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Back when I first made the switch to a Mac, part of the appeal of both the OS and the hardware was the minimalist approach that Apple takes. I always hated having to delete the trial software that Microsoft lets other companies dump into their systems. Apple lets you start with a clean slate and enjoy your new machine from the second you turn it on. Unfortunately, though, Macs are just as prone to getting cluttered as anything else over time.

Even if you aren’t a digital neat-freak like me, chances are the available space on your drive shrinks a little bit more every day. If you aren’t proactive, you’re going to run out of space. If you’ve gotten a newer Mac with an SSD or replaced your Mac’s hard drive with an SSD, chances are you’re dealing with less storage on your Mac than you would have expected in the past. While SSD prices are falling, the price-to-capacity ratio still means that space is at a premium, and you’ll need to start keeping better tabs on what is eating up space. Luckily, there are a number of options for cleaning up the clutter, and we are going to take a look at a few that I’ve used in my battle to keep my laptop lean.

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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…)

Minecraft is a popular game, one that we awarded a perfect 10/10 in our review late last month. Many gamers choose to play the game in its single player mode, but the collaborative, multiplayer building is an immensely popular feature that powers hundreds, if not thousands, of gameplay servers.

You too can host a Minecraft server right on your Mac and, in this article, we’ll show you just how!

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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 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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So you want to play games but you don’t want to settle for Windows? Don’t let the stereotypes of the gaming community dissuade you from buying a machine running OS X and don’t feel that you’re going to have to make compromises just to do so. I play games on my Mac and have a great experience doing so, but picking out the right machine can be pretty critical to ensuring an optimum time.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at each of Apple’s Macs and discuss why you might choose them and when you shouldn’t. (more…)

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