Changing the theme of your Mac allows you to completely alter the look and feel of the interface. We posted an overview of the two main applications able to deal with themes earlier this week; ShapeShifter, which is best for pre-Leopard systems, and Magnifique, which is Leopard compatible.

Once you’ve settled on an application to try, you’ll need to find a few beautiful themes to apply. Fortunately, we’ve gone away and researched 10 stunning examples for each application, so whether you’re running ShapeShifter or Magnifique you’ll be spoiled for theme-ing choice!

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Security is always a paramount concern when storing a decent amount of information on your computer. Fortunately, OS X is a reasonably secure operating system by default – user data is kept separate, it’s easy to password protect your account, and you can encrypt your whole drive with FileVault if desired. Unfortunately, there’s no simple way to encrypt a particular file, folder or application. This is where Espionage comes in, providing a simple method to password protect and encrypt only the data you want to.

The latest release has brought a number of improvements to the user experience, and integration with other areas of OS X. If you’re interested in securing particular pieces of information on your Mac, read on to learn about how Espionage can help.

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As the range of features in Safari grow with every release, it has started to encompass the additional functionality offered by many third party plugins. There are still a decent number of extra features which you’re able to add on though, and one decent app which supports Safari 4 is Glims.

This review will be taking a look at the functionality offered by Glims, which includes adding a range of search engines to your toolbar, integrating website screenshots into search results, full-screen browsing, website icons in tabs, and a whole host of other bits and pieces.

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It’s widely accepted that OS X is already a very well designed operating system, with a great deal of attention paid to window appearance and icon design. It was the simplicity of design which inspired me to purchase my first Mac, and since then I’ve been fascinated with tweaking and modifying the interface.

Up until the release of Leopard, the most popular tool for modifying your Mac’s “theme” was ShapeShifter. Unfortunately, this doesn’t yet support OS X Leopard, and it’s looking unlikely that it will be updated in the near future. Another tool to consider is Magnifique, which brings a completely new theming engine (and Leopard support) to the table.

This how-to will provide a brief overview of how each of these apps work and what they can be used for. If you like the idea of changing the look and feel of OS X, keep your eyes peeled for a roundup of different themes coming later this week (both for ShapeShifter and Magnifique).

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I’m sure many of you have been let down by your trusty alarm clock at one time or another – don’t you wish there was a better way? Fortunately, there is! It’s easy to leverage the power of your Mac to help you be more punctual and productive.

Depending upon your budget and requirements, there are plenty of applications which function as feature-rich and good looking alarm clocks. All of the following programs have free trials, so you can try them out to see what features you need in your perfect alarm clock application.

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Thank you to everyone who entered the RapidWeaver competition last week. It was fascinating to take a look at your websites, and great to run a concurrent competition via Twitter. The results are in, but before announcing the winners I’d like to say a big thanks to Real Mac Software for sponsoring a couple of competitions on AppStorm recently. They’re producing some fantastic apps at the moment!

I’m pleased to announce that the winning, randomly selected commenter is:

The Twitter competition winner, announced last Friday, was @autonomydesign with this delightfully random Tweet (in response to the question “What will you be doing this weekend?”)

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Congratulations to the winners, and sorry to those who missed out. For your browsing pleasure, here are a few of the website links I particularly liked!

Another competition will be kicking off later this week to win a copy of the fantastic Pixelmator, so do get subscribed via Twitter or RSS to be kept up to date!

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

A huge range of websites seem to offer weather information, though until now there has been a fairly limited range of integration with desktop apps (other than through Dashboard). The idea of integrating a weather forecast with iCal is one which seems obvious, but has only recently been introduced in the form of WeatherCal.

WeatherCal is a $10 System Preferences app which adds a five day weather forecast into iCal for cities of your choice. Forecasts appear as all day events, and are easy to sync with your iPhone or iPod Touch. This review will provide an overview of WeatherCal as well as a couple of solutions which provide very similar functionality for free.

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A stylish wallpaper need not be confined to your desktop (though some beautiful ones are available), and I wouldn’t want your iPhone to feel left out of the action. For this reason, I’ve been hunting for a collection of 50 gorgeous, stylish and funky iPhone/iPod Touch wallpapers to use with your device. Many are sized for the iPhone in particular, but would work with any mobile device.

I’ve split the collection down into a few different categories for easier browsing; Apple & Technology, Typography & Design, Cartoons, Photo Manipulation, and Abstract. There’s something for everyone, and I hope you end up with an iPhone sporting wonderful wallpaper attire!

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The rise of blogging online has lead to a number of new desktop applications which assist with the process. Often it can be useful to benefit from integration with other desktop apps, whether for posting RSS links, or adding media to an entry. MarsEdit is arguably the most popular blog tool for OS X, and is able to integrate with a range of different blog platforms.

This review will outline the main features of MarsEdit and how the software works, it will explore a few limitations currently present, and suggest a few other alternatives for those looking for a free solution.

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