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Hands On: Printworks (OS X)

10/20, 7:33pm

Desktop publisher offers tools suitable for beginner and experienced users

Standalone desktop publishing software fills a need for those who want to create a variety of printed projects, particularly if seeking a structured, template format. Launched earlier this year, Printworks for OS X is an all-purpose page-layout and desktop publishing app that offers templates for a wide variety of documents, as well as the option to design a document from scratch. A comprehensive app currently available for $30 (regularly priced at $50), Printworks' attention to detail throughout the creation process of a document is suitable for personal use or for small businesses who are seeking software specifically for this purpose. Is it worth the pricetag?

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Hands On: AudioNote (OS X)

10/14, 11:04am

Note-taking app synchronizes audio recording with manual notes

It's pretty safe to say that most people feel like they could improve their note-taking, whether for classes or work purposes. Among the various apps available for improving notational efficiency is Luminant Software's AudioNote, which combines notepad functionality with voice recording. Focused on synchronizing notes and audio, AudioNote aims to assists users in documenting all the information they need, with review of notes supplemented by the audio, and vice-versa. Does it simplify note-taking, or complicate it?

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Hands On: PopClip (OS X)

10/09, 12:44am

Unobtrusive tool can improve efficiency for those who work with text

Since the release of iOS 8 and the upcoming launch of OS X Yosemite, a cohesive workflow between iOS and OS X is increasingly apparent. PopClip further accentuates this experience for OS X users by adding a non-invasive, iOS-like toolbar when one selects text, providing quick access to context-specific actions. Initially released in 2011, the app received an update last week, fixing various minor bugs. Developer Pilotmoon's PopClip's default offerings are copy and paste -- much like what can be found on iOS -- but with over 100 additional extensions that can be added.

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Hands On: Planetary Annihilation (OS X, Windows, Linux)

09/15, 5:16am

Kickstarter RTS game Planetary Annihilation shows considerable polish

In August 2012, a team from Uber Entertainment launched a kickStarter campaign, aiming to raise $900,000 to make a new real-time strategy game called Planetary Annihilation. After two years of work and raising over $2.2 million, as well as other funds via "early access," the game is finally released outside of beta, and gamers can finally try out what backers have been playing for some time during the game's development.

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Hands on: Yomi for iPad

07/05, 2:25pm

Non-collectible card-game arcade fighting game spans genres, fan bases

Apple's iOS and other mobile platforms have occasionally been criticized for offering relatively few "deep" gaming experiences, with simplified versions of complex titles being big movers. The iPad came into its own about six months after its release with titles such as Ticket to Ride and other board game adaptations, with a bevy of other releases following. Card games, mostly of the collectible variety, are popular -- with the recently-released Hearthstone by Blizzard taking top honors. But what about deep card games without a collectible mechanic? Game designer David Sirlin has released Yomi, a genre-spanning card-based game, drawing on arcade fighting games like Street Fighter II and the like for inspiration. Does Yomi live up to its promises of a deep, strategic experience, without "pay to win" being a factor?

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Hands On: Chunky Comic Reader for iOS 7

06/12, 12:28pm

Chunky Comic Reader blazes a path in a crowded iPad comic consumption field

For every file format, there are a hundred iOS apps that will read them. We've already discussed what we feel is the pre-eminent reader for PDFs: GoodReader. What about comic books? Sure, many of them are distributed as PDFs, making GoodReader a solution, but there are other formats. For that, we're examining one of the best reader apps out there -- the free Chunky Comic Reader (CCR).

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Hands on: F1 2013 (OS X)

06/11, 12:20am

Formula One comes to OS X with adrenaline fueled simulation, challenging gameplay

When gamers have ever wanted to get into the seat of a race car without spending millions of dollars to do it, they've turned to games to get the experience. From NASCAR, dragsters, rally cars and everything in-between, gaming has covered much of the realistic side of racing. What about players, however, that want a game that touches on simulation aspects, but pushes them to gain a little as a tenth of a second each time around the track? Codemasters' F1 2013 is the title that will set the pace for a proper racing experience.

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Hands On: GoodReader 4 for iOS 6, 7

06/07, 12:12pm

Is the new 'paid update' for the venerable iOS app worth the $7?

PDF powerhouse GoodReader was an early addition to Apple's app store, before the iOS had a good option for reading the ubiquitous file format. Even in the beginning, it had a wide array of tools available for media consumers to annotate, view, and manipulate PDFs, if only on a basic level. Controversially, the universal iPhone and iPad GoodReader 4 has now been released, and is a paid upgrade in the form of a completely separate app from the previous versions, which had discrete versions for large and small iOS devices. Is it worth paying for a new version? For that matter, should a new user shell out for the app, in view of Apple's own tools for PDF viewing?

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Hands on: MacPaw Hider 2 file-encryption tool

04/03, 12:00am

Can encrypt and hide files and folders with 256-bit AES protection

While at the Macworld Expo last weekend in San Francisco, MacNN got a chance to talk with members of the MacPaw software team, best known for their duplicates finder Gemini II and their utility app Clean My Mac. The company released its latest upgrade, file-and-folder encryption tool Hider 2 (formerly MacHider), for OS X 10.8 and higher on Wednesday. The program is designed to allow users to hide, encrypt and password-protect sensitive files, whether they are confidential business documents or those pictures of an ex.

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Hands on: Samsung Galaxy Gear Fit

02/25, 1:37am

New form follows speculative renderings

After unveiling the Gear 2 on Sunday, Samsung made a surprise announcement--the Gear Fit--during Monday's Mobile World Congress event focusing on the Galaxy S5. The Fit departs from the squarish, chunky form of the first- and second-generation Gear watches, opting instead for a narrow display and focusing on fitness applications. Electronista donned the Fit to see if the sleek design equates to an improved experience.

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Ears on: Shure SE846 high-end earphones

01/10, 2:18am

Four drivers aim to deliver robust audio

Shure brought its latest and greatest audio gear to Las Vegas this week for CES, including the high-end SE846 earphones that arrived in 2013. Wading through a myriad of new audio products at the expo, we weren't expecting to find anything that would really knock our socks off. Trying to remain optimistic, we made sure to try on the SE846 and hear if it is worth its $1000 price tag.

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Hands on: Razer's Nabu connected wristband

01/09, 6:07pm

Fitness features paired with notifications

As expected, many CES exhibitors chose to focus on wearable technology this year. Razer was among the companies attempting to make a foray into the growing market, introducing the Nabu wristband that provides smartphone notifications and fitness features. We met with one of the product engineers this week to try on a prototype and see how it compares to Nike's FuelBand and more complex devices such as the Galaxy Gear.

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Hands on: FLIR One thermal camera for iPhone

01/08, 5:53pm

Case integrates thermal imager

Among the many iPhone accessories announced at CES, FLIR's thermal-camera case was a particularly unique introduction. The device essentially replicates the functionality of FLIR's standalone thermal-imaging cameras, but well under the $1000+ price tags of the industrial niche tools. We had a chance to see the FLIR One case in action at CES and ponder its many uses for average consumers.

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Hands on: Lenovo's new X1 Carbon notebook

01/07, 8:28pm

Carbon frame keeps weight below 3lb

Among Lenovo's slew of CES announcements, the company introduced a new X1 Carbon notebook. The revised model brings a number of improvements, integrating a newer Core i7 chip, an "adaptive keyboard" and adding a 2560x1440 display option, among other features. We stopped by Lenovo's CES booth to take a closer look at the refresh, which is even lighter than its three-pound predecessor.

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Hands on: Sony PlayStation Now

01/07, 3:49pm

Tech demoed on Vita, Bravia

After a slew of announcements yesterday, Sony waited until this morning to formally introduce its PlayStation Now streaming game technology. The system promises to bring the company's game ecosystem to Bravia TVs and eventually non-Sony hardware such as tablets. We were curious to see the technology in action, so we stopped by Sony's CES booth to try out game streaming from a Vita and a TV.

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Hands on: Lenovo ThinkPad 8 tablet with Windows 8

01/06, 6:18pm

Lenovo maintains competition with Surface

Among the first of Lenovo's CES announcements, the new ThinkPad 8 represents the company's latest midsize tablet powered by Windows 8. Powered by Intel's Bay Trail hardware, it aims to compete with Microsoft's own Surface lineup and other players in the segment. We met with Lenovo in Las Vegas for a quick hands-on preview ahead of the ThinkPad's public debut.

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Hands on: Huawei Ascend Mate2

01/06, 3:18pm

Second-gen phone supports all networks

Huawei has introduced its second-generation Ascend Mate2, bringing a long list of upgrades as the company continues to promote its brand in the US and elsewhere. The gigantic 6.1-inch smartphone is claimed to reach two full days of heave use, and even integrates an extra USB port so other devices can be charged from its 4,050mAh battery. We checked out the new device at the company's CES press conference today in Las Vegas.

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Hands on: Samsung Galaxy S 4

03/15, 2:30pm

Revamped Android flagship

Samsung yesterday formally unveiled the Galaxy S 4 handset at a spectacular Radio City Music Hall launch event, which attracted enough people to completely fill the sidewalks around the entire block. Although the festivities were certainly impressive, we spent some time with the new smartphone to see if it lives up to the hype.

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