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There’s little doubt that Minecraft has been an unprecedented success, attracting literally millions of sales in a reasonably short space of time for an indie developer. We’ve written about it before, from an initial review and extra coverage on new versions to a tutorial on setting up your own Minecraft server. It’s continued to be popular, enough that it’s every bit as relevant today as it was when we first wrote about it.

But what could we — and app developers of all types, not just games — learn from everyone’s favorite block-building simulator? In this article, we’re going to take a look at some key factors of Minecraft’s business and design that we hope can influence other Mac apps in the long run.

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Finding new music you like is hard. If you’re not completely enmeshed in a community that happens to perfectly match your taste, you’re sure to be missing stuff you’d like, and only Top 40 pop is reasonably represented in the mainstream.

That’s probably why big names like Amazon, Apple, Last.fm, Pandora, and even the top record labels invest heavily in tools that suggest songs and artists you might like, based on databases they piece together from your listening or buying preferences.

Walknote brings its own recommendation algorithm to the table, coupling it with your iTunes music library and an attractive interface. It’s unlikely to surface many obscure gems by artists you haven’t heard of before, but between its genre-sorted recommended mixes and tight integration with YouTube, Last.fm, Amazon, and the iTunes Music Store, Walknote brings just enough to the table to be useful.
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Watch out Evernote. Look nervously in your rear view mirror. You see that hot sports car quickly gaining on you that seemingly came out of nowhere? That’s NoteSuite.

Okay, maybe Evernote doesn’t need to be that nervous because NoteSuite is only available for iOS and OS X — so it doesn’t compete across platforms. But for Mac and iPad users, this app is the next big thing in note taking, task management, Internet research, and file annotation. In other words, NoteSuite wants to be your Mac’s new productivity powerhouse. (more…)

For many of you, March 13th was a dark day. In fact, in the intervening months, just the mention of the words “Google” and “Reader” in the same sentence has been enough to send chills down many a spine. The time has come for all of you who are wedded to the Google style of RSS aggregation to face the facts, though, and find a new home for your feeds.

The innovation and competition among feed readers in the Mac App Store, however, is rather lacking. The granddaddy of Mac feed reading, NetNewsWire, is currently beta testing a new version, and the reading later app ReadKit has emerged as one of the best new RSS readers if you’ve switched to one of the new reading services. Outside of this, the field is looking wide open.

There is one promising entry, though. Mixtab Pro is the $4.99 descendent of the free, long-term resident of the App Store, which was named, simply, Mixtab. It is one of the new breed of magazine-style readers, which provide a highly visual way of staying up to date with the latest headlines. The popularity of many such apps on touchscreen devices shows that this look can be popular, but does that extend to the desktop environment? (more…)

I was recently introduced to Kippt, and I felt like I’d been missing out on something big. It’s similar to Evernote in that you can save notes and links and even annotate the links you’re saving, but there’s a bonus social aspect. Find Kippt users you admire or with similar interests and watch for all the neat stuff they’re clipping.

Klipps is a snazzy client that frees you from your browser and lets you do all of that cool Kippt stuff on your Mac. I’m going to try it out and see if it stands up to the official web app. (more…)

Despite its recent acquisition by Yahoo!, Tumblr is still the cool kid of the blogging platforms, and I want to be cool, I really do. But I’ve had trouble integrating myself with the Tumblr community. Mostly it’s come down to the Tumblr dashboard, which I’ve never liked the look of and have always thought was more than a little convoluted.

If only there was a Mac app to create a better Tumblr experience. That’s where Milk comes in. I’m going to try out this feature-packed Tumblr client and see if it can create a better experience. (more…)

Facebook means many things to people—a platform to grow your brand, a place to do business, or a tool to spread advocacy campaigns. To me, it’s where I house portions of my personal life, and so I share hilarious videos of my tot singing Grace Potter’s “Something That I Want” or photos of my kids’ milestones to family and friends.

But because I use Facebook for completely non-professional networking, I don’t always log in and “connect” with these people. If I have a photo or a video worth sharing, I just pull up Facebook, upload it to an album, tag people, and make my exit as soon as it’s done. Call me antisocial, but the busy newsfeed, crowded profile page, overly stacked up sidebar, and noisy (sometimes dumbing) content being shared left and right makes me want to run for the hills.

That is, until I gave Moment a try. It’s a menu bar app that aims to “reinvent the way you post to Facebook” through easy drag and drop. I’ve used it for a while now and I’m impressed with the app so far. It certainly went over and above my expectations of a Facebook-related application with features that I’m very excited to share with you in this review. (more…)

If you’ve been using the Mac before the App Store was around, and even before the iPhone was released, it’d be virtually impossible to not have heard of — or tried out — NetNewsWire. Developed by Brent Simmons, lately of Vesper fame, NetNewsWire was the original RSS reader app, all the way back in 2002 before most of us were blogging or had even heard of RSS. It was later bought out by NewsGator, as the Mac counterpart to their FeedDemon on Windows, and was designed to sync with NewsGator’s RSS synchronization service. Then Google Reader came along, and NetNewsWire and FeedDemon jumped ship to the search giant’s reader for sync, just like everyone else.

Google Reader’s impending death on July 1st spelled death for FeedDemon, and could have well done the same for NetNewsWire if it hadn’t been sold to Black Pixel in 2011. It took a while for any news to come out, other than that when NetNewsWire first sold to Black Pixel, Brent Simmons said “NetNewsWire’s best years are still to come.”

This week, at long last, we get to see what the future holds for the Mac’s most storied RSS reader app with the long awaited NetNewsWire 4 beta. And the future looks pretty good.

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If you’re an avid traveler, and especially if you’ve ever been in charge of planning a trip for multiple persons — your family’s summer vacation, perhaps — you know how important it is to have all the related information, such as your planned itinerary, handy at all times and neatly organized.

Today we’re going to be reviewing an app that can help you do just that. Keep your itinerary, contact information, documents, packing list, budget, expenses, photos, and anything else you might need, all in one place. It’s called YourtTrip. Let’s get to it!
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I’ve been trying to find just the right RSS feed reader. I’m pretty low maintenace. I just want to put feed URLs in and get posts from my favorite sites out. If the app looks good and doesn’t take up too much space, that’s even better.

That’s why I was so excited to try out Favoriteer. It’s a slimmed down feed reader, and it looks to have just the features I want with none of the extra cruft that just gets in my way. Can Favoriteer stand up against all the other feed readers on the market? (more…)

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