Archive for the ‘Mac’ Category

‘Chatology’ for Mac Lets You Search Your Messaging History Easily

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

If you’ve ever tried to search Messages or iChat on your Mac to look for a link or picture a friend shared with you, you’ve probably ended up empty-handed and frustrated. Fortunately, there’s now an alternative to the nearly-useless search feature within Apple’s Messages app. Flexibitis, the developer of the excellent Fantastical for iPhone and Mac, has just released Chatology, a Mac app explicitly for searching your messaging history quickly and easily.

Chatology accesses the saved chat logs on your Mac so you can search for specific words or look for images and links. You can search your entire chat history or narrow the search timeframe down to today, or the last week, month, or year. Chatology can even be set to open automatically when you press ⌘F to initiate a search within Messages.

We made Chatology because we were so frustrated searching for our messages,” said Michael Simmons, Co-Founder of Flexibits. “There were no solutions to fix this so we created one, and we think all Messages and iChat users are going to love Chatology as much as we do.

Here’s a video showing how Chatology works:

Chatology isn’t available in the Mac App Store and can only be downloaded directly from the Flexibits Store here. A free download is available that lets you use Chatology without restrictions for 14 days. If you want to buy it outright or after the trial period is over, it will cost you $19.99. You’ll need Mac OS X 10.7 or higher to use Chatology.

If you’re not already familiar with the other apps made by Flexibits, check out Fantastical for iPhone (my review) or the Mac version. I use both versions of Fantastical every single day and I’ve found that Flexibits makes great software.

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Apple Announces 2013 Design Award Winners

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

After the keynote event on Monday where OS X Mavericks and iOS 7 were announced, Apple also divulged the winners of its annual Design Awards contest to recognize apps that “raise the bar in design, technology, and innovation.” As in previous years, winners receive a nifty cube-shaped trophy with a glowing Apple logo and other prizes.

Among the winning iOS apps was Letterpress, a word game that debuted in the App Store last year and was created by Loren Brichter, the developer of one of the most popular Twitter apps in the earlier days of the App Store. Other winning games included Frogmind’s Badland, a physics game where you shepherd strange creatures around dangerous obstacles (see the full review and an extended gameplay video over at TouchArcade), and Vlambeer’s Ridiculous Fishing in which you, well, fish. (It’s more fun than I make it sound – see the review and gameplay video with the game’s creators at TouchArcade.)

Here are all of the winning apps:

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In a special student category, the following two iOS apps were selected as winners:

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Apple Announces Mac OS X ‘Mavericks’ With Updated Finder, New iBooks and Maps Apps

Monday, June 10th, 2013

At today’s WWDC keynote event, Apple unveiled the next major version of the Mac operating system, Mavericks, which offers over 200 new features including Finder and Safari enhancements and new iBooks and Maps apps.

In Mavericks Finder gets window tabs and tagging capabilities so that you can more easily view, categorize, and search your files. Maps comes to the Mac from iOS, offering search, integration with Mail, Contacts and Calendar, and even turn-by-turn directions which can be sent to an iOS device. During the keynote event, a demonstration showed that directions sent from a Mac to an iPhone will generate a push notification on the iPhone that will immediately take the user to the Maps app to display the directions.

iBooks will be able to access ebook content in the iTunes Store and offers reading features like bookmarks, day/night themes, and access to all of the iBooks content you’ve already purchased.

Keychain moves to iCloud in Mavericks, offering synchronization of passwords between Macs and iOS devices and integration with Safari and other apps to quickly enter saved passwords and credit card information. (The keynote demo was brief but it looks like iCloud Keychain could be a solid competitor to my current favorite password manager, 1Password for Mac and iPhone/iPad.)

With Mavericks, Apple is moving away from the big cat naming convention to focus on California locations. This version of Mac OS gets its name from a popular surfing area in northern California, not far from the company’s Cupertino headquarters.

Mavericks is available as a preview build today to developers and will be available to consumers in the fall though no pricing has been announced yet. You can check out Apple’s own preview site of Mavericks’s new features right here. If the last two versions of Mac OS X are any indication, Mavericks should be priced reasonably around $20. You can still download Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion today if you’d like though you should probably wait until Mavericks is available in a few months at this point.

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Watch Apple’s WWDC Keynote Event Live Online

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Apple kicks off its annual Worldwide Developer’s conference today with a keynote event at 10:00 am PDT (1:00 pm EDT) and if you’ve got a Mac or iOS device and an internet connection, you can watch it live online. Per a press release, you can watch it using the Safari web browser with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 4.2 or later or a Mac running OS X 10.6 or later. The live stream will be available through this dedicated page on Apple’s site.

If you have a second or third generation Apple TV with software 5.0.2 or later, you can also watch it through a special “app” available in the main menu.

Apple is expected to announce and preview the next major versions of iOS and Mac OS X today and some minor hardware updates may also be unveiled as well. I don’t know about you, but I am going to be glued to that live stream this afternoon. Here’s to hoping Apple will surprise and delight us today!

‘Analog’ for Mac Gets New Filters, Goes on Sale for Half Off Until June 10

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Realmac Software has released an update for its Mac photo editing app, Analog, adding new filters and dropping the price from $9.99 to $4.99 through the end of the day on Sunday, June 9.

Analog’s eight new filters come from Analog Camera, Realmac’s new iPhone app (my review) that was released last week. The eight new filters (Camden, Superior, Marble Arch, Brunswick, Pavilion, Honeycomb, 1978, and Inky) join the 27 filters previously available along with several borders to gussy up your pictures.

Analog debuted in the Mac App Store in 2011 and offers very basic photo editing features to crop or rotate images only with the focus on applying filters and borders and then sharing your photographic masterpieces via email, CloudApp, Picasa, Facebook, Flickr, or Tumblr.

If Analog has been on your Wish List, now is the time to get it –– it hasn’t been priced this low very often and even peaked at $14.99 earlier this year.

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‘Lost Photos’ Extracts Pictures from Your Email Inbox

Monday, May 13th, 2013

I have tons of photos that were emailed me to me over the years from friends and family and I’ve never done anything constructive with them. Yes, I looked at them when they were first sent to me and ooohed and aaahed accordingly but I inevitably forgot about them and they’ve remained in the picture purgatory that is my email inbox. Going through the thousands of emails in my personal inbox to find them would take forever and it’s not even on any of my ever-expanding to do lists. Thankfully, Space Inch has an easy solution with Lost Photos for Mac, a utility that will hunt down all the pictures in your email accounts and extract them for your viewing and organizing pleasure.

Lost Photos logs into your email account (it works with the major email services like Gmail, iCloud, Yahoo, AOL, and others and Space Inch promises your log-in information is not saved anywhere and is transmitted securely) and combs through your emails one by one to pull out pictures. The pictures found are shown in a slider view within Lost Photos and you can choose to post any on Facebook, Twitter, or send them via email. Once the search is complete, which took about 20 minutes for the 3,000+ emails in my iCloud account inbox, you can also elect to import all of the photos into iPhoto. If you’d rather not do that, all of these extracted pictures are placed in a new folder in your Photos folder so you can browse through them in one place at your leisure.

Lost Photos is free to download and will extract the first 100 photos for free. To get unlimited photo extraction functionality, you’ll need to pay $2.99 via in-app purchase.

Looking through the extracted pictures found by Lost Photos was like taking a short trip down memory lane. I found pictures that I’d completely forgotten about from past trips and events that I really should have made an effort to save when I first received them and it was really nice to get them all in one place.

Lost Photos was a bit too thorough in at least one respect, though. It pulls every single image from your emails, including those in email signatures. These email signature images, which are usually company logos, are pretty much useless to me and I wish there was a setting to ignore them (there is a setting to skip pictures smaller than 8 KB but some still sneak through). At any rate, if you can deal with the chaff that comes with the wheat, it’s still worth getting all of those long lost pictures that have accumulated in your inbox in one place.

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‘Pixelmator’ for Mac Gets New Editing Tools in Major Update

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Today London-based Pixelmator Team announced the release of version 2.2 of its image editing Mac app, Pixelmator, that offers more than 100 new features and improvements over its predecessor. Dubbed “Blueberry,” Pixelmator offers improved shape tools and palettes, new move and selection tools, and a new light leak effect among many other changes and additions.

We’re excited to deliver even more, easy-to-use, advanced features to our Pixelmator fans and continue to create the best and most enjoyable image editing experience,” said Saulius Dailide of the Pixelmator Team. “With new state-of-the-art Smart Shape Tools, people can fully enhance their images, create logos, Web layouts, posters, and much more, all easier than ever before.

Here’s just one of a few videos highlighting a new feature in Pixelmator 2.2 (you can find more along with tutorials on the company’s YouTube channel):

Pixelmator was first released in 2007 and debuted in the Mac App Store in 2011, when it was selected by Apple as the Mac App of the Year. At the time of this post, it has over 2,200 ratings with an average of 4.5 stars.

Pixelmator currently costs $14.99, a price point it’s been at since November 2012. In today’s announcement, this is described as a promotional price, which makes it sound like it will increase soon. Pixelmator debuted in the Mac App Store at $29.99 and even spent a few months at $59.99 in 2011. If you’re even remotely interested in Pixelmator you should buy it now since $14.99 is probably as cheap as it’s going to get. I purchased Pixelmator for personal use when it was $29.99 and it’s been worth every penny and I prefer it by a wide margin over Adobe’s Photoshop Elements for its ease of use and overall value.

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Apple Kicks Off Countdown Contest to 50 Billion App Downloads with $10,000 Prize

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

Apple announced a new contest yesterday to commemorate the upcoming 50 billionth download from the App Store with a $10,000 App Store gift card as the grand prize. Additional prizes of $500 App Store gift cards will be given to those who download the next 50 apps after that.

To enter, all you need to do is download an app (free or paid) and if you happen to download the 50 billionth app or one of the 50 after that, you win. If you’d rather not go through the trouble of downloading an app, you can enter to win by completing an online form right here. You can find the official contest rules here.

The contest page in iTunes also lists the top free and paid apps of all time. Unsurprisingly, Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja top the paid list while Facebook and Pandora Radio top the free list.

Apple held a similar contest to mark the 25 billionth download in February 2012, also offering a $10,000 App Store gift card prize then, which was won by Chunli Fu of China. That contest lasted less than two weeks until a winner was announced and I’d wager this contest will conclude even faster than that, so get to downloading apps sooner rather than later to increase your chances of winning. If you’re not looking to spend any money, check out our Top 200 Free iPhone Apps and Top 200 Free iPad Apps lists.

‘Delicious Library 3’ for Mac Makes Cataloging Your Stuff a Snap

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

The third version of Delicious Monster’s popular media cataloging app, Delicious Library, debuted in the Mac App Store today, along with a companion barcode scanning app for iPhone and iPad.

Delicious Library made its first appearance in 2004, with version 2 released in 2008. The core functionality of Delicious Library remains in version 3: easy scanning and cataloging of your books, CDs, DVDs, and games. Version 3 goes well beyond this with the addition of recommendations of new items based on your ratings of items in your current media library and the ability to create wishlists to keep track of what you’d like to get in the future.

Your library is displayed on a virtual wooden bookshelf, a design motif present in the app since 2004 that has been mimicked by many others, including Apple in the iBooks app.

If you lend items to friends, Delicious Library 3 will help you keep track of who borrowed what and when. You can also share your library with others and see the libraries of your friends (all the better to know what you can borrow from them).

Getting items into your Delicious Library, um, library is easy, particularly if you have an iPhone or iPad. The free Delicious Scanner app will let you roam around your house to scan things willy nilly, and as long as your iPhone or iPad is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as your Mac, these items will be added to your library automatically. If you scan items with the app while you’re away from home to, say, catalog items you own at work, they’ll upload automatically to Delicious Library 3 once you’re home and connected to the same Wi-Fi network.

If you don’t have an iPhone or iPad, you can use a compatible USB or Bluetooth scanner, or even the iSight camera on your Mac. You can also add items manually if you have that kind of time or come across something in your collection that can’t be scanned.

I downloaded Delicious Library 3 this morning and am finding it to be more fun to catalog my media collection than I was expecting, mostly thanks to the Delicious Scanner app. If you frequently find yourself lending stuff to your friends and would like to keep better track of what you own, or if you simply want an easy way to catalog what you own for insurance or other purposes, Delicious Library 3 is a simple yet robust app that can handle the job easily.

Note that version 2 of Delicious Library is still available in the Mac App Store today for those running OS X Lion or earlier and while it’s cheaper than version 3 at just $9.99, it lacks many of the new features in version 3 and won’t work with the free Delicious Scanner iOS app. Delicious Library 3 requires Mac OS X 10.8.3 or higher while Delicious Scanner requires iOS 6.1 or later.

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Get Your Taxes Done with ‘TurboTax 2012’ for Mac

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Last week, I highlighted Intuit’s TurboTax SnapTax for iPhone, a free app you can use to complete your tax returns quickly and easily for those with basic tax filing needs. But if your tax situation is more complex, you’ll want to check out Intuit’s desktop app, TurboTax 2012, for Mac instead.

TurboTax 2012 is a full-featured tax preparation app that will walk you through everything you’ll need to submit your federal and state tax returns electronically or by mail. It can’t import your information from your W-2 or other forms using your Mac’s camera like the iPhone version can but it covers far more scenarios includes error checking and tax return maximizing features.

TurboTax 2012 debuted in the Mac App Store in January and is free to download and use and you only pay (via in-app purchase) when you’ve completed your taxes and need to file them. The app’s description states that filing a federal return starts at $29.99 and there are other options to cover more extensive filing needs.

The recent Mac App Store reviews for TurboTax 2012 are pretty negative on the in-app purchase scheme here, with the primary theme in these focusing on the need to pay for each tax return you complete. So if you normally file returns for friends or other family members, know that this Mac App Store version will require you to pay for each of them separately, which isn’t explicitly described in the app description.

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