Unit conversion has always been a task I would delegate to the web, since Google handles it so well. Whenever I need to convert kilometers to miles, inches to feet, and Philippine peso to any other currency, I would simply type the units in the search bar and wait for the results to appear.

There’s tons of unit conversion apps out there (we even have a roundup of calculators and converters for the Mac), but it didn’t seem like a necessity to buy or download one. I then came across Converto, one of FLIPLAB’s newer and free Mac utilities, and decided to give it a test run.

Could Converto finally break the ice and stand as the best unit converter for the Mac? Read on to find out.

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You do a lot of searching. You can’t even try to front that you don’t, because we’re all searching all the time. Even simple calculations and unit conversions are getting done in a search engine. But you could be doing it better. The folks who made search utility Phlo knew that and wanted to make internet searching awesome.

Did they succeed? We’ll test this tiny searchbox app and find out! (more…)

It’s old news now that Google Reader is being shut down on July 1st. It’s also old news that finding the perfect news reading apps for your Mac and iPhone is a bit harder than you’d think at first. There’s a ton of options, but if you just want an easy way to get your news fix and keep your read status and subscriptions synced between your devices, it’s not so simple.

Most of the best options today are new web apps, some of which sync with native iOS apps but few of which have native Mac apps. Stalwart Mac RSS apps like NetNewsWire and Reeder are working on their own syncing solutions which will hopefully come before the July 1st deadline.

But NewsBar, a simple Mac and iOS RSS reader, has its own native RSS engine and can keep your subscriptions, read state, and favorited articles synced between your Macs and iOS devices via iCloud. Today. We’ve looked at NewsBar before, but let’s take another look and see what a year — and iCloud sync — has brought to the equation.
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Ever wanted a great way to keep track of your family’s heritage, with all the info, pictures, locations, and more that touched your relatives? How about all of that in a beautiful interface you’ll want to show off to your family and more? Family Tree, our sponsor this week, is exactly what you’re looking for.

The Family Tree app has everything you need to keep track of everything you know about your family, and more. You can include personal info about everyone in your family, complete with photos, documents about them, and more in an intuitive interface. You can track where everyone lived on a map, connect everyone’s relationship in a beautiful tree view, or switch over to the chart view to see your family info in a circle graph.

Best of all, the Family Tree app is designed for Retina Displays, so everything will look great no matter what Mac you’re using. It also includes iCloud support, so you can sync your family data between all of your Macs and perhaps work together with your family on collecting data. Then, starting with the next version, it’ll support GEDCOM import and export, so you can import data from other family tree apps or share data from your family tree with others using different apps.

Go Get It!

Ready to get started plotting your own family tree? Then head over to the App Store and get your own copy of the Family Tree app for just $11.99, and enjoy discovering more about your family and keeping track of everything you find!

Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.

It seems we’re always looking for ways to keep our hands on our keyboards and away from the mouse. From application launchers to apps that create extra productivity shortcuts, there’s a big market for tools that help us use our computers more efficiently.

Shortcat is just such an app, giving every element within an application window its own shortcut. I’ll take a look at Shortcat and see how good of a job it does at keeping my hands on my keyboard and me on task. (more…)

We’ve all been there: you copy a link or an image that you wanted to share with someone, but then you forget about it and accidentally copy something else over it. Sounds familiar? Yeah, that’s why you need an app to remember what has been in your clipboard.

There are plenty of apps that do just that: keep a history of the contents of your clipboard. Seriously, just search the App Store for “Clipboard” and see for yourself. That’s why today we decided to bring you an update to our previous clipboard roundup, with some of our newer favorite options for improving your clipboard. Want to check them out?
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Long a favorite on iOS, Instacast is now in beta release on the Mac. More than just a complement to the version you’ve got on your iPhone or iPad, Instacast for Mac is a fully-functional podcast app built with usability in mind.

But will it be able to supplant iTunes as your go-to iTunes podcast app? We’ll see if the Mac app stands up to its iOS predecessor. (more…)

Adobe used to be best known as the company that sells a $700 dollar photo editor that’s all but ubiquitous in the design world. Now, it wants to be known as the company you pay $50/month to, for its whole suite of apps. Adobe’s rethinking their entire business in terms of a one-size-fits-all Creative Cloud subscriptions, which is either great news for you price-wise (if you upgrade every time and own one of the pricer Creative Suites), or terrible news (if you only own an individual Adobe app or don’t purchase upgrades that often).

Now, there are great new features coming to all of the Adobe apps we love in upcoming Creative Cloud releases, but lost in the limelight at Adobe MAX and the discussion about the switch to Creative Cloud is the great free stuff that Adobe offers. They’ve dropped a few things over the years — like the beautiful online office suite they used to have at Acrobat.com – but they’ve added enough stuff that Adobe still has quite the nice set of free offerings.

There’s Mac apps, fonts, and web tools here: enough for everyone, even those who swore off Creative Suite years ago. So here’s the best stuff you can get 100% for free from Adobe, today. (more…)

When I get into the flow of working I often lose track of time. I find that my best work often comes in these periods when time seems to almost disappear. Much of the time this poses no problem, but sometimes I need to be reminded of something no matter how engrossed I am in my work. There are also times when I start something that will take a long time to finish, but I want to be able to work on something else and still be reminded when it’s complete. Either way, I need something to remind me what’s going on.

For events that take place at a specific time, the calendar works well. A reminder for a meeting at 10 A.M. or to meet someone for dinner at 7 P.M. does the job simply. It doesn’t work as well for things that are less tied to the clock. When I start laundry I just want to be reminded to check on it in thirty minutes. When I start a backup I want to be reminded to check on the status in an hour.

Timebar is an app in the Mac App Store that provides a simple countdown timer in your menu bar. This lets you keep an eye on the timer while keeping it out of your way. Let’s see how well it works.

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Web development remains one of the areas in which the Mac app ecosystem shines brightest. As the technologies underpinning the internet continue to evolve, we’re thrilled to see eager developers providing new tools to take advantage of those technologies and simplify formerly arduous tasks. Like producing graphics code, for instance.

Last year, I reviewed PaintCode, an app that facilitates the creation of Objective-C interface graphics using natural graphic design tools. PixelCut has expanded their reach with the brand new WebCode, an app that offers the same tools geared toward the creation of code-based graphics for the web.

After the jump, let’s dig in to see if the tools are as useful for web design as they were for app development.

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