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.
If you’re like me, Wikipedia isn’t just a resource, it’s a source of entertainment. I spend hours clicking through articles, learning everything from topics that concern me (music and social media) to niche subjects that could not be further from my field of expertise (Alexander the Great and Narcissus). While I do spend quite a bit of time on it, I have struggled to find a suitable desktop Wikipedia experience.
Today we’ll take a look at Wikibot, a simple and straightforward app that brings Wikipedia browsing to the desktop.
There are plenty of ways to open and switch apps. There are app launchers, the dock, Spotlight, Mission Control, the Launchpad, and the Cmd+Tab app switcher. We all use a different method, all of which have their own strengths and weaknesses. For the most part, I simply use the dock, but one thing that I’ve never liked about it is that it’s very difficult to organize.
What if the dock could get some sort of feature that would make it more organized? Say, something like tabs that divide your apps into categories? Well, today we’re reviewing an app called Tab Launcher that does just that. Let’s take a look.
There are a few new features in Lion that you might not have heard about or used yet: Versions, Autosave and Resume. Versions aims to bring the functionality of Time Machine to your documents. This means that you can view several versions of your documents with the changes that happen over time even if you have deleted or added new things to the document.
Autosave is a feature that makes certain apps save your documents automatically after a certain period of time, to avoid losing important changes that you may have made after your previous save. Additionally, Resume, is a feature that allows you to open apps and find them to be in the state that they were in before you closed them. Want to learn more about them?
Kickoff certainly had a bumpy launch a few weeks ago. The app got so many downloads that their server broke within a few hours of launching, and, as a result, many users where seeing problems with the app, such as crashing or no syncing between accounts. Then they got some unfortunate news that no developer would ever want to hear: Apple rejected the app when they tried to update it. The reason? It was a subscription service and was therefore not allowed in the App Store, despite being approved twice before.
This was surely an unfortunate time for Kickoff. Still, those guys wouldn’t take no for an answer. They have taken it all on the chin, as seen on their blog, and they now offer it as a direct download from their site.
So, has the team learned from their mistakes? Have they made the app more solid and robust to handle all of their traffic? Most importantly, should you invest your well earned money into their service? Read on after the break to find out.
This is something different for Mac.AppStorm: not a review of an app, but of a book about an app. The book is Kourosh Dini’s Creating Flow with Omnifocus. Dr Dini, a psychiatrist, musician, and author, has written regular blog posts about using OmniFocus, the Omni Group’s brilliant, but often daunting, task management app. Creating Flow… brings together a number of his previous posts, and builds them into a thorough overview of working with the app, as well as offering suggestions for a comprehensive system for approaching task management using OmniFocus.
I’ve read many blog posts and essays on using the app, and watched various screencasts, each of which has had some influence on the system that I have come to use. I became aware of Creating Flow… several months ago, and finally decided I wanted to read it and see if it could teach me anything new about OmniFocus. Join me after the jump for an overview of the book.
When I first started writing for Appstorm, I immediately grabbed a copy of MarsEdit, since I had read such great things (on AppStorm) and finally had a reason to use it. I know HTML, but I hate looking at all those tags when I’m writing, so I did most of my work in Rich Text mode, then switched it to HTML, and copied into WordPress. It wasn’t a bad workflow, but it wasn’t ideal. When I reviewed ByWord, I got hooked on the minimal writing environment, and searched for a way to integrate it into my workflow.
From ByWord documentation, I learned about the infinitely useful Markdown syntax, which I’d previously dismissed as something too geeky-sounding to try. Markdown is two things: a standardized plain-text writing syntax, and a tool for converting plain text into HTML. With limited knowledge of HTML, writers can type out content in a natural markup-free environment, then easily convert their text into properly encoded HTML. Marked is a lightweight, inexpensive app that lets you preview the HTML output of your document as you’re writing. In this article, I’m going to go over some of the basics of Markdown, and demonstrate how Marked can contribute to an efficient blogging workflow.
Organization is crucial for greater productivity and we all know the famous saying, “A failure to prepare is a preperation to fail.” On Macs, you’ve got a whole range of programs designed to help you become more productive and improve your organizational skills. You can use the traditional option of iCal, which has been given a much-needed rework in Lion, or if you prefer to have your calendar synced across all platforms, you can use Google Calendar. Facebook also comes in handy for keeping track of those house parties as well as your friends’ birthdays.
But there are times where you want to see exactly what’s happening across all your calendars without having to look all over the place. Enter CalendarBar. It’s a lightweight application available exclusively from the Mac App Store that runs quietly and nonchalantly in your menu bar and lets you view all your appointments from all your synchronized calendars with one click. The developers, Clean Cut Code, state on CalendarBar’s website that it’s a “unique way to keep track of your events”. Let’s take a closer look at CalendarBar and see whether this claim holds up.