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Communication

With features like voicemail transcription, a master number for all your phones, free text messaging, and custom greetings based on who’s calling, Google Voice has become a wildly popular service for cell phone users. I’ve been using Google Voice for years, and for the most part I’ve found it to be a near-perfect communication tool.

The Google Voice iPhone app is decent, (the Android version is understandably better), but as long you’re sitting at the computer, it’s simpler to use the web interface to access voicemail and send text messages. GrowlVoice eliminates the need to open your browser to use Google Voice, and adds very convenient Growl notifications. How well does it perform?

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We all know how saturated the market for Twitter apps is, with each striving to provide the best experience for the service. This ever-growing market can make it difficult for users to pick their go-to Twitter app, especially when they only differ from one another in subtle ways.

Enter Osfoora, the popular Twitter app for iOS that has recently made its way to the Mac. With over 80,000 Twitter followers and 1,700 ratings in the iOS App Store, the popularity of the brand alone might have been reason enough for the developer to release a version for the Mac. But does Osfoora stand out from the multitude of existing Twitter clients? To see if Osfoora will be a serious competitor on the Mac, read on.
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I used Thunderbird off and on as my email client back in my Windows days (dark days indeed), and then again on Mac OS X for a while. I finally switched to Apple’s official Mail client and haven’t interacted with Thunderbird much until I started thinking about writing this review.

So, can Thunderbird earn it’s keep as a primary email application? Let’s find out shall we?

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If you saw our post earlier, then you know that Apple dropped a bomb on us with a sneak preview of the upcoming Mountain Lion update to OS X. James touched briefly on the handful of new features that Apple announced, all of which are exciting and intend to bring an even more iOS-like experience to your Mac. However, because I’m particularly interested in communication, I’m going to go a little bit more in depth with one particular feature of OS X Mountain Lion: Messages.

Messages is the new Mac app that replaces iChat, and the beta is available for download today. I’ve been toying with it all morning, and I have to say that I’m very pleased with it. Hit the jump to see what it’s all about.

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A lot of us are stuck in a world of multiple means of connecting with people, but one of the core methods that will remain for the foreseeable future is the telephone. Granted, this devices is a far cry from what it was even a few years ago, but nonetheless, it is something that will be around for a while. We’ll need to make phone calls. We’ll need to receive phone calls.

The underlying function has remained the same, but the technology surrounding hasn’t and has been changing so rapidly it’s almost impossible to keep up with. More intelligent management of you phones is a great area to explore if you’re juggling multiple phones. Phone Amego aims to be your friend and help you to better manage your calling and call receiving.

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Despite how much everyone hates it, they simply cannot eliminate email from their personal and most importantly professional lives. It’s the ideal form of communication because it’s instant, unintrusive, good for both long and short form communication. And it’s very economical – often times it’s free. So, email isn’t going anywhere.

Folks use various email clients to tackle email overload and the choices in that front are aplenty. I’m not new to Postbox. I have tried it since version one and revisit the app every time there is a new version. So, when there was an opportunity to take a look at the impending version 3.0, I jumped in to get a glimpse of all those new exciting features. And boy, there are so many. Come, join me to take a sneak peek!

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These days, it sometimes feels like I sign up for a new social network every single week. So many people I know work on a daily basis with Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Flickr, LinkedIn, Foursquare, YouTube…the list goes on. Often, managing those networks is as big of a task as the actual work you have to get done. As a result, we’ve seen growth in an obvious market for apps and services that consolidate those networks and let you manage what gets shared and where.

Life Stream is a (very) young contender in this space, developed by Bloop. It attempts to integrate all of your social networks into one stream of social media information. How well does it execute this premise? Hit that “more” link to find out.

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Twitter. 5 years ago that was a word that described the sound a songbird makes. And while that’s still the first definition in almost every dictionary you check, in the public mind it means something else entirely. It’s a social network, one composed of short little messages intended for public consumption. Like any good ecosystem, Twitter has changed the definitions of more words than just its name. Now we have “tweet,” “retweet,” “follow,” and of course “hashtags”. More than vocabulary, the sphere of influence Twitter has created has its clients buying into the ornithological metaphor as well. You’d be hard pressed to find a Twitter client that doesn’t have a bird or something bird-related in its icon.

It’s true of the Twitter client we’re going to talk about today. It’s called Wren, and has an adorable yellow bird as its icon. However, the similarities with its Twitter client brethren ends there. Wren is something different. By some people’s definition, it shouldn’t even be called a Twitter client. It has no timeline, no “river of information” to wade through. And yet I contest it is a Twitter client, one that every Twitter user should take a long, hard look at and see if it’s the missing piece in their Twitter workflow. Let me show you what I mean.

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One of my favorite things about Mac OS X is the menu bar. More specifically, the fantastic apps that are developed to work with it. You can find a menu bar app for pretty much anything – from the weather to your Twitter feed! They make it super fast and easy to keep up with information without opening a full-blown app and leaving what you are doing.

Today we are reviewing FaceTab and MailTab, two apps from developer FIPLAB that pretty much let you run Facebook and Gmail from your menu bar without losing any of the features that you get on their web interfaces. Want to hear more about them?

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I’ve been a Gmail user for better than five years now. Throughout that time period I’ve been in search of an email application for my desktop, and have continually been disappointed. As my frustration grew, and the Gmail interface improved, I all but conceeded that I would just use the web interface forever.

Then, the Sparrow beta was released. I was intrigued. It looked like something very different and it was geared towards Gmail users. The buzz around the Web sucked me in, so I decided to give it a try and really enjoyed the experience. There were a few bugs, but overall it was a refreshing way to manage email.

Their first official release – Sparrow 1.0 – popped up on the App Store recently, and I decided to give it a go. I was excited to see the final product of something I thought had a ton of promise, but could it become my new email application?

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