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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…)

When it comes to editing photographs on OS X, Apple users are quite spoilt for choice. Those who just want to remove those ghastly devil eyes from their holiday snaps and turn them into a fancy scrapbook for the rest of the family to coo over can use iPhoto, part of the iLife package, which is bundled in with all new Macs. Photographers looking for a few more advanced features often turn to Apple’s offering, Aperture, or Adobe’s Lightroom — both offering a feature set that keeps most semi-professional and professional photographers happy.

You’ll notice my use of the word “often” in the above paragraph — this is because that for most, Aperture and Lightroom seem to be the de facto options. Funnily enough, there are other professional photographic programs out there for Mac users that offer a feature set that rivals both Aperture and Lightroom. To see whether this statement was true or not, I took a look at Capture One Pro, from Danish developers Phase One. What is interesting about these guys is that they are both a hardware and software manufacturer — the company sells camera bodies for professional use and lenses to match — much like Nikon does with its Capture NX 2 software.

Let’s see whether Capture One Pro lives up to the reputation of Aperture and Lightroom and, perhaps more importantly, if it is worth that €229 ($300) price-tag.

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For most people, science classes were a memorable part of their education, but the reasons for this differ from person to person. Some individuals found the talk of nuclei and cell structures to be some of the most engaging and relevant information they had ever encountered. Others simply appreciated it as a good background to some of their most engrossing and creative daydreams.

Both camps could, in general, agree on one point, however — science is better seen than read. Obviously, practical considerations prevent the classroom dissection of a whale, or the physical inspection of lava. Modern technology can provide the next best thing, though, in the form of interactive on-screen experiences.

A shining light in this field has been an iPad app, named, quite simply, The Elements, which provides detailed descriptions, interactive 360º imagery and high quality videos of the periodic table’s constituent parts. Now, it has arrived in the OSX App Store, priced at $19.99. Given that a major part of the original iOS app’s appeal was the ability to “touch” elements on a display, can the desktop environment really provide the same, insightful experience?

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Two years ago, a little project showed up on Kickstarter that’d excite anyone who loves old typography and traditional printing presses: LetterMpress. It was a rather ambitious project to recreate the traditional craft of letterpress printing on the then-new iPad. The project was successful, and they acquired authentic wood type collections, digitalized them, and put them inside a virtual printing press. You could drag wood type and art around on your screen, mix colors, and “print” letterpress art to your heart’s content. It was the next-best-thing to buying and restoring an antique letterpress printer.

Later that year, the Mpressinteractive team brought the original LetterMpress to the Mac, then set to work on their next app: SimplyMpress. Released just a few months ago, SimplyMpress made it much simpler to make letterpress art on your Mac, albeit without the photo-realstic printing press and traditional tools you’d find in their original app. Together, they’re the best apps for making letterpress-style art, but which one should you get?

Let’s take a look at SimplyMpress, along with the app that started it all, LetterMpress, and see which one you should add to your Launchpad before taking on your next poster design project. (more…)

Technology continues to evolve into new and different things and it continues to amaze me how far we have come just in the last ten years — heck, even in the past five years. I am not that old, but I have been able to witness the evolution of technology from black and white computer screens to now where we have tablets and smartphones that are almost as powerful as our computers. It just amazes me how far we have come.

The same can be said about the piece of technology that I am reviewing today, the Leap Motion. The movie, Minority Report, gave us a glimpse into the future when it came out in 2002 and I remember thinking that what Tom Cruise was able to do with that computer screen was amazing. I thought there was no way I would see something like that in my lifetime. Well, I only needed to wait twelve years to see a similar concept come to fruition in the Leap Motion. I have had the chance to run it through its paces and have come away with some interesting thoughts on it.

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If you have been a reader of Mac.Appstorm for any considerable length of time or you consider yourself fairly up to date with the Mac software world, chances are that you are familiar with Realmac Software. The team that brought you Analog and Clear have been working hard for several months to bring you the sequel to their LittleSnapper app, and it’s called Ember.

LittleSnapper, which is no longer available from either their website or the App Store, was a digital scrapbook and screenshot tool for your Mac, and Ember is here as a revamped and exciting update to replace its older brother. Let’s take a look and see how it holds up in the competitive screenshot app market.

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As a guitarist, I’ve learned there are a few tools I consider to be essentials. They’re on me all the time. I’ve got the standards, like a pick in my wallet, even though the likelihood of me playing a stranger’s guitar is precisely 2% (and I already have fifty other spares in my guitar case). I’ve got a leather strap which feels great on my shoulder and never comes off my main electric guitar. And I’ve got my iPhone. With Agile Partners’ Guitar Toolkit app, I’ve got a great tuner on hand whenever I need it. The app’s loaded with tons of incredibly handy features, but let’s be honest: my main use is the for the insanely accurate tuner.

That’s why I was excited when Agile Partners got in touch with me to show off a preview of their newest Mac app. SteadyTune, as it’s been appropriately titled, is a multi-instrument tuner that lives in the menu bar of your Mac. How awesome is it? Read on to find out.

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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?

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Do you think you are already set on an app for viewing your pictures? Well, I can almost guarantee that app is slow and full of stuff you don’t need, as most of these are bundled as image viewers, image editors, and social network apps all at once. But what if we were to show you the simplest app for viewing your images without any hassle, just perfect for that occasion when you are trying to show your latest trip pictures to your family? One that, even, aims to be faster and simpler than OS X’s Quick View.

The app we are reviewing today — LilyView, from the team that brought us Unclutter and DaisyDisk — tries to remove any kind of complexity from an image viewer app. It provides a super simple way to view your pictures, and that’s about it. The concept sounds a bit lackluster, but maybe that’s good thing. Let’s see?
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Ever wanted a simpler way to share files with Dropbox, Skydrive, or Google Drive? After all, with each of them, you can get tons of storage for free or cheap, and odds are you’re already using one of them to keep your files in sync anyhow. Why not use them instead of signing up for something like Droplr or CloudApp?

There’s a lot of reasons, really. For one, Droplr and CloudApp let you drag-and-drop files from your desktop or any Finder folder to directly share from your menubar, whereas with Dropbox or other services you’d have to add files to your folder first, then get a link, which is more time and steps. Then, there’s no simple way to take a screenshot and upload the file in one step.

That’s where Share Bucket comes in, with its drag-and-drop sharing from the cloud storage service of your choice. It’s not perfect, but it does make sharing files a lot quicker without CloudApp or Droplr.

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