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Productivity

Always on the search for a new way to get things done, I jumped at the chance to give Silo a go. It has a companion app on just about every device, so I’ve always got my list and todos on me, something I’ve found is important not only to me but to anyone committed to being truly productive. I put the Mac version of the Silo app through its paces to see how it stands up to the competition. (more…)

I write in Markdown all the time, the easy-to-use writing syntax conceived of by John Gruber (of Daring Fireball fame). The nice thing about the syntax is that it doesn’t require any one specific app, so web writers can use it with whatever text editor they feel like — including default editors like TextEdit for Mac, which is much more powerful than most of us realize, I think.

That hasn’t stopped the flow of Markdown editors from arriving for Mac, though. Recently, I stumbled upon Lightpaper, which will be familiar to anybody who uses Android. Lightpaper Pro is well known on the Google Play Store, and I even reviewed it on Android.AppStorm. I went so far as to include it amongst the most noteworthy Markdown-equipped Android apps. The real question is: can lightning strike twice for developer Clockwork Engine with the Lightpaper Mac app? Read on to find out if this app is worth exploring, even in its beta state. (more…)

Simple file sharing services are great for sharing all types of files — from code snippets to short notes to ready-to-publish PDFs — but most of the time, they’re only used for sharing images. That’s a shame, though. Most of us often need to share text that’s longer than a tweet but that’d make no sense to put into a blog post, and simple file sharing apps are great for that.

Except, they still make it rather difficult to share text. You have to write it in an app, save it to a file, the drag it to your sharing tool of choice. Plus, there’s no way to edit your text once it’s shared, without deleting the original share, editing your original text on your Mac, then re-uploading and re-sharing the text.

Sharing text should be far simpler, which is why Levi Nunnink from the Droplr team just built the brand-new MarkDrop app. It makes sharing text via Droplr — and editing text you’ve already shared — as simple as saving a document in iCloud. It’s brilliant.

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When in the flow, concentrating hard and making progress (or not), I, for one, find it difficult to quantify the passing of time. When I’m messing about, tweeting and generally procrastinating, it’s even harder. And that can be frustrating; for the freelancer or pro rata worker, the slipperiness of the seconds, minutes and hours can be very costly.

As always, technology is ready and waiting to help. But time-keeping apps so often fall by the wayside because we just can’t be bothered to use them. And even if you can be bothered, remembering to start and stop the digital timer at the precise moment you begin work, or put down your tools, is a task of nagging tedium.

Maybe that is why nulldesign (aka Lars Gercken), the developer of freshly hatched time-keeping app Tyme (retailing at $4.99), feels the need to entertain users with snazzy graphics and in-depth analytics. But are a few pretty bar charts really enough to keep you focused on your time management?

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Despite being the world’s largest software company, Microsoft has somewhat of a bad reputation when it comes to software for the Mac. Ask anyone who has ever to endure using Microsoft Entourage for any length of time and they’ll likely tell you its the only software package in existence that violates almost every human rights act there is.

Microsoft has had a remote connection app for Mac users to remotely access Windows workstations for some time, though it was so old and infrequently updated that system requirements even stated it was not for use with Mac OS X Lion or later.

Thankfully, Microsoft have been taking the Mac and iOS platforms a little more seriously and their latest remote access tool, Microsoft Remote Desktop, is not only a complete reworking of its ageing predecessor, it’s actually really good.

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There’s notebook apps to store all your text snippets, ideas, notes, outlines, and anything else you can think of. They’re designed to make it easy to save notes, and easy to search through and find the note you need later. There’s plain writing apps, that strip away all the distractions and help you focus on your writing. And then there’s the export tools page layout apps that help you publish your finished work.

And then, there’s the new Ulysses III 1.1. Ulysses III reinvented what it meant to be a plain-text writing app when it was released this spring, and the new v1.1 update adds advanced search and improves external file and export support enough that it’s a notebook, focused writing, and publishing app rolled into one. It’s the one app modern writers need.

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I take a lot of pictures — not just professionally, but also for fun. That being said, I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “perfect” image editor. I’ve tried everything over the years, some of which I’ve reviewed here on Mac.AppStorm, but I have yet to run into one tool that can singlehandedly replace all the others.

But when MacPhun, the folks behind Snapheal, reached out to me, I was intrigued. Their newest app, Intensify Pro, looked like it could be a real game-changer, and I was eager to put it through its paces. Read on to find out if Intensify really brings anything new to the table.

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Task and project management apps such as OmniFocus and Things aren’t just popular, they’re a necessity for anyone wanting to keep track of tasks and projects all the way from start to finish. While I probably spend more time trying out new GTD apps than actually getting anything done, I’d be completely lost without any sort of task management app that lets me track individual tasks and projects.

My latest GTD distraction is Firetask, a project-orientated task management app that promises complete and simple control of your tasks so you can spend less time procrastinating and more time, well, getting things done.

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OS X is already powerful by itself, and it’s packed with a lot of built-in apps that can help you accomplish everyday life tasks. However, it’s only when you’re using something like Alfred, LaunchBar or Quicksilver that you actually unleash the full potential of your machine. Things that are already simple on your Mac turn into lightening-fast tasks with these apps.

Though Quicksilver has been available for 10 years, it’s been kept a bit too much under the radar compared to its alternatives like Alfred. By popular demand, here’s our in-depth dive into the original app that puts “Mac OS X at your fingertips”. Let’s give this gem of an app the love it deserves.

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When you’re a small business or freelancer, keeping track of invoices and estimates ensures an easier time for both you and the taxman. What’s more, poorly designed invoices can deter clients, both existing and potential, from future business. While Pages and Microsoft Word are certainly ways to create better looking invoices, there are more suitable apps available. One such app is Billings Pro, a tremendously popular app that takes invoicing to a whole other level. However, the app is subscription-based, something that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Enter GrandTotal, an app that offers much of the same functionality at a one-off cost. Despite its rather bland interface and seemingly overwhelming array of options, GrandTotal isn’t your traditional invoice generator. It’s a fully fledged invoice and client management app that not only creates some great looking paperwork but lets you keep track of payments and outstanding balances, as well as managing an inventory.

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