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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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With every passing day, online security gets increasingly important. Hardly a day goes by without hearing of a high-level hacking. But unfortunately, far too many people rely on insecure passwords, and reuse those same passwords on all of their online accounts. If one account gets hacked – boom – everything account they have could be easily logged into.

There’s a ton of password managers out there, but for many, they seem too much trouble. They can get rather expensive, and require installing extensions in your browser and more. PassLocker is trying to make password management simpler for everyone with a menubar app that’s incredibly easy to use. (more…)

There’s two kinds of Mac users: the ones who love the iOS-style simplification that’s come to OS X in recent years, and the older-school Mac users who love the keyboard shortcuts, automation, scripting, terminal, and more that make OS X one of the most powerful – and productive – operating systems on the market. These two camps seldom find common ground.

When PopClip first came out, I tried it out, but decided I vastly preferred tried-and-true keyboard shortcuts, and uninstalled the trial. It just wasn’t for me, and felt like iOS eye candy compared to what I was used to.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that PopClip is quite the productivity tool these days, one that geeks and everyone else can love. What made the difference? Extensions.

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So you’re focused working on something, when suddenly you come up with an amazing idea, or think of something that you’d like to remember for later. If you’re anything like me, you feel the need to write it down right then and there before it goes away forever. But, if you follow any sort of productivity discipline, you also don’t want to lose focus on your main task, or get involved with other intricate apps that could take your precious attention.

A simple piece of paper next to your computer might do the trick, but since you’re already working on your computer, why not do it there? Why not have a simple, small note taking app that runs in your menu bar? We’ve got one of those for you today. It’s good, it’s free, and it’s called Noteworthy+. Why don’t we get deeper into it?

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It can be a bit of a nightmare trying to manage a Kindle with a large ebook collection. You can organize them into categories on the device, but that’s frustratingly slow. You could use the official Kindle app, but that’ll only cover you for Amazon-purchased ebooks.

Enter Scida, a new app for organizing your ebooks and putting them on your Kindle(s). It makes managing Kindle ebooks a breeze, but this initial release is a bit light on features. Let’s take a look.
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