This Week in Mac News is a new column we’re now publishing each Saturday, rounding up the latest Mac and Apple news. Just the fact here; no rumors. See, rumors are expensive, so we’ll stick to the facts.

Welcome to the first edition of This Week in Mac News. There’s so much going on in in the world of Apple, beyond just regular app updates, we wanted to be able to help our readers stay a bit more informed about what’s going on without having to trace down every rumor and Apple press release. That’s why we’ve started this new column, and we hope you enjoy reading. Let us know your thoughts about it and if there’s anything we’ve missed in the comments below.

With that out of the way, let’s get started with this week’s news. Briefly, Apple released a OS X 10.8.2 and 10.7.5 supplemental update with bug fixes, the company’s fourth quarter earnings will be announced on October 25, and Ping closed at 11:59 p.m. September 30. Keep reading for full coverage of these topics. (more…)

Markdown is kind of a big deal right now. It’s one of the most popular ways to turn plain text into formatted text, and it’s showing up everywhere from blogging tools to note apps to comments online. The App Store is filled with text editors built around Markdown, each priding itself on having a minimalist interface that makes it easy to write in plain text. It’s hard to know the best one to use.

We’ve covered more then a few markdown apps in the past, and the list of Markdown apps is constantly growing. In this stage of the game, app authors need to create an app that stands above the pack to be competitive. Is Markdown Pro one of those, or just another editor in the pack? (more…)

The old days of Mac OS 8 and 9 are now far behind us, but there are certain features I — and many of my fellow veteran Mac users — still miss. Besides the fabled WindowShade, and Finder windows that behaved predictably, I long for the flexibility and power of the Control Strip, Launcher, and Application Menu. These have all been replicated in OS X to some degree, but sometimes the Dock and the new Apple Menu just don’t cut it.

Speedy resembles the old Control Strip, with a narrow bar of icons that each contain a separate menu, but it functions more like a Launcher and Application Menu combined. It offers a list of all running apps and open windows, quick access to your favorite files, folders, or recent/favorite web pages, clipboard snippets, workflows handling, and more. I’ve fallen in love with it. Allow me to explain why. (more…)

It’s really hard for me to find a personal finance app that draws me in, as I think it probably is for most sane people. So when our previous articles about popular personal finance apps were overrun with comments about You Need a Budget (commonly shortened to YNAB), I knew I definitely had to give it a try. The love that Appstorm users have for YNAB was overwhelming … and boy am I glad I gave it a try!

YNAB is a fantastic app which helps you to create, track and maintain a budget based upon their four simple rules of saving and spending. The software, which syncs between the computer and mobile apps, is wonderfully designed and incredibly intuitive. If you buy into the premise of the app, you can see incredible results. The constant reader plugs for YNAB now make complete sense to me – stick with me after the jump to learn why.

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The Mac App Store is rife with price cuts this week, so come take your bounty from Mac.AppStorm’s deals.

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This post is part of a series that revisits some of our readers’ favorite articles from the past that still contain awesome and relevant information that you might find useful. This post was originally published on July 16th, 2011.

When I was a kid playing around on my first Mac, I always thought it was loads of fun to have the computer read out whatever I’d written in KidPix (remember KidPix?). On my grown-up Macbook, I sometimes set up spoken alarms and alerts, so that I can imagine Stephen Hawking is telling me what time it is.

However, if you want to convert longer passages of text to speech, you might be in for some quality time with the command line (more on that later). There’s a decent amount of professional text-to-speech software out there, but it’s generally expensive, and mostly intended for business use or for people with disabilities. Today we’re going to go over some free and inexpensive options, and learn how to convert text to speech using TextEdit or the Terminal.

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Almost everyone loves going on trips and getaways. Whether it’s for business or for pleasure, it’s nice to experience new places. Whilst it can be remarkable seeing different cultures and experiencing different ways of life, it can be daunting and overwhelming just trying to plan your trip.

YourtTrip aims to simplify the process of preparing for a trip and aims to help you plan out where you’re going, what you’re going to pack, budgets and also helps you make an itinerary. Let’s take a look. (more…)

When Mactuts+ first launched, we gave $1,000 to the person who submitted the best Mac Quick Tip screencast. Only one person could win (props to Joseph Darnell for snagging first place), but we received a ton of really good submissions. We’ve tossed them all onto YouTube and rounded them up for your enjoyment and education. Take a look, you’re sure to learn something cool!

Head over to Mactuts+ to read more!

Creative pursuits are getting easier and easier to go after these days, especially ones involving technology. For a long time, expensive software with steep learning curves has been prohibitive for newcomers to the world of digital creativity. Animation has long been a field affected by such problems – software from companies like Autodesk and Adobe runs hundreds if not thousands of dollars. This is certainly not something the amateur animator is going to be excited to invest in.

Luckily, a number of developers over the past couple of years have put out some great software for amateur animators. These programs allow you to make simple animations, stop-motion videos, time lapses and much more. The apps I’ve included are all under the $50 benchmark, with many available for $10 or less. Stick with me after the jump to learn about the great variety of software available for the home animator.

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Winners Announced

Thanks to everyone who took part in the giveaway this week, and special thanks to the kind people at Bundlehunt! I’m excited to let you know that the winners have now been chosen. Congratulations are in order to:

Cristianno Martins
@djclothier

Well done to the lucky winners, and we’ll be in touch soon. Sorry to those who missed out, be sure to check back for more great competitions!

Old Competition Post

Meet the Mega Fall Bundle – the latest bundle from BundleHunt. It features 11 best-selling Mac apps and design goodies. At AppStorm we’re excited to offer you two chances to win one of the bundles!

The Mega Fall Bundle features an awesome selection apps that collectively retail for $1209, with BundleHunt you can get them for a mere $49.99, with AppStorm you get the chance to walk away with one for free!

The Mega Fall Bundle, their latest bundle, includes a variety of top-quality apps, including;

  • Kinemac
  • Moneywell
  • Printopia
  • Mailtags
  • PDFclerk Pro
  • Garagesale

Head over to BundleHunt to read up on the details!

Read on to find out how to enter!

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