When I first started using a MacBook after years on PC laptops, I instantly noticed the better trackpad. After becoming used to gestures on iOS devices being able to bring some of them over to a laptop seemed a welcome idea. Scrolling by dragging two fingers on the trackpad worked much better than most other methods I’d seen on laptops before. It’s these subtle enhancements to getting around Mac OS that I really feel separate using the MacBook from other computers. Still, Mac OS X supports only a few gestures by default and it would be nice to have more options.
I find tools that speed the small things to be very beneficial. It may take only a few seconds to move and resize a window, but I could do that dozens of times a day which quickly adds up. So I always look for utilities that can ease this process and help me be more efficient when working on my computer.
Enter BetterTouchTool, an app that lets you create custom actions for gestures using your Magic Mouse, Macbook Trackpad and Magic Trackpad. We’ve mentioned it in roundups and more a number of times, but haven’t reviewed in depth by itself. Let’s correct this and take a look at this useful free tool.
Mostly when you’re not expecting it, serendipity kicks in. Just as I was searching for a Chrome extension for Pinboard after reading about some unexpected use of this bookmarking service revived my interest in it, I hear of a new Pinboard client for Mac OS X.
Although the Mac App Store may be the first choice for many (including myself) to find and purchase apps from, many developers (such as Dropbox) offer their apps as more traditional download, and almost always in a DMG file.
Designing and building these DMGs can be very difficult, which is where DropDMG comes in. The app offers a complete suite of tools and aims to not only provide an easy way of creating disk images, but also to create fully customised DMGs that app developers can use to distribute apps. Here’s how DropDMG can help you out if you need to make disk images anytime soon for your projects.
The Mac has yet to see a ton of brand new RSS reader apps to fill in the gaps left by Google Reader’s death. There’s the new NetNewsWire 4 beta, and a handful of other apps with native RSS syncing, but old giants like Reeder still haven’t updated to sync with the most popular new RSS services. Instead, ReadKit has emerged as the best app to sync with the major RSS services today, despite its roots as an reading later app.
And now, another reading later app has added RSS syncing: Words. It was already a reading later app that synced with Instapaper, Readability, and Pocket that we’d covered before that’s now added native RSS syncing.
In my constant search for new apps that are worthy of a review, I stumbled across a pretty minimalistic to-do app called Done in the Mac App Store. After a few weeks of trying it out, I’ve found myself using it almost everyday and preferring it over my usual to-do app, Wunderlist.
This got me thinking about similar minimal to-do apps like Clear, and where they might fit in a workflow. Are they really necessary? Are they just surrounded by hype? Why would you pay for a premium for an app like this?
Phone calls — the original electronic communications, after the telegraph anyhow — are still an important part of life today. We might take our calls on pocket-sized supercomputers, but they’re still phone calls. And there’s nothing more annoying than having to break out of your work to reach in your pocket and take a phone call. Plus, if you want to call someone whose number you found online, it’s annoying you can’t just copy the number and call it directly without using having money in Skype.
That’s all changed, now, with the new app Dialogue. Rather than routing all of your calls over the internet, it lets you use your phone — any phone with Bluetooth 2.0 or newer, not just an iPhone — directly through your Mac. Here’s how. (more…)
Here at Mac.Appstorm, we love finding apps that can simplify our work — especially when it comes to Markdown writing apps that make it easier to craft our articles. We’ve looked at 35 unique Markdown apps for the Mac — a series of editors, previewers, and other categories where Markdown can be applied. Adding to the list is 9Muses’ Erato ($5.99). It’s a simple and minimalistic app designed for editing and viewing your Markdown documents side-by-side, following the split-screen concept adopted by apps like Mou and Markdown Pro.
Besides its beautiful and simple design, what sets Erato apart is how it offers additional support for Github-flavoured Markdown syntax and YAML front matter. But while these may be its unique selling points, Erato as a Markdown editor isn’t as powerful as Mou or other more robust editors. And after testing the app, I realised that it still has to iron out a few bugs, particularly with how it converts Markdown to HTML.
Let me walk you through the app to show you what I mean. (more…)
I’ll never forget the first time I installed Mathematica in college. I was excited by the demos, and wanted to see how much it could help me take my calculus knowledge further — and take the drudgery out of math. Turns out, it was far more complicated to use than I ever anticipated, even more so than my trusty TI-89.
Couldn’t CAS — computer algebra systems — be a bit less complex and more accessible to everyone who doesn’t have time to take a whole class on using them? Computers were designed originally to solve complex math, but normal calculators, spreadsheets, and CAS systems have remained too basic on the one end and too complex on the other to change the way most of us feel about math.
It’s more than understandable that we’d tend to be skeptical when a new app claims to make math simpler for everything from engineering to basic budgets at the same time — but that’s exactly what Calca claims. It’s a markdown text editor fused with a CAS; can it possibly be the answer to the frustrations of math?