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Of all the web apps that threaten to replace their desktop brethren, Gmail is the grandaddy of them all. A web-based email app that has enough functionality to compete with the likes of Apple’s Mail or Mozilla’s Thunderbird, Gmail is used by many people around the world as their primary email service. But if you’re like me, sometimes you really wish it had some of the features common to its desktop counterparts, like the ability to drag and drop images into a message, or integration with Address Book.

Mailplane steps in to bridge the gap, bringing the functionality of your desktop mail applications to the comfort and familiarity of Gmail.

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Following your favorite website doesn’t require checking it every hour or two for new stories. RSS readers provide one-stop websites, or applications, that gather all the posts from your favorite blogs or news portals. Several great applications exist for the Mac for organizing your RSS feeds, from Apple’s own Mail, to NewsFire, NetNewsWire and the web based Google Reader.

All of these applications (or web sites) are similar, displaying the unread stories in your feed like an e-mail inbox. However, Times provides an entirely different reading experience. Using your favorite websites, or the great set of default RSS feeds, Times formulates a digital newspaper, providing a more natural reading experience.

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With the availability of all-in-one development apps such as Coda and Espresso, a dedicated FTP program is beginning to seem like a fairly archaic way to access remote data. ExpanDrive offers a modern solution to FTP access by integrating seamlessly with the OS X Finder. Once connected, you can modify files from any application as if using a local USB drive.

After using ExpanDrive for a few weeks I can safely say that I won’t be returning to any other system. It works completely as advertised and performance is impressive. This review will take a look at how ExpanDrive works, and suggest a few changes you may need to make before migrating to it fully.

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We’re fairly fortunate as Mac users to run an operating system which clean up after itself. I have never needed to re-format an OS X installation for a speed boost, but that doesn’t mean that we’re free from unnecessary files and caches taking up drive space.

CleanMyMac is an OS X utility that helps to keep your Mac clean and healthy. It’s capable of freeing up space through slimming Universal Binaries, removing unnecessary language files, deleting old caches and logs, and various other miscellaneous files. This review will put CleanMyMac through it’s paces and assess whether it offers a good spring cleaning solution.

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To be blunt, I’m cheap when it comes to buying software. I often find myself waiting for a sale, looking for a discount code, or putting off a purchase until the next great ‘bundle’ is announced. However, I occasionally see an application for which I’m happy to plunk down my credit card and pay the full price for (because it’s just that good!)

Bento is a personal database for OS X that integrates with other applications on your Mac. It was out for about 38 seconds when I downloaded it to try it out, but I didn’t really see the value in it at first. Over time, however, the ease of use of the application, beautiful interface and included templates drew me in. The new features in version 2 more than earned my $49, giving Bento a permanent place in my applications folder – and recently, a slot on my iPhone screen as well.

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Big air, big mountains, and lots of snow, are some of the things that Shaun White loves. Thanks to Ubisoft, he is happy to share them with us. Shaun has proven time and time again his skills on the slopes and now his red-haired fame has gotten him to make his first attempt at videogames ala Tony Hawk. In Shaun White Snowboarding, Ubisoft has crafted a well-balanced blend of both realistic and arcade styles of gameplay in a free-roam atmosphere. While seemingly a strange mix, the end result gives a rather decent experience – especially if you are an extreme sports fan.

Like many recent extreme sport games you start out as a rookie and work your way up to soon become a glorified champ; don’t get scared of the huge masses of snow though, Shaun has your back at all times. At the very beginning of the game, Shaun becomes your mentor as he pledges to unleash your inner snowboarding beast. To successfully complete Shaun’s course, you must collected several coins scattered across all four mountains, and complete different sets of challenges. Once you’ve tackled those slopes and collected the precious coins, you will face the “Flying Tomato” himself.

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Today I’ll be taking a look at a simple timer application – TimeBoxed. A whole range of advanced time tracking and management software is available for OS X, but you may not necessarily have a need for the complex features offered by these tools.

TimeBoxed offers a remarkably simple solution for ensuring you stick within a time limit for any given task. After entering the desired time, a progress bar illustrates how long you have left to get the job done. The idea is remarkably straight forward, but TimeBoxed impresses on account of the wide variety of notification options available and the polished user experience.

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It’s safe to say that you can never have too many tools. No matter what your trade, you will always be more effective if you have quality tools at your side (as long as your don’t bankrupt yourself in the process). Luckily, if your tools are of the software variety, you don’t even need to find room in the garage to store them.

One example of an incredibly innovative and effective set of tools for designers and web developers on the Mac is xScope. XScope is an app that has a wide array of features, allowing you to layout and measure elements on screen in an incredibly “Mac-Like” way. The seven included tools offer everything from color sampling to pixel spacing, and everything in between.

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SizzlingKeys is a brilliant System Preferences plug-in from Yellow Mug that’s easy to use and allows you to control iTunes from any application without using the mouse at all. SizzlingKeys is free to use, or $5 to go Pro which gives you a few extra features. It also provides you with clean visuals of which songs you are listening to.

This how-to will show you how to set up SizzlingKeys on your Mac, and how to use it to make the most of your music without the hassle of finding your way around iTunes.

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Until recently purchasing a scanner, I commonly found myself taking a digital photo of a document to import it into my Mac. Results were rarely perfect, and I was never completely satisfied with the result. Prizmo is a new application which caught me eye, allowing you to adjust the perspective of a digital photo.

Completely altering the perspective of a photograph is a technically impressive operation, and uses the latest technology in OS X Leopard. This review will outline the features which make Prizmo such an interesting photo manipulation tool.

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