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If you, like me, are a word nerd, there’s a good chance that you’ve already run a search for ‘dictionary’ in the Mac App Store. Doing so brings up a number of dictionaries in various languages, a few games, language courses, and a surprisingly small number of English dictionaries. Perhaps developers know that all Macs are shipped with the New Oxford American Dictionary baked right into the operating system, so they shy away from duplication.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the built-in dictionary app is limited – likely adequate most of the time, but still limited. For this reason, now and then you might find yourself calling upon a higher authority and refer to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, which is widely held to be among the world’s best and most definitive references. That’s when you’ll be glad that WordWeb Software has brought this tome to the App Store.

Join us after the jump for a look at how the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary works, and how it might be a useful and even enjoyable addition to your Mac.

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To-do apps have such a big market, with new ones coming out almost every week. But what about a to-do app made specifically for students? Keeping up with assignments from all the different courses that you have as a student can be pretty difficult.

The app that we are reviewing today is called iHomework, and, as can likely be guessed by its name, its purpose is to help you keep up with your assignments.

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There are already many options available to those of us who’re after simple writing tools. These apps encourage their users to focus in on the evolving text, minimizing distractions by cutting back both on visual clutter (I’m looking at you Microsoft Office) and on informational overload in the form of too many options and tweakable settings. We’ve previously reviewed Byword and Writeroom, as well as running a round-up that added a few alternatives. We also published a discussion piece on whether such apps are necessary, which got some interesting debate going in its comments.

Such apps abound on the iPad too, and on that platform one of the most popular choices has been iA Writer. Now Information Architects, the design firm that developed iA Writer for iPad has turned it into a Mac app, available for purchase on the Mac Appstore.

I’m going to settle down for a while, open up iA Writer for Mac, and walk you through its features.

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When you open up your computer to get to work, you open up a world of distractions. As a writer, you could just pick up pen and paper, and forgo the entire digital realm – until, that is, you have to type up what you’ve written and double your workload. Minimalist writing apps like Byword attempt to recreate the simplicity of the pen-and-paper experience while supplying the benefits of digital convenience.

Whether or not these apps are necessary is itself a whole argument (Kevin Whipps’ article proved that people are very passionate about their workflows) but love them or hate them, how does ByWord stack up? Read on to find out whether it’s worth giving a try!

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Do you ever wish there was a single place you could keep all your notes, web clippings, voice memos, and incredible ideas for screenplays? Somewhere that synchronised your notes across all your various devices and made them fully searchable by their content or tags?

Introducing the uninitiated to Evernote – a single place for all the things you need to remember! Is it worth the money you ask? Well it’s free so we should probably have a look…

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Scrivener is an application for composing virtually any type of writing. It is the work of Keith Blount, himself a writer who had been unsatisfied with all the writing applications he’d used over the years. He decided to teach himself programming and built his own unique writing tool. I and many other writers are very thankful that he did.

After more than two years of work, Blount and his growing team at Literature & Latte recently released Scrivener 2.0. If you are familiar with the first version, you may not immediately notice any changes to the Scrivener screen, but believe me—there are changes.

The overview of additions and improvements takes six pages in the new manual. Mac AppStorm featured a delightful and thorough review of version 1.5 in March. Today we’re going to take a look at how Scrivener 2.0 differs from its predecessor, and what that might mean for writers looking for a software solution.

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My desk has become a sea of paper. Drawers and drawers filled with old reports, warranty guides, receipts, and papers whose origin I haven’t the slightest idea about. I’ve never really considered trying to scan and catalog my physical world, converting it to a digital one.

I guess that is why I was taken aback when asked to review Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software like ABBYY FineReader. I never really thought I’d be able to organize everything in any of my drawers. But after looking at the different scanned-file organization and OCR options, I may yet find a way to search through the mess…

After the jump, I’ll explain what exactly OCR is, and walk you through a number of different solutions available for the Mac!

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Corkboard is the future of copy and pasting on Macs. It provides a simple and elegant way to manage all the data you put in your clipboard. You can drag photos, text, links and more to the application’s menu bar, and it will be securely stored until you need to use it.

This review will give you an in depth look at one of the most powerful clipboard managers available for the Mac. Read on to find out just how amazing this $10 application is, and how it can change the way you copy and paste!

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Happy birthday, OpenOffice. Believe it or not, it’s been ten years since the mighty “other” productivity suite—the open-source uncle of Microsoft’s ‘Monopoloffice’—began the slow fight for recognition. How far we’ve come.

Of course, it’s been slightly less than ten years for us Mac folks, but in any case the milestone merits a re-evaluation of this streamlined suite of apps, especially in light of Microsoft’s recent release of Office 2011 for OS X.

At the end of the day, the question has always been whether or not OpenOffice is able to sufficiently replace Microsoft Office. Has it reached this stage today? Read on to find out…

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For years, the mind mapping software market has been perceptually dominated by FreeMind. I say perceptually, because it seems more people have been recommending it than actually using it. Despite its ubiquity on free software alternatives lists, FreeMind is an awkward fit in the OS X environment. It’s cross platform, which often means “looks sub par everywhere”. It’s Java based, so performance is unpredictable.

And, most importantly, it’s not MindManager.

MindManager was never born as a FreeMind alternative. It’s existed on Windows since 1994, and on OS X since 2006. This is mind mapping with a totally native interface, and a novel idea for system integration. Let’s see how it performs.

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