Mac|Life - Reviews http://www.maclife.com/articles/22/feed en Scrolls Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/scrolls-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Scrolls is a work of game-design alchemy, mixing the strategy of a tabletop miniatures campaign with the deck-building of a collectible card game. Far from being muddied or muddled, however, Scrolls’ hybrid lineage produces a refreshing game that is elegant and demanding.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/04/scrolls_620.png" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>Your goal is to destroy three of your opponent’s five “idols” while protecting your own, using a deck of 50 cards (called “scrolls”) to organize and distribute hulking fighters and mystical enchantments. Each turn of a Scrolls match has three phases, the first of which is the most novel and most complex: players sacrifice cards to gain resources or to draw more scrolls. Sacrifice too rarely, and you’ll run out of scrolls and the resources to play them; too often, and you’ll be overwhelmed, your idols cast down. Scrolls’ sacrifice system is knotty and difficult to learn, but the tension, variety, and flexibility it affords make each turn satisfying.</p><p>From there, your brigade of shining knights, shambling undead, and copper-plated droids pop into existence on a hex-tiled board.</p><p>As a detached god-commander, you manage cooldowns and positioning based on each unit’s stats and special abilities: a Vitality Well periodically heals nearby allies, while a Pest Dissimulator poisons enemy soldiers. Finally, your pint-sized army attacks, whacking and wheezing with outsized expressions that belie their diminutive stature.</p><p>Scrolls is tactically rigorous, but a lack of information will be the new player’s biggest barrier. There’s no way, for example, to see your scroll collection compared to the complete 360-card set. Peer-to-peer trading and the black market are vital features, but they’re useless until players know which scrolls to look for. Deck-building suffers similarly, and some mechanics, such as the special resource “Wild,” are never explained at all. Thankfully, there’s plenty of casual, low-pressure play and a notably generous in-game purchasing scheme that mitigate some of Scrolls’ opacity. “Trials” — a set of puzzles played under special conditions — are a good way to ease into the more competitive multiplayer modes, which include a ranked ladder and “Judgment,” which gives each player a randomized deck.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Despite its steep learning curve, Scrolls is refreshing in its design and generosity, offering the best of both tactical play and collectible card games.</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>Scrolls</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"> Mojang </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://mojang.com" target="_blank">mojang.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"> $5 </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, Intel Mac, 2GB RAM, Intel HD Graphics/Nvidia GeForce 8400/AMD Radeon HD 2400, 700MB HDD space</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>Dense, varied strategy. Clever sacrifice mechanic. Generous business model.</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>Steep learning curve.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/scrolls-review#comments Reviews card game fantasy Mojang Scrolls Strategy Mac Games Thu, 16 Apr 2015 17:39:15 +0000 Joseph Leray 21524 at http://www.maclife.com Procreate Pocket Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/procreate-pocket-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Thanks to an emphasis on usability instead of complex functionality, Procreate Pocket is incredibly easy and fun to use. With the screen uncluttered by tools you can focus on the simple pleasure of drawing and painting. The interface remains largely the same as the iPad app, with brush, eraser and smudge tools along the top, and if you are using an iPhone 5 or later, the Layers tool as well (on an iPhone 4S or iPod touch 5th gen, it’s in the menu). Sliders on the side of the screen enable you to alter brush size and opacity with ease, and although brush size is shown as a percentage of the screen rather than pixel size, you soon get used to it.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/04/procreatepocket_620_0.png" width="620" height="542" /></p><p>Other functions are tucked into the “Lightning Bolt” menu in the top left corner, and although some options are no longer on offer, Procreate iPad users won’t feel short-changed — except maybe when it comes to brushes. There are 12 defaults, divided loosely into art brushes and texture brushes. You don’t get the same editing options to create your own custom brushes or fine-tune the defaults as you do in the iPad version of the app, but 12 is about the going rate for an iPhone app, as per Procreate Pocket’s rivals, Brushes and Sketchbook. However, there’s a secret weapon: users of the Procreate iPad app can export their brushes and then import them into Pocket via iCloud or Dropbox, expanding the range. For new users, however, the variety and customization of brushes is unavailable. The same is also true for canvases: bespoke canvas sizes can be imported but not created.</p><p>A lack of complexity has always been one of Procreate’s strong points, but with Pocket things may have gone too far. When used on its own, it’s still as fun as its big brother for creating great art with, but it feels limited. When used in tandem with the main app, the extra options begins to make up for this, as you can start a sketch in Pocket and finish by exporting layered native files between devices. On its own, it just lacks that extra something to make it a true masterpiece.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Sketching in Procreate is still a simple delight, but it lacks the brush options of its iPad sibling.</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>Procreate Pocket</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"> Savage Interactive </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://procreate.si" target="_blank">procreate.si</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 or iPod touch running iOS 8.1 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>Simple uncluttered interface. Import brushes via Dropbox and iCloud. Export layered files to use in iPad app.</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>Lacks brush editing options.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/procreate-pocket-review#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps Art painting Procreate Pocket iPhone iPod Wed, 15 Apr 2015 17:51:50 +0000 Alex Thomas 21521 at http://www.maclife.com iScrapbook 5 Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/iscrapbook-5-review <!--paging_filter--><p>While many folk are content to carry digital images on mobile devices and share them via social networks, there is still a contingent of Mac users who fancy the notion of preserving memories in hard-copy form. With iScrapbook 5, Chronos finds a way to appeal to both camps.</p><p>iScrapbook 5 assists users in creating digital scrapbook albums in single pages or dual-page spreads. Individual pages or entire albums can be printed or exported to PDF, TIFF, JPEG, or PNG files. With more than 15 new feature categories including texture, glass, and simulated old film overlays, this version creates pages that look more authentic. Imported photos shine thanks to one-click auto enhancement, while 3D headlines help modernize albums, with control over lighting, bevel, and reflections.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/04/iscrapbook5_620.png" width="620" height="440" /></p><p>The easy-to-use layout tools haven’t changed much, with the exception of a revamped Browser and Layer views at right. The former contains tabs for shapes, artwork, photos, text, and favorites, which contain elements that can be dragged onto the canvas, including self-contained “iScrapKits” available for purchase online. The app includes a few to get started, along with downloadable freebies to cut down on app size.</p><p>Seizing on the photo filter trend popularized by Instagram, iScrapbook 5 includes dozens of effects, including vintage, vibrance, and line art. Others like sunburst, sparkle, and 13 different water stains can be dragged onto elements to create a more realistic appearance; applying effects was snappy on our mid-2012 MacBook Pro with Retina display. Texture overlays add heightened realism, which can be created in standard 12x12in scrapbook, letter, A4, or just about any custom size.</p><p>All of this visual wizardry does come with one big downside: iScrapbook 5 requires OS X Yosemite 10.10 or later, leaving Mac owners with older hardware stranded on a less glitzy previous version. In a sign of the times, Chronos has adopted OS X extension support for sharing pages via Mail, Messages, or social networks, although trackpad gestures still get no love — zooming in or out of pages requires the on-screen slider.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> iScrapbook 5 retains its self-proclaimed status as the top scrapbooking application by a wide margin, but leaves owners of older Macs in the dust in favor of glitzy effects, textures, and 3D headlines.</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>iScrapbook 5</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"> Chronos </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://chronosnet.com" target="_blank">chronosnet.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"> $49.99 (single user), $89.99 (family pack) </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 10.10 or later, 400MB of available disk space (2.7GB for included artwork and templates)</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>Inexpensive software with rich set of tools. Texture overlays and photo effects. Smart Inspector keeps user interface clutter-free.</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>Must have OS X Yosemite. Can’t drag-and-drop objects between layers. No gesture support.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/iscrapbook-5-review#comments Reviews filters iScrapbook 5 Layout scrapbooking Mac Tue, 14 Apr 2015 18:09:17 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21518 at http://www.maclife.com Apple Watch Review http://www.maclife.com/article/hardware/apple-watch-review <!--paging_filter--><p>The Apple Watch is a very unique product, so I’m taking a unique approach to this review. While we’re all accustomed to smartphones and tablets, wearable tech still takes some time to wrap one’s head around. You can’t put one on for an hour, or a day, or even a week, and gain a fully formed opinion. So to truly study how an Apple Watch might affect daily life, this review will be ongoing. From initial impressions to long-term analysis, I’ll update this article regularly with my evolving thoughts.</p><p><em><strong>Note:</strong> I’ll assume you have basic working knowledge of the watch and its core features. If you need to brush up on the basics, I invite you to look over our <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/features/apple-watch-iwatch-ultimate-guide" target="_self">Ultimate Guide to Apple Watch</a>.</em></p><h3>First Hands-On Impressions [4/10/15]</h3><p><img src="/files/u324771/apple_watch_display.png" width="620" height="372" /></p><p><strong>Anyone can try an Apple Watch at any Apple Store. You don't <em>have</em> to make an appointment, but it's recommended.</strong></p><p>Today I spent an hour tapping, swiping, and Force-Touching my way through every standard app. I wasn’t able to use the sample watch as I normally would — for example, I couldn’t receive texts, emails, or notifications from friends — so for now I’ll simply report my immediate reaction to the product’s more obvious qualities: its appearance and interface. The wow factor.</p><p>Firstly, I think the watch is gorgeous. I’ve always appreciated its design in pictures, and it doesn’t disappoint in the flesh. Everything from the sharpness of the Retina display to the feel of the Digital Crown to the design of the UI delivers the expected high level of quality Apple has built its brand upon. Simple, elegant, understated yet flashy — it’s everything Apple fans have come to appreciate. It’s unfortunate the screen remains off until you tap it or raise your arm, because a blank watch face doesn’t do a good job of showing the product off to those around you.</p><p>Apple has, for the most part, done a brilliant job of reimagining traditional functions for use on such a small surface. The apps generally offer good benefits for brief, at-a-glance interactions, trusting that users will be better served by their iPhones for trickier tasks. Apple smartly focused on functions that would suit the device and the immediacy of its placement on your arm. There is a slight learning curve, which I suppose is to be expected with something this fresh and new. I was actually pretty lost for the first couple minutes, but once you learn the language of Force Touch, scrolling with the Digital Crown, and swiping up to glance at quick bits of info, things fall into place quickly enough.</p><p>A few things have me scratching my head, though. Do we really need a Photos app on this thing? Who would bother scrolling through stamp-sized images while a much more suitable iPhone display is tucked in their pocket? And while I <em>could</em> make calls, write emails, and text from the watch, would I want to? That brings us to the big question about Apple Watch, and about smartwatches in general: why would you need one if you already have a smartphone? I suspect the answer to that lies in the quality and quantity of small, nuanced interactions one has with their watch throughout the day. Some early reviewers who had weeklong access to an Apple Watch claim the device helped them to be more present, that taptic notifications removed the need to constantly check their phones. Others claim the opposite, that the constant in-sight presence of another tech toy was more distracting. I look forward to judging this for myself once my white-banded Sport model arrives at launch.</p><p>Another thing I noticed is that while there are various watch faces to choose from — each of which can be customized to display extra data such as the weather, alternate time zones, and timers — the selection seemed surprisingly slim. Once you eliminate options that don’t meet certain personal criteria — for example, I prefer to see the time displayed digitally rather than analog — the options quickly whittle down. I like the concept of faces that incorporate animated images, but those are limited to a blooming flower, swimming jellyfish, and wing-flapping butterfly, none of which I’m big on. Since the look of the face is arguably the most important aspect of a watch, I’m hoping to see more variations (including copious third-party options) in the App Store soon.</p><p>I suppose that’s all I can say about my first real Apple Watch experience; this review will be better served when I can spend significant time with the device and offer observations based on actual experience rather than speculation. For now, the watch is shaping up exactly as I’d expected: it’s brilliant, gorgeous, and fun to use — but I still need to discover solid reasons to own one, other than for the fun of it. I’ll be back with more thoughts around the launch of Apple Watch on April 24th.</p> http://www.maclife.com/article/hardware/apple-watch-review#comments Reviews Apple Apple Watch Hardware Review smart watch Fri, 10 Apr 2015 22:26:27 +0000 Chris Slate 21505 at http://www.maclife.com Logic Pro X 10.1 Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/logic-pro-x-101-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Apple’s professional music package is a familiar sight in commercial recording studios and on arena stages. It offers multi-track recording, great MIDI features, effortless loop-based music creation and stacks of virtual instruments. With the Logic Pro X release it gained tools for fixing timing and tuning, a vastly improved interface, better MIDI handling, and the jaw-dropping Drummer, which produces incredibly realistic “live” drumming.</p><p>Drummer wasn’t perfect though: in Logic Pro X the available drummers were fine if you wanted to make rock, folk, country, or metal, but if you wanted to make dubstep, EDM, or hip-hop you’d need to turn to your loop library or create the beats by hand. When even the most traditional musicians tend to have at least some electronic elements in their music, that was a major omission. With Logic Pro X 10.1, Apple has made the program more useful to electronic music makers, and it has also fixed some bugs and introduced some useful features for musicians and producers of all kinds in an update that’s free to existing users.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/04/logicprox_620.png" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>The most obvious new feature is the addition of 10 new electronic and hip-hop drummers that make beat-making much easier. You can stick with the presets or fine-tune the drum machines via Drum Machine Designer, and the new Note Repeat and Spot Erase features make it much easier to edit MIDI drum patterns. Piano Roll has been tweaked to make it more drum-friendly, the new Brush Tool enables you to create a series of notes with mouse or trackpad gestures, and the new Time Handle feature enables you to expand or compress MIDI, so for example you might take a pattern and slow it down without changing how it’s played.</p><p>The 10.1 update isn’t just for electronic and hip-hop afficionados, though. There are more than 200 new synth sounds and a new instrument, the Mellotron; there’s a new Smart Quantize feature that can fix timing without removing deliberate flourishes such as piano figures or drum fills; you can automate regions instead of entire tracks and move the automation data when you move the region or regions; there’s a redesigned Compressor plug-in; the Plug-In Manager is now customizable and there’s support for AirDrop in Yosemite for sharing projects with other Macs.</p><p>Logic Pro X 10.1 is user-friendly enough that coming to it from Garageband is no longer terrifying, but behind the friendly face is a powerful pro-level digital audio workstation. And it’s affordable. Where previous versions were among the most expensive music packages you could buy — in 2004, Logic Pro 6 was $999 — Logic Pro X 10.1 delivers incredible value for acoustic, electric and electronic artists alike.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Great new features, superb new sounds and better ways of doing things: a must-have for musicians.</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>Logic Pro X 10.1.1</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"> Apple, Inc. </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.apple.com" target="_blank">www.apple.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"> $199.99 </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, 64-bit processor, 4GB RAM</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>Drummer embraces electronic beats. Time Handles and Smart Quantizing. New synths and Mellotron too. Really useful editing improvements.</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>N/A</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/logic-pro-x-101-review#comments Reviews Audio Logic Pro X Music professional Mac Thu, 09 Apr 2015 19:21:28 +0000 Gary Marshall 21500 at http://www.maclife.com Workflow Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/workflow-review <!--paging_filter--><p>iOS 8 opened a lot of doors previously closed to developers, including the use of extensions to enable functionality which device owners could only dream of a year ago. Thanks to a new app called Workflow, even casual users can now get in on the fun, creating simple, one-tap scripts to make iOS perform new tricks.</p><p>Workflow is essentially the iOS equivalent of Automator, the OS X application Apple introduced in 2005 to make short work of repetitive tasks without a stitch of coding experience. Like Automator, Workflow can be used to make apps work together to automate tasks such as creating PDF files, all the way up to faux-apps capable of being launched from the Home screen — such as the Tip Calculator included as a sample workflow.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/04/workflow_620.png" width="620" height="466" /></p><p>Being able to bend iOS to your will is quite liberating after years of Apple’s draconian restrictions over the OS. With more than 150 available actions, Workflow promises “infinite possibilities,” and there are a lot of cool things you can do. The app includes a gallery of workflows created by others, and users are encouraged to add their own. These range from relatively basic tasks (create a Home screen icon to call a loved one in one tap) to the more practical (automate getting directions to a favorite location) and downright convenient (send a text message with your most recent screenshot).</p><p>Compared to competing automation apps such as Launch Center Pro, Workflow is user-friendly, but lacks detailed advice for more comprehensive tasks. At first launch, the app walks users through the process of creating an animated GIF using the device camera.</p><p>There are only a couple of things worth quibbling about. For those with multiple iOS devices, the lack of iCloud or other cloud sync means having to recreate workflows two or more times. The app also conspicuously avoids any potential for Notification Center widgets, presumably because Apple continues to limit what developers are capable of doing.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Workflow delivers powerful iOS automation that’s so good, Cupertino should make it part of the operating system.</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>Workflow</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"> DeskConnect </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="https://my.workflow.is" target="_blank">my.workflow.is</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 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>Fast, drag-and-drop automation for iOS. More than 150 actions for control of other apps. iOS 8 extension support.</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>Workflows aren’t synced between multiple devices. Lacks Notification Center widget support. Limited documentation.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/workflow-review#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps automating scripting workflow iPad iPhone iPod Wed, 08 Apr 2015 18:06:10 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21496 at http://www.maclife.com Snapselect Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/snapselect-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Large amounts of storage for your photos may be cheap, but modern cameras can blaze away at speeds in excess of 10FPS, and this can lead to a great many similar, if not identical, images being taken. Snapselect offers image recognition that can run while importing pictures from your camera as well as on existing Aperture or Lightroom libraries or folders on a hard drive to help you cut down on duplicates. It works on both JPEG and raw files.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/04/snapselect_620.png" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>The app will group your images by capture time into similar and identical piles, and can take some time to do this depending on your CPU and the number of images it’s having to process. We didn’t see it make a mistake in its sorting, but after this process it’s up to you to check through them and export the best to a working folder or reveal them in the Finder. The others can be deleted or archived.</p><p>While browsing your images, you can directly compare two side by side and pick which is the best, then export it for editing. The app will display camera settings and a histogram while you’re sorting, so that all required information is to hand, and you can share directly to social media too, if you don’t want to edit.</p><p>Many photographers will delete poor images on the back of the camera immediately after taking them or on importing to their Mac (in Lightroom’s grid mode, say), so our biggest issue with this app is it feels like a solution in search of a problem, to a large degree. There’s great technology at work, but not sure how many people will get all that much out of it.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Excellent image recognition and potentially very useful, but maybe not an essential buy.</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>Snapselect</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"> Macphun 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://macphun.com" target="_blank">macphun.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"> $9.99 </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, 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>Image recognition works. Works with app libraries. Can discard poor images on import.</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 all that necessary.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/snapselect-review#comments Reviews Duplicates Photography Photos Snapselect sorting Mac Tue, 07 Apr 2015 18:35:29 +0000 Ian Evenden 21492 at http://www.maclife.com DiskWarrior 5 Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/diskwarrior_5_review <!--paging_filter--><p>DiskWarrior 5 is the latest release of a revered Mac utility dating back to the late ’90s. The software repairs and rebuilds damaged disk directories, the roadmap computers use to find files and folders scattered across all of those platters. Optimized, error-free directories provide faster file access, fewer spinning beach balls, and a generally more pleasant experience.</p><p>Three years after the last major release, DW5 features a streamlined UI and finally delivers 64-bit support, which enables tackling the larger disk directories found on more voluminous modern drives. A new Directory Optimization Index provides a visual graph of disk efficiency, even before clicking the Rebuild button to get things going.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/04/diskwarrior5_620.png" /></p><p>Unlike previous versions, version 5 ships on a bootable USB flash drive instead of CD or DVD. That decision makes sense considering Apple has eliminated internal optical drives, but it’s a minor nuisance for upgraders, who can no longer simply download an update and create their own disc at home. Instead, you’ll have to get the new version shipped out.</p><p>But that’s where the bad news ends: the thumb drive is capable of repairing the startup disk of Intel-based Macs that originally shipped with OS X 10.4 through 10.6, and can be upgraded for OS X Lion 10.7 and later systems using the included DiskWarrior Recovery Maker. This eliminates one downside of earlier versions, which couldn’t be used to boot later Mac models without the purchase of a replacement disc.</p><p>Alsoft claims rebuilds are now twice as fast, and we noticed an immediate and very real performance difference in our tests with a mid-2004 Power Mac G5, mid-2007 Mac mini, and mid-2012 MacBook Pro with Retina display. DW5 also feels more stable compared to earlier versions, which would often consume excessive CPU time and occasionally even crash when working on immense directories.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Seventeen years later, DiskWarrior 5 remains a must-have disk utility, and is more flexible than ever on a USB thumb drive.</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>DiskWarrior 5</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"> Alsoft </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://alsoft.com" target="_blank">alsoft.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"> $119.95 ($59.95 upgrade) </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;Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later, 1GB RAM or more, available 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>Still the best disk utility around. Now ships on bootable flash drive. 64-bit support for larger disk directories and drives.</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>No downloadable upgrade from earlier versions.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/diskwarrior_5_review#comments Reviews damage DiskWarrior repair Utility Mac Thu, 02 Apr 2015 17:05:00 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21472 at http://www.maclife.com PDFpen 2 Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/pdfpen_2_review <!--paging_filter--><p>There are so many PDF creation and annotation apps for iOS, it’s hard to imagine how Adobe can still justify charging $449 for the desktop version of Acrobat Pro when solutions like PDFpen can perform most of the tricks from the comfort of a smartphone or tablet for under $20.</p><p>With the arrival of PDFpen 2, this feature-to-price ratio becomes even more glaring, thanks to the addition of a stamp library, automatic page numbering, and the ability to add password protection (with optional encryption) to documents. Annotations can also now be flattened upon export, and a new easy-to-use form signature widget makes signing documents effortless while on the go.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/03/pdfpen2_620.png" width="620" height="466" /></p><p>The all-new release also delivers an iOS 8-style makeover that adds iCloud Drive as an import/export option, consolidating tools into an editing bar at the top of the screen. The editing bar isn’t always intuitive — you’ll have to collapse the current tool prior to selecting objects, for example. The flatter UI also makes some button options such as “Make Transparent” a little less obvious.</p><p>Thankfully, there’s far more to love about this version, which is now a Universal build with support for all iOS devices, and unique bundle pricing to help previous users upgrade at a reduced price. PDFpen 2 also enables AirDrop document sharing, palm/wrist protection to prevent accidental input, and the option to add the annotation author’s name, as per the desktop version.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> PDFpen 2 delivers more desktop-class functionality for iOS, but could benefit from further UI refinement.</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>PDFpen 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"> Smile On My Mac </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://smilesoftware.com" target="_blank">smilesoftware.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>iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch 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>Excellent new features such as iCloud Drive compatibility, automatic page numbering, and password protection. Simple signing functionality. Affordably priced.</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>Interface can be a little confusing.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/pdfpen_2_review#comments Reviews annotation Creation iCoud Drive PDF PDFpen 2 iPad iPhone iPod Wed, 01 Apr 2015 17:05:00 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21469 at http://www.maclife.com WALTR for Mac Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/waltr-mac-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Normally iTunes handles all of your Mac-to-iOS media-syncing needs, but there just might be a better way. A new Mac application, WALTR, has managed to find a way to circumvent iTunes’ rigid adherence to MP3/AAC and MP4 formats. The process is a model of simplicity: launch WALTR without iTunes running, plug in any supported iOS device, then drag and drop your files over. After roughly 30 seconds, files are copied, ready for playback alongside previously synced media and iTunes in the Cloud content. The real trickery, though, lies in how the software deftly makes unsupported formats — MKV, AVI, FLAC, WMA and OGG among them — “just work” without the need for conversion software. Note that MPEG and Divx files are among the few formats the software currently rejects.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/03/waltr_620.png" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>Note also that WALTR will use the first image found inside a folder to create a thumbnail. For now, the workaround is to temporarily create new folders for each album/video with only those media files and image; Softorino is working on a solution.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> WALTR is hands down the fastest, most user-friendly method we’ve ever seen for syncing music and videos to an iOS device, no iTunes required.</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>WALTR for Mac</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"> Softorino Inc. </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.softorino.com" target="_blank">www.softorino.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"> $29.95 </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 10.9 or later; iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad</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>iTunes-free music and video sync for iOS devices. Sync from unsupported formats like MKV, AVI, or FLAC without conversion. Fast, effortless, and intuitive to use.</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>No MPEG or Divx support. No Wi-Fi sync support.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/waltr-mac-review#comments Reviews iOS iTunes media syncing WALTR WALTR for Mac iPad iPhone iPod Mac Tue, 31 Mar 2015 18:19:23 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21466 at http://www.maclife.com