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Congratulations to the winners of the Mac|Life Awards for 2011! We scoured the floor at Macworld Expo to find the coolest new hardware and software, and unearthed these geeky bits of goodness. Bust out your credit card, because we think you'll want them as much as we do.
Hands down the most frequent concern I hear from people considering a MacBook Air is the relative paltry built-in storage, starting at 64GB (11-inch) and topping out at 256GB (13-inch). Well, the upgrade wizards at Other World Computing can free you from those limitations with the Mercury Aura Pro Express for MacBook Air 2010 Edition.
Yup, new internal memory for your Air, in 180GB, 240GB, and even 360GB sizes. Plus, the OWC storage is faster (up to 275MB/s), has all kinds of advanced features thanks to its SandForce DuraClass technologies, and you even get to take your MacBook Air apart!
We can't wait to get our hands on these babies, but this kind of drool-inducing tech will cost you: The 320GB upgrade is $1,179.99, but the 240GB upgrade is a more reasonable $579.99, and 180GB is $499.99.
Are you sick of us telling you over and over again to back up? Well, tough noogies, we're going to do it again. Everybody needs to back up. Time Machine makes this nigh-effortless, if you are willing to keep an external hard drive connected to your Mac at all times. For a desktop, no problem. With a laptop, it's a little more inconvenient.
Dolly Drive solves this problem in a totally ingenious way. The service lets you use Time Machine to back up to the cloud. When you install it, it creates a volume on your Desktop that Time Machine sees as any old external hard drive—but it's a cloud drive. Yes, the first backup to the cloud will take forever, it's true. And what about a bootable backup in case your hard drive fails? Dolly Drive knows you can't boot from the cloud, so the software also has a one-click button to make a bootable backup onto an external drive too. You really only have to do it once, though, so you have something to boot from, then grab the rest of your data from the cloud, using the familiar Time Machine interface you know and love. Smart thinking.
Dolly Drive's Quick Start plan is $10/month for 250GB of storage, which they bump up by 5GB every month as a little reward. Or pay $5/month for 50GB, or $7.50 for 100GB, and both those grow by 5GB per month too.
This little wonder charges your iPhone and iPods, and kills vampires! (Sorry, we're being told that's actually vampire power. Not real vampires. Which aren't real. Well, anyway.) It stops vampire power by automatically shutting off when nothing is connected to it -- Dexim says this uses 85% less power.
But when your device is connected, the "Visible" part of the name comes in, with a neat Tron-ny effect. EL lights flowing through the cord give you a visual representation of power flowing into your device. (Mmmm, electrons.) The lights even go faster when your device has less than 65% power, then slow to a trickle as it charges up, and the lights stop when it's fully charged. How cool is that? (A: Very cool.) Price is still TBD at press time, but we'll keep you posted.
Yes, it's really called that. So that's the first reason it rocks. But this unique new puzzle adventure from Alawar Entertainment also wowed us with its gorgeous art style. Think comic book meets collage with a dash of Tim Burton-esque darkness. (It is Shakespeare's greatest tragedy, after all.)
The beautiful visuals, bizarre sense of humor, and ever-clever puzzles remind us of a Telltale game, without being a Telltale ripoff. It's 25 levels of blessedly inventory-free fun, at just $1.99 for iPad, or $0.99 for iPhone, with Lite versions for both. To thine own awesome game be true.
We have a friend who covers music apps for us; his name is Dan Amrich, maybe you've heard of him. Well, we sent him the press release for this app, which isolates original multi-track recordings so you can play along -- it also has syncronized notation and tablature, phrase looping, speed changing, everything you'd expect -- and he, to put it mildly, freaked the deek out.
Then we saw it on the show floor at Macworld, and yep, it's as cool as it sounds, probably cooler. If you are a guitarist or a musician you will love this more than Rice Krispies treats, or a cold beer in the shower. It'll be almost as essential as guitar strings themselves. Or at least that's what we think. It's not in the App Store just yet, but we'll keep you posted.
Jammit is definitely cool enough to take the crown, but only if you're a guitar player with an iOS device. Which covers a lot of people, but again to flog that poor deceased parrot, everybody who uses a computer should be backing their data up. Dolly Drive for the win.