Let’s be honest, Apple’s calculator app nearly as appealing as the other stock apps on the Mac; heck, it even falls short against its iOS counterpart. With just the basic functions available, it’s one of the least used (not to mention forgettable) apps on my computer. And of all things, it has a Dashboard sidekick that’s even more forgettable.

On the flip side, this can mean more breathing room for more flexible and powerful mathematical tools for the Mac. In fact, a quick search on the Mac App Store shows a wide range of apps to choose from, ranging from scientific to purpose-specific calculators.

One of these that I’m interested in is Numi by Dmitry Nikolaev & Co, a menubar app that moves away from the typical way we use calculators by incorporating text into computation. The idea is that calculations can be made more comprehensive by adding text into the process, and so it is easier to see and understand how we’d arrive at the result.

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We all love finding great deals, but it’s easy to waste more time trying to find good deals than it’s worth. Then, it’s easy to get tempted to get things that you don’t really need right now, just because they’re a good deal.

What if you could spend $2 and let your Mac find the deals you’d like to know about automatically? That’s exactly what LittleFin’s new app, Deal Alert, is.

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There’s extremely powerful and complex task management apps like OmniFocus that are the subject of books and screencasts. Then, there’s the barebones, dead-simple task lists like Clear, or plain text todo lists that feel more like text editors, such as TaskPaper.

But perhaps you want something different. An app, perhaps, that has features like due dates and tags you’d expect in a professional task app, but that’s simple and uncluttered. You want a todo list that’s great with a mouse, but equally great with just your keyboard. And you don’t want to spend a fortune.

How does $4.99 for a menubar todo list app with scheduled tasks, tags and task notes, and rich keyboard support sound? That’s exactly what Taskdeck is.

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Skype, FaceTime, Facebook, and more have revolutionized how we communicate with others. It continues to blow my mind how we are busting through the walls of communication to work with others who are miles apart. It’s more normal these days to collaborate with people across the planet, in many ways, than it is to collaborate with those across the hall. It’s a brave new world.

One new app that can make communication simpler, in many ways, is Collaaj. It’s an app that lets you communicate to others using video, audio, and your Mac. It’s the collaboration of Skype combined with the simpleness of email, in a way that’ll help you get your point across to others better than you could with just text and images but without having to be online at the same time.

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Adobe released their latest version of Creative Suite — what would have been Creative Suite 7 — earlier today. Only this time, Creative Suite is no more, superseded by Adobe’s new subscription offering, Creative Cloud.

Creative Cloud is a controversial release, since longtime Adobe customers want a way to buy a permanent license, or at least wish for more subscription options so they don’t have to get everything. But for now, Creative Cloud is what it is — and it’s a big upgrade to all of Adobe’s main apps.

Here’s how Creative Cloud will work for you, if you’ve already got a copy of Creative Suite and want to upgrade and get the latest features.

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Having all your tasks written down is enough for many. However, that still doesn’t mean they’ll be accomplished. We’re so accustomed to red badges overlaying our apps that we ignore them as if they were ads banners. Some people even develop an OCD to iron out these commitments, but when the goals becomes to clean up your icons instead of cross out your duties, something is not well and we often intervene in a unproductive way against our to-dos.

This nuisance is even more discernible to those who are always engulfed by long-term projects. They land in our task managers and constantly discourage us when we ponder on their duration. Several techniques have been developed to improve our focus, such as the Pomodoro technique; however, some people just can’t be productive through a premeditated method. They demand something else.

And that’s what the new version of our old pal Vitamin-R 2 provides to its users.
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One of my favourite things about App.net, apart from its fantastic user core, is its wide open API. The folks at ADN are genuinely interested in ensuring that third-party developers can make great products using the site’s features, and sometimes, there are apps that come along that are so genuinely interesting they make me question how I ever doubted the social network in the first place.

One of the other great features of ADN lies in its storage capabilities. Each free account gets 500MB of storage with a 10MB file-size limit, while each paid account gets 10GB of storage with a 100MB file-size limit. I think that even the free account’s offering is really generous. Combine ADN’s open API with its storage capabilities, and you end up with ingenious little Mac gems like Swing. (more…)

Slicereader 0.2 is now on the App Store, with a bookmarklet to make it easier to add websites to read, support for Markdown, HTML, and plain text, and more.

It’s been an amazing past few years for writers. With full-screen distraction free writing environment pioneered by WriteRoom, Markdown formatting from Gruber, focused writing from iA Writer, the exporting wonders of Marked, the brand-new hidden Markdown formatting of Ulysses III, and more, it’s amazing how far we’ve come from the cluttered days of drafting our work in Word.

Reading apps, unfortunately, haven’t gotten much attention at all. Yes, there’s a number of apps for reading articles later on your Mac, some of which are even very nice (I’m particularly fond of the new ReadKit). But, sadly, none of them are totally new. They’re not changing the way we read on the Mac, the way iA Writer and Folding Text and others have changed the way we write on the Mac.

This weekend, that’s just changed with the brand-new beta app Slicereader. Designed by Mutahhir Ali Hayat, a programmer at Hog Bay Software that works on FoldingText and Oak Outliner, Slicereader is the most innovative reading app on the Mac yet. It’ll change how you read longform text. Here’s why.

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If you were a pixel on the wall of our team’s Basecamp, listening to our conversations, you’d know that we’ve been looking for the perfect Markdown-powered Mac blogging app. There’s blogging apps for the Mac, but if you like writing in Markdown in apps like Byword and iA Writer (and we do), there’s none that fit your workflow perfectly.

So instead, we each have our favorite writing apps, export our text as HTML, and paste it into WordPress. It works, but it’s far from seamless.

That all changes today, with the hot-off-the-press Byword 2. It has built-in publishing to WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, Scriptogram, and Evernote, and a handful of other improvements. If you need a focused Markdown writing app and a blogging app, it’s the one app you need. (more…)

Oh, another application for screenwriters. Before you wonder about niche-dedicated applications, think about that day you had an epiphany that would be an awesome movie. One of those you would pay twice to watch, like you did with Avatar. Then you looked for an application to write a screenplay only to find out it would cost you more than what you’d expect it to sell for. So you opened your everyday word processor and began typing your story. As you’re finished, you sent to a few movie agents.

You never got a reply, even after your mother got high hopes that her child would become famous. That’s because writing a great story is not enough. The screenwriting business also requires your script to to follow a strict presentation style, which those expensive apps help achieving. Fountain changed the table, allowing regular Jacks to write screenplays in plain text. Slugline takes the game to the next level.

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