In theory, I love the idea of being able to easily take handwritten notes and have them stored on my computer. I’m going back to school and taking a bunch of math classes, so it would be nice to be able to handwrite equations and insert them in my notes, rather than using a dedicated equation editor. I could try to do the handwritten style notes on my iPad and take regular notes on my computer, merging them after class, but that seems unnecessarily difficult. Unfortunately, I kind of need something that doesn’t seem to exist quite yet, so in the meantime I’ve been exploring various apps to take handwritten notes directly on my computer.

PenJournal was my latest trial – it’s a simple program made to take handwritten notes, primarily using a graphics tablet. You can take notes, draw simple images, import/annotate PDFs and much more. Obviously, using a graphics tablet is not ideal for taking notes in class (my desk in class isn’t big enough for all that), but it’s still a program worth taking a look at. Stick with me after the jump to learn more about the features of PenJournal and how it stacks up to its pricier competitors, and how it works both with and without a tablet.

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I’m always looking for apps to make things easier and make my workflow run more smoothly. Especially when I’m repeatedly opening the same document or the same website, over and over again, I want to make what I’m doing less of a chore. I stick things on my Dock or in my bookmarks bar, but then I just end up with a lot of clutter. What I need is workflow help that goes unseen until I really need it.

RocketShip may be the app I’ve been looking for. It allows users to create shortcuts to just about anything, including applications and URLs. Instead of clicking an icon in your Dock or on your menubar, you get there by typing a keystroke you created yourself. Can RocketShip save me the time, and most of all the stopping and starting, of switching among applications and websites all day? (more…)

We’ve shown you a fair share of distraction-free writing apps before, everything from markdown editing apps to other more intricate apps that can get you writing a novel by playing sounds and placing images to get you in a creative mood. However, today we’re going to show you an even simpler and cheaper alternative to all the other apps we’ve showcased before.

It’s called Imagine. Instead of just imagining how it’d be to write with, let’s take a look at it and see how it holds up to the competition.
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The critically-acclaimed iPhone task manager Clear just came to the Mac earlier this month. Even though it received a lot of great support from reviewers across the Internet, users responded harshly to this release. Some claimed that it “doesn’t live up to its hype”, others that it was merely a start, and some went so far as to bash every living feature of its being. For the price, can you get more? Jimmy Do, developer of Mochi, thinks so.

Do introduced the app in August, put it on sale for 99 cents last month, and then updated it with printing and bug fixes and raised the price back to normal. In other words, it’s been around for a few months and the developer cares about updating it — two good signs. Mochi takes the same simple approach as clear, only with a bit more detail in the areas that count. It’s not to be considered a competitor to the colorful task manager, but rather an alternative. Does it live up to such expectations? (more…)

Two years ago, when I reviewed Curio 6.4, I described the application as a “workshop for your creative projects.” Today I’m going to take a long look at the just released Curio 8. According to Curio’s developer, George Browning of Zengobi, the new version is “the most ambitious Curio release since its inception ten years ago.” Does Curio 8 live up to this billing? Is it a major improvement? Should you upgrade? I hope to provide those answers for you, as well as giving you an orientation to the new version that will help you better evaluate it for yourself.

Those not familiar with Curio should begin by reading my earlier review, because I’m not going to repeat the basic introduction to Curio that is provided in that article. With over 40 improvements, there is plenty to say just about the changes in version 8.

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With the advent of the shift to a Paperless world, OCR has gained even greater importance. It’s the often overlooked detail that you may take for granted. That is of course until you try and search a PDF you scanned and realize it’s just an embedded image. Chances are that you may already have a good document scanner that does OCR. If, however, you don’t, then Prizmo 2 may just be what the doctor ordered.

Now I could just say that Prizmo does OCR with style, but the truth is that it does so much more. Read on after the break to find out what I mean. (more…)

Not too long ago, we reviewed Parallels Desktop 7 and deemed it to be a great app for all those needing to run alternate operating systems on their Macs. Now the team behind Parallels has release a new version of their flagship app and we decided to take a renewed look to see if they managed to improve on an already excellent product.

Join us as we discover some of the improvements and tweaks Parallels Desktop 8 has to offer and work around the few snags we found along the way.
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If you’ve read a few of my articles in Mac.Appstorm then you’ve probably seen how big of a fan I am of Evernote. It’s a wonderful service: not only does it let you create, organize, and share notes easily, but it also lets you keep everything synced up and accessible through many places, like their website, and the iOS, Android and Mac apps.

The Mac app has been around for some time now, and even though it gets continuous support and works just fine, it has been in need of a UI overhaul for a long time. Well, just a few days ago the Evernote team revealed a new update that will bring a complete re-do to the app, and just now we’ve had the opportunity to test out the beta version of the new Evernote 5. Let’s see what’s new!
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If you live in your calendar, chances are you’ll want more than the built-in Calendar app offers. Calendar in OS X isn’t bad, per se, but it’s definitely not as powerful or productivity-focused as many wish.

As many people are aware, BusyCal is a very commendable iCal replacement. Since the release of BusyCal 2, though, it’s fair to make the bold statement that BusyCal is an exceedingly commendable iCal (or, as with OS X 10.8, Calendar) replacement. It has the potential to make you more productive and efficient with the addition of some very well received and welcomed features. Let’s take a look. (more…)

This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on July 7th, 2011.

The Finder and I go way back: from my family’s ’96 Performa to my MacBook Pro, I’ve used it to navigate my Mac for well over a decade. Since the initial transition from OS 9 to OS 10, I would argue that the way we use the Finder has changed very little, and a lot of what has changed is purely aesthetic. Though I now have the option to browse through my files with Cover Flow or create smart folders, I still use the Finder in pretty much the same way as I did 10 years ago.

I’ve been very disappointed to see that the Finder hasn’t seen any major improvements in recent versions of OS X, but that doesn’t mean 3rd party developers aren’t hard at work to continue where Apple has left off. Cocoatech’s Path Finder has been around for quite some time and ambitiously tries to replace the Finder altogether to create a more modern, usable means of navigating your computer. Find out if Path Finder successfully replaces the ubiquitous Finder after the jump!
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