At the end of the week, creative people often wonder how much they actually accomplished. They tell their friends they only spent 40–50 hours on the computer working when, in reality, it’s more like 60–70 hours. Staring at a screen most of the day isn’t great for your eyes, so why not lessen the amount of time you spend using a computer? That’s not as easy as it sounds, because you first have to find out how much you are spending on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube each day.
There’s now a different type of time tracker available. It’s called RescueTime. Rather than requiring that you manually clock in and out, it monitors everything you do and sends you a report at an interval you choose. When I first heard about the service, I was cautious about the privacy implications and whether it even did a good job. After using it for nearly two months, I have a bit more to say about it. (more…)
It’s a great idea to keep track of everything you own, one of those things you likely remind yourself of when you’re walking through IKEA trying to find a new bookshelf. Then you go home, pull your hair out trying to setup said bookshelf, and promptly forget to record your purchase anywhere.
There’s a number of tools designed to help you keep track of the stuff you own, from the lauded Delicious Library that we found too memory-hungry and feature-lite for much good to the now-discontinued Bento database app. You could even keep a spreadsheet of stuff you own, but that’s not very fun or simple.
Or, you could use the new Compartments 2, an inventory app that’s perfect for cataloguing everything you own without too much fuss — and with some OS X Mavericks only features, too.
Two weeks ago at their special fall event, Apple released the much anticipated updates for its iWork suite. It’s been the biggest rework of the apps since the iWork suite was first launched. The apps bear a fresh, brand new UI but leave behind useful features, especially those that were most-loved by at power users. There’s been a lot of controversy about these apps over the past weeks, as is readily apparent from the comments on our Pages and Keynote reviews.
Numbers, Apple’s spreadsheet app that’s now in its 3rd version, is not an exception to the trend seen thus far in the new iWork apps. It’s simplified, looks much like the other new apps in the suite, and gets rid of some features that some of you might consider essential. Here’s my impressions on what I’ve always considered a powerful yet super easy to use combination of a free form spreadsheet processor and data visualizer.
Among the many apps unveiled at Apple’s Fall special event were long-overdue new versions of the iWork apps for the Mac. We had to wait almost five years to see Keynote version bump from 5.0 (aka iWork ’09) to 6.0, which was almost as long as the wait between between 1.0 and 5.0. But it’s been worth the wait for the most part.
The brand new Keynote 6 brings a completely revamped UI and new features to Apple’s venerable presentation app. Let’s see how far Apple went in re-thinking the app that powers all of the company’s own presentations.
Microsoft Word has long been the word processor for the masses. Whether people like it or not, they have to use the .doc format to submit things to their superiors. Slowly, however, a new generation of apps is arising. OpenOffice and LibreOffice are leading the way in open source word processors, and there are lots of great Markdown tools out there for the pseudo-coder. For the average user, though, the best way to write an essay or report for work is using Pages.
Unfortunately, Apple’s small app doesn’t get much recognition, since it’s not available outside their ecosystem. It also didn’t appeal to some people because of the cost. Well, that’s all about to change in Pages 5. During the special event this week, Apple unveiled a new version of its word processor, making it more powerful and attractive than ever. Best of all, people who buy new Macs get it for free. So just how good is this essential piece of the new iWork suite? (more…)
We all expected to see iOS 7 at the WWDC keynote. That one was a given. The next version of OS X was also practically a given, but didn’t seem nearly as anticipated. New Macs were a nice extra, that both weren’t surprising to see but none of us would have been that surprised if they hadn’t been included. A new version of iWork and iLife were hoped for, but again, we’d almost given up hope that Apple would have time for anything besides iOS 7.
But practically no one was expecting that Apple would spend a serious amount of time during the keynote talking about web apps. And yet they did. Apple, the company that almost entirely makes software just for its own devices took the time to show us how great their new iWork for iCloud apps worked in Chrome on Windows 8. iWork has always been seen as a distant runner-up to Microsoft Office, the 900lb gorilla in the room whenever you talk about apps for word processing, presentations, and spreadsheets. The very fact that the iPad doesn’t have Office has been used as an advertisement point for Microsoft’s Surface ads. But we all thought the discussion was long-since beyond Office, and we’ve all learned to get along very well without it, thank you very much.
Apple isn’t in the business of leaving well enough alone, though, and they’re taking their own Office competitor directly to Microsoft’s homefront. If you’ve stuck with Office simply because others won’t be able to preview your files if you use iWork — or if you’ve stayed away since you occasionally need to edit from a PC — here’s why iWork for iCloud just might be the best thing to happen to iWork yet. It’s a bold foray into Microsoft’s territory, just as Microsoft launches its own Office apps on the iPhone. (more…)
Archival tools aren’t usually the first thing you’d think of when looking for a cool new app to download. Sure, anyone with a history with PCs likely remembers installing WinZip as one of the first programs on a new computer — and then ignored the “trial over” popups for months after. But today, when you download a zip file in Safari it’s automatically extracted, and most of us aren’t trying to cram as much as possible into 700Mb CDs these days.
But there’s still space for archival tools. If you want to save space on your backups, easily extract archives in formats that Finder doesn’t support, encrypt your archived files, and more, you’ll need a better tool.
That’s what the freshly released Archiver 2.0 does. It’s a simple yet powerful solution to your advanced archive needs.
If you’re like me and are completely in love with your Doxie scanner, then you’ll no doubt be scanning almost anything you can get your hands on, whether it needs scanning or not! It’s a great first step towards de-cluttering your desk and making everything as easy to find as possible. And even if you don’t have a Doxie, there’s a ton of other great scanners out there that can quickly turn all of your paper into digital documents.
But once you’ve scanned all your paperwork, what do you actually do with it? That’s where iDocument comes in. Could it be the app your paperless workflow needs?
Dropbox is nothing short of incredible. When the whole world thought file sharing had to be complex and kludgy, a MIT student who forgot his flash drive showed us all that file sharing could be simple enough that we’d all want to do it. You’ve got to trust it with your data, and be willing to pay to store more than several gigs of data, but beyond that, there’s little to make you question using Dropbox. It’s ubiquitous for good reason.
That doesn’t mean it’s the be all and end all of file syncing. There’s Google Drive, Microsoft’s Skydrive, and Amazon’s new Cloud Drive sync. But one new competitor, AeroFS, is taking on Dropbox directly with its own private sync solution, in an app that might be the absolute closest competitor Dropbox has seen yet. It’s fresh out of beta for individuals and teams, so let’s take a look. (more…)
DevonThink Personal is an amazing piece of software to organize your notes, PDFs, bookmarks, articles, and anything else you can think of. It’s one of those apps you’re bound to have heard of semi-frequently if you’ve been using a Mac for any decent amount of time, most within articles about paperless workflows. But that’s not everything DevonThink is up to.
The Personal edition of DevonThink offers most of the features which made the application well-known for organizing your snippets of text, and the famous artificial intelligence to find references among your files. It’s time to do DevonThink some justice and see why you should be using it.