I’ve been slowly putting together a website and a brand for the creative firm that I’m starting (it hasn’t launched, but if you’re curious, feel free to check it out). Branding is not an easy thing. It’s a large, multifaceted process that requires a lot of time, effort and yes, Photoshop skills.

That’s why I admire any company or app that tries to make certain parts of the task easier. I love playing around with text, but I don’t have weeks and weeks to make a great logo. And sometimes, I just need an easy way to experiment. That’s where Logoist comes in. The app makes it as easy as possible to put together a logo by eliminating a lot of the cumbersome heavy lifting Photoshop mandates. Let’s take a look and see if it’s worth your time and money.

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In the rush of new apps and upgrades on iOS 7’s launch day, the app that started it all got updated, too, with some features you won’t want to miss. In the 13 years since Apple bought out SoundJam and turned it into their music library app, iTunes has grown beyond anyone’s wildest dreams from 2001. It’s where we manage our Post PC devices, or — increasingly — just that old app we forget about in the age of streaming music services.

So Apple decided to make it about music again. iTunes 11 streamlined the aging music app’s interface, hid much of the complexity, and added a rather nice mini-player in last year’s upgrade. That still doesn’t help much if you don’t buy music or rip CDs these days.

Enter iTunes 11.1. It’s the iTunes — on your Mac, PC, and iOS — that finally makes sense in the post-download age. It’ll get you listening to — and likely buying — new music more than any iTunes before.

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Apple’s Notes app is fine if you’re quickly jotting things down, but after a while you may start to want something more powerful. That’s when services like Evernote and Simplenote. The former has had a native Mac app for a while now, but the latter has relied on third-party solutions like the newer Justnotes and Brett Terpstra’s fantastic nvALT.

But now there’s something new on the market. It’s an official app developed by Automattic, the team behind WordPress which now owns Simplenote itself as well. The free Simplenote for Mac promises to bring the whole experience to your computer without a Web browser, and kicks off an entire new wave of Simplenote apps across all their supported platforms. Is the long-awaited client everything we’ve dreamed of? (more…)

Apple may have its hands full with iOS 7′s redesign (and the almost forgotten OS X Mavericks upgrade and new Macs like the brand-new Mac Pro), but it still found time in its schedule to give their stable of iCloud web apps a solid upgrade. They’ve been beta testing a new version of iCloud’s web apps for some time now, and today, the new apps are ready for you to try out.

There’s the iWork for iCloud apps that we’ve already looked at, but there’s also fully redesigned Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, and Notes apps as well — plus a new launchpad that includes the iOS 7 animated blue background. And the apps don’t just look nice, but they also work very nice.

If you’ve never gotten into using the iCloud apps online, here’s why you should start using them today — if for no other reason than to give your Mac some of the update love before Mavericks comes out.

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Some keys get used more just because they’re more common, but for keyboard fiends, there’s a whole different set of keys that get worn out. If you’ve ever worn out the ⌘, Ctrl, or alt keys on your keyboard, chances are you couldn’t get by with just a mouse.

If anything, keyboard shortcuts are one of the best things in OS X. There’s the usual suspects, like ⌘+C and ⌘+V for copy and paste, or ⌘+tab for switching between apps, but you get those everywhere. Then there’s the ones that make OS X especially nice for writing: Alt+left/right to jump between words and ⌘+left/right to jump to the beginning/end of a line, with the addition of holding shift down to select text. There’s even more obscure text editing shortcuts, like Ctrl+T to swap the two letters your curser’s currently between.

Then, there’s the even more powerful keyboard shortcuts: those like ⌘+space to open Spotlight search or the default Alt+space to start Alfred. Those — combined with app specific shortcuts, and those you can setup yourself from your Keyboard’s system preferences — are the most powerful tools to keep you from having to revert to your mouse or touchpad all day. They’ll get so ingrained in your muscle memory, a computer without them feels broken.

For me, Alt+space is that killer shortcut that I invoke over a hundred times a day to use Alfred. What’s your favorite keyboard shortcut?

We’ve just closed our giveaway, and for once we had a code to give to every entry. Congrats, and enjoy!

Phillips Hue lights are awesome. You can turn them off from your phone from the airport, have IFTTT change their color based on the weather automatically, or use the timer to have the lights gradually turn on when it’s time to wake up. It’s how all lightbulbs should work in the 21st century.

And yet, on your Mac, you’ll have to go online to control your Hue bulbs. Seems like it should be easier — and now it can be, thanks to Hue Menu for Mac. For $2.99, this little app will let you rename your lights, change your lights’ color and brightness, or turn them on or off from your menubar. It’s a simple way to make Hue work just like you want while you’re working from your Mac.

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And now, you’ve got the chance to control your Phillips Hue lights for free from your Mac menubar, since we’ve got 10 copies of Hue Menu to giveaway! Just leave a comment below and let us know how many Hue lights you have, and how you’re currently controlling them to enter the giveaway. Then, share the giveaway on your favorite social network and add a second comment with a link to your post for an extra entry.

Hurry and get your entry in — we’re closing our giveaway on Tuesday, September 24th!

Envato staff or those who have written more than two articles or tutorials for AppStorm are ineligible to enter.

When Apple brought iCloud Tabs, Photo Stream, and AirDrop to the Mac and iOS, users could finally stop emailing things to themselves or plugging in their iOS devices to transfer a photo. Still, AirDrop and these other services don’t do everything. What if you wanted to send your clipboard to your mobile phone or tablet? Or maybe you have a text document that you need to take with you to a lecture. Either of these scenarios can be solved with Dropbox, but what if there was something faster?

DeskConnect boasts “seamless” transfer of text, audio, driving directions, etc. from your mobile device to your computer and vice versa. Over the years, there have been a lot of these services, from Clipboard to Bump, but none of them have truly brought desktop and mobile together for a unified experience. Does DeskConnect? (more…)

Doo is an all-new document management app that promises to provide access to all your important files and documents within a single app, keeping everything organised. Think of it as Evernote just for your documents, allowing you to keep everything in sync across multiple devices with little to no effort required.

It’s latest version was recently released for the Mac, so we wanted to dive in and see how it holds up in today’s world filled with a mixture of computers and mobile devices. Here’s what we found.

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Delicious. No, I haven’t just finished a meal. I’m recalling a time, not so very long ago, when we all used bookmarking services to keep track of our favourite parts of the web. It seems strange, then, that most of us have moved on. It is undoubtedly the case that we still save plenty of bookmarks. Equally, the link capturing tools at our disposal have barely changed in the nine years since Delicious stepped onto Yahoo’s slippery, corporately-greased slope.

Of course, Delicious wasn’t the only option back then — there were native bookmark library apps available, too. With the advent of modern-day cloud syncing, the concept of keeping bookmarks somewhere other than in your browser seems weird. For folks who make a lot of bookmarks, however, the abysmal bookmark organization tools with which browsers are still lumbered is a problem which a third party app can solve.

So, it would appear that there’s still a place for apps like Pins — a native OS X bookmark manager priced at $14.99 in the App Store. It offers to attach tags and notes to your links, it provides cloud syncing, and it even captures page previews, but can Pins really provide a compelling, Utopian alternative to your browser’s in-built bookmarks manager?

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Want to make beautiful vector graphics from your Mac without having to spend a fortune — and without having to use an app that’s confusing and cluttered? Then you should give iDraw, our sponsor this week, a try.

iDraw is a feature-packed vector illustrations app that’s been on the Mac for years, but with its latest 2.3 upgrade it’s better than ever. In addition to its already great vector drawing tools, grid and alignment options, vector brushes, stylized text, and more, it now lets you import and export complete Photoshop files, including shape layers and layer styles. You’ll also find all new blend modes to use iDraw with your photos as well, and smart image masking to help you extract just what you want from an image. There’s even dimensioning tools to help you create scale diagrams in iDraw.

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If you work from your Mac and iPad, iDraw is the graphics companion you’ve been waiting for. Your files will sync via iCloud between your devices automatically, so you can pick up what you’re working on wherever you are. Then, it’ll be easy to get started with iDraw thanks to their catalogue of detailed iDraw Tutorials for free. No more buying expensive books to learn how to use your graphics app — iDraw is easy to use, and has the tutorials you need included.

Switch to iDraw Today!

There’s a lot more to vector drawing than Adobe Illustrator in iDraw, all for less than the price of 1 month of Creative Cloud. So why not pick up a copy of iDraw for Mac from the App Store for just $24.99, and get a companion copy of iDraw for iPad for just $8.99. iDraw gives you the power of amazing desktop vector graphics with the portability of iPad creativity for an insanely powerful duo.

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.
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