Mac|Life - Reviews http://www.maclife.com/articles/22/feed en Kerbal Space Program Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/kerbal-space-program-review <!--paging_filter--><p>After years of being available on the developer’s website and Steam Early Access, Kerbal Space Program is finally available as a full release on Mac. Part space sim, part sandbox management, Kerbal Space Program is extremely ambitious. It’s not jaw-dropping to look at, but that’s easy to forget when you see the wide-eyed awe on the faces of your pilots as you launch.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/08/ksp-620.jpg" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>Kerbal Space Program takes place on a planet similar to Earth, except its inhabitants are little green aliens sharing the last name “Kerbin.” It’s your job to build up the game’s meager space program: managing employees, taking contracts, researching technology, and building aircraft and spacecraft, among other things. It’s an overwhelming number of things to manage, so KSP offers three modes: Sandbox, which has no restrictions on inventory; Science, in which data is gathered and funds aren’t an issue; and Career. Career Mode is the heart of KSP, starting you with very little money and not much inventory to build ships from. As you collect data, research new things, and conquer goals, you’ll gain access to better parts, smarter crew members, and upgraded buildings.</p><p>Once you successfully build a craft and make it out of orbit into space (no small feat in itself) the space sim portion kicks in. It’s up to you to control your ship, aiming for regions unknown, new planets, or getting into orbit. There are tutorials outside of the core game, but once you’re in Career Mode there are no training wheels, and a more organic training process would have been helpful. There’s a lot of patience required, and trial and error involved in just figuring out how not to blow up your ship and kill your pilot a few hundred meters in the air.</p><p>Even after years in development, Kerbal Space Program has its fair share of technical difficulties. Multiple freezes and crashes to desktop make it hard to progress, and less serious glitches are distracting. Despite these issues, there’s definitely something engaging about it. You might find yourself building better spacecraft in your head when you’re not playing, or saying “Just one more launch” over and over again.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> A great blend of micromanagement and spaceflight, but it’s marred by tech issues.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Kerbal Space Program</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Squad </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://squad.com.mx" target="_blank">squad.com.mx</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $39.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Mac running OS X 10.6 or later, Intel processor, 3GB memory, 512MB graphics, 1GB HDD</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Incredibly deep interaction. Effortlessly combines management and simulation aspects.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Freezes and crashes aren’t ideal. Training is dull but necessary.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/kerbal-space-program-review#comments Reviews Kerbal Space Program OS X Mac Games Fri, 28 Aug 2015 23:41:32 +0000 Sarah LeBoeuf 21994 at http://www.maclife.com SmartDown Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/smartdown-review <!--paging_filter--><p>SmartDown is a full-featured Markdown text editor with syntax highlighting and HTML previewing, offering export to RTF, HTML, and PDF. Plain Markdown is supported, along with MultiMarkdown for things like tables, and Critic Markup for tracking changes. Light/dark themes are available, as well as your own; every aspect of syntax highlighting is customizable, and you can add your own CSS for Markdown preview.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/08/smartdown-620.jpg" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>Writers are well served, with statistics on words, sentences, pages, and reading time; you can even specify a word-count goal, and SmartDown will show your progress. It takes Markdown syntax into account when counting words, and it offers a Highlight Mode, where all but the current sentence or paragraph is dimmed. You can also do basic outlining in your Markdown file. Headings can be collapsed/expanded, using arrows in the document gutter, and there’s a floating tooltip marking the section. You can even export your work as an OPML file.</p><p>There are some handy editing tools, like shortcuts to move lines and a right-click palette of Markdown-insertion options.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> SmartDown is ideal for planning, organizing and writing documents in Markdown. Extensive customization options add to the appeal.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>SmartDown</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Neomobili </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.neomobili.com" target="_blank">www.neomobili.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $19.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Mac running&nbsp;OS X 10.9 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Completely customizable Markdown syntax highlighting and previewing. Outlining, with collapsible headings and OPML export. Useful statistics, goals, and tools for writers.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Some rough edges in interface and keyboard shortcut support.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/smartdown-review#comments Reviews Markdown OS X outline SmartDown Text editor Mac Thu, 27 Aug 2015 17:30:02 +0000 Matt Gemmell 21984 at http://www.maclife.com PhotoSync 3.0 Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/photosync-3-review <!--paging_filter--><p>AirDrop and iCloud Photo Library make it easy to wirelessly move digital photos between Mac and iOS devices, but images need a passport to get to a more diverse range of travel destinations.</p><p>PhotoSync 3.0 is the absolute best way to shuttle photos and videos between a dizzying array of iOS and Android devices, Mac or PC computers (via the free desktop companion), FTP and WebDAV servers, cloud storage services, and a new generation of wireless storage devices.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/08/photosync3_620.jpg" width="620" height="486" /></p><p>Rather than rely on multiple client apps for services like Dropbox, Flickr, OneDrive, and Google Drive, PhotoSync can be configured to transfer photos and videos to each with a tap, and be set up to automatically transfer to a preferred service whenever you arrive at a predetermined Wi-Fi location, such as home or office.</p><p>With this update the list of available targets now includes Amazon Cloud Drive. It’s perfect timing now that Prime members can upload unlimited photos free of charge, although we initially had problems with a mysterious error triggered by a duplicate file check on this particular service. (The developer has a workaround on the way, but deleting empty files from a web browser also does the trick.)</p><p>In addition to supporting the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus properly, PhotoSync is also now fully compatible with iCloud Photo Library and OS X Photos, allowing users to create subdirectories, access image folders, upload burst mode images, and delete content directly for the first time.&nbsp;</p><p>PhotoSync also offers the option to transfer original images or those with edits made in the Photos app already applied. This toggle switch is buried in Transfer Settings for each target, but offers an extra level of control you won’t get from native client apps.</p><p>We’d love to see future support for a number of off-the-beaten path targets, such as cloud photo services like Shutterfly and Adobe Revel, or lesser-known storage options such as Bitcasa or Copy.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Expertly and seamlessly transfers photos and videos between devices, computers, and the most important cloud storage services.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>PhotoSync 3.0</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> touchbyte </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://photosync-app.com" target="_blank">photosync-app.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $2.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running&nbsp;iOS 7 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Full support for iCloud Photo Library and OS X Photos. Option to transfer original or edited photos on a per-target basis.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Less responsive with larger photo libraries. Missing some popular cloud services.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/photosync-3-review#comments Reviews Photography Photos PhotoSync iPad iPhone iPod Wed, 26 Aug 2015 18:30:39 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21980 at http://www.maclife.com Lightroom 6 Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/lightroom-6-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Lightroom is Adobe’s professional photo enhancing and cataloging program, and it’s designed to be used alongside a regular image-editor like Photoshop. Indeed, if you buy it using the Creative Cloud subscription option instead of a one-off fee, you’ll get Photoshop as well. Lightroom’s editing tools don’t reach the same depths as Photoshop’s, but it’s aimed at a slightly different target — simpler non-destructive improvements to photos, rather than full editing of images with lots of layers.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/08/lightroom6-620.jpg" width="620" height="377" /></p><p>Adobe has introduced new tools for organizing photos in Lightroom 6, but the main additions are to the editing tools. There are also exciting new panorama and HDR tools, and it’s now possible to “brush out” areas adjusted with the Graduated and Radial filter tools. Lightroom 6 also introduces face recognition, and comes with new HTML5 web galleries and a major upgrade to the Slideshow tools.</p><p>Blending several images to make an HDR composite is simple. There are options for “deghosting,” if you have objects moving between the frames, such as leaves and branches, or passersby. It can take a minute or so to blend the images, eventually producing a realistic image with the shadows and highlights intact but without unrealistic tonal compression or flattened contrast. Panaroma merges follow a similar process and result in seamless compositions.</p><p>It’s now possible to manually mask out areas modified by the Gradient and Radial Filters; sometimes you’ll have buildings or other objects jutting out into a darkened sky — and you don’t want these objects darkened by the Gradient Filter. It’s also now possible to move the “pins” created by the Adjustment Brush.</p><p>It’s a little odd to find face detection and recognition tools in a professional image cataloging application, but it will appeal to those who used the feature in Aperture or iPhoto. At first, Lightroom can still identify unique faces and group them together, but you have to tell it who these people are. The more you use it, though, the more it’s able to suggest names automatically.</p><p>There are many other small improvements and additions too, and it all adds up to make Lightroom a great next step for people moving on from Aperture, or upgrading from iPhoto/Photos.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> If you’re a photo enthusiast, expert or professional, you need software which can organize, output and enhance your pictures; with a few minor quibbles, Lightroom is the best choice.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Lightroom 6</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Adobe </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.adobe.com" target="_blank">www.adobe.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $149 or $9.99/month (Creative Cloud) </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Mac running&nbsp;OS X 10.8 or later, 64-bit processor</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Powerful cataloging and searching tools. New HDR and Panorama merging. Powerful non-destructive editing.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Subscription needed for Cloud options.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/lightroom-6-review#comments Reviews Adobe Lightroom 6 Photo Editing Mac Tue, 25 Aug 2015 18:05:41 +0000 Rod Lawton 21977 at http://www.maclife.com Trulon Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/trulon-review <!--paging_filter--><p>The words “strategy card-game RPG” get us as excited as some people get over sports, theme parks, and new Marvel films. Published by a Finnish company, Trulon is one of those: a game featuring a strategy card-battle element similar to that of successful World of Warcraft spin-off Hearthstone, as well as some rather attractive artwork that flits between colorful drawings and pixel sprites.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/08/trulon-620.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>At first, Trulon doesn’t disappoint. Thrown into the world with naught but a deck of cards and your own spunky confidence, you travel off into the distance as Gladia, the game’s heroine. The towns and villages are bright, the music pacey and the dialog interesting — if not a little odd, teetering on the edge of nonsensical. As a monster hunter, your job is to rid the land of the pesky critters that are bringing people down, and as in other turn-based battle RPGs, you’ll come across these monsters in the field.</p><p>Unfortunately for a game that’s so centered on these card battles, the fighting is irritatingly tedious, preferring to focus on the slow, repetitive doling-out of battle animations while you wait for your turn. With cards dealt into your hand fairly sparingly, you’ll also find yourself in difficult-to-win battles, purely because of the luck of the draw — though you can create your own strategic deck with cards you’ve picked up along the way.</p><p>The monsters appear and reappear as slightly different versions of themselves, with horns, different colors, tougher defenses — but very rarely new tactics. The maps are convoluted, samey, and sprawling, turning traversal into filler content that requires you to drag Gladia around in increments.</p><p>The story itself is sweet, and it’s certainly reassuring to see a female lead in an iOS game, but there’s so little of substance in Trulon. The bits worth celebrating are found in between a great deal of padding, and frequent frame drops and the occasional crash did little to gain our affection. Not a completely terrible timewaster, but there are much better available for this kind of price.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Aesthetically attractive though it might be, Trulon disappoints with repetitive, tedious combat. There are better card battle games out there.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Trulon</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> KYY Games </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://trulon.net" target="_blank">trulon.net</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $4.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running&nbsp;iOS 7 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Well-designed artwork and music. An intriguing story invites exploration.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Technical issues mar the enjoyment. Often repetitive and dull.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/trulon-review#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps iOS Trulon iPad iPhone iPod Games Fri, 21 Aug 2015 23:23:09 +0000 Kate Grey 21968 at http://www.maclife.com PowerPhotos Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/powerphotos-review <!--paging_filter--><p>With the release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.3, Apple’s venerable iPhoto and Aperture are essentially dead and buried, replaced by a more efficient, iOS-like, iCloud-connected solution. Unfortunately, the built-in Photos application does little to eliminate some of iPhoto’s long-standing limitations, such as managing more than one image library.</p><p>Thankfully, Fat Cat Software comes to the rescue with PowerPhotos, a third-party companion to help create, organize, duplicate, and even search between multiple libraries. While it appears to work directly on libraries, PowerPhotos actually works in conjunction with Photos, launching or quitting the main application as needed.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/08/powerphotos-620.jpg" width="620" height="295" /></p><p>Essentially the next generation of Fat Cat’s insanely handy iPhoto Library Manager, PowerPhotos offers a better way to view basic metadata without having to summon Photos’ pesky Info window, and you can quickly hop between different libraries by selecting one in the sidebar. There’s a convenient list view to sort or display photos by date, file name, keyword, and other criteria without thumbnails slowing down the process.</p><p>As the name implies, PowerPhotos only works with new or migrated Photos libraries. The software streamlines the migration process for existing iPhoto or Aperture libraries by reducing it to a few clicks of the mouse, rather than having to open each one manually.</p><p>PowerPhotos can also be used to identify duplicates hiding inside a photo library, with full control over how such copies will be dealt with. By default, the software marks a single keeper, but unchecking this option offers more granular control over intentional duplicates, such as variant photos that have had filters or other effects applied outside of Photos.</p><p>After clicking apply, duplicates are placed in a new album, from where they can be deleted or have a keyword assigned to them instead. Purging dupes worked like a charm on migrated Aperture libraries, with the exception, oddly enough, of our main iCloud Photo Library – PowerPhotos appeared to go through the motions, but completed with an error despite creating a duplicates folder without any actual photos inside.</p><p>PowerPhotos is also currently missing some of iPhoto Library Manager’s more advanced features, such as the ability to merge, rebuild, and copy photos between libraries. As a result, PowerPhotos is free for new and existing iPhoto Library Manager 4 owners, but hopefully the developer will find a way to restore this missing functionality in a future update.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> PowerPhotos may lack the punch of its predecessor, but it’s indispensable for those making the transition to Photos.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>PowerPhotos 1.0.2</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Fat Cat Software </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://fatcatsoftware.com" target="_blank">fatcatsoftware.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $19.95 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Mac running&nbsp;OS X 10.10.3 or later; Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Manage multiple Photos libraries. Find and remove duplicate images.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Missing advanced functionality of iPhoto Library Manager. Find duplicates failed to remove images from iCloud Photo Library.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/powerphotos-review#comments Reviews OS X Photography Photos PowerPhotos yosemite Mac Thu, 20 Aug 2015 18:31:06 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21960 at http://www.maclife.com Ruri Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/ruri_review <!--paging_filter--><p>Apple’s iPad has become a loyal companion for on-the-go presenters who need to show off slides to an audience in style — but not everyone requires the complexity and features offered by Keynote or PowerPoint. That’s where Ruri comes in.</p><p>Named after the Japanese word for a semi-precious deep blue stone, this iPad app is an alternative to more popular, feature-rich presentation software favored by business and educational users. The basic premise remains the same: Choose from a number of built-in templates (including six free options like Sakura, Kanji, and Night Café), add a title page, and flesh out the presentation with text, photos, or graphs.</p><p>Aside from a streamlined user interface, what sets Ruri apart from better-known competitors is the inclusion of animated backgrounds for each theme. For example, the Rain template features the subtle effect of raindrops falling on a darkened window, a nice touch which keeps the focus squarely on the content while making presentations more lively.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/08/ruri-620.jpg" width="620" height="466" /></p><p>Ruri’s user interface isn’t quite as feature-rich as rival presentation apps, and the overly simplistic approach leaves little room for fine-tuning the content added by users. Images can be imported from the iPad’s photo library and resized to some degree, but there’s no way to crop pictures within that frame. Font styles are determined by the chosen template, which also dictates type size as well.</p><p>Likewise, Ruri isn’t a great fit for presenters who prefer flashy transitions — all you’ll get here is a basic slide-in, although pie charts and graphs first appear on screen with a neat little “sprouting” animation.</p><p>We did find one odd photo quirk: some images looked fine after being imported, but appeared flipped vertically the next time the project was opened. Since Ruri lacks image tools or basic settings, we were forced to replace such images or rotate them the wrong way with another app to get them to appear correctly.</p><p>If you can live with this basic approach, Ruri does live up to its promise of producing truly beautiful presentations.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Viewed as a PowerPoint for beginners, Ruri gets the job done — but the template selection and feature set are just too basic for anything but simple presentations.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Ruri 1.9.2</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Martians Talk </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.martianstalk.com" target="_blank">www.martianstalk.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Free </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>iPad running&nbsp;iOS 8 or later</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Easy-to-use iPad presentation software. Includes several template themes with animated backgrounds.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Very limited feature set. No manual control over image cropping, transitions, or text size.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/ruri_review#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps iOS presentation Ruri iPad Wed, 19 Aug 2015 17:00:00 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21957 at http://www.maclife.com Seagate Backup Plus 8TB Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/seagate-backup-plus-8tb-review <!--paging_filter--><p>This is the first 8TB hard disk drive we’ve reviewed at Mac|Life and the biggest external (single-drive) hard disk currently on the market. It uses a new technology called SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) which allows the cramming of more bits on a given surface by using a similar technique to how roofers lay tiles. Drives that use SMR have one flaw — they do not perform well when it comes to sustained, random writes. They do, however, excel when it comes to sustained read speeds and burst write speeds, so they’re ideal for backup.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/08/seagatebackupplus8tb.jpg" width="620" height="461" /></p><p>Indeed, this is probably one of the fastest-writing external hard disk drives we’ve tested. It reached a fairly average 124MBps in sequential reads and a jaw-dropping 195MBps in sequential write. It comes formatted in NTFS, but comes with an NTFS driver for Macs you can install (or you can reformat).&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Other than the SMR-related weakness on random writes, the Seagate Backup Plus performed admirably on our tests, achieving some remarkable numbers while keeping the price per TB fairly low.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Seagate Backup Plus 8TB</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Seagate </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://www.seagate.com" target="_blank">www.seagate.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $299.99 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>USB port</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Impressive performance. Low power consumption.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Very “harsh” blocky design. Lack of power button.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/seagate-backup-plus-8tb-review#comments Reviews hard drive Seagate Backup Plus 8TB Mac Tue, 18 Aug 2015 19:58:41 +0000 Desire Athow 21955 at http://www.maclife.com Never Alone Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/never-alone-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Never Alone tells the story of an Iñupiat Inuit child’s trek across the Alaskan landscape to find the source of a blizzard that’s ravaging her village, with only an arctic fox for company.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/08/neveralone-620.jpg" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>Their journey is full of platform-based action and puzzle solving, with Nuna able to use tricks such as jumping in strong winds to cross chasms, and pull heavy objects to weigh things down. You can also switch to controlling the fox, which can claw its way up walls to reach things that are out of Nuna’s reach. Progression unlocks videos which explain how the game draws upon Iñupiat cultural values.</p><p>The atmosphere built by the visuals and sound fosters genuine affection for the duo. It’s heartbreaking to hear Nuna gasp or the fox’s mournful whimper when the other falls victim to the world’s dangers.&nbsp;</p><p>Messing up can feel like it wasn’t your fault, but ample checkpoints keeps the story moving. The cost of this is the game’s short length, which isn’t helped by things just starting to get challenging around the halfway mark.</p><p>An experienced player can finish the single-player mode in about three hours, but Never Alone really shines when played with a young family member, each of you controlling a character, which reinforces the story’s collaborative theme. The way you play isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s really just the vehicle for a lovely piece of folklore told in a modern way, with striking imagery.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Never Alone is really at its best when played with a partner. The game tells a beautiful short story with moral points to get kids thinking, too.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Never Alone</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Upper One Games </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://neveralonegame.com" target="_blank">neveralonegame.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Mac running&nbsp;OS X 10.8.5, 1.7GHz Intel Core i5, 2GB RAM; Intel HD Graphics 4000 or better, 3GB HDD</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Strong atmosphere. Videos about Iñupiat culture.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Not much challenge. Occasionally feels unfair.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/never-alone-review#comments Reviews Never Alone OS X Mac Games Fri, 14 Aug 2015 21:07:03 +0000 Alan Stonebridge 21946 at http://www.maclife.com Acer S277HK Monitor Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/acer-s277hk-monitor-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Acer’s 27-inch display has a Mac-like design with an aluminum frame and brushed-metal finish. The panel measures 20mm thick, while the border round the screen is a mere 6mm, so your desktop almost goes from edge to edge. Unfortunately, the monitor sits quite low, and you can’t adjust the height. The buttons for the on-screen controls are tucked away under the right edge of the screen, which makes it tricky for navigating menus. The controls include useful options, though, such as preset modes for viewing graphics and video, and a blue-light filter designed to ease eye-strain.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/08/acers277hk-620.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>We can’t fault the image quality. The S277HK uses IPS (in-plane switching) to provide excellent all-round viewing angles, along with bold colors and strong contrast that make the most of the 3,840x2,160 resolution. The screen also boasts a glare-reducing matte finish.&nbsp;</p><p>The S277HK supports HDMI 2.0, so it can display a 4K image with a 60Hz refresh rate (note, though, that Macs can currently only display 4K video at 30Hz over HDMI). Fortunately, the monitor includes two DisplayPort 1.2 interfaces — one each for full-size DisplayPort and Apple’s Mini DisplayPort/Thunderbolt connection — allowing the latest Mac Pro and MacBook Pro models to display 4K video at 60Hz (older models don’t support DisplayPort 1.2). The built-in speakers work quite well, producing respectable sound quality and volume. There’s a DVI port, but it’s a shame there isn’t a second HDMI, and the S277HK doesn’t offer any USB hub functionality, either.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Connectivity could be improved, but the S277HK offers excellent image quality, making it an attractive option for any 4K-hungry Mac user.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-the-bottom-line"><legend>Review Synopsis</legend><div class="field field-type-text field-field-product"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Product:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Acer S277HK</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Acer </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="http://us.acer.com" target="_blank">us.acer.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $699 </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-requirements"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Requirements:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Mac with DisplayPort or HDMI connection</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>High-quality 4K display. HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-negatives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Negatives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Height isn’t adjustable. No USB ports.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/acer-s277hk-monitor-review#comments Reviews 4K accessory monitor Mac Thu, 13 Aug 2015 21:37:40 +0000 Cliff Joseph 21941 at http://www.maclife.com