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I love writing articles on my Mac. It’s easy, fullscreen mode is convenient, and there are a lot of great apps available for the platform. Overall, the experience is a quality one. But when it comes to choosing what app to write with, I have some trouble. Every month there seems to be a “new” writing app on the Mac App Store that’s really just a reiteration of the existing apps available. I like to remain loyal to a single app, but sometimes it’s fun to explore.

The other day, I was browsing the Mac App Store in search of anything new and significant. I came across Free, a distraction-free writing app by Michael Göbel that, comically enough considering its name, is not free. Its purpose is the same as that of WriteRoom, iA Writer, and the many others in this genre: to create an environment that is the most straightforward it can possibly be so that you can focus on writing and not the app’s functionality itself. My purpose, however, is to take a look at how well an app performs its job, so instead of assuming this app is great, let’s submerge ourselves in all the little appealing ounces of Free. (more…)

While recently reviewing Justnotes, a minimal Simplenote client for Mac, I remembered that I still had some data stored in Notes for iOS. Those notes have been around since iOS 4 and sync with email accounts that are set up on the device. However, Apple has now added a native Notes app in Mountain Lion. It syncs with iCloud and will one day be available on the web version of this celestial service as well.

Hopping back and forth between the two note services, I wondered which one I should keep around for daily use. While Apple’s solution does well for basic noting, it’s not the best app out there for more advanced users that avail features like Markdown formatting. On the other hand, iCloud Notes does have well designed native apps, the area that Simplenote falls short in with third-party clients similar to the aforementioned Justnotes. In the end, which one wins me as a steady user? The two services go head-to-head after the break. (more…)

I, like quite a few people, am not a huge fan of Apple’s default media software, QuickTime, which comes bundled in with every release of OS X. Although it gets the job done for some things, I find that the range of codecs and built-in features is a little limited and not enough to suit my needs (and videos!). There are plenty of alternatives out there on the Internet, and with Front Row gone from all future releases of OS X starting from Lion, now is really the time to start looking around for an alternative.

So without further ado, here are my 5 top free alternatives to QuickTime.