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Keeping applications up-to-date on my Macbook is definitely one of my weaker areas. I tend to delay installing the Apple updates for as long as possible, especially if it requires a restart of the computer, and will then do a bulk install every couple of weeks.

Updating my applications, plugins and widgets often doesn’t even figure in my mind, unless prompted on launching said piece of software. But the problem with that is that a lot of OS X software doesn’t include an update checker.

From a security point of view this could possibly leave my Mac open to being infected or hacked through a loophole in one of the programs, which would have been fixed had I installed the update that I didn’t even know about.

AppFresh from MetaQuark aims to help solve that problem by providing a one-stop-shop for updating applications, widgets, preference panes and application plugins without having to even go looking for the updates yourself.

If the software is listed on osx.iusethis.com, then AppFresh will be able to look for an update, download and install it to your Mac and remove any old version if necessary….all with just the click of a couple of buttons. It can even grab official Apple updates. Keeping your software up-to-date needn’t be a hassle anymore!

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There was a time when having a download manager made a real difference to one’s experience of using the internet. There are places where this is still true. A few years ago, I spent a month in a remote part of India, where I struggled to top 2k download speeds with my laptop’s modem connecting via a fixed line. I literally waited an hour some days just to download a morning’s email.

A download manager wouldn’t have helped all that much with those messages, but it would have made a huge difference if I had wanted to download any software, music or video files.

That’s the most common use of a download manager: pausing and restarting downloads, scheduling them for later in the day, perhaps after you’ve gone to bed, so that massive download can be ready and waiting in the morning. There are now a number of download managers that can do a whole lot more than this. Speed Download has been the big-hitter for a long time, but (though I bought a licence for the app) I’ve never got along with it.

Recently, I’ve switched over to using Leech, which makes no claim to being as powerful, but turns out to be an excellent, lightweight option that might just do everything you need.

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My work requires me to keep confidential notes. I hunted around for some time to find the best way of doing this on my Mac, and tried several different options. What I used for a long time was password-protected entries in either Yojimbo, VoodooPad or Together. Unfortunately, in each case I felt something was missing.

I also tried Espionage. What I liked about this solution was the simplicity of making my notes in plain text files and dropping them into folders, which were then securely encrypted as a whole. I found, though, that I was prompted far too often to supply passwords to unlock the archives it creates so that online backups or other apps could interact with them. What I discovered instead was another app that did a similar job but required far less interaction: Knox.

Knox was already a well-established app when, back in May, it was acquired by Agile Web Solutions, the folks who brought us the excellent (and I would say essential) 1Password. After the jump we’ll walk through Knox’s main features so you can see if it matches your way of working.

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OS X menu bar apps continue to stretch the bounds of what you’d expect from a simple tool that runs in the background. MailCue follows this trend by taking the place of the most powerful menu bar mail notifier I’ve ever come across.

Below we’ll take a look at what makes MailCue special and why it just might become your new favorite email tool.

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Your Mac is a serious investment. You paid upwards of $1,000 for it, keep sensitive information on it and maybe even depend on it to make a living. Given all of this, would you be willing to pay $20 to protect it?

Today we’ll look at Hidden, a useful tool for tracking the location of your Mac in the unfortunate case of a theft. According to the Hidden developers, “the FBI reports that 97% of stolen computers are never recovered.” Will you be prepared if it happens to you?
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Congratulations on your ownership of a Mac! Because of that you have been blessed with a mammoth range of FTP (as well as SFTP, WebDav and Amazon S3) clients that you can use to browse and manage your files on a remote server.

One of the main players in the FTP game is Cyberduck – a free, open-source application that is quite possibly the best solution (for its price) currently available on Mac. It can connect to FTP, SFTP, WebDav, Cloud Files, Google Docs and Amazon S3. Cyberduck is written by David V. Kocher however as mentioned before, it’s an open-source software, so the application is constantly improved by many people around the world.

Read on to find out whether it fits the bill for you.

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Okay, I just had that file open! Where did I save it? Where did it go? Damn. I’m sure this hasn’t just happened to me. If that’s so, I guess Apparent Software built Blast just for me!

Put simply, Blast is a menu bar applet that tracks what files you have recently opened, modified or touched. So if you opened up an image file in Preview, or an iWork document, Blast will keep track of it.

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I have tried a number of online backup solutions – among them Mozy, Carbonite, JungleDisk, MobileMe’s iDisk, and CrashPlan. This article is not about those products, but I can tell you that all of them let me down in one way or another.

I hit problems with one of them when disaster struck and I found that I couldn’t actually use my backup files; another was terribly, unusably slow and gave little control over when backups were run; another kept my MacBook’s fan’s running all the time, because the backup app was leaking memory all over the place.

Despite all these disappointments, I do feel that I need an off-site backup (along with my Time Machine and SuperDuper! backups) – it’s an extra line of protection that helps me feel more secure – so I’ve kept looking for a solution that’ll do the best possible job.

For the last few months, I’ve been using Dropbox and, although it’s not expressly designed for the purpose of backup, it just works, and I’ve been very happy with the service. My only complaint is that Dropbox is a little expensive for my needs – after all, I’m only currently using 12% of the 50GB my $10/month buys.

I recently came across Haystack Software’s Arq, and I’m thinking this may be a very good option for keeping online backups running smoothly and seamlessly. Join me after the break for a walkthrough of its features.

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Tumblr has become a wildly popular blogging platform for many reasons. It’s easy enough for beginners to pick up in an instant, and powerful enough to customize to your heart’s content.

The online Tumblr interface is surely not lacking, but some users still prefer the feel of a desktop environment. Today we’ll look at an application designed to help you publish to your Tumblr account on your Mac: myTumblr from MOApp.

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Today we’re going to look at an awesome new hybrid Mac application and web service called CloudApp. It’s completely free, extremely easy to use, and very useful for anyone looking for a better way to share files.

We’ll take a look at the app’s main functionality along with the accompanying web app and rich plugin system.
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