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It would take a cold heart to write off the night sky as merely sparks of light in the blackness. Yes, gazing upwards on a clear evening provides a beautiful show, but it also offers a perspective of our location in the middle of everything. So, it seems bizarre that astronomy is often thought of as a niche hobby of knitwear-clothed nerds, but perhaps that perception can be attributed to the depth of mind-stored knowledge that has traditionally been required to fully appreciate the heavens.

It seems to me that this perception is due an update. Information about the stars has never been more accessible, thanks to technology and, in particular, apps. One of the first generation of standout iOS apps was GoSkyWatch, which utilized the iPad’s accelerometers and compass to allow users to pan around a virtual sky filled with information. But sometimes, you just want to digest information in the light, warm surroundings of your sitting room.

Hence, there seems to be a place for OSX apps like RedShift Astronomy. Packed with information, and brimming with 3D visualizations, this $18.99 offering should be a hit with anyone interested in exploring the universe. But does it do the magnificence of space true justice?

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It’s a great idea to keep track of everything you own, one of those things you likely remind yourself of when you’re walking through IKEA trying to find a new bookshelf. Then you go home, pull your hair out trying to setup said bookshelf, and promptly forget to record your purchase anywhere.

There’s a number of tools designed to help you keep track of the stuff you own, from the lauded Delicious Library that we found too memory-hungry and feature-lite for much good to the now-discontinued Bento database app. You could even keep a spreadsheet of stuff you own, but that’s not very fun or simple.

Or, you could use the new Compartments 2, an inventory app that’s perfect for cataloguing everything you own without too much fuss — and with some OS X Mavericks only features, too.

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I’ve written this review twice now. The first time was in the heat of the moment. I was excited about Knock — a new app that was getting a lot of hype from the usual tech pundits, and I was enjoying it after just a few minutes of use. I was typing wildly like I was on a bender.

But then I told myself to calm down. Knock was cool, yes. But did it deserve my excessive praise? I figured I should let it soak in for a few days and see how it goes; analyze the app and see what solution it solves. And now that I’ve cooled off a bit, what’s the verdict? Well … (more…)

It must be the season again for simple RSS reader apps. There’s the new native Mac-style Dayspring feed reader, and the new Dropbox-powered web app JellyReader. And now, we’ve got another new simple feed reader, this time a node-webkit powered Mac and PC app: Sputnik.

Sputnik’s light on features like the other aforementioned apps, but makes up for it with a beautifully unique UI and a silky-smooth performance that makes it delightful to use. And with a low, low price tag of free, it’s absolutely worth checking out.

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With more Mac users than ever before using a portable Mac and Apple’s adoption of SSD storage, apps that specialise in finding ways to free up space and generally “tune-up” a Mac are becoming ever more popular.

The latest offering in this ever-increasing space is MacBooster, an all-in-one app that includes some additional features and functions that aren’t found in similar apps.

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I think, if we were to do a random poll, we’d probably find that most of us hate keeping our computers running smoothly more than any other task. Looking for old files and keeping the trash cans empty are unenviable jobs, and as the owner of a small business, I’ve contemplated hiring an all-purpose secretary to handle email and computer maintenance — but that’s not really practical.

All joking aside, one of my favourite things about my Mac are the apps that are available that help make boring tasks like cleaning up my hard drive less dull. Oddly, one of my favourite apps of all time, DaisyDisk, made the task fun. Finding joy in mundane things like computer maintenance is one thing that only Macs can offer, and that’s why I was thrilled to give Disk Diag a shot. It’s a simple app on the Mac App Store meant to do one thing well: clean out your old files. Read on to compare it with some of the competition and see if it’s for you.

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Google Reader’s death has pushed us all to decide again what we want from RSS. But it’s easy to forget that Google Reader and online synced feeds weren’t the only option all along. The Mac used to include RSS sync in both Safari and Mail, and Firefox still has Live Bookmarks for a simple way to subscribe to sites. Neither option was as shiny as Reeder or as convenient as any online feed sync with companion mobile apps, but they just worked. You got the latest news on your Mac in a lightweight, native app, and got on with your life.

That’s exactly what the new Dayspring app offers. It’s a lightweight, Mac-only RSS reader that brings back the simplicity of checking your feeds in an app like Mail.

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Out of all the major free blogging websites, Tumblr is possibly the nicest. Its social aspect is fun, and it’s really easy to use and post with. Unlike WordPress, it doesn’t require a manual to understand how to use it. Unlike Blogger, it’s actually useful (and its built-in social network seems more active than Google Plus). For these reasons, and many more, Tumblr is what I use for a music blog that I host.

Because I really like the web interface for Tumblr, I have to admit I was a little skeptical of Tublme, a native Mac app for Tumblr that replaces the need to open your browser. After all, Tumblr’s interface is easy to use and notoriously simple (to the chagrin of many WordPress web developers, I’m sure). But my curiosity was also piqued. Could Tublme make Tumblr more Mac-like and feature-filled without sacrificing any of its flexibility? Read on to find out.

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Despite being the world’s largest software company, Microsoft has somewhat of a bad reputation when it comes to software for the Mac. Ask anyone who has ever to endure using Microsoft Entourage for any length of time and they’ll likely tell you its the only software package in existence that violates almost every human rights act there is.

Microsoft has had a remote connection app for Mac users to remotely access Windows workstations for some time, though it was so old and infrequently updated that system requirements even stated it was not for use with Mac OS X Lion or later.

Thankfully, Microsoft have been taking the Mac and iOS platforms a little more seriously and their latest remote access tool, Microsoft Remote Desktop, is not only a complete reworking of its ageing predecessor, it’s actually really good.

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Two weeks ago at their special fall event, Apple released the much anticipated updates for its iWork suite. It’s been the biggest rework of the apps since the iWork suite was first launched. The apps bear a fresh, brand new UI but leave behind useful features, especially those that were most-loved by at power users. There’s been a lot of controversy about these apps over the past weeks, as is readily apparent from the comments on our Pages and Keynote reviews.

Numbers, Apple’s spreadsheet app that’s now in its 3rd version, is not an exception to the trend seen thus far in the new iWork apps. It’s simplified, looks much like the other new apps in the suite, and gets rid of some features that some of you might consider essential. Here’s my impressions on what I’ve always considered a powerful yet super easy to use combination of a free form spreadsheet processor and data visualizer.

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