Browsing through back issues of PopSci in the early 2000’s in a musty garage, I spotted the first cellphone I really wanted to own: a Nokia 3600. With its crazy circular keypad and a rudimentary smartphone OS, it for whatever reason captured my imagination like no tech gadget had yet. I never managed to get one, instead relying on the seemingly indestructible Nokia dumbphones that made their way through our family before getting my first quasi-smartphone: an HTC Windows Phone with a BlackBerry-style keyboard.

Once Apple launched the iPhone, it was only a matter of time before I got one — opting first for a cheaper iPod Touch to compliment my rapidly aging Windows Phone, and finally buying my own off-contract iPhone. There was never any question in my mind about which phone to get; I’d never even consider anything other than an iPhone since the App Store opened.

Only one other line of phones has caught my attention in recent years: Nokia’s Lumia phones. I’d stop by Nokia stores in the mall to try them out and see how they felt and worked, and jumped on the opportunity a couple months to get press loaner Lumia 520 to review.

But then, I never had the heart to write the review.


I never knew that sorting and counting change could be so engaging. That is, at least, before I tried ChangeReaction and got hooked on its unique twist on the match-three formula. It’s an audio game — a video game without graphics — designed with blind people in mind, although sighted folks can certainly enjoy themselves too.

Unlike a regular video game, where you act on both visual and auditory stimuli, ChangeReaction is entirely predicated on what you can hear. You piece together the scene and gauge your progress, and do pretty much everything, solely by listening to sound effects and voice samples and pressing keys on your keyboard.

Several weeks ago, tired of waiting for iBooks for the Mac, I put together a roundup of the best eBook apps for the Mac. I tested over a dozen apps, discovered more bugs and weird rendering than I ever had in one session, and came to the conclusion that Adobe Digital Editions was the best app for reading ePub eBooks on a Mac, non-native UI aside.

Then, in the comments, Igor let me know about Clearview, an eBook reading app I’d somehow missed. Clearview, it turned out, was the missing eBook reading app for the Mac that I’d managed to not discover. Here’s why it’s the best alternate to Apple’s iBooks on the Mac today.


It was 2007, and the nearly 4 year old HP laptop I used at the time for on-the-go work was all-but dead. Its internal hard drive interface had died, rendering the laptop little more than a plastic box. But with no funds for an alternate, it’d have to make do somehow.

There was little else to do other than find a way to install Windows XP on an external HDD, and convince the laptop to boot from that drive. A few hours of hacking together a custom XP install disk that would load USB drivers early enough to make booting from an external drive possible, and we had a working laptop again. Wonder of all wonders, it actually was passably usable, all the more surprising seeing as it was running its OS off an external HDD via a USB 2 connection. The final contraption was far from a real laptop — its battery was long-since dead, so you had to plug it in and have an external drive connected to get it running at all — but it kept me connected for the crucial months that I really needed it in college.

I was reminded of this story this week when, of all things, I was reading a story about making a hackintosh Mac Pro along with a reader’s comment about how he’s continued to upgrade his original Mac Pro to be Mavericks comparable. I never did make a real hackintosh, but did have OS X running in VMware and VirtualBox on PCs in college before I could afford a Mac.

This week, instead of a poll, it’s story time. What extremes have you gone to in trying to keep a computer — Mac or PC — alive? Or how far have you gone to get OS X running on any computer when you didn’t have a Mac? We’ll be looking forward to hearing your stories in the comments below!

If you’re in any way connected with the gaming community, you’ll have heard of the disaster of a launch that EA’s latest instalment in the SimCity franchise suffered. The simply named SimCity brought a fresh new look and feel to the iconic simulator but server stability issues and game-breaking bugs plagued released.

Now, it’s coming to the Mac. Five months later, EA’s provided the game with a slew of major updates and officially released a native OS X version of the game. In this review, we’re going to take a look at the game in the state you’d pick it up on today’s OS X release, irrespective of historic problems with the original Windows iteration and its launch-day woes on OS X.


Got an iMac that stays home when you’re away, or an old MacBook that stays chained to your desk? There’s the whole App Store full of great things for them to do when you’re there, but there’s also an app just for when you’re away: 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.

Periscope Pro

The very best thing about Periscope Pro is the brand-new motion detection algorithm in the new v1.4 release. With its extremely high precision combined with significantly reduced CPU usage, you can say goodbye to false alarms and never even need to consider using continuous recording again. Instead, you’ll be able to rest assured that Periscope Pro will catch any motion without overtaxing your Mac.

It’ll take you less than a minute to setup, and will give you peace of mind when you’re away, all for a fraction of the price of a security system. You’ll be able to see exactly what was going on at your house or office anytime of the day with a click.

Try Periscope Pro Today!

Ready to put your Mac to use to make your home safer? Just download a free Periscope Pro trial today and take it for a spin. You can then get your own copy of Periscope Pro from the App Store for just $19.99.

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Are you a fan of typography, good design and social content? We have an app that mixes them all, providing a very unique experience in how you digest your content.

It’s called Spout, and what it does is that it pulls all the content from your social networks and displays it to you, one by one, in a very distinctive manner. Want to hear what it’s all about?

I believe in the saying “A penny saved is a penny earned”. That’s because it has worked well for me in the past. Way back in 2010 I was making a decent amount money, but at the end of every month I’ll end up wondering where it all went. I don’t usually splurge on clothes, electronics and I‘m not someone who buys stuff on an impulse.

Yet, there was a big gaping hole in my bank account by the last week of every month. Frustrated, I decided to keep track of all my spending and see what eats into my earnings. Thankfully, I bought an iPhone 3GS at that time and the awesome Moneybook app helped me track every penny and reign in my spending.

It’s my opinion that a mobile app is the best way to keep track of your expenses rather than a desktop or web app. You always have the mobile phone with you and there is very little chance that you forget to add an expense while on the go. However, using a desktop app can have its own merits besides offering a bigger screen real estate.

Direct connection to banks, better organization, advanced reports are some things worth mentioning. That’s exactly what Koku 2 promises to deliver. Let us see if it outweighs the experience of using of my trusted companion Moneybook!

I don’t know why I keep looking at new photo editors. I’ve got a great system of my own here with Aperture, which is my preferred tool. If I felt like drifting into the Adobe world, Lightroom is fantastic (check out my review here on Mac.AppStorm of Lightroom 5). And while I love Pixelmator, there’s nothing wrong with Photoshop or Acorn either — they’re all great.

So what was it about TouchRetouch that made me curious? There was an implicit promise of ease of use that drew me too it, but more than that, its successful mobile apps prompted me to wonder what the Mac version would be like. Read on for my thoughts.


Droplr‘s been a crowd-favorite way to quickly share files from your Mac’s menubar for years, one that’s one many over including myself. Its basic file-sharing service is fast and customizable with a pro account, and its apps are far more powerful while staying as simple to use as its competition. And now, it’s taking steps to take its pro accounts beyond basic file sharing.

The brand-new Droplr Draw is the first step towards that new future. With the latest v3.5 update to Droplr’s app, you’ll find an included basic annotation app to quickly markup and share images on Droplr. Either select the new Capture & Draw Screenshot option in the menubar app, or press Alt+Shift+4 to directly select an area of the screen (or additionally press your spacebar and select a window) and capture a screenshot that’ll then be opened directly in the Droplr Draw app. (more…)

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