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Productivity

Remember when iCal didn’t look like it had been designed by a fifth grader learning to use KidPix? The only other decision I’ve ever seen Apple make that was so universally panned as the iCal redesign was Ping, but at least you could just turn that off. Whether your aversion towards iCal is due to its tacky design or its cumbersome method of inputting events, you fortunately have no shortage of alternatives when it comes to scheduling your day.

Of course, buried beneath the eye sores is one redeeming quality: iCloud syncing. Many alternative calendars for OS X and iOS still integrate with iCal in order to utilize that syncing power. SmartDay by Left Coast Logic lets you interact with your calendar and to-do lists from the menubar, while adding a few neat features. This isn’t a new concept, so making it an appealing option for Mac users means it needs to introduce some innovative features.

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When I need to quickly jot down a thought, remember to do something at work, or create a list of films to go see, I typically use Simplenote. Why, you ask? Because it’s the best service out there for storing plain text notes, and can be accessed from any device that connects to the Internet. The service has also proven to be extremely reliable for me in the past and I’ve never lost any information that I’ve saved onto it, unlike alternatives like 6Wunderkinder’s Wunderkit.

One problem with Simplenote, however, is that there isn’t actually an official app for the Mac, or even Windows for that matter. There are a few third-party clients like Notational Velocity which work well, but have never been quite what I was looking for. Enter Matthias Hochgatterer’s Justnotes. The simple little app does an amazing and beautiful job of making your Simplenote experience on Mac a bit more enjoyable than the traditional web interface.

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Some days, it seems to me that we’re in a technological era that demonstrates simultaneous trends of increased utility and decreased complexity. The strive for simplicity is apparent in Mac software, and the effects are often increased productivity and clarity. The best example of this that I can come up with is a growing number of Mac apps that set out to do one thing really well, rather than the swiss-army-knife applications of the past (not that there isn’t still a time and place for those).

Today, I’m going to take a look at one such application called SnipEdges. Developed by Houdah Software, SnipEdges is a new kind of global snippet manager. It uses the confinement of your screen as its management method, rather than a hierarchical window, and it does so to great effect. Let’s dig in, shall we?
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If you use TextExpander much, chances are you don’t actually think about the app itself that much. You’ve added your own shortcuts to it over the years, and now you type them in and they’re automatically expanded without you even thinking. It just becomes another part of your Mac.

This week, Smile Software released the first full new version of TextExpander since 2010. It adds several new features, but if you’re already using TextExpander 3, a quick glance at their new features list might not even make it seem like its worth your time to upgrade. After all, when’s the last time you opened the TextExpander window, anyhow?

Turns out, there’s more than meets the eye in TextExpander 4.

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Although many developers are porting or even rewriting applications designed for Windows to the Mac, many these days still find the need to run Windows on your Mac. I find that need every single day at work.  While there are three main ways to get the job done, Parallels has always been my favorite.

Parallels Desktop 7 is a dramatic improvement over the previous version, and brings along a few cool new features. If running alternate operating systems on your Mac is a priority, read on as we dive into the latest version of Parallels Desktop!

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Apple’s tagline for the Mac App Store is “Thousands of apps. One simple way to get them,” and for what it’s worth, Apple’s tagline is true. Since its introduction in early 2011, the Mac App Store made finding and purchasing spiffy new applications easier than ever. It also made it easy for indepedent developers to get the same access to customers as the big boys at Adobe, Microsoft, and Electronic Arts.

The problem with the Mac App Store isn’t that apps aren’t easy to get, or that the App Store is difficult to browse and search. The problem is that, every day, developers throughout the industry offer discounts on their apps to help increase their exposure, but the Mac App Store offers no simple way to find these deals. Enter AppyDays from Slappstick, which promises to do what the Mac App Store can’t: give you easy access to all the best discounts.

Let’s see if it lives up to its promise.

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Be honest: have you ever told yourself “I absolutely need to remember this thing on that day” only to let the time come and pass blissfully unaware? Don’t despair, you are not alone in this.

I know this for sure because otherwise we wouldn’t have a wonderful app called Due, which is dedicated solely to the task of making sure that you remember in time. Let’s take a look at how Due can change things for you.

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As much as I love using Mac OS X, there have been numerous times since I started using a Mac back in 2006 when that I’ve wanted to run a Windows application. While the option of using Boot Camp or another program such as Parallels Desktop has always been there, they both required me to have a licensed copy of Windows (as do many of the other options out there). Being a student, buying a copy of Windows was out of the question and I had to make do without.

WinOnX however, is a nice little program that allows certain Windows applications to be run on OS X (only 10.6 and 10.7 however) without the need to purchase and run a copy of the Windows operating system. In this article I’ll be taking a look at WinOnX, read on for my thoughts.
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We all love our Macs, otherwise we would have opted for a different hardware/OS combo. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great alternatives to some of Apple’s apps which are worth considering. The Finder, for example, is great for beginners, but for advanced or power users, it lacks.

Since we are fortunate enough to live in a world filled with creative and imaginative developers, there is an alternative, of course. Many, actually, but one of the best is Path Finder, now available in version 6 and it takes the Finder concept to a whole new level. Read on to find out how.

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There was a time when my desk was perpetually covered in Post-It notes. I used to have to write down every little task I needed to complete for a project, and then keep track of them in an admittedly chaotic manner. Fortunately for people like me, various methods such as Getting Things Done have inspired fantastic productivity apps that make our lives more organized.

Such productivity apps are a dime a dozen, but today we are going to be looking at two task managers that set themselves apart. Producteev and Wunderkit are two powerful task managers that offer a similar set of features. I’ve spent the last few weeks playing around with each of these apps, and we are going to look at how their features stack up against each other.

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