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.
Invoicing has, and will continue to be, one of the top priorities of many businesses no matter how big or small. If you’re using your Mac to handle this portion of your business, odds are you have been faced with the question “which invoicing app should I use?” There are so many choices available that it can be quite a hard decision to make.
That’s where Involer from The Dream Apps comes in: a sleek and simple yet powerful invoicing app for the Mac. Involer not only allows you to manage invoice for many different clients, but it allows you to manage multiple companies as well.
The day to day use of a computer always involves some form of writing. Whilst this may often be a short, snappy task (drafting an email, blog comment or twitter post), there are often times when you find yourself writing a longer piece of work. Plenty of software exists for assisting with word processing, but often creates more distraction than simplicity in its approach.
WriteRoom is an application which takes a completely different approach to writing, stripping away all the distractions you commonly find yourself faced with when using a Mac. It achieves this goal in a bold and novel way – by removing everything else on your screen. When activated, WriteRoom creates a full screen “writing environment”, a concept which has proven to be very well received by many writers:
“Unlike practically everything else in our digital lives, WriteRoom’s minimalist interface implies a truly flattering proposition: It’s you, not the software, that matters.” — Jeffrey MacIntyre, Slate
This review will outline the features and functionality of WriteRoom, explain how it integrates with your Mac, and fill you in on the accompanying iPhone application.