Trey Ratcliff is one of the most respected people in professional photography today. He pioneered the use of HDR (high dynamic range) to capture scenes in a lifelike way; he also writes one of the most detailed and well-composed tutorials for HDR on the Internet. Ratcliff is also known for some other side projects, like Stuck On Earth, a previously iPad-only app for exploring the world through photographs.

Ratcliff’s handy tool is now available on the Mac, and I’m going to take a look at how it fares in comparison to the iPad app. (more…)

There are a lot of people out there who aren’t exactly satisfied by iTunes 11, the release that overhauled Apple’s flagship jukebox last year and was built on with this year’s iTunes Radio release. For a lot of people — myself included, occasionally — the app is overly complicated and doesn’t easily do what it needs to: Let me play my music.

With that in mind, Vox aims to create a simpler interface that’ makes navigating and playing your music easier. It’s a free app, but is it worth making it a real personal part of your life? Let’s take a look.

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You’ve got Pocket and Instapaper if you want to save articles to read offline, but what if you want to save videos to watch offline? After all, watching the YouTube and Vimeo videos you’ve planned to watch later is impossible when you’re offline, and terribly annoying if your internet connection is slow. That’s why you need a copy of VideoGet for Mac.

VideoGet for Mac lets you download videos from YouTube, Vimeo, and hundreds of other sites without any more effort than saving an article to your reading later service. Just copy the link to your video, add it to VideoGet, and select what format you want to save your video in. You’ll find detailed settings for your saved video format, resolution, and quality so you can save space on your Mac or watch videos on any device you want.

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VideoGet’s a simple tool that makes it easy to watch your favorite online videos anytime, even if your internet connection is down. It’s built by the same team as Mac Product Key Finder, and is just as simple to use.

Give VideoGet for Mac a Try This Week!

Got some YouTube videos you want to watch offline on your Mac? Go download a free trial of VideoGet for Mac and see how easy it can be to save them to watch later. You can download 20 full videos for free with the trial version, then get your own copy for $24.95 to save as many videos as you want for offline viewing.

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One of the many perks of owning a Mac is the fact that they require so little maintenance to keep running smoothly. Our Mac isn’t infallible, however, and they are still built from the same types of components as any other computer, meaning that hardware faults can potentially occur. In these instances, it’s best to try and find out if something is wrong before it’s too late, saving you the hassle of unexpected downtime.

Micromat’s Techtool Pro has been around for many years, with Apple even offering a variant called Techtool Deluxe as part of their AppleCare Protection Plan to Mac customers. Their latest iteration, Techtool Pro 7, is a comprehensive troubleshooting app with some powerful diagnostic features that is a must-buy for any technician, though this may not be the case for the average user.

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We’d like to say a special Thank you! to our weekly sponsors from September for sponsoring our site and for the great apps they make. If you would like to feature your app on our site with an advertisement, be sure to check out our available slots on BuySellAds or register for a weekly sponsorship for your app.

If you haven’t already checked out our the great apps that sponsored our site last month, be sure to check them out now!

4K Video Downloader

4K Video Downloader is the simplest way to save videos from YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and more to your Mac. Just copy the video’s link from your browser, paste it into 4K Video Downloader’s app, pick the quality and format you want to save, and start it downloading. Minutes later, you’ll have a full-quality copy of the video for your offline video viewing pleasure. It’s like Instapaper or Pocket for the videos you want to watch later.

Mac Product Key Finder

Ready for a new Mac or a clean new install? That means you need all of your old software keys. But what if you’ve thrown away your disks, deleted old purchase emails, and lost your paper records? Mac Product Key Finder will scan your Mac for over 180 supported programs and recover your keys automatically. You can then copy the key to use wherever you need — to activate software on a new Mac, or to purchase an upgrade at upgrade pricing. Or, you can export a whole list of your product keys for your records, so you won’t have to go searching again next time.

iDraw

iDraw is a feature-packed vector illustrations app that’s been on the Mac for years, but with its latest 2.3 upgrade it’s better than ever. In addition to its already great vector drawing tools, grid and alignment options, vector brushes, stylized text, and more, it now lets you import and export complete Photoshop files, including shape layers and layer styles. You’ll also find all new blend modes to use iDraw with your photos as well, and smart image masking to help you extract just what you want from an image. There’s even dimensioning tools to help you create scale diagrams in iDraw.

ShareMate

Most of us already keep own files synced in Dropbox, and use it to share folders with colleagues. So why not take advantage of your Dropbox space to share one-off files online, too? That’s exactly what ShareMate lets you do. It lets you upload any file to Dropbox for sharing in seconds by just right-clicking on the file and selecting the ShareMate option, or uploading it from the menubar app. Once it’s uploaded, you can copy a db.tt short URL to the file from ShareMate and share your file publicly or directly with a colleague.

Periscope Pro

Periscope Pro turns your Mac’s camera and microphone — or a remote camera you have attached to your Mac — into a surveillance system, letting your Mac keep tabs on your home or office while you’re away. It can continuously record, take pictures or short videos every so often so you can check on your house at intervals, or detect motion and start recording whenever there’s motion near your Mac. Then, every time it records a photo or video clip, it can upload it to Dropbox or save to the folder of your choice so you can see what’s going on at your house from anywhere.

And a special thanks to you, our Mac.AppStorm.net readers, for reading and sharing our articles. We couldn’t do it without you!

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Amazon jumpstarted the eBook revolution with its Kindle devices and companion apps for every platform, and Apple’s kept up with the trend with its polished iBooks apps for iOS. The Mac has lagged behind mobile devices with eBooks reading, but there’s at least been the Kindle app and a number of half-way decent apps for DRM-free eBooks.

This year, though, that’s all changing. There’s the new Clearview that’s a very nice app for DRM-free eBooks, and Apple’s finally bringing iBooks to the Mac with OS X Mavericks. And for tech eBooks, the new Safari Flow web app makes it easier than ever to learn from eBooks without spending all day reading. It’s an exciting time for eBook fans.

That’s why we’re wondering how many eBooks you read per month. I tend to read at least 2 or so a month, more some months, but how about you? Leave your answer in the poll, then let us know if you’re excited about iBooks coming to the Mac this year in the comments below.

OS X is already powerful by itself, and it’s packed with a lot of built-in apps that can help you accomplish everyday life tasks. However, it’s only when you’re using something like Alfred, LaunchBar or Quicksilver that you actually unleash the full potential of your machine. Things that are already simple on your Mac turn into lightening-fast tasks with these apps.

Though Quicksilver has been available for 10 years, it’s been kept a bit too much under the radar compared to its alternatives like Alfred. By popular demand, here’s our in-depth dive into the original app that puts “Mac OS X at your fingertips”. Let’s give this gem of an app the love it deserves.

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‘Tis the season for design-friendly web tools, with Google making a free Web Designer app and Hype 2 making it simpler than ever to create beautiful HTML5 animations. But several weeks ago, a preview of an app caught my eye with its attempts to make normal web design simple for anyone with an eye for design: Macaw.

Advertised as an app with the flexibility of an image editor but designed for making clean CSS and HTML code, Macaw looks like the web design tool we’ve all been waiting for. It’s the simplicity that tools like Frontpage advertised years ago, but with the clean, modern code that otherwise would take hours in a text editor. Pulling off such an auditions project, though, isn’t so simple, which is why they started a Kickstarter campaign yesterday to fund their efforts to make Macaw and bring it to the Mac and PC.

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When you’re a small business or freelancer, keeping track of invoices and estimates ensures an easier time for both you and the taxman. What’s more, poorly designed invoices can deter clients, both existing and potential, from future business. While Pages and Microsoft Word are certainly ways to create better looking invoices, there are more suitable apps available. One such app is Billings Pro, a tremendously popular app that takes invoicing to a whole other level. However, the app is subscription-based, something that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Enter GrandTotal, an app that offers much of the same functionality at a one-off cost. Despite its rather bland interface and seemingly overwhelming array of options, GrandTotal isn’t your traditional invoice generator. It’s a fully fledged invoice and client management app that not only creates some great looking paperwork but lets you keep track of payments and outstanding balances, as well as managing an inventory.

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Thanks to an expansive set of features, robust security, a comprehensive list of browser extensions, and cross-platform compatibility, 1Password has become a powerhouse security app. We all know that we should be using unique, complex passwords for all the sites and services we use, but remembering them can be as frustrating as it is impractical. 1Password, as the name implies, has helped users create and securely store login information while only requiring that you remember a single password.

After releasing 1Password 4 for iOS earlier this year, AgileBits has updated their original Mac app to v.4 with new features and a refined interface. In terms of the number of times I access it on a daily basis, 1Password is undoubtedly my most-used app, and I have been anxiously awaiting this update. The wait has been well worth it.

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