What’s the best way to quickly annotate a picture or sketch out an idea graphically on your Mac? A couple years ago, most of us would have quickly responded “Skitch“, but after Evernote bought out the popular image annotating app and redesigned it last year, it’s not quite the exciting and useful app it used to be. There’s always Preview, but it’s a bit too structured (and limited) for free-form idea sketching.

Aged & Distilled has entered the fray with their new app Napkin.  It’s a totally new way to communicate visually on your Mac – using the old metaphor of sketching an idea on a napkin – that’s good enough to already be listed as the Editor’s Choice in the App Store. (more…)

Creating detailed, highly realistic 3D models from your Mac doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive with Cheetah3D, our sponsor this week. At just $99, it’s far cheaper than most 3D modeling apps, but includes the features you’d need to create 3D artwork for your next iPhone game or make your first animated character.

With a full set of polygon, subdivision surface and spline modeling tools you can focus on creating, safe in the knowledge that Cheetah3D has a breadth of features for the task. Cheetah3D makes modeling in 3D a breeze for new and experienced users alike. It then smoothly integrates the industrial strength Bullet physics engine to simulate rigid body and soft body dynamics. No matter if you want to spill a bowl of marbles on the floor or simulate a waving flag in the wind. Cheetah3D can handle it with just a few mouse clicks.

Raytracing, Global Illumination, HDRI, Caustics and much more means Cheetah3D can produce stunning images and animations using advanced techniques. In fact, from looking at the gallery, you’ll find examples of beautiful building renders, cartoon art, and more that were created with Cheetah3D. Everything you create can be exported in a variety of industry standard formats for animation (fbx, stl, 3ds, obj, and more), images, and movies (png, jpg, mov, and more). Your models can be exported to be used in iBooks Author or many popular game engines as well.

Go Get It!

Cheetah3D costs just $99, and you can download a free trial of Cheetah3D to see if it’s the 3D app for you. You can try out all of the features, then if you want to save or export your designs, you can get a license for the app.

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

I’m a die-hard fan of Gmail’s web service. I just can’t get myself to work with Mail.app, I’m not used to it and I’d much rather take advantage of Gmail’s labels and filters directly from their web mail. Still, there are a few things that I like about Mail.app, like the notifications for new messages.

Some time ago, I had a menu bar Gmail notifier that solved this problem and worked wonderfully called Notify. Eventually it stopped working and the developer ceased developing it. I started searching for a similar app, but I couldn’t find anything worthwhile. Well, it’s been a while since then and some new alternatives have come out that I’ve found just as good if not better than Notify. Want to check them out?
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The beginning of a new year is always a good time to start new things, especially a journal. Even if you may have fallen a bit behind, it’s never too late to start. I’m just terrible at keeping journals, though, and have lots of lovely books with only the first ten or so pages filled in. I need an app to help me out!

My Wonderful Days is that app, recording everything that happens to me everyday. With reminders and lots of ways to customize my entries, including images, I may just be able to stick to my journal this year. (more…)

I like anything that can make my workday run more smoothly and remove those little stumbling blocks that slow me down. Continu is just such an app. While you’re watching old episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air on YouTube or however else you spend your time on your computer during the day, Continu is working silently in the background. It can either make sure your applications stay open no matter what, whether they crash or you accidentally exit out of an app, and it can open applications when triggered.

How helpful is it really, though? We’ll take a look! (more…)

You just whipped up an awesome website design in Photoshop and are about to forward it to your developer. But wait: while you could do this, and risk that your design isn’t the most intuitive thing ever, you could also test it without having any past HTML or CSS experience with ClickThru. ClickThru is a Mac app that allows graphic designers to import test designs and create temporary splices. These splices then turn into buttons which make the test site functional. The designer can then test a design in the web browser before sending it off to a client.

Let’s take a look and see how helpful it can be in testing your designs. (more…)

In 2012, the Mac community lost one of the Mac OS X mail clients that many considered to be the best on the market: Sparrow. Development has stopped (which doesn’t mean you can’t still use this app, though, at least for now) since the team has been acquired by Google.

Some claim that the whole email concept needs a refresh and solutions are offered, and the previously reviewed Mail Pilot and its upcoming Mac client, or the upcoming .Mail app are proof of that. Others still prefer to use web-based apps like the popular Gmail.

I, for one, still think that Mail.app, since its OS X Lion revision, is the best. It’s built-in, offered at no cost, and is completely integrated with OS X. I’ve customized it to fit my needs and developed my own workflow to deal with emails.

In my humble opinion, you should be able to jump into your emails, process them quickly, and then get back to work. A mail client, for me, is just a way to send and receive emails, not a big messy, clunky, filing cabinet with hundreds of manually created and sorted folders. Read on to find out why, in that case, Mail.app is the best for me, even when processing hundreds of incoming messages per day.

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Have you ever wanted to share a link or a status update to more than one social networking account? You’d either have to copy and paste your message, or sign up for a social sharing app like Hootsuite or Buffer. I haven’t seen anything similar designed for the Mac until I came across a nifty menu bar app called Crosspost.

Similar to the simplistic Twitter app Wren with a little bit more to offer, Crosspost brings convenient sharing to users who’d post to multiple Twitter and Facebook accounts. It caters to the needs of the Mac social butterfly by enabling “cross-posting” to Twitter and Facebook profiles/pages from the comforts of the menu bar. Simple call out the app from the menu bar, type your message, select the accounts to share to, then click on the blue Post button.

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I spend a lot of time on the Hype Machine website, listening to the latest or most popular tracks from some of the best music blogs around the web. Constantly having a webapp open in the background can get in the way, though, especially when I get click happy and close all my open tabs.

What I need is a desktop client, but there’s nothing official out yet. Fortunately, Hypegram is filling the void, allowing me to listen to new music I wouldn’t hear otherwise without fear of my clicking finger running amok. We’ll take a look at how Hypegram stands up to the official web app and see if it’s as cool as the real deal. (more…)

When you spend most of your work day in front of a Mac’s screen, you develop a system for being productive. Fortunately, there is an abundance of apps available for OS X that fill very specific needs and help keep you and your computer running efficiently. Some of the utilities that I use on a daily basis are rather expensive, such as 1Password.

However, I use dozens of utilities as part of my workflow that cost five bucks or less. Here are some of my favorites.

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