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omnifocus

We’re used to syncing — so used to it, in fact, that it’s more strange when an app doesn’t sync on its own or over iCloud these days than anything. But for native apps, that’s typically where it ends. Even in new “cloud” offerings for the Mac, such as Adobe’s Creative Cloud, the only part of the app that’s online is the file and setting sync (and the fact you can download apps, but that’s anything but new). Web apps, even ones with native app counterparts, have the advantage of always running online, so they can often have nice extras like collaboration and options to add stuff via email and more.

The Omni Group is well known for their Mac and Web apps, but they also make a little free extra online service for their apps: the Omni Sync Server. It’s what powers OmniPresence, their new iCloud-like document sync service, and is also the default way to sync OmniFocus if you don’t choose to use your own server for syncing. And they’ve now taken that sync server and added something you’d expect from an online productivity app: Mail Drop.

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The App Store’s arrival on the Mac is hard to classify as anything other than a good thing. It’s made great indie Mac apps more discoverable for new Mac users, helped spur the transition of many apps from the iPad back to the Mac, lowered the price of Apple’s pro apps, and even made installing updates for OS X and apps a simple process — one that gets even simpler in Mavericks. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on Mac App Store apps, and there’s every indicator that I’ll spend hundreds more over the coming decades.

And yet, it’s not perfect. Its sandbox restrictions have prevented apps like TextExpander from releasing their newest versions in the App Store, and the review process is slow enough that you’ll have to wait days after updates are ready to get them in your apps. But worst of all, there’s no way to offer upgrade pricing for new versions of apps. Instead, developers have to either release new versions as a free update for those who have purchased their apps already, or just make a “new” app for the new version, perhaps with a launch-day special price as an overture to those who owned the previous version.

For developers like the Omni Group, that just wouldn’t work out. (more…)

If you’ve ever wanted a more advanced to-do list app for your Mac, you’re bound to have tried OmniFocus or Things – or both. They’re the two most popular – or at least most talked about – task management apps on the Mac, with a somewhat similar feature set and seemingly equally fanatical fans.

OmniFocus 1 first came out in early 2008, while Things 1 came out in early 2009. Each have received a number of updates over time, and Things just released their second full version last year. OmniFocus 2, on the other hand, is one of the apps we’re anticipating most in 2013.

Both apps sync online, are designed to work with the GTD method, let you schedule tasks and organize things, though in their own manner. They’re really both great apps, though Things shines a bit more right now in the design and ease-of-use department, and OmniFocus is definitely the more geeky and “hackable” of the two.

So, which is your favorite of the two? Or have you foregone both Things and OmniFocus, and spent your GTD dollars on other apps?

For the record, I’m an OmniFocus guy, and can’t wait to get started using OmniFocus 2 ;)

The new year is here, and with it should come a ton of exciting new apps and app updates. A number of our favorite app developers have already announced major updates coming this year. Throw in the countless new apps that will come out, and perhaps an as-yet-unannounced app upgrade from Apple or Adobe, and it should be yet another exciting year for apps on the Mac.

Here’s some of the apps we’re most excited about in 2013.

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2Do has been a mainstay among iOS task managers for quite sometime. Previously, editing tasks in 2Do was limited to using Toodledo’s web interface—for many users this is a less than ideal experience. Consequently, many 2Do users have been anticipating a desktop app for sometime. That day’s finally come, and 2Do for Mac is finally here.

How did this popular iOS app transition over to OS X? Pretty well I would say, as you can probably tell from the title. In this review I’ll compare 2Do with two popular competitors, Appigo’s Todo and The Hit List, and we’ll see how it holds up.

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If you’ve used a Mac for any amount of time, you’ve surely heard of the Omni Group‘s popular Mac apps. OmniFocus, easily their most well known app, is the leading task management app for Mac users that want to keep up with everything about their tasks and get things done. Their other apps, including OmniOutliner for outlines, OmniPlan for project management, and OmniGraffle for creating drawings and diagrams, are all category-leading apps that have been popular for years.

The Omni Group got its start as a consulting company for NeXTSTEP, the predecessor to OSX by Steve Jobs’ second company, and later transitioned to making apps for OS X. Today, all of their major apps are on iOS as well, and are in many ways leading examples of the best iOS has to offer for productivity.

Back on the Mac, Omni’s apps are still popular, and continue to be some of the best ways to get things done, make outlines and diagrams, and more. They’re a big part of the Mac app scene, and a great example of the great software you can only get on a Mac.

That’s why we’re wondering: what Omni apps do you use? Do you rely on them every day? We’d love to hear your thoughts about the Omni apps in the comments below.

…goes to check off this task in OmniFocus as I hit publish

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 April 5th, 2011.

Dropbox is one of those tools that spends most of its time sitting in the background, and yet has become an essential app for users on just about every platform. Dropbox as cloud storage, as a syncing solution, and even as a way to host a website is an incredibly useful tool.

That utility isn’t lost on app developers. Software that works with Dropbox is springing up everywhere — sometimes as a built-in function, and other times as a user hack. Either way, it makes life among many gadgets easier to have certain files accessible anywhere, anytime.

Here are some apps that you can start using to take advantage of cloud storage even more.

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This is something different for Mac.AppStorm: not a review of an app, but of a book about an app. The book is Kourosh Dini’s Creating Flow with Omnifocus. Dr Dini, a psychiatrist, musician, and author, has written regular blog posts about using OmniFocus, the Omni Group’s brilliant, but often daunting, task management app. Creating Flow… brings together a number of his previous posts, and builds them into a thorough overview of working with the app, as well as offering suggestions for a comprehensive system for approaching task management using OmniFocus.

I’ve read many blog posts and essays on using the app, and watched various screencasts, each of which has had some influence on the system that I have come to use. I became aware of Creating Flow… several months ago, and finally decided I wanted to read it and see if it could teach me anything new about OmniFocus. Join me after the jump for an overview of the book.

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When it comes to apps in the getting things done (GTD) realm, OmniFocus stands head and shoulders above the rest. It’s powerful, it’s flexible and it can sync with the iPad and iPhone versions as well. But as great as it is — and we’ve already told you that it’s pretty cool — it can still use a few tweaks here and there to make it a bit more workable.

So with that it mind, let’s take a few moments to share a few tips and tricks for OmniFocus. You may not need all of them, but if just one tip makes you more productive, then it’s worth it, right?

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In the world of to-do lists, the golden standard comes from David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. Inside he details how to manage all of your tasks, sort them out, and accomplish them in a timely fashion. The book is so popular that it’s had multiple printings, and has become the benchmark for other organisation systems.

OmniFocus is designed to take the David Allen GTD system and make it easy to use on your Mac. The software implements the methodology to its core, making it simple to input, prioritise, and review tasks (and much more!) But OmniFocus is more than just a GTD manager—it’s a way to truly organize your life on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

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