Imagine, for a moment, that the apps bundled with OS X — Preview, TextEdit, Safari, Mail, and the rest — along with the iWork and iLife apps were the only apps that could run on the Mac. There’d still be a lot you could do with a Mac, and some would still buy them — but in all reality, if there were no 3rd party apps for the Mac, we’d all end up switching platforms.

Apps make or break our computing experiences. They’re what make a thousand dollar slab of aluminum turn into something that can do whatever we want. The lack of indie apps on Windows is one of the sharpest contrasts with the Mac’s vibrant 3rd party app market — and that’s what keeps our Macs being amazing machines, far more than the core stuff in OS X.

But apps are tough to make, and take serious time and money to develop and design and support. And it’s getting harder — the race to the bottom in app pricing has made it tough for developers to keep making amazing apps. It’s time we started helping developers out.

Here’s how:

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It’s a great idea to keep track of everything you own, one of those things you likely remind yourself of when you’re walking through IKEA trying to find a new bookshelf. Then you go home, pull your hair out trying to setup said bookshelf, and promptly forget to record your purchase anywhere.

There’s a number of tools designed to help you keep track of the stuff you own, from the lauded Delicious Library that we found too memory-hungry and feature-lite for much good to the now-discontinued Bento database app. You could even keep a spreadsheet of stuff you own, but that’s not very fun or simple.

Or, you could use the new Compartments 2, an inventory app that’s perfect for cataloguing everything you own without too much fuss — and with some OS X Mavericks only features, too.

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Half of the world assumes that Email is dead or at least dying, while the other half of us desperately search for the Next Best Email App™. Mail.app’s a pretty great email app — especially for power users — now that its Gmail integration got fixed, and Airmail’s winning acclaim as the Sparrow replacement everyone’s been waiting for with its customizable UI. There’s also the new Unibox that aims to simplify email even more where you’ll never need to archive or file messages, and old standbys like Postbox and Outlook.

And then, there’s MailMate, a power-user email app that’d I’d managed to not notice until it was mentioned in a recent AppStorm comment. It’s lightweight, insanely fast, and is packed with keyboard shortcuts, advanced search and smart mailboxes, Markdown support, and more that make it the ultimate power-user email app. And now, its developer is raising funds on Indiegogo to make v2 better than ever.

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I’ve written this review twice now. The first time was in the heat of the moment. I was excited about Knock — a new app that was getting a lot of hype from the usual tech pundits, and I was enjoying it after just a few minutes of use. I was typing wildly like I was on a bender.

But then I told myself to calm down. Knock was cool, yes. But did it deserve my excessive praise? I figured I should let it soak in for a few days and see how it goes; analyze the app and see what solution it solves. And now that I’ve cooled off a bit, what’s the verdict? Well … (more…)

Email’s the original way to privately message online, and it’s still the way most of us communicate with our colleagues online. It works, but it can be overwhelming and take up far more time than is necessary. That’s why you need a lightening-fast email app that works the way you want, and Airmail is the Mac email app you need for that.

Airmail is the email app that works the way you want. It can look as clean as Sparrow, as professional as Mail.app, or anything in-between — your choice. It can use Gmail shortcuts, or your own favorite shortcuts, can send attachments with your favorite upload tool (Dropbox, Droplr, Google Drive, CloudApp, or even your own FTP server), use the language you want, and so much more. Everything in Airmail is configurable so it can be exactly the email app you want it to be.

Airmail

Then, it’s everything else you’d expect an email app to be. It’s fast, supports every email service you’d expect including Exchange, IMAP, and POP3, and integrates great with your Mac. It even includes the new OS X Mavericks interactive notifications so you can reply to messages without leaving your work in another app. It’s a great, modern email app.

Get a Copy of Airmail Today!

For just $1.99, you can get your own copy of Airmail from the Mac App Store and start making email work the way you do. It keeps getting new features and more so fast, it’s bound to be the email app you love for months and years to come.

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

We’ve each got favorite new features in Apple’s new OS X Mavericks and the new versions of iLife and iWork. The renewed focus on the Mac this year is refreshing, especially in light of the sweeping changes in iOS 7, and the new Mac Pro and power users features in Mavericks yield hope that Apple still is focused on making the very best personal computers, not just touch devices.

And yet, all is not perfect. The new iWork has suffered sharp criticism over its lack of power user features, something Apple is now working to rectify. Mail.app initially had problems with Gmail, though those have already been patched. But there’s been more frustrations, from the seemingly weak implementation of Tags in Finder to battery issues and persisting multiple display frustrations, that we’ve heard complaints about. The dock, of all innocent things, has met complaints over the inability to make it 2D in the bottom position now, combined with complaints from others who don’t like the new side dock.

We’ve already helped out with some issues in the comments on our Mavericks review and more, but are wondering what other issues you’re facing with Apple’s latest software? Leave a comment below, and we’ll try to see if we can find solutions or workarounds for you.

It must be the season again for simple RSS reader apps. There’s the new native Mac-style Dayspring feed reader, and the new Dropbox-powered web app JellyReader. And now, we’ve got another new simple feed reader, this time a node-webkit powered Mac and PC app: Sputnik.

Sputnik’s light on features like the other aforementioned apps, but makes up for it with a beautifully unique UI and a silky-smooth performance that makes it delightful to use. And with a low, low price tag of free, it’s absolutely worth checking out.

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With more Mac users than ever before using a portable Mac and Apple’s adoption of SSD storage, apps that specialise in finding ways to free up space and generally “tune-up” a Mac are becoming ever more popular.

The latest offering in this ever-increasing space is MacBooster, an all-in-one app that includes some additional features and functions that aren’t found in similar apps.

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I think, if we were to do a random poll, we’d probably find that most of us hate keeping our computers running smoothly more than any other task. Looking for old files and keeping the trash cans empty are unenviable jobs, and as the owner of a small business, I’ve contemplated hiring an all-purpose secretary to handle email and computer maintenance — but that’s not really practical.

All joking aside, one of my favourite things about my Mac are the apps that are available that help make boring tasks like cleaning up my hard drive less dull. Oddly, one of my favourite apps of all time, DaisyDisk, made the task fun. Finding joy in mundane things like computer maintenance is one thing that only Macs can offer, and that’s why I was thrilled to give Disk Diag a shot. It’s a simple app on the Mac App Store meant to do one thing well: clean out your old files. Read on to compare it with some of the competition and see if it’s for you.

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Google Reader’s death has pushed us all to decide again what we want from RSS. But it’s easy to forget that Google Reader and online synced feeds weren’t the only option all along. The Mac used to include RSS sync in both Safari and Mail, and Firefox still has Live Bookmarks for a simple way to subscribe to sites. Neither option was as shiny as Reeder or as convenient as any online feed sync with companion mobile apps, but they just worked. You got the latest news on your Mac in a lightweight, native app, and got on with your life.

That’s exactly what the new Dayspring app offers. It’s a lightweight, Mac-only RSS reader that brings back the simplicity of checking your feeds in an app like Mail.

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