Have you ever wanted to install a Windows application on your Mac? First of all, shame on you for wanting to do such a thing. However, as you know, countless Mac users do in fact run PC applications every single day, so we forgive you.

The problem with running Windows applications on your Mac is that it usually requires various complications such as hard drive partitioning, installing a full on Windows environment, and/or expensive software like Parallels. But what if you just need to run one application and don’t really want to mess with all that other stuff?

Enter WineBottler, a free and easy way to wrap a Windows application into something that will run natively in OS X. Too good to be true you say? Read on!

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There was a time when having a download manager made a real difference to one’s experience of using the internet. There are places where this is still true. A few years ago, I spent a month in a remote part of India, where I struggled to top 2k download speeds with my laptop’s modem connecting via a fixed line. I literally waited an hour some days just to download a morning’s email.

A download manager wouldn’t have helped all that much with those messages, but it would have made a huge difference if I had wanted to download any software, music or video files.

That’s the most common use of a download manager: pausing and restarting downloads, scheduling them for later in the day, perhaps after you’ve gone to bed, so that massive download can be ready and waiting in the morning. There are now a number of download managers that can do a whole lot more than this. Speed Download has been the big-hitter for a long time, but (though I bought a licence for the app) I’ve never got along with it.

Recently, I’ve switched over to using Leech, which makes no claim to being as powerful, but turns out to be an excellent, lightweight option that might just do everything you need.

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Mac applications are known for their superb design, and in the past few years UI designers have really embraced this trend by creating some really remarkable interfaces. They embrace realism, ooze texture, and generally make you stop and stare.

Today we’ll look at 30 pieces of Mac software that really push the limit of great interface design. First we’ll say what the app does, then provide a screenshot followed by a brief statement about what I really love about the interface.

Let’s get started – prepare to be dazzled!

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Embedding this MacTastik strip elsewhere? Please provide a link back to this post and to NCWinters.com

Although you may be lucky enough to have an unlimited, uncapped internet connection for your Mac, many people still need to keep an eye on how much data they transfer. This could be down to a stingy ISP, or the fact that you’re using a mobile data network when travelling.

There are a number of handy utilities available for OS X that make this process remarkably easy, and can help you ensure that you remain within your allocated usage (and avoid any nasty charges)

Read on to find out more!

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Quick Look posts are paid submissions offering only a brief overview of an app. Vote in the polls below if you think this app is worth an in-depth AppStorm review!

In this Quick Look, we’re highlighting Pixelmator. The developer describes Pixelmator as a beautifully designed, easy-to-use, fast and powerful image editor for Mac OS X that has everything you need to create, edit and enhance your images.

Read on for more information and screenshots!

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I’m currently putting the finishing touches on our very first AppStorm book, and I need your help!

We are running a two-minute survey relating to how you use the App Store, your iPhone, and why you purchase certain applications over others. All the information we collect will be anonymously analysed and published as part of the book, to help developers make even better apps for your Apple gadgets.

It would be awesome to have the insight of all our readers included, and we’re running a competition to give away a $10 iTunes Gift Vouchers to five lucky participants.

Please only take part if you do own an iPhone or iPod touch, otherwise our results won’t be quite as accurate as they should be!

All you need to do to enter is fill out our two-minute survey. You’ll have the opportunity to bag a $10 Gift Voucher, and I would be really grateful to hear what you have to say.

The survey will be open for a few days, but get your submission in soon to be sure that you stand a chance of winning. We’ll update this post when we have made the random draw (the competition is running on iPhone.AppStorm as well).

Thanks for reading, and best of luck!

Remember Quicksilver? OS X’s ultimate but long-dormant launcher has quietly been updated to work on OS 10.6 and above. I thought I’d take the opportunity to dredge up an old but useful trick to boost your productivity.

Below I’ll show you how to setup Abracdabra with Quicksilver and add magical mouse gestures to activate any standard QS action. It’s a relatively simple trick, but gives your mouse a power you’ve never known before!

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My work requires me to keep confidential notes. I hunted around for some time to find the best way of doing this on my Mac, and tried several different options. What I used for a long time was password-protected entries in either Yojimbo, VoodooPad or Together. Unfortunately, in each case I felt something was missing.

I also tried Espionage. What I liked about this solution was the simplicity of making my notes in plain text files and dropping them into folders, which were then securely encrypted as a whole. I found, though, that I was prompted far too often to supply passwords to unlock the archives it creates so that online backups or other apps could interact with them. What I discovered instead was another app that did a similar job but required far less interaction: Knox.

Knox was already a well-established app when, back in May, it was acquired by Agile Web Solutions, the folks who brought us the excellent (and I would say essential) 1Password. After the jump we’ll walk through Knox’s main features so you can see if it matches your way of working.

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OS X menu bar apps continue to stretch the bounds of what you’d expect from a simple tool that runs in the background. MailCue follows this trend by taking the place of the most powerful menu bar mail notifier I’ve ever come across.

Below we’ll take a look at what makes MailCue special and why it just might become your new favorite email tool.

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