Mac|Life - Reviews http://www.maclife.com/articles/22/feed en Review: MacBook Air (mid-2014) http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review-macbook-air-mid2014 <!--paging_filter--><p>The MacBook Air has really come into its own with later revisions and price cuts, which is why, despite being an amazing computer, it’s mildly disappointing that the mid-2014 model is a very minor refresh, with just two significant changes. The processors are a mere 0.1GHz faster: now 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 CPUs are used throughout the range, replacing the 1.3GHz chips inside the <a href="http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/11inch_2013_macbook_air_review" target="_self">mid-2013</a> models.</p><p>Perhaps more significantly, the prices are down by $100 across the range, including both the entry-level 11-inch and 13-inch models, and the high-end versions that boast 256GB of storage. Everything else about them is the same, but since they were already outstanding, and the price drop brings the entire range below $1,200, this is hardly an indictment.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/09/macbookair2014_620.png" width="620" height="396" /></p><p>As you’d expect, benchmark results are barely changed from last year. Testing the higher-end models in each of the screen sizes, we found our Cinebench rendering tests crept ahead by a few points and battery life was 20-35 minutes longer. Whatever the model, you can still use an Air all day on a single charge.</p><p>While the current MacBook Air is undoubtedly excellent, rumor has it a new Retina version is coming soon. Could it make more sense to wait for that, even though it’s likely to be more expensive? Or maybe look for a clearance model from the 2013 range, which is likely to be even cheaper than the price-dropped 2014 line, and only marginally slower? Whichever you buy, you’re getting an incredible machine.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> The MacBook Air gives amazing portability and all-day battery without compromising on power.</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>MacBook Air (mid-2014)</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">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"> $1099 (11-inch), $1199 (13-inch) </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>Outstanding battery life. Extremely portable. This 2014 release gets a price cut.</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>Is a Retina model coming soon that could render this one obsolete?</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review-macbook-air-mid2014#comments Reviews 2014 Hardware laptop macbook air Mac Tue, 02 Sep 2014 19:11:00 +0000 Ian Osborne 20564 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Spot Trace http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_spot_trace <!--paging_filter--><p>Own something valuable and potentially mobile and prone to theft? A motorcycle, boat, car, RV or even an ATV? Wouldn’t it be good to track its position and even receive automated alerts within moments should it unexpectedly move? Enter the Spot Trace personal GPS tracking device, a multi-purpose GPS gizmo the size of a box of matches &nbsp;that works in conjunction with your Mac and iOS device.</p><p>The basics of the Spot Trace involve a small black box containing the GPS hardware and motion detection. It’s powered by four standard AAA batteries (provided), delivering up to 18 months of battery life. You also get a mounting cradle with a quartet of sharp screws and a few adhesive pads. That gives you the option of attaching the cradle permanently or simply sticking the device on in a more temporary way.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/spottrace_620.png" /></p><p>As compact as the Spot Trace is, it’s worth remembering that this is a GPS device and so requires line of sight to function. Global Telesat Communications, which manufactures the device, says it can pick up satellites through fibreglass, glass and fabric. But it won’t operate through metal. That places some limitations on where you can locate the device.</p><p>Once configured, Spot Trace automatically sends a text and or email with your asset’s GPS coordinates when movement is detected. You can also view and track online via a web interface. Various alerts can be set up too, including for movement, if the device has been turned off, or if the battery is running low. You can also manage and track multiple devices from one account.</p><p>The core functionality works via satellite, including both GPS tracking and sending alerts. So the device does not require an Internet connection, allowing you to track objects beyond cellular range, for instance on the open ocean. If all that seems like a good deal, here’s the snag. You’ll also need a service plan to use the device. One year costs $99.95, with the Extreme Tracking upgrade another $99.99. The basic plan allows tracking every five, 10, 30 or 60 mins. The Extreme tracking plan improves on this, reducing the intervals to 2.5 mins.&nbsp;</p><p>Both initial setup and the various web-based interfaces can be a little confusing, although it’s not entirely impenetrable. We weren’t sure whether the device supported being attached to an object that was located out of satellite range. In other words, could you use the Spot Trace on a car in a locked garage and rely on it to wake up should the car leave that location? As it turns out, the answer is no.&nbsp;</p><p>But for the most part, the Spot Trace works pretty well. During our testing, we received email alerts almost immediately once our test asset (a car) started moving. If you’re wondering about accuracy, it’s in line with general GPS devices. But since it doesn’t use roads as reference points, you’ll find the accuracy isn’t quite as good as an in-car GPS. As for battery life, that’s tricky for us to judge definitively given the large time frames. However, it’s claimed the absolute worst case scenario for tracking a device that’s constantly moving is three days.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> For tracking large objects, such as vehicles, the Spot Trace could be just the thing for peace of mind. That said, likely annual fees for the basic service plan suggest that this probably isn’t a device for easy use by general consumers.</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>Spot Trace</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"> Spot </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.findmespot.com" target="_blank">www.findmespot.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"> $99.95 </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 with an Internet connection, any iOS device (for tracking)</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>Very compact. Wide range of uses. Long battery life. Easy online tracking.</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 service plans. Doesn’t work out of GPS range. Can be tricky to install and set up.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_spot_trace#comments Reviews accessory location Spot Trace tracking iPad iPhone iPod Mac Thu, 28 Aug 2014 18:37:05 +0000 Jeremy Laird 20544 at http://www.maclife.com Review: ReadKit 2.4 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_readkit_24 <!--paging_filter--><p>It’s been almost a year since Google brought down the shutters on its RSS aggregator Reader, simultaneously opening the doors for a new web feeder to emerge victorious. But that never happened, partly because of users’ loyalties to a variety of existing sync services offering free and paid-for features. Fortunately, Readkit works to corral all of these services into one neat desktop interface, and with the arrival of v2.4 it does “read it later” better than ever.</p><p>Support has been added for syncing Fever, NewsBlur, Delicious and Pinboard, the latter two allowing you to keep offline copies of bookmarked sites. But even if you use none of the supported services, ReadKit now has its own native RSS sync engine, and it works flawlessly.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/readkit_620.png" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>The interface retains its pared-down, clean-cut look, with features like Focus mode making reading a pleasure — but navigation is now even easier thanks to keyboard shortcuts that let you jump from article to sidebar, and collapse and expand folders in a snap.&nbsp;</p><p>ReadKit also keeps separate preference profiles for each account — even multiple accounts within the same service — so if you like to group or sort feeds differently to those piped in from Pocket, for instance, now you can. ReadKit’s performance held up admirably when we drag-and-dropped articles between different feeds, set up smart folders and drilled down to news stories using tags. And the proverbial cherry on this digital cake? The inline match highlighting upon a search query.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> ReadKit brings RSS content into a single interface, making even the dullest feed a pleasure to read.</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>ReadKit 2.4</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"> Webin </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://webinhq.com" target="_blank">http://webinhq.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 OS 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>Honed interface. Broad service support. Speedy performance. Multiple accounts.</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>None to speak of.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_readkit_24#comments Reviews read-it-later reader ReadKit RSS Mac Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:41:27 +0000 Tim Hardwick 20530 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Jawbone UP24 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review-jawbone-up24 <!--paging_filter--><p>The smart and sporty Jawbone UP24 is the most fashionable, lightweight and comfortable fitness tracking wearable you can buy, and it has a beautiful app to match. Of course, some functionality is sacrificed in the name of vanity. For starters, there’s no display on the device itself for on-demand workout stats or a web-based portal to chart the quantified self data it silently collects. All metrics have to be synced to an iOS app, but the UP24 improves over the original UP with Bluetooth wireless syncing to make data uploads almost effortless. Battery life takes a hit, but it will still last an impressive seven days.</p><p>As its name suggests, this new version of the UP can truly be worn 24 hours a day without the need to take it off between syncs. The flexible bracelet is coated with the same incredibly smooth non-latex rubber and if you want to check your fitness stats, you need to fire up the companion iOS app, which is full of rich color and helpful wellness tips, plus detailed activity and sleep analysis tracking options.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/jawbone_620.png" width="620" height="524" /></p><p>Your activity is represented by a vertical orange bar that shoots up with more physical movement and is based on the number of steps taken and miles or kilometers traveled. Additional readouts include active time, longest active time, longest idle time, total calories burned, active calories burned and resting calories burned. It’s almost the full spectrum of fitness metrics. Flights of stairs climbed is the one missing stat. Unlike the Fitbit Force, there’s no altimeter sensor inside.</p><p>But the Jawbone UP24 is arguably a more accurate tracker than the Force and its idle alerts cause the bracelet to vibrate whenever you’re inactive for a set amount of time. Other exercise motivators include “Today I Will” challenges (get to sleep earlier, drink more water, walk further, etc.) and the ability to find teammates among your contacts. The UP24’s sleep tracking capabilities, meanwhile, chart whether you’re sound asleep, restless or awake in bed. It’s surprisingly accurate for a fitness bracelet, which can also replace your alarm clock with silent, wrist-vibrating wake-up calls.</p><p>The Jawbone UP24’s fashionable, lightweight design makes it easier to wear for a full 24 hours and the activity and sleep tracking metrics make it useful day and night. Our only gripe? The 2.5mm power jack makes it fiddly to charge — it comes with a 2.5mm-to-USB charger, but it’s too easy to lose.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> With Bluetooth, the UP24 is $50 more expensive than the original, but until Apple releases an iWatch, it remains one of the slickest fitness wearables you can snap onto your wrist.</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>Jawbone UP24</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"> Jawbone </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.jawbone.com/up" target="_blank">www.jawbone.com/up</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"> $149.99 </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 4s and newer, iPod touch 5th gen and newer, iPad 3rd gen and newer, or iPad mini and newer</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>Wireless syncing added. Stylish and lightweight. Soft rubber for comfort. iOS compatible.</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 display for on-demand stats. No web app. Fiddly 2.5mm stereo jack for charging.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review-jawbone-up24#comments Reviews fitness fitness tracker Health Jawbone Jawbone UP24 iPad iPhone iPod Thu, 21 Aug 2014 18:14:05 +0000 Matt Swider 20509 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Dead Island http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_dead_island <!--paging_filter--><p>Techland started development on Dead Island in 2005, but the zombie-themed first-person action-RPG hybrid didn’t shamble onto shelves until 2011. Three years later, publisher Deep Silver has finally deigned to grace the App Store with a Mac port, but it’s no surprise that the game’s design, writing, and structure feel a bit dated almost a decade into things.</p><p>As the name suggests, Dead Island is a zombie action game set on a sprawling tropical isle called Banoi. Players split their time between a beach resort, a small city, and a research lab, but each area has an open world sensibility that allows players to explore freely and seamlessly. Banoi shows hints of being a responsive, dynamic world — if you don’t help other survivors right away, they may die before you can reach them, for example — but it’s mostly a collection of similar-looking beaches and pool bars, peppered with characters that range from stereotypical to predictable.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/deadisland1.png" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>Enemy survival increases with difficulty level, but Banoi’s zombie denizens also respawn constantly, making it impossible to clear out oft-traveled zones permanently. This design flub is exacerbated by a constant need to backtrack. While these mechanics are a staple of the role-playing genre, here they combine tediously, and few of the quests are interesting enough to support them.&nbsp;</p><p>Dead Island’s enemy scaling affects its role-playing game mechanics, too. Because every enemy gets stronger alongside you, it never feels like you’re actually getting stronger, just keeping up. This takes some of the fun out of gaining new skills and weapons. Dead Island shines brightest during combat, however. Players have access to a variety of attacks and weapon types, and the game places a particular emphasis on keen aiming. It’s a fun and engaging system, even if hit points aren’t all that balanced.</p><p>From there, zombies can be poisoned, run over in a truck, set on fire, or kicked into deep water. A nice mix of enemy types, a diverse arsenal, and useful terrain give rise to interesting situations, and Dead Island’s combat stays fresh for most of its remarkably long running time. A co-op mode only makes Dead Island’s hacking and slashing better.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> The mix of role-playing game mechanics and first-person combat doesn’t always work, but its B-movie setting and flexible combat keep things lively, even if the zombies aren’t.</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>Dead Island</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"> Deep Silver </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.deepsilver.com" target="_blank">www.deepsilver.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"> $21.99 </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>OS 10.8 and newer, Intel Core i5 2.7GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M 512MB</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 tense and varied, with a broad set of interesting, unpredictable interactions. Exploration and online multiplayer are seamless.</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>Respawning enemies, fetch quests, backtracking, and mission structure make Dead Island feel tedious at times. Role-playing elements are tacked on and don’t play to the game’s strengths.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_dead_island#comments Reviews Adventure Dead Island FPS Horror Zombies Mac Games Tue, 19 Aug 2014 18:35:00 +0000 Joseph Leray 20499 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Western Digital My Passport Pro 2TB http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_western_digital_my_passport_pro_2tb <!--paging_filter--><p>Portability seems to be ever more important to creative pros, with powerful laptops such as the MacBook Pro with Retina display often shedding as much weight as possible. Being thin and light often means shedding a hard drive in favor of solid-state storage. That’s great for performance, but it means paying through the nose for space.</p><p>If you’re working with massive files on the move, you often can’t do without space and sacrificing performance isn’t an option. The My Passport Pro might be the answer. It’s a Thunderbolt drive that powers itself over a single Thunderbolt cable, and contains two 1TB hard drives. You can choose to have these arranged for performance as a striped RAID 0 array, meaning that you get to use the full 2TB of space and also get the maximum possible transfer speeds. Alternatively, you can have them set up as a mirrored RAID 1 array, meaning that you sacrifice performance and only effectively use half of the storage space. But you get increased safety, because every file is stored on both drives and you don’t lose anything if one fails. A dedicated Mac app makes it easy to switch between the options.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/wdmypassport_620.png" width="620" height="422" /></p><p>Portability is key. The drive is about 5.5 inches long, 3.15 inches wide and 1.06 inches thick. It weighs 1.01 pounds, which isn’t overly heavy, but when combined with its small size, it feels extremely dense. The solid aluminum exterior adds to this. It feels like a really solid unit to hold.</p><p>The Thunderbolt cable is built into the unit, and when it’s not in use, it wraps all the way around the outside in a rubber groove. There’s no Thunderbolt passthrough (adding one would require an external power supply – a mains adapter – making it less portable), so if you’ve got a string of devices, this needs to go at the end. The silver-and-black color scheme reflects its premium standing, which is, in turn, reflected in the price. At $299 for the 2TB version, it’s not cheap, but neither is it totally unreasonable. A 4TB version is also available, priced at $429.99.</p><p>Tested in the striped RAID 0 configuration, transfer speeds peaked at over 200MB per second, which is superb for a non-SSD portable drive. Set to mirrored RAID 1, speeds drop to around half. In use, the drive is quiet at first, but the fan at the back can kick up a pretty notable whirr that’s high-pitched, and yes, somewhat intrusive.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> On the one hand, you could say that the Western Digital My Passport Pro is just a faster, more spacious portable drive. On the other hand, you might be a creative pro looking at a bus-powered portable striped RAID and thinking “I need this in my life!” And you probably wouldn’t be wrong.</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>Western Digital My Passport Pro 2TB&nbsp;</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"> Western Digital </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.wdc.com" target="_blank">www.wdc.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>Mac running OS X 10.6.8 or later, Thunderbolt 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>Great striped drive performance. Good capacity/performance balance. Easy-to-use tools.</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>Loud fan whirr. Thunderbolt-only configuration. No SSD option.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_western_digital_my_passport_pro_2tb#comments Reviews accessory hard drive My Passport Pro portable RAID Storage thunderbolt Western Digital Mac Thu, 14 Aug 2014 19:05:00 +0000 Matt Bolton 20470 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_family_tree_maker_mac_3 <!--paging_filter--><p>The family-history market has shifted in the two years since Family Tree Maker for Mac 2 was released. Major updates to both Reunion and MacFamilyTree have seen them close the gap considerably, although FTM does manage to stay on top — just by a smidge. This third iteration is a relatively low-key release, concentrating on making solid improvements.</p><p>There is one new feature of note: the Family View. This provides a traditional top-down view of your tree as an alternative to Pedigree View, and makes it far easier to browse larger trees.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/ftm3.png" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>Version 2 introduced TreeSync, a means of keeping your family history in sync between Mac, Ancestry.com, and your iPhone or iPad through the free Ancestry app. FTM3 makes this more reliable, plus it syncs a lot more information between your devices. It also tightens privacy controls by letting you mark photos as “private” to prevent uploading.</p><p>There are still annoyances, most notably that you can only link one tree to one computer at a time. FTM3 also switches file format to match the PC version, which means a lengthy conversion if upgrading from version 2. The process doesn’t preserve TreeSync connections, so you have to unlink the tree on Ancestry.com before uploading your file as a new online tree.</p><p>Other changes won’t set pulses racing, but prove themselves where it matters, making your family history that little bit easier to manage. You can now copy and paste a person’s facts to someone else in your tree, retaining all associated information. Better still, you can paste the fact to the target’s immediate relatives at the same time, which is perfect for census records and other shared events.</p><p>Other tweaks are similarly minor, but welcome. A new global sort option lets you display children by birth order, while you can also more easily export individual branches of your tree. The Places database has also been tweaked, so locations can now be grouped by city, state, or country. Duplicate facts are easily merged, and a collection of new and improved reports makes sharing research far simpler.</p><p>All of these tweaks strengthen FTM’s existing feature set, but its media management tools continue to compare poorly to both MacFamilyTree and Reunion, while the Smart Stories narrative tool, introduced in the PC version back in 2011, is still absent.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Gripes aside, Family Tree Maker for Mac 3 is a worthy upgrade. It delivers some solid improvements in key areas, helping to keep its historically shaped nose ahead of its nearest rivals.</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>Family Tree Maker Mac 3</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"> Ancestry.com </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.familytreemaker.com" target="_blank">www.familytreemaker.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>OS X 10.6 or later, Intel CPU, DVD drive for installation, internet access for online features</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>The new Family View is easy to navigate. Ability to copy and paste facts. Superb web and mapping tools.</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>TreeSync feature still undercooked.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_family_tree_maker_mac_3#comments Reviews ancestry family tree Family Tree Maker 3 Mac Tue, 12 Aug 2014 18:32:15 +0000 Nick Peers 20460 at http://www.maclife.com New App Recap: August 11, 2014 http://www.maclife.com/article/ipod_and_iphone/new_app_recap_august_11_2014 <!--paging_filter--> http://www.maclife.com/article/ipod_and_iphone/new_app_recap_august_11_2014#comments Gallery News AppLife Apps Dish Anywhere Foursquare FX Photo Studio iOS iPod and iPhone lighting LumiFi MediaFire OOLOO Photos Scanbot scanner search social networking TV Shows Yarnee iPad iPhone iPod Mon, 11 Aug 2014 21:13:38 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 20455 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Mobile Home Siri Remote http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_mobile_home_siri_remote <!--paging_filter--><p>Apple’s CarPlay is on the way, but what if buying a new car or installing an aftermarket upgrade isn’t possible for you in the next few years? As alternatives go, perhaps the Mobile Home Siri Remote will suffice. It’s cheap, simple to set up, and gives some access to iOS in the car.&nbsp;</p><p>Mobile Home is a Bluetooth-based patch-through that links your car’s hands-free function (or equivalent third-party device) and Apple’s Siri voice-control system, giving access to the iPhone’s Siri-based features as you drive. Its single button duplicates the functionality of holding down the home button on an iPhone to wake up Siri. You can send and listen to texts, emails, and social network updates, control music playback, make phone calls, set up calendar events, input navigation queries, and more. It has no screen of any sort, so if you want to do something that requires visual interaction with iOS, you need to have your iPhone docked or cradled somewhere on the dash.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/siriremote.png" width="620" height="838" /></p><p>Having full access to Siri in the car is pretty exciting. Once the device has been set up you don’t have to worry about syncing it again. You don’t even need to turn it on and off. In our tests, Siri works as well using the Remote as it does directly on a phone. The catch? You need an Internet connection to operate Siri, which is not always possible on the move.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> In some ways a joy to use, in others very frustrating. Inconsistent Internet connections are a problem.</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>Siri Remote</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"> Beanco Technology </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.drivewithsiri.com" target="_blank">www.drivewithsiri.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"> $79 </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 with Siri/voice Control, factory or third-party Bluetooth hands-free system/device</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 set up and use. Siri voice control unchanged.</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>Requires a mobile Internet connection. Patchy response to Siri activation.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_mobile_home_siri_remote#comments Reviews Hands-Free Mobile Home Siri Siri Remote iPhone iPod Thu, 07 Aug 2014 18:16:30 +0000 Jeremy Laird 20438 at http://www.maclife.com Review: AKVIS OilPaint http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_akvis_oilpaint <!--paging_filter--><p>AKVIS OilPaint is a surprisingly easy way to turn photos into mini-masterpieces and create stunning digital art without spending hours layering on light and tone. In some cases, the process only takes a few minutes. It’s available as a standalone app in four flavours, as well as a convenient plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.</p><p>The software is easy to handle. Simply import a photo, then apply one of the custom filter settings using the sliders on the right or use one of OilPaint’s predefined options. You can change everything from the brush-stroke density and size, to the thickness of digital paint, to give your work a more detailed or impressionistic feel. You can also edit the canvas texture and save any settings you specify for later. Your painting is then rendered each time to achieve optimum results. There’s a quick preview tool for you to see a sample of your final work.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/08/oilpaint_main2.png" width="620" height="468" /></p><p>Unlike standard filters, in OilPaint the brushstrokes match the contours of your photo rather than appearing in set places on the screen, which makes the final images seem much more crafted. You can further fine-tune your image by defining brush-stroke directions using the Stroke direction tool. This tool is great for making sure that the contours on a face are correctly defined. In this new version of the software, there’s also a History Brush, which enables you to paint back in areas of detail. Or you can call upon an “Oil Brush” tool to add more paint effects, while a smudge tool enables further tweaking.All of which allow you much greater flexibility than a traditional oil painting filter and let you produce stunning results with ease.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> More than just another filter, OilPaint turns photos into paintings with its great range of tools.</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>AKVIS OilPaint 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"> AKVIS </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.akvis.com" target="_blank">www.akvis.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 </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>OS X 10.4 or later, Intel/G5, 4GB RAM, 2GB disk 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>Excellent image output. Edit and save presets. Fine-tune effects.</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>Rendering of paintings aren't instant.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_akvis_oilpaint#comments Gallery Reviews Akvis creativity OilPaint painting Mac Tue, 05 Aug 2014 20:33:15 +0000 Alex Thomas 20427 at http://www.maclife.com