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In many ways it’s the holy grail of Mac apps. Apple has instilled an appreciation for the beautiful, the polished, and the carefully designed. And if there’s one part of our lives that screams out for an experience like that it’s money management.

I mean it makes sense, right? Computers are good with numbers, and people usually aren’t. Computers can be used to identify patterns and formulate projections, and people like to see patterns and projections. And on the Mac platform we should be able to get all of that lovely functionality wrapped up in an aesthetically pleasing package, right?

Well there’s a new contender that’s entered the fray: Koku. Making the rounds, Koku has attracted the attention of the Mac community. We’re all dying to know if someone new can build the type of financial monitoring app that we’ve all been looking for.

And so here we are. Let’s take a look at the areas that Koku excels in, and the spots where they need to do some work.

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Desktop apps that aim to work along with popular web apps are a pretty common niche in the market, as they make it much faster and easier to use certain features of those websites by always remaining open in your desktop and allowing you to use features like drag-and-drop that might not be as easy to find on a web app.

The app that we are reviewing today is made for quickly publishing pictures and videos over popular social networks like Facebook and Flickr, from your desktop. It’s called Poster.

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Here at AppStorm, we’re huge fans of Dropbox. It’s fast, incredibly useful, and extremely easy to use. How can you go wrong with it?

That said, there are always ways to improve an app – and DropIn aims to do just that. Add some extra functionality to Dropbox in order to make your life even easier. You can get notified of changes made to your files, and quickly upload files by dropping them in the menu bar icon.

Is DropIn an incredible boost to an already awesome app, or just another unnecessary extension? Read on to find out.

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OS X comes with CD and DVD burning capabilities built-in, so you might have managed so far without needing to install a separate app. When I reinstalled Snow Leopard a few months back, I decided to keep my system as lean as possible, since my old Core Duo MacBook has been showing its age. I only installed applications as a real need for them arose.

As it happens, one of the very first apps I added was for burning discs, since I found the native OS X burning seemed to be slower, and certainly gave me less control of how discs are burned.

I had previously had an earlier version of Toast installed, but I decided not to return to that outdated software, and instead went with a free burner app that had good reviews on MacUpdate. Recently, Roxio released the newest version of Toast, and I’m very glad to have updated.

Though there are lightweight apps that can do some of the things Toast does, and there are many cheaper, and even free, programs available, I believe Toast remains best-in-class. And if you go for the Pro version, it’s actually very good value – but more on that later.

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A couple weeks back, I reviewed an app called Yep, a scanning and tagging app for managing documents. I love the idea of tags and am just starting to harness their power in other apps like Things and Evernote, and nudge:nudge’s Punakea attempts to offer tagging support for documents and folders of any kind.

I purchased this app in a bundle a couple months ago, and I’m sure there are many other people out there who have this app sitting in their applications folder unused like I did, so perhaps it’s time to take a look at what it can do!

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When Time Machine was released with Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) back in October 2007, it was one of the highlights of the new release. Apple was the first company to offer a fully-functioning, built in backup utility into their operating system and in true Mac-style, they pumped it full of eye candy. Well, only Apple could take a simple system utility and transform it into a work of art.

Although Time Machine is good for recovering files if anything does happen to your Mac, it is a bit basic in its functionality. You do not have the option to schedule backups depending on when you want them – when your external hard disk drive is plugged in (or the device you are backing up to), Time Machine will simply sync any changed files and folders hourly.

For the average user, this won’t cause too much of a problem, but for someone who uses their Mac for high-end software or gaming, the backup can slow down the performance of your Mac. Time Machine also isn’t a true backup option per se, as it does not create disk images (unlike other programs), where you can restore your Mac in the case of a drastic failure.

This is where ChronoSync comes in. At $40, it is quite a pricey alternative to Time Machine (which is bundled in with Mac OS X 10.5 and above) and some might question paying this amount for a piece of software which is pretty much identical to something they get for free anyway. I decided though to download the 30-day trial version of ChronoSync to give it a test run and to see whether it is really a viable (or better) alternative to Time Machine.

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I’m a sucker for notebooks. Paper or digital it doesn’t matter. I’ve got a stack of Moleskines right next to my Field Notes notebooks. And you don’t even want to know how many different journaling-type applications I have on my MacBook. Most of these digital notebooks don’t try to mimic a “real” notebook. The few applications that do try to look and feel like a paper notebook have always failed in that regard (though they often have other redeeming qualities).

But along comes Per Se, the new digital journal from Sprouted Software. It’s the first application that actually feels like a three-dimensional, paper journal. Too good to be true? Let’s take a closer look.

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Instagram is a widely popular, but unusual, app. It has had a huge success on the iPhone, continually improving over the past few years, but you can’t really browse your pictures or view your profile if you are away from your iOS device. The support for desktop and web versions of Instagram is pretty much non-existent from the developer.

Fortunately, the API of the service is open to any developer who wants to take advantage of it. This gives people a chance to build on the huge community behind Instagram, and make it easy to browse images from locations other than the iPhone app. Today we’ll be reviewing Instadesk – an app that aims to do just that!

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It is a rare but welcome occasion when an app is developed to do something I’ve always wanted an app to do. Fantastical is precisely that app. Often, when adding an event to iCal, getting frustrated with date and time fields, and giving up on adding any details but the name, I’ve pondered “shouldn’t there be another way?”

The developers of Fantastical have endeavoured to answer this plea with a menu-bar iCal tie-in promising the ability to quickly add events in natural language.

Upon further research, I learned that Fantastical wasn’t the first app to offer such a handy feature, apps like the cheaper QuickCal promise the same features. So, is Fantastical fantastic enough to justify the price?

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I’ll be honest: the past 18 years of school have made me a forgetful, disorganized, unmotivated procrastinator. Since I like shiny, pretty interfaces and putting off doing work, I’ve spent a lot of time looking into various GTD and to-do list apps. During the school year, I used a full-featured GTD app (Things) to track and organize dozens of readings, assignments and exams.

However, now that school’s out and I’m freelancing a lot more, Things is starting to seem a bit excessive, and I’m still waiting on the promised iPhone cloud-sync. Enter SpeedTask, the iPhone-turned-Mac to-do list app that promises clever, easy-to-use features and powerful cloud sync.

SpeedTask deserves to be looked at from three different angles: as a Mac app, as an iPhone app, and as a cloud-syncing solution, so we’ll discuss each feature one at a time.

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