I’ve always been a fan of running multiple monitors with my Mac, and firmly believe that extra screen estate can have a huge impact on increased productivity and reduced clutter. Extending your desktop is fairly straight forward with OS X, and providing you own a compatible display it’s easy to connect to a laptop or desktop machine.
However, there are a number of scenarios where adding a new monitor isn’t possible; extending to another machine screen (e.g. an old iMac or laptop), extending to a Windows computer, or running more than one additional monitor from a laptop. ScreenRecycler is a great little app which can extend your desktop over the network to any old computer and monitor, regardless of whether it’s running OS X or Windows. This review will outline the features of ScreenRecycler and explain how it works.
After posting a recent roundup of Mac applications for freelancers, I’ve decided to take a more in depth look at one tool in particular. Billings competes with many other similar apps for tracking the time you spend on a project, managing clients, and sending statements/invoices.
This review will focus on the main features of Billings, investigate how it enables easy time tracking, and outline how it simplifies communication with clients. I’ll also touch upon competing applications and web based software to help with similar tasks.
Web design, traditionally, is a task which requires many different applications. You’ll need some sort of text editor, an FTP client, software for navigating documents (generally Finder), a web browser for previewing your site and often another tool for storing code snippets. This has worked well for several years, and any attempt to re-invent such a traditional workflow is commendably risky.
Coda came on the scene just under two years ago as a piece of software capable of integrating each of these different tools into one monolithic application. It received a great deal of acclaim and has come a long way since its conception. This review is far from an “exclusive” – Coda has been covered many times elsewhere over the past few years – but it will go some way towards outlining the features which make it stand out from using several independent applications. I’ll explain the main workflow process, and give my opinion on what works brilliantly and what I miss from dedicated tools.
There are a number of different screenshot utilities for OS X, but none with the functionality and style offered by LittleSnapper. Produced by the developers behind RapidWeaver, LittleSnapper provides a tool for capturing inspirational websites or any area of your screen. It’s simple to organize hundreds of screenshots, exporting to a variety of different formats for use elsewhere. Innovative vector editing functionality allows you to annotate and edit screenshots through an incredibly simple interface.
If you regularly feel inspired when browsing the web, LittleSnapper is one way to keep track of all the information you come across. This review will delve into the application, outline the different features on offer, and provide a handy tip for keeping your inspiration in sync between multiple computers.
The day to day use of a computer always involves some form of writing. Whilst this may often be a short, snappy task (drafting an email, blog comment or twitter post), there are often times when you find yourself writing a longer piece of work. Plenty of software exists for assisting with word processing, but often creates more distraction than simplicity in its approach.
WriteRoom is an application which takes a completely different approach to writing, stripping away all the distractions you commonly find yourself faced with when using a Mac. It achieves this goal in a bold and novel way – by removing everything else on your screen. When activated, WriteRoom creates a full screen “writing environment”, a concept which has proven to be very well received by many writers:
“Unlike practically everything else in our digital lives, WriteRoom’s minimalist interface implies a truly flattering proposition: It’s you, not the software, that matters.” — Jeffrey MacIntyre, Slate
This review will outline the features and functionality of WriteRoom, explain how it integrates with your Mac, and fill you in on the accompanying iPhone application.
The gradual adoption of ‘cloud computing’ is leading many of us to move our information and data to a virtual space, rather than relying solely on a local disk. This has a whole host of advantages, coupled with the niggling uncertainty of trusting someone else with your files. Several pieces of software for the Mac (Dropbox and Mozy to name a couple) provide excellent integration of remote storage with OS X.
Syncplicity – already a strong player in this area for Windows – have today announced the Mac version of their synchronization and backup software. As a devout Dropbox user, and someone who has seen too many less-than-perfect Windows ports, I approached the Mac client with a level of skepticism. However, after speaking to the people behind Syncplicity and receiving a walkthrough of the app from Ondrej Hrebicek, I’ve had to re-consider my notion that it is very difficult to successfully port an application from Windows. Syncplicity is impressive.
Syncplicity enables easy collaboration and sharing across Macs, PCs, mobile devices, and the cloud. Combined with tools such as versioning and web application integration, Syncplicity provides a great range of features. Through integrating directly with the Finder, it is possible to tell the app to keep any – or every – folder in sync with your online storage space and another computer. I’ll be taking a look at the main features of Syncplicity, the interface, and explaining how it compares to similar applications such as Dropbox.
There are a huge number of different task managers and “Getting Things Done” apps for the Mac, each of which has various strengths and features. I’ll be posting a roundup in the near future, but for now would like to focus on a fairly new entrant which has already received widespread accolade.
Things, developed by Cultured Code, launched officially on January 6th during the MacWorld conference, winning the Best of Show award. I have been using the application since November and have come to rely on it to organize my entire work schedule. The functionality which Things provides appears simple on the surface, but in terms of simple usability it is one of the most impressive Mac applications I’ve ever used. (more…)
There are a number of different web development tools available for Mac, ranging from mainstream juggernauts like Dreamweaver through to smaller apps such as Coda. Over the past few months, a new contender has gradually emerged on the scene – Espresso – developed by the minds behind the acclaimed CSSEdit.
Espresso aims to simplify the workflow of web designers, providing a streamlined set of tools and techniques which allow you to focus on designing. I found the feature set to include a great package of tools. Broken down into ‘Edit, Organize, Preview, Find, and Publish’, they cover the entire development process of a new site.
The success of 37 Signal’s products is a well known story, and Campfire certainly has a large part to play in their popularity. It provides an elegant solution to web based chat, allowing groups to easily share files and images. Being a tool I use regularly, a project aiming to provide Campfire as a local Mac application certainly caught my eye.
Propane integrates with your Campfire account, retaining all the simplicity the chat system is renowned for whilst adding a range of additional desktop functionality. It provides support for running multiple chat rooms at a time along with a number of different notification options.