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We live in a world where protecting our privacy isn’t just a matter of principle. Letting your personal information get exposed can harm you financially if your credit card information is obtained, and your credit rating can be damaged if someone steals your identity. Your emails and chat messages can contain sensitive information that you want to ensure only go to their intended recipients.

Our computers hold abundant amounts of personal data that most of us would rather not let get into the wrong hands. You might be surprised to see just how many applications are constantly sending data out of your computer, and it is important to be sure that all that stuff is going to places you trust. Fortunately, there are apps that help us monitor what our computers are sending out, and allow us to selectively block transmissions. Here we are going to look at two excellent apps called Little Snitch and Hands Off that aim to do just that.

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Flashcards have long been a great way to study – whether you’re preparing for an exam, learning a new language, or want to memorize the flags of the world. Mental Case is an application for Mac, iPad, and iPhone which takes the concept of flashcards and makes them far more useful than they could ever be on card.

Today we’ll be taking a look at the Mac version of Mental Case. Could it make a big difference to your study? Read on to find out.

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RSS and news apps make up one of the more crowded categories at the App Store, spanning the ranges of quality and price. Despite the abundance of RSS apps, they tend to all have similar feature sets, and differentiate themselves based on their interfaces (and often a few gimmicks). NewsBar enters this crowded market with a unique approach to displaying your news feeds, so let’s find out if it’s more than just another flashy fad RSS reader.

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I’m sure you’re familiar with the many download managers available for Mac, such as JDownloader, Leech (which we reviewed in 2010) and others. The purpose of most of these apps is to help folks who have multiple downloads keep things neatly organized and packed into one app.

JDownloader even offers a special multi-link capability that lets you paste as many links as you wish into a box and the app will automatically start downloading them in order. This stuff is great for power users, but today I’m going to show you a new app that offers the same capability in a more simple manner, it’s called SpeedTao.
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Hype, by developers Tumult, seems to have a rather appropriate title. There has been a great deal of talk about this web animation app since its release some months ago, and that can hardly be a surprise, given that it claims to allow the user to create “beautiful HTML5 web content” and animations with no coding required, and that it is developed by a pair of ex-Apple engineers.

Does it deliver on its promises, or does this app get too much “hype” for its own good?

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You’ve just moved to a new apartment and you’ve set up your wireless router. You think you’ve done everything correctly, but you’re just not getting the coverage and rates that you should be. Maybe there is some interference from some other WiFi hotspots nearby? But how do you know?

Enter NetSpot. It’s the WiFi network survey tool for anyone. It claims to be dead simple to set up with the reports generated being super helpful. And all of this for free. It sounds pretty great, but does it actually work? I took it for a spin and here’s what I found out.

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Our laptops are valuable devices. They connect us. Inform and entertain us. And yes, sometimes distract us. Dealing with a lost or stolen laptop is not typically a thought we ponder in our busy lives. The good news, there are some powerful tools out there to assist us in the recovery of a missing laptop. The better news, today we’ll take a look at Prey – a free, open-source laptop recovery system that you can begin using immediately.

The developers at preyproject.com make the claim that Prey just works. Let’s take a look at how Prey gets the job done.

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In Norse mythology, Sleipnir is the gray, eight-legged steed that Odin rides to Hel. In the world of technology, it’s an amazing web browser that you just have to try.

Though you may have never heard of it, Sleipnir has been around in various forms for years (it’s also on just about every operating system around). The latest version, Sleipnir 3 offers a truly unique and streamlined browsing experience optimized for OS X Lion. Join us as we dive in and check it out.

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While it’s no secret that iBooks hasn’t been a runaway success as Apple had hoped, the company is trying their hand at revolutionizing the book industry once more -but this time they’ve shifted their efforts towards the education market. Along with the new iBooks 2, Apple introduced iBooks Author, their simplistic, yet feature-rich solution for creating textbooks, cookbooks, and just about any other kind of book, for the iPad.

In making the app both user-friendly and free, Apple is clearly striving to make publishing available “for the rest of us”. Although the app is free, many will argue that the price of staying within the Apple ecosystem is too high for the budding author. So do the benefits outweigh the negatives? Read on.

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One of the best, and perhaps most undervalued features of Mac OS X is one that was introduced in 10.5 Leopard: Time Machine. As Macintosh users, we often forget just how good we have it when it comes to matters like this. I was recently discussing backup options with a Windows using friend of mine and none of the options we could find for him came even close to the ease of use and painlessness (not to mention the system level integration) of Time Machine.

Nevertheless, after I started using Time Machine in Leopard, I quickly found one major drawback. Every hour, regardless of what you are doing, Time Machine starts a backup. It slows the system down, if you back up to a Time Capsule as I do, it slows the network down, and it’s unnecessary. I really only want one incremental backup per day, but this isn’t possible by default. This is where TimeMachineScheduler comes into play.

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