Category: Mac & OS X

Mac OSX topics

The most in-depth review of OS X Yosemite you’ll find

OS X Yosemite
OS X Yosemite has been out for a while now, and I’m enjoying the heck out of using it. It’s probably the most full-featured OS release Apple has offered us in quite a while. While you’ve probably read plenty about the hero features, it’s still worth reading John Siracusa’s full review. At 25 pages in length, it’s about as in-depth as you can get.

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Has the Adobe Illustrator “killer” finally arrived?

Tomorrow marks an important day for long-time Windows developer, Serif. They’re launching Affinity Designer, their first foray into Mac software. And they’ve set their sites on one of the largest and most important Mac developers in the world: Adobe.

Affinity Designer is a vector art design tool rivaling Adobe Illustrator in the same way that Pixelmator is an alternative app to Adobe’s Photoshop. Which is to say, it’s the real deal.

Affinity Designer
I’ve been using Affinity Designer on and off for the last month or so and I must say that I’m extremely impressed. With a price tag of only $40 (special price until October 9th), and a most-impressive feature set, I’m betting that it will find a home on quite a few Macs.

Affinity Designer can import AI, PSD, PDF, and SVG files, and save/export as EPS, TIF, JPG, PNG, GIF, PSD, and PDF. It also offers both RGB and CMYK color modes, including 16-bit color support.

All the tools you would expect can be found, and are easy to use. And the app fully supports Apple’s iCloud, Spaces and Full Screen mode. Some pretty cool features include the ability to use pixel-tools to your vector art and have it remain editable. And the best part, Affinity Designer is fast. Really fast.

If you’ve used Pixelmator, you’ve no doubt come to believe that there actually IS a true replacement for Photoshop. I’m here to tell you that as of tomorrow, there will be a real replacement for Adobe’s Illustrator as well. And rumor has it, they’re working on a page-layout app to compete with InDesign.

Now I’m not a fool. I don’t expect designers everywhere to suddenly dump their investment in Adobe software. But true professional-grade alternatives are out there. Watch out Adobe… you’ve been king of the hill for a long time, but the competition is heating up.

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Apple updates iCloud Drive pricing/storage options

iCloud Drive pricing
Apple has updated the storage options and pricing for their iCloud Drive service. It’s a lot more reasonable now, though still not competitive in the market on pricing alone. Fortunately, iCloud Drive will have the benefit of working seamlessly with all your Apple devices. No other vendor will be able to offer the accessibility that Apple will with iCloud, and that (in my mind) justifies a little more in cost.

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Put a handy calendar in your Mac menubar

Pop-Calendar

A few years back I had an app that would show a simple calendar icon in the menubar which when clicked would drop down a simple calendar of the current month. It did nothing else, but it was useful to me to be able to see a full month calendar. But it stopped working long ago. I gave up looking for a simple replacement.

A few days ago I came across Pop-Calendar from Magnesium-App. Pop-Calendar is a free utility that placed the date in a calendar icon in your menubar. When you click the icon, you can view the entire year at once or single month view (click the screenshot above for a larger view) by clicking on the month name. Pop-Calendar will remember which you view you used last, but you can switch at any time.

Pop-Calendar uses Apple’s built-in Calendar app to display all your events in either view. When you click on an individual day, you can see the day’s events. You can also add new calendar events simply by clicking a small + icon at the top of the pop-up window that appears when clicking on a day.

Pop-Calendar offers the ability to set a keyboard shortcut to show the window, as well as the ability to turn on and off individual calendars from Apple’s Calendar app. That’s all there is to it, and that’s why I love it!

Beside being free, simple to use, and easy on the eyes, it already works in Mac OS X Yosemite—though I do hope the developer adds transparency once Yosemite ships in the fall. Pop-Calendar is available directly from the developer’s site, or in the Mac App Store.

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Free and easy audio control for your Mac with AudioMate

AudioMate

Control all your audio input and output devices from the status bar, receive system notifications when relevant events happen on your audio devices, change the master output volume, sample rate, clock source, system default input and output and more!

AudioMate has gone open source, and is now free. Requires OS X 10.7 or later and a 64-bit Mac.

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Monochrome brings social app viewing to the Mac

Monochrome

Monochrome lets you browse and check all your favorite social networks at the same time from the ease of your laptop or desktop Mac. You can listen to SoundCloud or watch YouTube while working on something else without the battery taking a huge hit.

If you don’t live with your iPhone in your hand at all times and want to view some of the most popular social networks in one small window on your Mac, Monochrome looks like a great solution.

All the social networks Monochrome supports can be seen in the screenshots below.

Monochrome networks

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