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As a student, I am well versed in the world of handwritten notes. Just like many of you out there, when taking notes you tend to miss what the professor, speaker, or person of interest is saying, as you’re concentrating on what you are writing.

What if you could combine someone’s lecture with your typed notes? When you’re reviewing, you can match your notes with their speech. Pear Note from Useful Fruit Software does just this – recording audio/video from your Mac and keeping it in time with your written notes and even presentation slides.

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Our sister site, iPhone.AppStorm, reviewed the iPhone version of Soulver back in March this year. When I read that piece, I was really taken with the app, though I didn’t think that I needed a calculator much in my day-to-day life. I also read the excellent piece by Marco Arment that’s linked in a note to the review, and that got me fascinated by the application’s user interface, and the subtly disruptive things it does with familiar expectations for how a calculator looks and works. So I took myself over to the App Store and paid my money.

And then I realised that, actually, I use a calculator just about every day at work – a grey little handheld number that’s always disappearing onto my colleague Mary’s desk. I lose track of the number of times I’ve had to re-enter a column of numbers to check I’d got them right, and the number of times my sum turned out different on each of two or three checks.

So I started using my iPhone and Soulver for doing these calculations, and found the ability to check and refer back to previous lines invaluable.

I knew that Soulver began life as a desktop app (actually, quite a long time ago: you can read more about the history of the app in this 2006 press release), so I had to download that and see if it was as good as the iPhone app. I got in touch with the developer, and learned that they were soon to release a new version, Soulver 2. Well, that happy day has come, and here’s a quick walkthrough…

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I’m a firm believer in the benefits of journalling and writing every day. Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way” has been very significant in my life, and after reading it for the first time, I kept up the central practice she recommends – of writing three pages first thing every morning – almost every day for the following five years. For the past few months, I’ve fallen out of the habit, but I know I will pick it up again in time, and that I will most likely continue to keep a journal of some kind for the rest of my life.

I’ve always preferred pen or pencil on paper for this kind of writing, but I thought it might be time to have a go with one of the several journaling apps available for the Mac. I’ve gone straight to Mémoires, an app produced by Coding Robots, whose YouTube viewer, Cathodique, we included in our piece on improving YouTube.

Like Cathodique, Mémoires is a well-focused application: it does one thing, with minimal fuss or distraction. And yet it does that single thing well enough that it makes one take note. Join us after the jump for a quick walkthrough of Mémoires’ main features.

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So you think you can spel? While we all know how to spell and write correctly, typing errors, lack of concentration, or maybe even a issue such as dyslexia might prevent us from spelling every single word the right way. Then we have to deal with those red squiggly lines beneath words which quickly become frustrating.

That’s where Spell Catcher comes in to try and make your typing life easier. It’s designed to greatly improve the in-built spell checking capabilities of OS X, though may go a little too far with the range of preferences on offer!

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Writing an article, a novel, or a research paper can be a daunting task. Collected information has a way of getting lost amidst dozens of folders, outlining notes vanish mysteriously, and the very thought of starting a large writing project seems paralyzing, especially when sitting in front of the blinking cursor on an empty screen.

While it can’t do the actual writing work for you, Scrivener can help you to manage your project with ease, keep everything together and support your individual writing process – no matter if you are absolutely organized or love the chaos. The following review will give you a first hand insight into the mighty piece of software, enabling you to get an idea of what it can do for you and hopefully motivating you to pick up the pen – pardon me – the keyboard, again.

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There’s a kind of paradox to using a tool to explore itself. It brings to mind “Zen questions” about the eye seeing itself. But what I’m doing is far less grand or confusing. I’ll simply be using a writing app to write about itself. So, as I describe it, I will work with it and be able not only to tell you about its features, but also about the experience of actually working with it.

Thoughts is a very handsome new writing/notebook app from the memorably named green&slimy, an Austrian team of two (which of course raises the question of who is green and who slimy). The hook for readers of Mac.AppStorm will obviously be the app’s styling and design features, but let’s see if it’s actually any good for a working writer.

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Compared to Word and TextEdit, Bean is a happy, open-source alternative. It has more features than TextEdit, though not enough to be a full-fledged word processor. But that’s the point.

Like every good app, Bean has a story. Its creator, James Hoover loved to write. His tool was Microsoft Office X, which started to leave a bad taste in his mouth. Seeking a tool that “Worked like he did,” he began to research what a good writing tool should have, seeking something that worked for him. And now we have the result of that process – Bean.

In this article I’ll go over what’s included in Bean, how it implements the basic features a text editor should have, and determine whether it really is worth using.

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The quest for the perfect information store is unending. Many of us long for a single place where we can put everything so that it’s easy to find and work with. Of course you could use various folders in a complex directory structure – I did that for years, nesting folders for months within folders for years within folders for particular areas of interest.

Needless to say, this soon became unworkable! So then I broke down my intricate folders and dumped everything into a single big ‘Archive’ folder, trying to rely on Spotlight to find what I needed. That worked better, but I sometimes found it difficult to track down what I was after.

My system’s gone through a few more transformations since then, and I have tried several different apps along the way. Together is one of the best I’ve used, and it has some features that might make it the ideal solution for many people.

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PDFs are in part designed so that they cannot be edited. However, often you may need to change or correct something in a PDF document. PDFpen from SmileOnMyMac is a wonderful tool that lets you do just that.

Though important, the ability to edit text is only a small part of PDFpen’s abilities. This review will investigate what can be achieved using this application; from merging pages to character recognition, as well as what could be improved.

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Mekentosj is a delightfully geeky company, specialising in science and research related software. Although they publish a few other applications, they’re best known for Papers, which won an Apple Design Award back in 2007.

The app used to be billed on their website as ‘Your personal library of science’, a subheading I’m pleased to see they’ve changed now to ‘Your personal library of research.’ Previously, it stood a chance of getting stuck in a kind of science-ghetto, where it might seem less interesting to others who would definitely benefit from it.

For researchers and students across all disciplines, writers and journalists, or basically anyone who needs a reliable focus and storehouse for their research, Papers is a great application and has few – if any – real competitors.

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