBear. After the break, let us see how you can enter the open Internet by just flicking a switch!

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This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on July 16th, 2011.

When I was a kid playing around on my first Mac, I always thought it was loads of fun to have the computer read out whatever I’d written in KidPix (remember KidPix?). On my grown-up Macbook, I sometimes set up spoken alarms and alerts, so that I can imagine Stephen Hawking is telling me what time it is.

However, if you want to convert longer passages of text to speech, you might be in for some quality time with the command line (more on that later). There’s a decent amount of professional text-to-speech software out there, but it’s generally expensive, and mostly intended for business use or for people with disabilities. Today we’re going to go over some free and inexpensive options, and learn how to convert text to speech using TextEdit or the Terminal.

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There’s no denying that Macs have been quite popular with students for years, and with good reason. Apple’s computers are ideal for an academic context (and, we’d argue, almost any context, but we might be biased), given their reliability and features that help its users to get stuff done. However, I’ve come to realize that students often use their Macs superficially. Most are not taking full advantage of everything OS X offers them, not to mention the myriad of incredible third-party apps.

I’ll attempt to capitalize on my 4-year experience with using Macs as a student. In all honesty, many of these tips can be applied to any situation, so long as it involves productivity in one way or another. Moreover, don’t expect these tips to be mindblowing; they’re aimed at new Mac users, but even old timers might find a new tip or three.

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I love writing articles on my Mac. It’s easy, fullscreen mode is convenient, and there are a lot of great apps available for the platform. Overall, the experience is a quality one. But when it comes to choosing what app to write with, I have some trouble. Every month there seems to be a “new” writing app on the Mac App Store that’s really just a reiteration of the existing apps available. I like to remain loyal to a single app, but sometimes it’s fun to explore.

The other day, I was browsing the Mac App Store in search of anything new and significant. I came across Free, a distraction-free writing app by Michael Göbel that, comically enough considering its name, is not free. Its purpose is the same as that of WriteRoom, iA Writer, and the many others in this genre: to create an environment that is the most straightforward it can possibly be so that you can focus on writing and not the app’s functionality itself. My purpose, however, is to take a look at how well an app performs its job, so instead of assuming this app is great, let’s submerge ourselves in all the little appealing ounces of Free. (more…)

This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on June 16th, 2011.

Do note: this video screencast is only in Flash, so you won’t be able to view it on your iOS device. Sorry!

In this, the next installment in our series on iMovie ’11, we’re going to take a look at adding assets to your iMovie projects. What do I mean by assets? Well, in truth, the video clips themselves could be considered assets. But we’ve already gone over how to add those to a project, and even how to splice them together to start to form a movie. What I call assets are anything you add to a movie that isn’t a video clip. I’m talking about images, audio, titles, transitions. All of those things that can help flesh out what would otherwise be just home movie footage into a work of film.

Ok, so maybe your plans aren’t quite that grandiose. But I think you get the idea. So, sit back and watch as I show you how to add these things in iMovie, and how they can take your next project to the next level.

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This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on April 20th, 2011.

Do note: this video screencast is only in Flash, so you won’t be able to view it on your iOS device. Sorry!

Bundled with every new Mac is the iLife suite of apps. iLife promises an exciting and fulfilling digital experience, one that integrates your Mac into your day-to-day life. But having the program is only half the battle – the hardest part is knowing how to use it!

Today’s screencast overview will walk you through using iMovie for the first time, how to create your first project, and how to import in your video. Let’s get started!

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This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on July 27th, 2011.

Editor’s Note: Mission Control in Mountain Lion is almost the exact same as it is in Lion, so everything here still applies even if you’ve just upgraded to Apple’s latest and greatest OS. The only real change is that there’s an option to not group windows by their application, to make it easier to see more at once.

For years Apple has been tweaking and rethinking the way we interact with open windows and applications inside of OS X. Exposé came along and allowed us to quickly view all open windows or even hide them completely. Then Spaces entered the scene and allowed us to create a number of unique workspaces or desktops, each containing its own applications and windows.

Mission Control is the evolution of this process. It represents a new and very powerful way to manage your multitasking mess inside of of OS X. Some find the new system intuitive, but many others find it completely intimidating. Today we’re going to show you how to master Mission Control so your Mac can become a beacon of productivity.

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Whether you’re looking to do some late spring cleaning, or you just want to liberate some of your guilty pleasure movies from their DVD prisons, it is time we revisit the process of ripping your DVD collection into iTunes. Ripping DVDs is not only easy, it can save a lot of money as you begin (or continue) to build your digital video library.

As the self-proclaimed digital projectionist for the casa de la Stark, let me walk you through the basic steps and available software applications to get those movies off the plastic and into your Mac.

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