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I went for years not even knowing what a text insertion or text expansion app was, and when I finally did learn, I was so put off by the high prices of some of the big names on the market that it took awhile before I even found out what the big deal was. Once you’ve started using a text insertion app, though, it’s hard to imagine those days of yore, when you used to actually type things. The memories still haunt me.

But man, are those apps expensive, right? Not necessarily, and today we’re going to take a look at aText, a great text insertion app with a tiny price tag. But does that mean it’s also going to be small on features? We’ll check it out! (more…)

Working on your computer can be of huge help or hugely distracting. It’s very easy to get anything done on it, but it becomes less likely that you’ll get things out of the way when you’ve got a world of entertaining distractions one click away.

Some people might be mentally strong enough to keep interferences out of their way on their own, but for the rest of us weaklings, it might be a little harder to keep procrastinations out, and that’s why productivity methods like Pomodoro are so popular. We’ve already looked at one Pomodoro technique app this week – Tadam – which is a nice but minimal app, so let’s look at another app that’s more full-featured. It’s called Tomatoes.
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There are a lot of apps to make your Mac faster. At least, ones that claim to do so. Most of them are either a waste of time, hard to use, or completely unnecessary. The best “cleaning” app I’ve ever come across is CleanMyMac, but it has its area of expertise, and some areas are out of its reach.

Whereas cleaning is typically in one arena and tweaking is in another, some apps are hybrids, apps that take on both sides of the fixing-your-Mac equation. 128bit Technologies’ MacOptimizer is just that. (more…)

If you were a SkyDrive user before April of last year, you probably got that free 25 GB storage bump, or if you’re an Office 365 user, you may have a chunk of storage sitting around. Even with a new SkyDrive account today, you’ll get 7 GB of free storage. Pony up $10, and you’ve got yourself an additional 20 GB for the year.

In fact, with a whopping 100 GB only running you $50 per year, SkyDrive is probably one of the least expensive cloud storage and file synchronization services out there. What do you get for your money, though? We’ll take a look at the SkyDrive app for Mac and see how well it compares to the competition. (more…)

In the past few years, plain text has come back as a popular format. Instead of using full-featured word processing and notes apps, many of us are sticking to plain text for everything. It’s simple, works everywhere, and an increasing number of new apps are using plain text instead of their own proprietary formats, which makes it even easier to keep your data in sync.

From note-taking to task managers, most of the writing in our lives can be easily formatted from plain text files, with a system of simple syntax instead of proprietary formatting. TaskAgent for Dropbox enters the plain-text app market as a new way to manage your tasks in plain text.

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Microsoft Office is the one set of software you can almost guarantee will be on any computer you touch. It’s been out for the Mac since 1985, 5 years before it was on PCs (as hard as that seems to believe today), and has dominated the word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation market long enough that’s it’s the de facto standard.

There is competition, most notably on Macs from Apple’s own iWork, but also from open-source office apps. OpenOffice.org, a Sun Microsystem project, was the most prominent free office competitor for years, but was then forked into LibreOffice after Oracle bought out Sun. LibreOffice 4.0 was recently released, with native versions for OS X as well as Linux and Windows, so it seemed time to take it for a spin.

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Sometimes it feels like a day doesn’t go by without the release of another app in the over-saturated to-do list category. I’ve used Things to organize my life since it was first introduced, and I’ve stuck with it through the years, even despite the developers’ embarrassingly long delay for proper cloud syncing. My loyalty to Things has always been shaky, which has kept me experimenting with it’s many competitors.

I recently tried out Cheddar to see if it could replace Things as my go-to organization tool on my Mac. Here’s how that worked out.

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Recently out of beta and available for download, Bitcasa has a new Mac client and a new pricing plan. With a base plan of 10GB of free cloud storage, Bitcasa is definitely setting itself up to compete with the big boys.

But what is Bitcasa? If you’ve never heard of it before, it’s an online storage service which offers limitless – or nearly so – storage, online. With a free account, you can use Bitcasa as an online locker for cloud storage of some of your most used files or to share photos, videos, music, or documents with your friends. If you have a paid account, Bitcasa can automatically backup your entire computer. Size isn’t everything, though.

How does Bitcasa compare on speed and usability? We’ll find out! (more…)

In this day and age, we find ourselves surrounded by constant distractions, making focusing on a single task at any given time an increasingly difficult endeavour. Often times, we have to resort to mental hacks and gimmicks to focus on the task at hand… I know I do.

One method I’ve found helps me focus is The Pomodoro Technique. Pomodoro apps are dime a dozen in the App Store, some more complex and feature rich, others such as Tadam, more minimal. I recently took it for a spin. Read on to find out how it faired.

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When I first discovered Markdown and shortly thereafter MultiMarkdown, I instantly fell in love. Almost overnight writing workflows and tools were transfigured. They became more streamlined and ubiquitous.

Therefore, when news surfaced that Fletcher Penny was readying the release of MultiMarkdown Composer 2, I was antsy to get my hands on it. The wait was a long one… but well worth it!
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