Mac|Life - Reviews http://www.maclife.com/articles/22/feed en Pillars of Eternity Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/pillars-eternity-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Pillars of Eternity is a game for heroes whose glory days were sometime around 1998 — those who fought the battles of Baldur’s Gate. If you aren’t one of these role-playing veterans, it’s happy to let you join the quest. Be warned though, it will expect you to know what you’re doing — wasting little time on niceties like explaining how to play, and being quick to insist you take control of whole parties in combat while still working out what each character does.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/pillarsofeternity_620.jpg" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>Provided you can conquer the difficulty curve, though, it’s an amazing game — very Dungeons &amp; Dragons in style but in a whole new world. Indeed at times it does feel as much like an introduction to the world as a game set in it, but written by masters of the craft and with some well-executed twists.</p><p>Whereas normally wizards are squishy cannons and fighters just heavy lumps of meat, for instance, Pillars of Eternity gives each class extra benefits for venturing outside their comfort zone. If you want an armored wizard or a smartypants fighter, both are perfectly doable, although those decisions come with their own trade-offs.</p><p>It’s a massive game — at least 40-50 hours if you rush — and with lots to discover off the beaten path through three towns, sprawling wilderness, and your own castle Stronghold, which you slowly upgrade from a ghost-infested ruin into a fortress anyone would be proud to call their own. As with the best RPGs at the moment, decisions have major implications, and it’s often possible to talk your way out of a fight — though by no means all of them.</p><p>The more you dig into the world, the more there is to enjoy, the mood spoiled only by characters and jokes created by backers of the game’s Kickstarter campaign, which at best contribute little and at worst are deeply obnoxious. They’re easily spotted from a distance, though, and just as easily skipped.</p><p>This isn’t simply a roleplaying game from the old-school, but a great reminder of why fans have longed so hard for a return to it. Expect a nasty shock if you’re not used to the difficulty level, but get past that and the adventure waiting is never anything but richly rewarding.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> A fantastic modern RPG in classic style, learning from both the past and what followed.</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>Pillars of Eternity</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"> Obsidian Entertainment </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.obsidian.net" target="_blank">obsidian.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"> $44.99 </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 10.5 or later, Intel Core i3, 4GB RAM, ATI 4850 or Nvidia 9600 GT</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>Return of classic style. Huge, sprawling world. Amazing player choice.</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>Brutally unforgiving.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/pillars-eternity-review#comments Reviews OS X Pillars of Eternity rpg Mac Games Fri, 31 Jul 2015 21:13:03 +0000 Richard Cobbett 21899 at http://www.maclife.com SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/sandisk-connect-wireless-flash-drive-review <!--paging_filter--><p>This USB drive enables you to access the files on it either by plugging it into a computer like any other USB drive, or by connecting to it over Wi-Fi (using its own Wi-Fi capabilities — no network required) from an iOS device or from a computer using a web browser. It costs a bit more than a standard USB drive, but it’s hugely useful.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/sandiskconnect-620.jpg" width="620" height="473" /></p><p>Just press the button on top to activate Wi-Fi and you can browse what’s stored and even stream HD video from it totally smoothly. Its built-in battery lasted us for 55 minutes of streaming, which admittedly limits you (and it takes a couple of hours to charge from a USB port), but you can choose to download files from the stick to your iOS device through the app, which mitigates this.</p><p>Wireless access from a Mac using the web browser wasn’t always reliable for us, and is very basic, but it works. It’s much better to connect properly over USB, where you’ll get impressively fast transfer speeds with USB 3.0 — we got write speeds of over 400MB/s. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Great for the travelling business person or anyone who wants more out of a USB stick.</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>SanDisk Connect Wireless Flash Drive</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"> SanDisk </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.sandisk.com" target="_blank">www.sandisk.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 (16GB), $59.99 (32GB), $109.99 (64GB) </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 10.6 or later, or iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 5.0 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>Small and easy to use. Wi-Fi support. Works with multiple operating systems.</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>Web-based Wi-Fi configuration is basic.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/sandisk-connect-wireless-flash-drive-review#comments Reviews accessory Flash Drive hardware SanDisk Connect usb iPad iPhone iPod Mac Thu, 30 Jul 2015 18:15:23 +0000 Ez Bardeguez 21892 at http://www.maclife.com Robot Factory Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/robot-factory-review <!--paging_filter--><p>For all the imagination in kids’ creativity apps, they can feel oddly constrained. Once you’ve built the cookie/doll/car, what’s it for? Just taking a photo seems a sad end to the rollercoaster of creation. That’s where Robot Factory aims to fix things.</p><p>You start with various bot bodies, to which you can attach a selection of limbs, heads, and features. There are few rules: anything can go pretty much anywhere, allowing for creations from the cute to the chilling. You can even customize the sounds your droid makes using the microphone.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/robotfactory-620.jpg" width="620" height="465" /></p><p>There’s plenty of diversity, but that’s par for the course in apps like this. The added interest should be in the next step, where you test your new robot in a countryside course with realistic physics. Shrubs catch, rocks roll and slopes slope. The challenge is to see how far you get before your creation runs out of health.</p><p>The course is a welcome addition, but it feels somewhat aimless. Watching even the oddest robots stumble along becomes tedious due to repetitive terrain. The movement controls are almost too simple, trying to direct a variety of legs, wings, and thrusters through simple screen taps. They feel clumsy and confusing. Still, it’s an improvement on just keeping your bots in a digital showcase.&nbsp;</p><p>Robot Factory isn’t for everyone. Younger children may find it daunting and others will quickly tire of the course. For budding quality testers, however, it’s hard to imagine a better sandbox.</p><p><strong>The bottom line. </strong>Offers lots of fuel for the imagination, but the test course tests little aside from patience.</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>Robot Factory</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"> Tinybop </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://tinybop.com" target="_blank">tinybop.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>Lots of cool creative options for building your own virtual robot.</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>Test course is interesting but ultimately disappointing.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/robot-factory-review#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps creativity iOS Robot Factory iPad iPhone iPod Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:11:09 +0000 Matt Thrower 21889 at http://www.maclife.com OutlineEdit Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/outlineedit-review <!--paging_filter--><p>For many of us, our days as a student are well behind us, but that doesn’t mean old skills like writing outlines don’t come into play as an adult — and OutlineEdit for Mac makes this arduous task almost effortless.</p><p>This lightweight app offers comprehensive tools for any size of outline. Set the title, enter new items, and drag-and-drop text into place, using a full complement of convenient keyboard shortcuts to indent along the way.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/outlineedit-620.jpg" width="620" height="387" /></p><p>OutlineEdit goes far beyond the basics: an optional Safari extension can be used to mark web text and open it into a new outline. Text groups can be folded up after a predetermined number of lines, categories can be color-coded, and you can add side notes or checkboxes to stay organized without clutter. You can also increase or decrease text size.</p><p>Multitaskers will love OutlineEdit’s ability to work on one window while another is open as a reference. Last but not least, a variety of statistics such as number of items, words, and characters or the ability to track how long you’ve worked on the current outline put your hard work into perspective.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> OutlineEdit elegantly handles the task of writing outlines, but could benefit from the ability to change the default font.</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>OutlineEdit 1.4</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"> Outline Edit </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://outlineedit.com" target="_blank">outlineedit.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"> $8.99 </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 10.8 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>Optional Safari extension works as virtual highlighter for web text. Export outlines to Evernote, Kindle, OPML, or PDF.</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>Outlines limited to single font. No specific text size adjustment (bigger or smaller only).</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/outlineedit-review#comments Reviews OS X outline OutlineEdit writing Mac Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:17:49 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21887 at http://www.maclife.com Titan Souls Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/titan-souls-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Titan Souls for Mac is a game about dexterity and wits — a gauntlet of boss battles undertaken by a lowly adventurer with only a blood-red bow, a single arrow, and a purple hair ribbon to her name.</p><p>The arrow is Titan Souls’ signature mechanic. Once loosed, you’ll have to retrieve it, either by hand or holding a button to call it homeward, as if by magnetism or telepathy. This enchanted arrow then charts a straight line toward its master, piercing anything in its path.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/titansouls-620.jpg" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>Nocking and retrieving arrows are stationary activities leaving your hero vulnerable to attack. She’s remarkably delicate: a glancing blow from a stone fist or charged beam will send her body back to the nearest checkpoint glyph. Thankfully, the inverse also applies: one true arrow is enough to fell any of Titan Souls’ hulking contraptions or malevolent flora. Either way, death comes suddenly, and this symmetric fragility makes each encounter quick and tense.</p><p>Most enemy encounters require an additional layer of deduction. You’ll feel clever for sussing out each foe’s Achilles’ heel, but Titan Souls’ exactitude means that the gap between devising a plan and executing it is a wide one.&nbsp;</p><p>Exploring Titan Souls’ isometric overworld for the first time is a joy. Enemy titans are scattered among snowy plains and tangled forests. Unfortunately, dying too often saps the world of its wonder: repeatedly trekking between checkpoints and boss fights is not fun, a rare bit of chaff in an otherwise focused game.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Titan Souls distills video game combat to its essence, exhibiting a clarity and precision that’s all too rare — and it’s all the better for it.</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>Titan Souls</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"> Acid Nerve </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://acidnerve.com" target="_blank">acidnerve.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"> $14.99 </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, 2GHz Intel Core i5 or better, 4GB RAM, 1GB graphics</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>Combat is demanding — one-shot-one-kill design. Bosses are inventive; puzzle-solving skills.</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 bosses too finicky. Odd checkpointing means a fair amount of dead time.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/titan-souls-review#comments Reviews OS X Titan Souls Mac Games Sat, 25 Jul 2015 01:47:00 +0000 Joseph Leray 21875 at http://www.maclife.com Radium Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/radium-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Radium is a Mac application offering a comprehensive buffet of internet radio stations based on location, category, or direct search.</p><p>While earlier releases resided in the menu bar, version 3 adopts a small on-screen window where the action takes place; clicking the menu bar now hides the UI instead. A better compromise would be an optional setting that restores the menu bar UI for those who want it.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/radium-620.jpg" width="620" height="486" /></p><p>Search is lightning fast and we had no problem finding most favorite stations locally or across the country. There are far more stations available here than from iTunes, and others can be added with a URL; the developer also accepts email requests. Playback takes only seconds to begin, and sound quality is quite good.</p><p>iCloud sync is one of the handiest features, which makes favorite stations (and tracks saved in your wish list) available on other Macs or the free iPhone app. You can also buy songs direct from Amazon.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Radium offers a better internet radio listening experience for Mac, at the expense of dubious UI decisions.</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>Radium 3.1</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"> CatPig Studios </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://catpigstudios.com" target="_blank">catpigstudios.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"> $14.99 </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 10.10 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>Comprehensive Mac internet radio client with multiple audio output support. Wish list saves songs for later purchase.</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 option to keep UI tucked away in menu bar. Poor discoverability with some buttons.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/radium-review#comments Reviews internet radio Music OS X Radio Radium Mac Thu, 23 Jul 2015 17:39:12 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21868 at http://www.maclife.com Glass Planner Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/glass-planner-review <!--paging_filter--><p>Glass Planner is a productivity aid that attempts to seamlessly integrate your calendar and to-do lists. In the “Plan” tab, you create and browse appointments, events and to-dos in a view that resembles Fantastical’s Day Ticker. “Act” forces focus on tasks that can still be completed today, while “Done” is a browsable archive of completed and past items.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/glassplanner_620.jpg" width="620" height="542" /></p><p>The app initially overwhelms, but assists with liberal pop-up tutorials and by forcing you to start off in the streamlined mode “Simple Glass.” Don’t skip ahead if you want to get to grips with the concepts. You can then upgrade, although features are split in three (essentially: projects/tags, visuals, and unlimited checklists), with varying pricing and distasteful discounts for spamming your Facebook feed. Fortunately, the app’s potential offsets these issues, but you need to put in plenty of time to reap the benefits.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Clever but complicated, Glass Planner will save time — if you put in the effort first.</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>Glass Planner</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"> Slide Rule 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://sliderulesoftware.com" target="_blank">sliderulesoftware.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>iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch running iOS 6 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>Effectively combines a calendar app with a to-do list. Plenty of tutorials.</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>Takes a bit to get used to its complexity.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/glass-planner-review#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps Calendar Glass Planner iOS to-do iPhone iPod Wed, 22 Jul 2015 17:40:30 +0000 Craig Grannell 21865 at http://www.maclife.com Napkin Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/napkin-review <!--paging_filter--><p>There are times when words alone can be used to eloquently describe something, but if you really want to get the message across, why not say it with pictures? Armed with an elegant set of markup tools, Napkin — which borrows its name from the jotting down of ideas on table linen — takes this concept further, allowing anyone to convey ideas or explain concepts in a more ambitious way.</p><p>For starters, you can draw lines or shapes with a mouse or trackpad and Napkin will convert those scribbles into clean, vector-based arrows, text boxes, or callouts. These so-called “napkins” can be embellished by importing images from anywhere on your Mac, or using the built-in screenshot feature to grab some or all of the display.</p><p>The latest update reduces dependency upon other software by enabling you to crop, pixelate, or blur imported images without leaving the app. Sharing your final creation is also easier thanks to the addition of third-party extensions in the Share menu, as well as the ability to drag-and-drop JPEG or PNG versions between apps.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/napkin_620.jpg" width="620" height="430" /></p><p>Our favorite feature is how Napkin makes short work of creating image callouts. Draw around the area you want to draw the viewer’s attention to, click to lock it, and drag into position. Arrows drawn between objects retain links when one is moved, and smart guides make it easy to position elements for a more pleasing design.</p><p>The app is priced at $39.99 exclusively from the Mac App Store, and there’s no way to try before you buy. The cost of admission feels exorbitant compared to free markup apps like Skitch — that is, until you spend time with Napkin and realize what an effortless timesaver it really is.</p><p>Despite it being worth the money, we’d love to see a couple of improvements. There’s currently no way to import PDF files (although documents can be exported in this format), and keyboard jockeys will lament the absence of built-in shortcuts while taking screenshots, which can only be done via the mouse.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Don’t let the price keep you away; Napkin is our new go-to markup app, and a whole lot of awesome that’s well worth the investment.</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>Napkin 1.5</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"> Aged &amp; Distilled </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://aged-and-distilled.com" target="_blank">aged-and-distilled.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"> $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 10.9 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>Fast, full-featured image markup. Converts drawn lines or boxes to arrows, shapes, and callouts.</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>Expensive, no trial version available. Lacks PDF import.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/napkin-review#comments Reviews markup Napkin OS X Mac Tue, 21 Jul 2015 18:23:36 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21862 at http://www.maclife.com Cities: Skylines Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/cities-skylines-review <!--paging_filter--><p>For decades, SimCity was the undisputed king of city builders. With the latest in Maxis’ simulation series a relatively disappointing affair, the time was right for a new contender to take the crown. And now, with incredibly deep, engrossing mechanics capped off by a stunning presentation, Cities: Skylines is a worthy heir to the throne.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/citiesskylines_620.jpg" /></p><p>There are so many things to manage in Cities: Skylines, with budgets, taxes, resources, transportation, and pollution just a few items on the list. Don’t be afraid if you’re new to the genre; the game unlocks more mechanics as cities grow so you’re not immediately overwhelmed. You’ll place a few roads and set up districts for housing, industry, and retail to get your city started. The more you build, the more people will flock to your ever-growing city, and you’ll have to support the citizenship with hospitals, schools, and recreational areas. If you run out of space, not to worry — adjoining plots of land can be purchased to expand upon. You’ll have to manage the flow of new traffic through road planning, or with public transportation options. Good planning requires patience, and if you expand too fast you’ll run out of money and resources quickly.&nbsp;</p><p>Turning a sleepy hamlet into a booming metropolis isn’t easy, of course. Citizens want electricity and running water, preferably clean — residents can become sick from polluted water if you place a factory too close to a water tank. A social media feed keeps you updated on how people are doing; add a fire department and they’ll express gratitude at having someone to get their cat down from a tree. This is a subtle way to keep the player informed without over-explaining or hand-holding, but there were still occasional issues in the city that were hard to solve. It took some trial and error (and expensive re-zoning of utilities) to figure out why one entire city was plagued with illness, for example.</p><p>Whether you’re zoomed in on an individual resident or zoomed out to see the scope of your creation, Cities: Skyline’s presentation shines. The sights and sounds make cities feel alive. There wasn’t a moment when it didn’t look fantastic, and aside from one technical hiccup that was quickly solved, it ran beautifully too.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Cities: Skylines breathes new life into the city-building genre with intelligent, satisfying systems that suck you in for hours at a time.</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>Cities: Skylines</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"> Paradox 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="https://www.paradoxplaza.com" target="_blank">www.paradoxplaza.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"> $29.99 </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 10.9 or later, Intel Core 2 Duo 3GHz, 4GB RAM, 512MB graphics, 4GB 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>Intuitive, addictive city-building. Huge plots of land to build up. Flawless presentation that gets better up close.</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>Trouble sources are occasionally unclear.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/cities-skylines-review#comments Reviews Cities: Skylines simulation Mac Games Fri, 17 Jul 2015 19:42:34 +0000 Sarah Leboeuf 21848 at http://www.maclife.com LaCie Mirror Review http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/lacie-mirror-review <!--paging_filter--><p>LaCie has previously produced hard drives that look like silvery spheres and metallic sculptures, and its latest avant-garde creation is this eye-catching Mirror drive.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2015/07/laciemirror_620.jpg" /></p><p>It certainly lives up to its name, being entirely covered with gleaming, reflective glass. The drive measures 3.1 inches wide, 5 inches long and half an inch thick, so it’s relatively chunky when compared to some of the latest portable drives. However, it only weighs 0.5lb, so it’s still slim and light enough to slip into a backpack or laptop bag.</p><p>You don’t have to worry about dropping it when you’re out and about either, as LaCie has used Corning Gorilla Glass — the tough, scratch-resistant glass used to protect the screen on the iPhone and iPad. The only thing it can’t seem to resist is sticky finger marks, but LaCie helpfully includes a cleaning cloth so that you can give it a quick polish every now and then. There’s also a carrying pouch, and even a smart little ebony stand for when you want to sit the Mirror on your desk.</p><p>Performance is respectable enough, with the drive’s USB 3.0 interface averaging around 100MB/s for both read and write speeds. That’s not going to break any records, but it’s in line with a number of other portable drives we’ve tested recently. LaCie also bundles some handy software with the Mirror.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> The Mirror is very expensive. Seriously expensive: there’s only one version available at the moment, with 1TB of storage costing a hefty $280. There are cheaper drives available, but the Mirror drive will appeal to fashion fans.</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>LaCie Mirror</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"> LaCie </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://www.lacie.com" target="_blank">www.lacie.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"> $279.99 </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 10.5 or later, USB port (LaCie Private-Public software requires a Mac Intel 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>Unique design. Uses tough Gorilla Glass.</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 expensive. Only average performance.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/lacie-mirror-review#comments Reviews accessories hard drive LaCie Mirror Mac Thu, 16 Jul 2015 18:22:07 +0000 Cliff Joseph 21846 at http://www.maclife.com