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We reviewed an app called Characters back in August. It gives you quick access to a large number of special characters, making it an indispensable tool for web developers, technical writers, and anyone else who needs to go beyond the standard ASCII fare on a regular basis.

But I think the best tool for the job is PopChar X, not Characters, nor OS X’s built-in character viewer (and not any of the many web-based alternatives, either). It nestles itself in the top-left (or right) corner of your menubar, and it has everything you could need. Allow me to explain.
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Pictures capture moments, videos capture time. The former is valuable, yes, but the latter is its parent. Sadly, it’s not realistic for the average person to capture a beautiful sunrise in video that’s as high resolution as a photograph. That’s because not everyone has a Red camera. (For good reason: they’re priced in the tens of thousands, far out of the price range of the average consumer.) However, you can always make a time-lapse: a series of images taken seconds (2–30) apart and then merged to form a beautiful moving picture.

Time-lapses are a fascinating concept, and also one of the best ways to show someone what a scene looks like because you can get a larger aperture and use fancy 10mm lenses. Since it’s captured differently than a video — there are less frames per second — you are able to get a much higher resolution, so you can edit and crop things to your liking. Time-lapses are perfect for constellation movements and you’ve probably seen a lot of them around Vimeo. If you’ve ever wanted to make your own, Sequence may just be the best app for that. (more…)

Cute eyes, button nose, a sweet smile—I must admit that I was drawn to BlankDesk’s Noted and its adorable app icon. Officially launched just a couple of months back, it’s a “simple, yet powerful note taking app” that may just bring something interesting and useful to the round table of notes apps.

In spite of the fact that there are many (maybe even too many) notes apps for the Mac, I wondered if Noted could have something that other notes applications lacked. I’m sure you’re asking the same questions as you’re reading this: What new features does Noted bring to the table? Is it capable of doing all and more than what my existing notes app can do? And why does Noted look like the foster child of Evernote and Notational Velocity?

Let’s find out.

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Like many writers out there, I have a book in the works. And also like many writers, my great American novel is still a bit of a rough draft. Or I suppose “idea” is a more accurate description of my book. Alright, fine, I want to write a novel and I haven’t put down a word yet.

What any great story needs is amazing characters, and to do that you really need to get inside their heads. You have to take your time and craft an amazing story full of people who you want to love, as well as those you want to hate. It’s a lot of pressure. Fortunately, there’s Mariner Persona.

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I know what many of you are probably thinking. Another notes app? Really? But Notebooks is truly a unique take on a notes app, enough to pay attention to. Notebooks started out as a powerful note taking / task management / file storage app on iOS. Demand for a desktop version with similar features prompted the Notebooks team to put out beta versions of Notebooks for Mac and PC.

I have had my eye on the iOS version of this app for a while now and jumped at the chance to test out the beta version for Mac. Comparing Notebooks to two of its main competitors, Evernote and Simplenote, I would say it is more Evernote than Simplenote, but still very distinct. Read on to find out more about this compelling note app.

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There are two ways I get a job done: I keep copious notes from start to finish and do really well, or I don’t take any notes and I fail miserably. This means I’m utterly dependent on some sort of notes editor at all times, and if it has syncing, well, that’s even better.

I’m always on the lookout for a better way to do what I do, including keeping notes, so I was happy to give Moccanote a spin. With an uncluttered interface and iCloud sync with the companion iPhone app, Moccanote is definitely a contender. Can Moccanote’s notetaking and organization features cause me to jump ship? (more…)

After the holiday break, and with students heading into the new semester, many of us are trying to catch up on research for writing projects. Keeping track of sources for accurate citations is an important but time consuming part of research. Consequently, there are quite a few apps available to help organize citation libraries. Literature is a new app that seeks to provide a low cost alternative to other reference managing apps.

Currently, Mac users can choose from four main apps to organize their reference libraries: Endnote ($249.95), Papers ($79), Sente ($129.95), and Bookends ($99). Mendeley is also a viable free alternative with many useful features. At $19.99, Literature cannot compete with the feature sets available at the high end of this app category. Instead, it attempts to create a streamlined alternative that will attract users wary of the high price tags listed above. Let’s see how well it can fill in this segment of the market.

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As a blogger, I’m always anticipating new apps that could take on a fresh approach to desktop blogging. Desktop blogging apps for the Mac are merely by the handful, leaving users with just a couple of blogging apps that can create and publish posts with ease. We’ve got MarsEdit 3, MacJournal, and Ecto as top recommendations, but the fact is we haven’t seen anything new in this sector of the app market for quite a while.

You can imagine my excitement then when I came across BlogEasy, a minimal desktop blogging app that publishes to WordPress blogs. Will this app finally break the silence and provide bloggers with something new and innovative to play with? Let’s find out.

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Taking down notes, whether by hand or on my computer, has always been an integral part of my workflow. Capturing information wherever and whenever, notes always in handy considering that I have such a short memory span to work with.

As such, note-taking apps like NotesTab are of great interest to me, and since version 3 of FIPLAB’s note-taking menu bar app is available for download, I thought I’d take a look at what has changed and what features were added since reviewing it a couple of months back. Likewise, the pro version offers several additional features to make the note-taking experience even better, which I will touch on later in the review. If you’re hesitant to spend an extra $4.99 for the upgrade, but would like to know what you’d receive if you do, read on.

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There are a lot of ways to manage how you interact with coworkers and people who are helping you with a project. Before the days of computers, you had to fax them a daily plan, call them up and discuss things, or even mail them a letter containing details. And if they lived next door, you could always walk over there. Now, however, things have been modernized and we have wonderful tools like Basecamp at our disposal. It was one of the best, until Kickoff 2.0 went into public beta.

Released in the first half of the month, the app is a completely revamped version of its collaboration predecessor. From the design to the features and way you do things, the app has been changed. We reviewed the original one back in 2011, but now design has become more important and developers are distinguishing their user interfaces from what Apple sets as a standard. The question you probably have is, what’s so different about this app that makes it worth upgrading?

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