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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today, I’ll be taking a look at TimeNet, a long-standing player in the field of time tracking and project management. The application allows you to take control of your clients and projects, easily send invoices, and stay on top of who owes you what.
It offers a fairly simple window-based interface, to show you only the information you need at any given time. This makes it pleasant to navigate, and slightly different from more complex competitors.
Bento is a highly regarded “personal database” application for OS X, allowing you to keep track of almost anything you can imagine. We reviewed both the Mac and iPhone release earlier this year, though I wanted to add a few extra thoughts and comments about the latest version, released today.
Version 3 brings a range of new features – some expected, and some unexpected. Most notably is the integration with iPhoto, giving access to all your albums within Bento. Also new is the ability to share a Bento Library across computers in your home network, a useful “grid view”, and enhanced security features.
This quick review-update will go over the new features on offer in version 3. For a full introduction to what Bento is capable of, I would recommend reading through our previous review.
Editing text? What options do you have? Well, there’s the old go-to, Word, which has become bloated over the years; the newcomer Pages, which can’t make up its mind if it wants to be a page-layout utility or a word processor; and then the built-in TextMate, which is a tad too simple in most instances. While those three aren’t the only text editors for the Mac, they seem to the most popular.
Pagehand is a new word processing application that has just entered the market. It sports a number of interesting features yet to be seen in the go-to text editors on the Mac. For instance, instead of coming out with another new format to have to deal with, it simply creates and edits PDF files, so you can easily e-mail the files without having to convert them or run a compatibility check. Plus, anyone can see the fonts you’ve meticulously picked to show how important your dinner party or company volleyball tournament is.
I have always held a fascination with speech recognition technology. Ever since experimenting with it in early versions of Microsoft Office, I’m regularly enthusiastic about trying a new dictation application. Unfortunately, they rarely meet my expectations. Commonly, I will experiment with one for a few days before it quickly becomes redundant. Speech recognition is a complex technology, and one very difficult to perfect.
MacSpeech Dictate is undoubtedly the leading speech recognition application for the Mac, designed for the platform from the ground up. At $200 it certainly doesn’t come cheap, but offers an incredibly powerful feature set and arrives bundled with a high-quality, noise canceling microphone headset.
This review will assess the quality of speech recognition in MacSpeech Dictate, take a look at the features on offer, and outline how it is capable of controlling your Mac.