I do some professional photography work when it’s called for (engagements, product shoots and sometimes event work), but I feel the need to clear the air even before it starts. I am as absolutely sick of terrible photo apps as you are. I hate all the photography apps that claim to be “the next big thing.” There’s a special place of disdain in my heart for photography apps that don’t do what they claim to do, or are, in effect, more time-consuming than doing similar work in Photoshop.

It is with this negative attitude that I apprehensively downloaded Beautune, a photography app meant to make cleaning up portrait shots as simple as possible. I expected to hate it. At the end of the day, I ended up falling in love with this app. Beautune is singlehandedly one of the best options I’ve ever seen for professional portrait retouching. Read on to find out what makes Beautune so, so good.


For the past five years, I’ve been relying upon FileMaker’s Bento to manage structured data on my MacBook. Unfortunately, the Apple subsidiary recently announced that it was ending development of the friendly database application. The company will stop selling Bento after September 2013, and will end user support after July 2014.

It’s time for a new simple databasing app for the Mac. In this review, I’ll be looking at an indie database app called Tap Forms to see how it stacks up as a Bento replacement. It looks promising — and hopefully it can eventually take the Bento crown. (more…)

When I first started using a MacBook after years on PC laptops, I instantly noticed the better trackpad. After becoming used to gestures on iOS devices being able to bring some of them over to a laptop seemed a welcome idea. Scrolling by dragging two fingers on the trackpad worked much better than most other methods I’d seen on laptops before. It’s these subtle enhancements to getting around Mac OS that I really feel separate using the MacBook from other computers. Still, Mac OS X supports only a few gestures by default and it would be nice to have more options.

I find tools that speed the small things to be very beneficial. It may take only a few seconds to move and resize a window, but I could do that dozens of times a day which quickly adds up. So I always look for utilities that can ease this process and help me be more efficient when working on my computer.

Enter BetterTouchTool, an app that lets you create custom actions for gestures using your Magic Mouse, Macbook Trackpad and Magic Trackpad. We’ve mentioned it in roundups and more a number of times, but haven’t reviewed in depth by itself. Let’s correct this and take a look at this useful free tool.


In my constant search for new apps that are worthy of a review, I stumbled across a pretty minimalistic to-do app called Done in the Mac App Store. After a few weeks of trying it out, I’ve found myself using it almost everyday and preferring it over my usual to-do app, Wunderlist.

This got me thinking about similar minimal to-do apps like Clear, and where they might fit in a workflow. Are they really necessary? Are they just surrounded by hype? Why would you pay for a premium for an app like this?

Here at Mac.Appstorm, we love finding apps that can simplify our work — especially when it comes to Markdown writing apps that make it easier to craft our articles. We’ve looked at 35 unique Markdown apps for the Mac — a series of editors, previewers, and other categories where Markdown can be applied. Adding to the list is 9Muses’ Erato ($5.99). It’s a simple and minimalistic app designed for editing and viewing your Markdown documents side-by-side, following the split-screen concept adopted by apps like Mou and Markdown Pro.

Besides its beautiful and simple design, what sets Erato apart is how it offers additional support for Github-flavoured Markdown syntax and YAML front matter. But while these may be its unique selling points, Erato as a Markdown editor isn’t as powerful as Mou or other more robust editors. And after testing the app, I realised that it still has to iron out a few bugs, particularly with how it converts Markdown to HTML.

Let me walk you through the app to show you what I mean. (more…)

I’ll never forget the first time I installed Mathematica in college. I was excited by the demos, and wanted to see how much it could help me take my calculus knowledge further — and take the drudgery out of math. Turns out, it was far more complicated to use than I ever anticipated, even more so than my trusty TI-89.

Couldn’t CAS — computer algebra systems — be a bit less complex and more accessible to everyone who doesn’t have time to take a whole class on using them? Computers were designed originally to solve complex math, but normal calculators, spreadsheets, and CAS systems have remained too basic on the one end and too complex on the other to change the way most of us feel about math.

It’s more than understandable that we’d tend to be skeptical when a new app claims to make math simpler for everything from engineering to basic budgets at the same time — but that’s exactly what Calca claims. It’s a markdown text editor fused with a CAS; can it possibly be the answer to the frustrations of math?


Ever wanted a simpler way to share files with Dropbox, Skydrive, or Google Drive? After all, with each of them, you can get tons of storage for free or cheap, and odds are you’re already using one of them to keep your files in sync anyhow. Why not use them instead of signing up for something like Droplr or CloudApp?

There’s a lot of reasons, really. For one, Droplr and CloudApp let you drag-and-drop files from your desktop or any Finder folder to directly share from your menubar, whereas with Dropbox or other services you’d have to add files to your folder first, then get a link, which is more time and steps. Then, there’s no simple way to take a screenshot and upload the file in one step.

That’s where Share Bucket comes in, with its drag-and-drop sharing from the cloud storage service of your choice. It’s not perfect, but it does make sharing files a lot quicker without CloudApp or Droplr.


Lightroom 4 was the gigantic leap in image development that really set Lightroom ahead of the Aperture curve for many Mac users. It was a tremendous update, and just over a month ago, Adobe followed up with Lightroom 5 and is jumping ahead of the curve again.

I still use Aperture, which I find fits better into my workflow, but I always want to try the latest and greatest to see if it’s worth switching. And Lightroom 5 is tremendously tempting — check out a sample list of the new features. Let’s take a look at it to see what extra power under the hood it brings both seasoned pros and hobbyists. (more…)

There’s more to-do list and project management apps out there than you can even reasonably list in one article, and most of us could list a half dozen we’ve tried off the top of our heads. But when you get into collaborative project management, with tasks listed in a calendar flowchart, alongside notes and files for the project, with everything synced with your teammates, there’s relatively few apps that can fit the bill.

One of the best apps to fit the bill is Pagico, a Mac, Windows, Ubuntu, and iOS app that is great for managing your own personal projects or working with a large team on collaborative projects. We liked it when we looked at Pagico 3 years ago, and it’s better than ever today. Here’s what’s brilliant about one of the few cross-platform project management apps on the market.


Watch out Evernote. Look nervously in your rear view mirror. You see that hot sports car quickly gaining on you that seemingly came out of nowhere? That’s NoteSuite.

Okay, maybe Evernote doesn’t need to be that nervous because NoteSuite is only available for iOS and OS X — so it doesn’t compete across platforms. But for Mac and iPad users, this app is the next big thing in note taking, task management, Internet research, and file annotation. In other words, NoteSuite wants to be your Mac’s new productivity powerhouse. (more…)

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