I write in Markdown all the time, the easy-to-use writing syntax conceived of by John Gruber (of Daring Fireball fame). The nice thing about the syntax is that it doesn’t require any one specific app, so web writers can use it with whatever text editor they feel like — including default editors like TextEdit for Mac, which is much more powerful than most of us realize, I think.
That hasn’t stopped the flow of Markdown editors from arriving for Mac, though. Recently, I stumbled upon Lightpaper, which will be familiar to anybody who uses Android. Lightpaper Pro is well known on the Google Play Store, and I even reviewed it on Android.AppStorm. I went so far as to include it amongst the most noteworthy Markdown-equipped Android apps. The real question is: can lightning strike twice for developer Clockwork Engine with the Lightpaper Mac app? Read on to find out if this app is worth exploring, even in its beta state. (more…)
Simple file sharing services are great for sharing all types of files — from code snippets to short notes to ready-to-publish PDFs — but most of the time, they’re only used for sharing images. That’s a shame, though. Most of us often need to share text that’s longer than a tweet but that’d make no sense to put into a blog post, and simple file sharing apps are great for that.
Except, they still make it rather difficult to share text. You have to write it in an app, save it to a file, the drag it to your sharing tool of choice. Plus, there’s no way to edit your text once it’s shared, without deleting the original share, editing your original text on your Mac, then re-uploading and re-sharing the text.
Sharing text should be far simpler, which is why Levi Nunnink from the Droplr team just built the brand-new MarkDrop app. It makes sharing text via Droplr — and editing text you’ve already shared — as simple as saving a document in iCloud. It’s brilliant.
Doxie's range of scanners have enjoyed immense popularity, especially amongst those (like me) who have moved towards a paperless workflow. Their award-winning mobile scanners provide a truly portable scanning solution that makes digitising letters, photos and documents amazingly simple. The Doxie One and Doxie Go are paper-feed scanners, much like how a fax machine (remember those?) works as you feed paper into it, one sheet at a time. This ability to continually feed page after page of content without constantly changing the page on a flatbed scanning surface makes it far easier to quickly scan documents, as well as dealing with multiple pages.
While the Doxie scanners are great for single page scans, anyone wanting to digitise notebooks, fragile photos, books or magazines were out of luck. That is, until now.
Doxie have now released the Doxie Flip, a portable flatbed Doxie scanner, squarely aimed at those wanting to digitise physical media that, otherwise, just won't fit into one of it's paper-feed siblings.
When in the flow, concentrating hard and making progress (or not), I, for one, find it difficult to quantify the passing of time. When I’m messing about, tweeting and generally procrastinating, it’s even harder. And that can be frustrating; for the freelancer or pro rata worker, the slipperiness of the seconds, minutes and hours can be very costly.
As always, technology is ready and waiting to help. But time-keeping apps so often fall by the wayside because we just can’t be bothered to use them. And even if you can be bothered, remembering to start and stop the digital timer at the precise moment you begin work, or put down your tools, is a task of nagging tedium.
Maybe that is why nulldesign (aka Lars Gercken), the developer of freshly hatched time-keeping app Tyme (retailing at $4.99), feels the need to entertain users with snazzy graphics and in-depth analytics. But are a few pretty bar charts really enough to keep you focused on your time management?
As a photographer brought up in the digital age, the taking of photos, to my mind, has always been inextricably linked with computing. And my computing has always been done on a Mac, and Macs have always had iPhoto to keep pictures neatly organized. Okay, so iPhoto hasn’t been around for ever — it was introduced 11 years ago, alongside OSX 10.1 — but as a child of the OSX period, it’s hard for me to imagine what photo handling looked like, pre-iLife.
However, as the versions of OSX have rolled by, iPhoto has grown and grown, adding more features and a heavier CPU workload along the way. In some respects, this one-time light, nimble, agile photo library is now too large for its own good.
Which is where an app like Unbound ($9.99, beta release free) has an opportunity. It doesn’t edit, it doesn’t let you create cards or calendars, but it does claim to give you quick-time access to your photos. But does Unbound’s simplicity and speed outweigh iPhoto’s heavyweight functionality?
There’s people who know that using Comic Sans is an invitation to mockery and that Helvetica Neue is the official designer font of record, and then there’s people who have meticulously curated libraries of hundreds and thousands of fonts. For the former, the built-in Font Book app has typically been enough — there’s the tools to add and preview fonts that most people need. There’s more advanced font management tools, but they’re simply too much for most of us.
Bohemian Coding, the team behind the incredibly popular design tool Sketch and the now-unsupported font management tool Fontcase, has just released a beautiful new font app aimed at the casual user and designers alike: Fonts. It’s the first font app that’s designed for the vast majority of Mac users, with a UI that’s reminiscent of what we can only imagine an iOS 7 inspired OS X redesign would look like.
There’s Droplr and CloudApp for simple file sharing, Minbox for large private file sharing, and Dropbox for rather complex individual file sharing and simple folder sync. They’re all well know, and you likely use at least one of them already — and you’re likely convinced you don’t want to switch to another file sharing app.
Get ready to want to switch. The new Jumpshare is the nicest file sharing app yet, ready for both private and public file sharing, with features that no other file sharing app has. And it’s still dead-simple to use.
At the end of the week, creative people often wonder how much they actually accomplished. They tell their friends they only spent 40–50 hours on the computer working when, in reality, it’s more like 60–70 hours. Staring at a screen most of the day isn’t great for your eyes, so why not lessen the amount of time you spend using a computer? That’s not as easy as it sounds, because you first have to find out how much you are spending on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube each day.
There’s now a different type of time tracker available. It’s called RescueTime. Rather than requiring that you manually clock in and out, it monitors everything you do and sends you a report at an interval you choose. When I first heard about the service, I was cautious about the privacy implications and whether it even did a good job. After using it for nearly two months, I have a bit more to say about it. (more…)
I’ll say this about my iPhone: it’s a lot easier to connect with people with it than it is while using a Mac. My Mac doesn’t have anywhere near the messaging options: there’s no Whisper or Facebook Messenger available for Mac, and iMessage is often a lukewarm offering at best (although I am grateful it’s there). Google Hangouts is abysmally bad in Chrome and my iPhone — much worse than Gmail Chat ever was, in my opinion — so I’ve rarely used it.
But it’s hard to simply swear all these apps off — after all, some people might not have my number, and for them, Facebook or Hangouts is the easiest way to get in touch. That’s why I was glad to try out Flamingo, a Mac app built from the ground up for Google Hangouts, Facebook messaging, and even XMPP. Is it worth the purchase? Read on to find out.