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As a student, I know exactly how boring studying is. You spend all day locked in your room, poring over a textbook thick enough to stop a bullet at 30 yards, and trying to concentrate on those printed words while resisting the temptation to let your mind wander.

Sound familiar? I’m sure every student has been in this situation at least once and I can tell you now, it isn’t a fun one to be in. But studying doesn’t have to be a daily slog through endless sheets of notes and lifeless, black-and-white textbooks. There are plenty of ways to rekindle the ever so slight spark of fun in your studies.

Everyone has their own different study techniques, but I find that flash cards are a useful way of memorizing information quickly and easily. However, going down to Staples and buying a pack of note cards is a bit too 20th-century. In this digital age, we want something more modern and “flashy”.

This is where Smartr comes in. It is a small, lightweight flash card application for Mac OS X that helps you easily compile flash cards and test yourself on the computer. This avoids the need for hundreds of note cards lying around everywhere and saves you the time it takes to write them all out by hand.

Let’s take a look at Smartr in a bit more detail to see if it can really make studying less of a chore.

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Twitter. 5 years ago that was a word that described the sound a songbird makes. And while that’s still the first definition in almost every dictionary you check, in the public mind it means something else entirely. It’s a social network, one composed of short little messages intended for public consumption. Like any good ecosystem, Twitter has changed the definitions of more words than just its name. Now we have “tweet,” “retweet,” “follow,” and of course “hashtags”. More than vocabulary, the sphere of influence Twitter has created has its clients buying into the ornithological metaphor as well. You’d be hard pressed to find a Twitter client that doesn’t have a bird or something bird-related in its icon.

It’s true of the Twitter client we’re going to talk about today. It’s called Wren, and has an adorable yellow bird as its icon. However, the similarities with its Twitter client brethren ends there. Wren is something different. By some people’s definition, it shouldn’t even be called a Twitter client. It has no timeline, no “river of information” to wade through. And yet I contest it is a Twitter client, one that every Twitter user should take a long, hard look at and see if it’s the missing piece in their Twitter workflow. Let me show you what I mean.

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Back when I first started writing for AppStorm, I got to review a very pretty GTD app that had just come out called Wunderlist. Back then, it was just getting started and it barely even had a Mac and a Windows app.

A little more than 6 months later, Wunderlist now stands as one of the most popular “Getting Things Done” app, not just in the Mac, but on several other platforms like Android and iOS. What has changed since then? Let’s take a look at how Wunderlist has evolved.

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FADE IN on a young writer seated at his desk, his face alight with the joy of inspiration. He scribbles furiously on a notepad, trying to capture the magic of his movie idea. Outside his office window, a full moon prods him on.

Later, with his idea captured in handwritten notes, he decides it’s time to start typing. “If I’m going do this right,” he thinks, “I better buy some screenwriting software.” Research reveals that the leading software, Final Draft, costs a whopping $239. Our hero is not a professional writer though, so there’s no way he can justify dropping $239 to support an inspirational whim. He searches for something else, something reasonable, and — dare he think it? — something better.

His search takes him to The Mac App Store, where he finds, for $29.99, a brand new product called Movie Draft SE, and as he presses the buy button, he wonders to himself, “Will this reasonably priced app help take my script from inspiration to completion or will it frustrate me to the point where I abandon my award-winning idea before it can reach the second act?”

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Instagram is a great mobile app for sharing pictures with other people. It has grown quite a lot recently, and since it lacks a first-party desktop app, developers have had their hands full designing apps that bring the Instagram experience to the Mac.

We’ve talked about plenty of these apps, but let’s see if this one differentiates itself from the competition in any way.

Instadesk was a cheap and useful solution, while Carousel was a more fashionable and simpler, but more expensive solution. What makes Instaview great? Let’s see!

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Almost all of our favorite to-do list apps these days have cloud components, either in the form of a free or pay-to-use browser-access service, or Mac/iOS apps that sync over the air with a pay-per-year plan (not to mention the future implications of iCloud). But what about a free-to-use system with Mac, iOS, and web browser access?

Enter NotifyMe, a cloud based to-do app for Mac and iOS from the folks over at PoweryBase. Once the apps for each device are purchased, the syncing service is free to use, and data is stored in the cloud for easy access from any computer via a browser portal. So how does NotifyMe stack up?

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Think fast, how many web app accounts do you have? Now, how many software licenses? What about bank accounts or email addresses? I’d wager at least several dozen. That’s a lot of user names, passwords and numbers to remember. To help Mac users keep track of their myriad digital profiles, a number of apps have been developed to store and organize all your personal and private information.

I’ve been an avid 1Password user for almost a year now, and I’d be useless without it. However, at $40, it’s not the most affordable option available, and major competitor Wallet is still a bit steep at $20. MyWallet is a newer app offering the basic functionality of a password manager at the much more palatable price of $2.99. Read on to find out if you can still enjoy the benefits of password management without shelling out the cash.

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Most people have started to cringe at the idea of installing yet another text editor on their computer, especially one that promises distraction-free writing environments and Markdown support. It starts sounding familiar to apps like iA Writer, WriteRoom and Byword.

You must keep in mind that the word processor isn’t the tool keeping you from being able to crank out that perfect novel, blog post or tweet. The writing is still ultimately up to you. These are tools and should be respected as such. Getting a better text editor isn’t going to make you a better writer- no more than a nicer hammer, guitar or paint-brush set is going to make you a better handyman, musician or artist.

With those warnings in mind, let me show you around Macchiato, a Markdown-centric text editor.

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An explanation for a task in an online world can be a tricky thing to pull off. It’s just difficult to explain how to do something on your computer without actually showing how to do it. Wouldn’t a screenshot with some notes be helpful? Or maybe a screencast to really offer a complete explanation? Jing is a piece of software that is able to accomplish the basics of these tasks in an elegant and completely functional way.

Jing takes screencast recording and screenshot taking down to its nuts and bolts. There are certainly more robust options out there (in fact, the company that develops Jing is also the developer of the insanely robust Camtasia), but Jing has found a sweet spot in my regular workflow and has been my go to tool for snapping a quick screenshot or recording a short screencast for a couple years now and I’m not sure I could do without it.

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Our Macs are capable of so much: we can play games, design graphics, record music, the list is near endless. So why is it still so awkward and time consuming to convert video and audio file formats? The answer lies with both the various proprietary licenses which each format brings to the table and the significant processing power needed to perform such tasks.

As a musician I know all too well how difficult it can be to convert your AIFF files to lossy formats such as MP3, and videos are a whole headache in of themselves, requiring the correct encoding per device. What I need is to be able to bounce my media into whichever format I desire, whether a song from the studio, an audiobook on my iPod, or a movie for iPad, and I want all of this without worrying about codecs, DRM, or screen resolution settings.

Smart Converter promises to help out with all the above, read on after the break to see if it delivers.

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