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.
It seems like there’s been an influx of RSS reader reviews here on AppStorm recently. With great new (and sometimes novel) readers like Pulp or Reeder, we can’t help but get excited about them. However, every now and then an RSS app comes out that doesn’t dabble with novel formats or unique interfaces. They set out to achieve the simple goal of utility, and do it well.
MobileRSS is a Google Reader client that has long been popular on iOS devices, and now comes to Mac. How does the desktop version hold up?
The popularity of online bill paying simplifies our lives in many ways (not to mention the tree savings), but without a solid piece of mail arriving at the door, it can be tough to remember the due dates for the many bills we pay each month. While you could set up repeating reminders in iCal, and keep track of what you’ve paid on spread sheets, the developers of Chronicle promise an easier way to keep track of bills for the memory-and-math-challenged.
Unlike many other finance apps, which try to do everything from creating budgets to tracking transactions, Chronicle is dedicated solely to helping you pay the bills. Find out if this simplified approach can prevent bill-related anxiety in today’s review!
If you scan the features page on the Adobe Photoshop CS5 website, you’ll find descriptions for almost 70 different features, everything from “Automatic lens correction” to “Fluid canvas rotation” to “Puppet warp.” But anyone who’s ever used Photoshop knows that 70 features is just the tip of the iceberg, and when you start to add the various options for each of those features, you’re talking about such a beastly bit of software that it sinks the hopes of any amateur who dares open it.
That’s where the Mac App Store comes in. With the Mac App Store’s democratization of the Mac software market, image-editing amateurs like me have access to a whole new range of “one trick ponies,” niche software that will do the one thing you’re looking for, and not a darn thing else.
Colorize is one such one-trick pony.
These days we have so much information that needs safe keeping. With so many reports regarding identity theft breaking on a daily basis, security of digital items is as important as your physical goods. Alleyways across the Internet are at times darker than the real world, and all it takes is a tiny malware in your computer to transfer all your digital data to a basement dwelling hacker.
SecretBox allows you to store all sorts of information – Credit Card details, SSN numbers, Software Licenses, account login credentials, and much more. Let’s check it out.
Galcon Fusion is a strategy game sometimes described as “Risk, in space, in real-time.” Players begin with a planet that generates a certain number of ships per minute (based on size), and must strategically use those ships to overpower the forces of opponents in order to seize control of all planets on the map. When moving ships between planets, you can choose any percentage between 5% and 100% (in increments of 5%) that represents the size of the fleet leaving the planet.
As a long time fan of gaming (real-time strategy games, in particular), I was excited to get my hands dirty with the Mac/iPad follow-up to the popular Galcon for iPhone. Galcon Fusion carries on the same concept as the original, but bringing it to the bigger screen, along with several new game modes.
If you, like me, are a word nerd, there’s a good chance that you’ve already run a search for ‘dictionary’ in the Mac App Store. Doing so brings up a number of dictionaries in various languages, a few games, language courses, and a surprisingly small number of English dictionaries. Perhaps developers know that all Macs are shipped with the New Oxford American Dictionary baked right into the operating system, so they shy away from duplication.
Unfortunately, the truth is that the built-in dictionary app is limited – likely adequate most of the time, but still limited. For this reason, now and then you might find yourself calling upon a higher authority and refer to the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, which is widely held to be among the world’s best and most definitive references. That’s when you’ll be glad that WordWeb Software has brought this tome to the App Store.
Join us after the jump for a look at how the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary works, and how it might be a useful and even enjoyable addition to your Mac.
You can ask just about anybody what browser they’re using, and they will very likely respond with Safari, Firefox or Chrome. I have never met anyone who actually uses Opera for everyday browsing. This is not surprising seeing as how its usage share is 2.4%. And yet, nearly everybody has heard of it. So why do so few people use it?
Today, I’ll be taking a look at Opera, what it has to offer, and whether or not you should consider adopting it as your new favourite browser.
One thing that the latest version of Windows does well is managing application windows. With easy keyboard shortcuts you can flip through visual representations of each of your open programs and instantly resize or move windows. There are several Mac applications available that emulate some of these features, a number of which we’ve reviewed in the past.
Moom is an interesting new option, offered by Many Tricks, a small independent company that produces several very good Mac apps. I’ve long relied on their Witch to improve OS X’s built-in app switching, and I use Desktop Curtain whenever I need to cover up my messy desktop to take screenshots. Moom takes its name from the conjoining of “Move” and “Zoom”, as these are the two main things you can do with the app.
Join us after the jump to see how Moom works.