Apple have just released a new version of Safari. It brings a whole host of improvements including noticeable speed enhancements, new ways to browse and search sites, and a range of interface changes. A few new features to look out for are:

  • Very noticeable speed improvements
  • Top Sites – a way to browse your most commonly frequented sites
  • Cover Flow implementation throughout the browser
  • Tabs are now placed at the top of the window (akin to Google Chrome)

A full list of changes has been posted on the what’s new page. I’m really pleased with the speed improvements, and feel that it’s a worthy Version 4 release. Head over to the download page and let me know what you think!

I’ve always been a fan of running multiple monitors with my Mac, and firmly believe that extra screen estate can have a huge impact on increased productivity and reduced clutter. Extending your desktop is fairly straight forward with OS X, and providing you own a compatible display it’s easy to connect to a laptop or desktop machine.

However, there are a number of scenarios where adding a new monitor isn’t possible; extending to another machine screen (e.g. an old iMac or laptop), extending to a Windows computer, or running more than one additional monitor from a laptop. ScreenRecycler is a great little app which can extend your desktop over the network to any old computer and monitor, regardless of whether it’s running OS X or Windows. This review will outline the features of ScreenRecycler and explain how it works.

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After recently reviewing LittleSnapper we’ve managed to snag a copy to give away to our loyal readers. If you aren’t familiar with the app, a good place to start is my review. Essentially, LittleSnapper is:

  • A powerful screenshot and website snapper
  • A great way to annotate images
  • A place to tag and organize inspirational sites and graphics
  • An easy way to share screenshots online

Entering is really simple – all you need to do is take a screenshot of your desktop, upload it to anywhere on the web (MobileMe, Flickr, TwitPic etc) and post a link in the comments below. I’m always fascinated to see the desktops of other Mac users, and it should make a really interesting discussion.

The competition will run for one week, and the winning comment will be chosen at random on the 2nd March 2009. As with all competitions, there’s just one legal point to make – you aren’t eligible to take part if you work for Envato. Only one entry per person please!

Good luck, and I look forward to taking a look at your desktop!

Many people think that creating music is an elaborate task that wouldn’t be possible for them. Whether you have never played an instrument before, or you are an experienced producer or virtuoso, creating music is no farther away than your Mac. In this article we will introduce you to GarageBand, the music application bundled with iLife. Like most Apple software, GarageBand is full of features, but it is presented in an easy interface which won’t overwhelm new users.

This article uses the latest release, GarageBand ’09. Users of older versions may see some differences in screens and options, but the main content of this guide will apply. We’ll walk you through creating a project, setting up tracks and loops, controlling playback and building a simple song!

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Thank you to all those who entered the WriteRoom competition – I’ve received a steady stream of entries via Twitter all week and have been kept thoroughly entertained with your messages! There were a number of great tweets, ranging from downright groveling to delightfully witty.

Read on for a selection of my favorite entries, along with the winning tweet.

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

After posting a recent roundup of Mac applications for freelancers, I’ve decided to take a more in depth look at one tool in particular. Billings competes with many other similar apps for tracking the time you spend on a project, managing clients, and sending statements/invoices.

This review will focus on the main features of Billings, investigate how it enables easy time tracking, and outline how it simplifies communication with clients. I’ll also touch upon competing applications and web based software to help with similar tasks.

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Video tutorials seem to be appearing everywhere at present, and recently I’ve been researching the best ways to record and process screen recording videos on a Mac. There are plenty of recording and capturing tools out there, but they vary in their functionality. Some only capture images, others record the screen and some of them listed below additionally record sound.

If you’re looking for a tool to simply take screenshots, two I would recommend are LittleSnapper and Skitch (or the in-built utility in OS X).

In the past days I’ve tried a few different applications – some are good and some not, but I’ll show you the ones I think are useful. Please note that some of the applications aren’t freeware, but pricing information and links to the developer sites are provided. Without further ado, let’s delve into the world of screen capture software – we’ll start with free applications with fairly limited functionality and gradually work up towards the more expensive players.

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Web design, traditionally, is a task which requires many different applications. You’ll need some sort of text editor, an FTP client, software for navigating documents (generally Finder), a web browser for previewing your site and often another tool for storing code snippets. This has worked well for several years, and any attempt to re-invent such a traditional workflow is commendably risky.

Coda came on the scene just under two years ago as a piece of software capable of integrating each of these different tools into one monolithic application. It received a great deal of acclaim and has come a long way since its conception. This review is far from an “exclusive” – Coda has been covered many times elsewhere over the past few years – but it will go some way towards outlining the features which make it stand out from using several independent applications. I’ll explain the main workflow process, and give my opinion on what works brilliantly and what I miss from dedicated tools.

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Spam is a problem we all face, particularly if you use a desktop email solution rather than a service such as Gmail. I’m a big fan of Apple’s Mail software, and struggled hugely with spam a few years ago – I’d tried several server-side filtering solutions, but nothing had worked particularly well. I then discovered SpamSieve. After installing the software and spending 10 minutes training it, I found that the level of junk email I received reduced to almost none.

This walkthrough will explain how to download and install SpamSieve, train it with old messages, and hopefully enter the spam free state of nirvana. I’ll also touch on a few freeware alternatives for those without a spam filtering budget.

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