Solid database app with good templates
Back in January, and during a review of the poor iDatabase, we lamented how database users have been abandoned by FileMaker's Bento app, and how we were struggling to replace it. Readers and developers alike chimed in with alternatives, and Tap Forms is a particularly strong one.
Unexpectedly handy iOS addition to the Alfred 2 application launcher
When we recently reviewed Alfred 2 for Mac -- it was a rave. We noted how it was the perfect app to feature in a Hands On piece because that's the point: just about anything you can do on your Mac, Alfred 2 lets you do from the keyboard. It's not the only application that does this, but it does it very well, and is a true boon for getting things done. So much so that the application has been around and continuously developed for many years, just always with this hands-on idea. Until now.
Neat way of keeping a log of hours worked, though setting up is weak
[Updated with correction for program authorization] This is you: you may be no good at the money side of anything. Unless you're an accountant, in which case we apologize. Everyone else, though, most especially anyone who works freelance, or in a one-man or one-woman company, often struggles with the financial side -- because the money part is not primarily why you got into business. Hopefully you'll be earning lots, but you started your business because you wanted to do what that business does, and you'd rather be your own boss and risk failure than do some other kind of work to make somebody else wealthy. Consequently, your interest and focus is on the job. Somehow, you have to also keep an eye on the money -- and that's where TaskTime4 comes in.
Excellent iOS note-taking app is equally good on Mac
It's not like there's a shortage of note-taking apps on either iOS or Mac: however, it is particularly good to see the familiar stubby-pencil icon of Notability on Mac because it's a boon to know your notes are with you everywhere. Although if you're a die-hard Evernote fan, currently thinking about reading a different review, hang on just one sec: The most important reason to use Notability is how it feels as you write in it. However, it also comes with a killer feature -- but it's a feature that specifically kills your desire to use Evernote.
Slightly fiddly but very impressive remote control for your Mac
Imagine squeezing your retina iMac screen down onto an iPhone 5. You can do it. It might look a bit silly, and initially you might wonder why you'd bother, but it has long been possible to see and remotely control your Macs and PCs on even your iPhone. Now that Google has released Chrome Remote Desktop for iOS, you can do it for free. You'll do it, too: try this once, and you will forever keep finding other reasons why it's incredibly useful.
Software to run your life, or at least your working life
This is going to be like reviewing a car by focusing on how great the radio is. DevonThink is a massive application that might as well aim to be your personal Wikipedia. Every thought you have, every note you make, everything you spot on the web, you can throw it all into your personal DevonThink database. So far that sounds very much like Evernote -- and it is indeed similar -- but DevonThink is equally focused on arranging and sorting that material.
Photo Suite 9 brings Adobe competitor in tight package
Thanks to the ever-improving cameras found in today's smartphones and less-expensive DSLR and mirrorless devices, both of whose work can increasingly be seen on popular social networks such as Instagram, more and more people are finding an interest in photography. Inevitably some will start looking for tools that can be used to manage and edit all of their images. While the most ubiquitous product in this field is Adobe's Creative Suite, with apps like Lightroom and Photoshop, it is far from the only option out there. The real question is, can any of the competition stand up to the quality that Adobe has become renowned for providing? Over the past few weeks we have spent some time with the latest version of OnOne's Perfect Photo Suite to test this very question.
Combined security suite, cloud storage for PC, smartphones reviewed
As free antivirus, firewall, and anti-malware software continues to offer decent protection, it is getting harder for companies to offer a comprehensive security suite as a paid product to users. Webroot is attempting to do just that with SecureAnywhere Internet Security Complete, combining an antivirus, firewall, phishing protection, and cloud storage for computers as well as mobile devices in a single package. Is it worth the money? Our review tries to find out.
Reviews complain about build-quality, feature failures
The Samsung Galaxy S4 has seen mostly positive comments from technology publications, in reviews published today. The general tone across the board seems to be that the new Samsung flagship device is a nice step-up from its predecessor, the Galaxy S III, consumers will be forced to choose between the extra features the S4 provides with the design of the similar-in-specification HTC One.
Faster and better overall, with some mild annoyances
Reviews are starting to come in on both the new 21.5- and 27-inch iMac models, with the general consensus that both are lightning-fast (faster, in fact, than any comparable 27-inch Windows-based machine), offer much less reflectivity and a better display, and are gorgeous to look at. They also note some changes, such as the relocation of the memory ports (which are upgradable), and a reduction in quality of the built-in speakers (likely a sacrifice to the thin design). Though considered pricey, the new iMac is still thus far seen as being the best AIO computer around.
File recovery software does what it says it will do
Data loss generally results from three types of accident: user error in deleting a file they didn't intend to, some repairable disk or directory corruption, or an unrecoverable total (mechanical) drive failure. Cleverfiles' Disk Drill Pro institutes, well, a clever way of recovering files that have been lost due to causes one and two, and has a refreshingly candid way of educating users about file deletion and how various factors may hinder recovery. Should it be part of your utility toolbox? We give this drive saver a spin in our exclusive review.
Car audio brand targets high-end studio market
Pioneer may be best known for its vehicle electronics, however the company has also worked to establish its presence as a high-end brand in the DJ and music-production markets. The S-DJ05 speakers epitomize the expansion, placing the Pioneer brand on a pair of active reference monitors. In our full review, we try out the new speakers and attempt to determine if the offering is worth its hefty price tag.
Lack of full scanning support hinders function
Epson's Workforce line of printers is aimed at small businesses, and offers not only the standard "all-in-one" functions of copying, printing, scanning and faxing we've come to expect, but also remote printing via an iOS app. The Workforce 840 features two paper trays, fast (but somewhat noisy) printing and good-quality printing for a 4-ink printer. But there are a few flaws that may cause buyers to reconsider, as Reviews Editor Ilene Hoffman uncovers in our exclusive review.
Solid protection comes at a price
Level8's line of electronic accessory cases feature a lifetime warranty and plenty of padding, and include thoughtful touches such as TSA-friendly butterflied compartment for the laptops that keeps the rest of the items stowed. We take a look at the company's Atlas backpack and specially-designed iPad sleeve, and run them through the acid test of an airport or two. How do they stand up? Are they too bulky or "just right"? Will they stand the test of time, and are they a good value for money? We cover it all in our exclusive review.
Long-standing text editor nears perfection
BBEdit has been around seemingly forever -- it first appeared in 1991, when System 6 was the OS of the day. Since then, it has evolved into a powerful text editor that can be used for simple writing, creating web pages in HTML, editing Wiki entries or hand-coding in a wide variety of languages -- from 68K Assembler to XML -- all with syntax coloring, line numbering and other important programming features. We take a look at the latest version, which brings many changes and features to the venerable program, and rate how close it has gotten to full maturity in our exclusive review.
Browsers vary wildly on different platforms
Noted Windows review site Tom's Hardware recently reviewed the latest versions of some of leading web browsers running on Mac OS X and Windows 7 and found that, overall, Mac browsers -- particularly the one judged the best overall, Safari (v5.1) -- were catching up and in a few cases exceeding the Windows browsers, particularly with page load times, Flash, HTML5 and WebGL. Google's Chrome was judged the best overall for Windows and a stiff competitor on OS X as well.
Solid choice for genealogical research
There are several programs for the Mac that will help you track down the missing branches in your family tree, but few are as Mac-centric as MacFamilyTree from Synium, now on version 6.1.4. The program provides access to a family records database for some users and dazzling organizational options for everyone -- but is it the right choice and a good value for putting together a keepsake family history or discovering a missing relation? We'll answer those questions in our review.
Editing software takes on Adobe
The team behind DxO Optics Pro take a different approach to the task of editing RAW, JPG and TIF images taken with digital cameras: they start by creating settings customized to the camera, which removes flaws in the lens or sensor and makes manual editing less work. Chromatic aberrations, lens distortions, off-centered shots and noise are artfully corrected, leaving the user to "focus" on the image itself. Is it a better approach that can challenge Photoshop and Lightroom's dominance? Is it the right tool for a hobbyist or professional? We seek out the answers in our exclusive review of this often-overlooked software.
Charges iPads, iPhones, iPods
MacNN has reviewed XtremeMac's stylish InCharge Duo iPad, iPhone and iPod charger. The device allows almost any two Apple devices with a 30-pin dock connector to be charged simultaneously -- though it does not offer syncing capability. The vertical space-saving design, some thoughtful design touches and an included set of adapters make it handy for charging iPods as well -- but is the lack of syncing a dealbreaker? The answers await in our exclusive review.
The great Scan-tini?
After scanning more than 2,700 pages using the Canon ImageFormula P-150M "Scan-tini" personal document scanner, MacNN Reviews Editor Ilene Hoffman is ready to weigh in on whether this lightweight, compact, USB-powered scanner (which includes self-loading software for Mac and Windows and can scan up to 20 double-sided pages at a time) is up to the heavy-duty jobs. Able to scan at up to 600dpi and 24-bit color, can this pricey-but-portable scanner put a dent in your office clutter without the size and bulk of a traditional model? We'll find out in our exclusive review.
Offers more than just 'Filemaker Lite'
Filemaker, the name behind one of the most popular names in database software, has spent years pursuing its vision of a home-use database that people would actually like and -- more importantly -- use. The fruit of this vision, Bento, has found an audience thanks to an elegant UI and a low pricetag. With version 4, we'll see if Bento has reached its full potential and fulfilled its promise to make digital record-keeping and organizing enjoyable in our exclusive review.
WebOS tablet aims to compete with iPad, Android
HP has made another attempt to establish itself in the tablet arena, transitioning webOS beyond smartphones in an attempt to compete with Android, iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS. Although HP suggests its TouchPad does not aim to displace the iPad, the company followed Apple's tablet strategy by choosing a 9.7-inch display with 1024x768 resolution and a 4:3 aspect ratio. In our full review, we take a closer look at HP's latest jump into the tablet market.
A novel approach for avoiding wrist strain
Evoluent says that its innovative "vertical" multi-button VerticalMouse 4, which one holds and controls in a handshake style that doesn't twist the arm, is a superior way of resting your hand while using the mouse that avoids wrist strain. Does the vertical orientation eventually improve efficiency and proficiency in ordinary activities from surfing the web to playing games? Our full review has the answers.
Photo app for iOS adds 21 filters, nine effects
MacNN has reviewed Camera Plus Pro for iPhone. The new Pro version of the app adds 21 photo filters and nine distortion effects, in addition to its numerous editing features, with support for uploading images to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others. When shooting images through the app, it also lets users add a Timer, Burst Mode, and Subject tags to their iOS 4.1 or higher mobile devices. Our full review has a discussion of the strengths -- and weaknesses -- of this camera-enhancement app, which sells for $2 on the App Store.
Noiseless keyboard, quality build a cut above
Sena Cases has launched their own entry into the increasingly-crowded case-that-doubles-as-a-bluetooth-keyboard for the iPad and iPad 2, made from genuine European leather in a variety of colors, and featuring an above-average built quality and silicon-based noiseless keyboard, perfect for meetings or class note-taking. Is it worth the extra cost for real leather? Is the case a snug fit, or is there wiggle room? Will the keyboard please the finicky typist? Our reviews editor Ilene Hoffman gives Sena the once-over in our review.
Replaces Bridge for photo management
Adobe Photoshop Elements is the budget-priced alternative to full-blown Photoshop, saving hundreds of dollars while retaining many of the same features wrapped in a more consumer-friendly interface. The latest version responds to customer criticism of Adobe Bridge by replacing it with a port of the Windows version's Organizer, and adds features borrowed from the recently-released Photoshop CS5 such as the context-aware tool. Will these moves prove a winning combination for non-expert users? Can complex effects really be made easy? These questions and more will be answered in our full review.
Restores files and purchases back to Mac
MacNN has reviewed The Little App Factory's iRip, software that can save a user's iTunes library if their hard drive fails by recovering the files off the user's iPod. The software can recover not only music, book, podcast, ringtone and other files, but also purchases bought and downloaded directly to the mobile device -- a rarity among iPod-to-Mac recovery tools. Is iRip 2 the best of the various alternate iTunes recovery programs? We'll find out in our full review.
A guided tour through our galactic 'neighborhood'
Are you one of those people who looks up at the sky at night with awe and wonder? The celestial heavens have fired the imaginations of scientists, explorers and astronomers throughout mankind's history -- but though we haven't yet travelled far beyond our own planet, a wealth of information about our own solar system is now available, from statistics to stunning high-resolution images (thanks to telescopes, probes and various manned and unmanned NASA missions). We take a look at an interactive "book" app for the iPad that takes us on a guided tour of the various features of our galactic "neighborhood" in our review of Solar System for iPad.
New iPad app syncs with Mac, takes data mobile
We have posted a review detailing Yojimbo 3.1 and its companion iPad app. The major upgrade in BareBones' new app is its ability to sync a Mac's Yojimbo database with the new Yojimbo for iPad app, allowing users to carry their Yojimbo collections on the iOS device. The review determines the strengths and weaknesses of the new iPad app, and its value to current Yojimbo users.
Well-built and flexible, but will it do the job?
Although many homes use all-in-ones to save space, when the need to scan archival material turns serious, so does the need for a flexible, good-quality scanner that can handle a variety of formats. This Epson scanner handles photos, slides and medium-format postivies, but is it good enough when your family's history is at stake? Our Epson Perfection V600 review compares results and offers guidance on getting the most out of this $200 scanner.
Mirrored volume still visible when hot-swapping
MacNN has taken a closer look at iStoragePro's Dock View RAID-iT2DockV. The RAID 0/1 box pairs two 3.5in hard disks with eSATA, FireWire800 -- and 400 -- and USB 2.0 interfaces. The drive offers hot-swap capabilities while still active on the Mac's desktop, allowing for changes to be made to the volume during a disk swap -- although volume rebuilding slows dramatically with drive access by the Mac.
Software a good first effort on the Mac side
MacNN has reviewed PCsync for Mac, describing how the recently PC-only software works with its new Mac-host that allows for PC-to-Mac syncing. The syncs are good but Mac-PC file-naming differences are an issue and the Mac software feels like PC software, in that it is slightly counter-intuitive.
Retina display, A4 CPU taken from iPhone 4
After Apple introduced the iPhone 4, a major leap over previous versions, iPod fans were left waiting for the technology to trickle down to the iPhone's phone-less counterpart. The fourth-generation Touch fulfills most of the expectations, mimicking the iPhone's dual camera configuration and 960x640 'retina display.' In our full review, we'll take a look at the list of new features that aim to push Apple's flagship iPod even further ahead of the competition -- but still slightly behind the iPhone.
Device charges all iOS devices, including iPad
MacNN reviewed the Kensington PowerBolt Micro Car Charger. The charger sits flush on the car power port, with a female USB port capable of powering any mobile device that connects via USB cables. The charger comes with a detachable USB-to-iPod cable that powers iPhones and iPads -- the latter device getting a fast charge from the 2.1 Amp PowerBolt.
Review finds software easy to use, good value
MacNN has reviewed Elgato's Turbo.264 HD Software Edition. The software focuses on exporting and encoding video, especially for iPad, iPhone, Apple TV and YouTube, and it handles a wide range of formats, such as AVCHD, AVI, DV, WMV, MPEG, MP4 and VIDEO_TS. While most of the capability of Turbo.264 HD Software is mimicked by QuickTime, the Elgato software is focused on encoding and ease of use, where QuickTime almost hides the features and is focused on playback.
Radium works well, GoodSync limited by PC origins
MacNN has reviewed Radium, a mac radio player, along with the back-up and file sync software, GoodSync. Radium streams from a list of thousands of stations, including Sirius/XM content, international stations and subscription services. Playback takes up little space on the screen -- a Now Playing and stations available listing is available via a drop-down window on the Mac's Status Bar.
Redesigned hardware, improved software
The iPhone 3GS provided several incremental upgrades over its predecessor, but without any significant evolution in overall design. The first three generations share the same external form of the original iPhone released three years ago. In that same period of time, the smartphone market has exploded with a flood of new designs. Although the iPhone 3GS represented the best device on Apple's platform, some of its specs have begun to seem dated against the competition. The latest iteration, the iPhone 4, finally brings a leap in design. The device marks Apple's attempt to solidify its dominant stance in the smartphone market, pairing fresh hardware with a major upgrade to the iOS 4 firmware. Our in-depth review takes a closer look at the new design, including the welcome additions and several glaring faults.
Software, hardware reviews mostly positive
MacNN has reviewed four new products: CoverScout and SongGenie software from equinux, along with OWC's Elite-AL Pro mini and eSATA card. The Elite-AL Pro mini is a 2.5-inch disk drive running at 7200rpm with available capacities up to 1TB. The drive has ports for eSATA, FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 connections, with eSATA tests revealing real-world speeds of 63MB/sec using the APIOTEK EXTREME Dual eSATA SATA I/II ExpressCard/34 adapter in a MacBook Pro circa 2006. The component adds two physical eSATA ports via the ExpressCard/34 port.
Software has excellent database, poor OCR
MacNN has reviewed the latest update to Neat's scanning software, NeatWorks for Mac 3.0. The suite scans receipts, business cards and full-sized documents, using intelligent optical character recognition (OCR) to append metadata to the scanned files. The software has a database for tracking trends and printing reports -- Version 3.0 adds tax categories for the U.S. and Canada, with support for individual tax forms. The company has also added Quick Look integration and workflow improvements, such as keyboard shortcuts, blank page removal, better speed, and an improved report interface.
Unlimited possibilities after learning curve
MacNN has reviewed ArtRage Studio Pro. The computer composition tool is geared towards creating traditional imagery emulating paint, chalk, crayons and pencils. The tools are very flexible, allowing users to alter settings such as thinning paint, smearing, blending and spreading or mixing media. Version 3 now lets users work with Adobe Photoshop brushes also.
DJ software accesses iTunes, has automix, sampling
MacNN's review of djay3.1, a comparatively inexpensive Mac-only DJ software title, found it simple enough to work with iTunes yet complex enough to compete with more expensive DJ software. It accesses a user's iTunes library and can play, program and manipulate the tracks. Using a dual-turntable interface, it allows cross fading, equalizing and gains on each deck. MacNN found the new interface easier to navigate, with an uncluttered and intuitive layout.
GPS Receiver matches waypoints to camera timestamp
MacNN has reviewed the GiSTEQ PhotoTrackr DPL900, a small GPS device that is bundled with software to allow users to simply and quickly add location information to digital photos. After carrying both the DPL900 and a digital camera on a photo shoot, the GPS device matches the timestamp of the user's digital camera after recording where the user was over the same time period. It captures waypoints, rather than tracking the location every second.
iGroove: good sound, no battery power
MacNN has reviewed the updated iGroove SXT Dock Speaker. The portable iPod speaker system is shaped like a boombox and weighs just over three pounds. It features a simple remote control, good sound and a video-out port for watching videos from separate displays. It can dock and charge any iPod or iPhone with a 30-pin connector.
iAntiVirus get four of five stars in review
MacNN has reviewed PC tools' iAntiVirus, rating the Mac virus protection software four out of five stars. It protects against Mac-based malware, keyloggers, viruses, Trojans, and other threats, while running in the background and available from a menubar. The software monitors the system and scans for prior infection. Users can also run immediate scans via drag-and-drop for individual files.
In brief: Our reviewers have been working with the Corsair Flash Voyage Mini, 4 GB USB stick that is about a third of the size of other devices with similar storage. In other news the winners of the 4th annual Photoshop User Awards have been announced and the winning entries have been posted. Each of the winners received gift packages and the grand prize winner received an all expenses paid trip for two. Meanwhile, RouteBuddy has announced that it will be adding several new maps to its store that expand its coverage of South America and Asia.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has put forth a set of expectations for Apple's Q3 earnings, due today after the US markets close. Munster believes that upside to Mac and iPod units may drive upside to the June quarter and is reiterating his Buy rating. While the street is expecting Apple to have shipped 2.2 million Macs in the quarter, Munster cites a buyside bias of 2.35 million units. He is also expecting shipemtn of about 10.5 million iPods, vs. the street consensus of 10.3 million.
6 knocks on the iPhone 3G
As the iPhone 3G prepares to launch, there are six reasons not to buy Apple's new phone according to PCmag.com. Despite early, mostly positive reviews from the New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal, the blog has taken the iPhone 3G to task for its AT&T-only availability in the US and AT&T's pricing structure, which, over the two-year contract, will cost more than the original iPhone with its subscription rates. The reduced battery-life of the 3G model is another negative and the addition of 3G network access and GPS is seen as 'not worth the upgrade.' The storage limit of 16GB is looked at with suspicion, expecting a 32 GB upgrade in the near future to devalue the 16GB and 8GB iPhone 3G soon after launch. The last of the six criticisims cites the lack of 'feature leader' abilities in the iPhone 3G; the lack of removable flash memory, Bluetooth stereo support, MMS and video recording are the main culprits leaving the iPhone 3G without features many free cellphones provide.
In brief: We have published a review of OmniFocus, Snapshot has been acquired by LateNiteSoft, Blizzard is giving away World of Warcraft expansion pack keys, a REALbasic survey is now online and Mission Repair offers flat-rate MacBook LCD replacement ... We have posted a review of OmniFocus, a task manager from The Omni Group in Seattle, WA. It is loosely based on the vaunted Getting Things Done (GTD) philosophy of David Allen, who holds the term's copyright. OmniFocus is not rigidly tied to the Getting Things Done approach, but strict GTD adherents can use it. This Tiger and Leopard compatible program has a simple and single purpose: To allow your computer to do the work of managing tasks -- from feeding the cat to making your first million.
Vue 3D contest
In brief: We have posted the second part of our review of Steinberg Sequel, the Vue 3D Environment Competition 2008 has been announced, fmDataGuard has announced its "First Anniverary Sale," and there is a newly announced DEVONthink 2.0 upgrade grace period ... We have posted the second part of our review of Steinberg Sequel. The tool allows you to record using a MIDI controller or through an external microphone, which is very similar to GarageBand. We recorded live audio from a microphone and it worked well. The intuitive design worked as we thought it would. Cutting and arranging segments of recorded material is also similar to GarageBand. You can move segments freely or snap them to a metronomic grid.
lynda.com CS4 training
In brief: We have posted a review CleanApp 3 and a review of the Crumpler Chester Squander bag, lynda.com offers new CS4 training, and Savant Systems holds a home automation showcase ... We have posted a review of CleanApp 3 Beta. Wouldn’t it be useful if this utility could archive the whole package, so you could save it and reinstall it later, or even back it up or burn the archive onto a CD. Such a useful utility does exist, and it is Synium Software’s CleanApp 3. This very useful program is considered a beta product, but worked very well in all our tests. The CleanApp 3 user interface is rather simple. Along the left side is a list of the functions including Applications, Preference Panes, Old Files, Archives, Languages, Cache Files, Logging, History, and Related Files. The window to the right changes as you select one of the functions on the left.