Mac|Life - Reviews http://www.maclife.com/articles/22/feed en Review: Intensify Pro http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_intensify_pro <!--paging_filter--><p>What might look like a simple preset-based image editor turns out to have a lot more depth, as MacPhun’s Intensify Pro opens up into a layer-based editing system with plenty of scope for manual adjustments.</p><p>Intensify Pro is a standalone app that can open most image formats as well as raw files, but it also hooks into Photoshop (CS5 or later), Lightroom (4 or later), Aperture (3.2 or later) and PS Elements (10 or later, but not the App Store versions) to take your images on a round trip from one app to another.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/intensifypro_620.png" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>Using a preset or creating your own as a starting point, dive into the Adjust palette for tweaks to contrast, exposure, sharpness and color temperature. This doesn’t offer much over the likes of Aperture, although its Pro Contrast and Structure sections – offering control over highlights, midtones and shadows — are worth experimenting with.</p><p>A brush tool enables adjustments to be painted on selectively, and they can also be applied across gradients and on layers for a great deal of control over your final image. Once your image is tweaked to your liking, Apply takes you back to your original app if you’re round-tripping; otherwise, the Save &amp; Share icon, followed by the icon of your preferred app, moves your image into, say, Photoshop Elements. You can also export directly to the MacPhun Print Lab.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> It might not add much for CC renters, but as a companion for Elements, this comes recommended.</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>Intensify Pro</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://www.macphun.com" target="_blank">www.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"> $60 </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 10.7 or later, 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>Plugs in to many apps. Good range of adjustments. Custom presets speed up work.</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 organization features.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_intensify_pro#comments Reviews image editing Intensify Intensify Pro MacPhun Mac Thu, 18 Dec 2014 20:55:00 +0000 Ian Evenden 21099 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Foursquare 8 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_foursquare_8 <!--paging_filter--><p>Since 2009, foodies have coveted Foursquare as the best way to find and share favorite haunts. But earlier this year the company boldly evicted the second half of that equation, putting rival Yelp squarely on notice in the process.</p><p>With version 8.0, Foursquare has become less about connecting with friends and more about personalization. At first launch, the revamped app queries users for their favorite dishes and culinary styles, which the service uses to tailor search results to more specific tastes.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/foursquare8_620.png" width="620" height="541" /></p><p>When those tastes change, a tap on the logo at upper left allows the adding or removing of personalized selections, although based on our experience thus far, this type of tweaking doesn’t always make a dramatic difference.</p><p>Confusingly, the banished check-in option can still be found lurking on profiles, but now launches the standalone Swarm app. We aren’t big fans of this form of app segregation, although the move does cut down on the noise factor for those less concerned about social interaction.</p><p>The rest of the Foursquare nation, however, will find the changes quite appetizing (pun intended). The cleaner UI tends to get a little busy on the main Find a Place screen, but everything else is more centrally located with tabs for Here (current location recommendations), Tips (your submissions, as well as those from other users), and Profile.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Foursquare 8.0 is worth another look for Yelp refugees, although ejecting check-ins ultimately makes this app a more lonely place than it used to be.</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>Foursquare 8.5</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"> Foursquare Labs, 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.foursquare.com" target="_blank">www.foursquare.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 (5GB backup + 5GB sync) </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 7.0 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>More personalization options. Less cluttered than before. Good alternative to Yelp.</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>Social features and check-in are relegated to a separate app.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_foursquare_8#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps food Foursquare Foursquare 8 travel Yelp iPad iPhone iPod Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:05:00 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21092 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_adobe_photoshop_cc_2014 <!--paging_filter--><p>Photoshop CC caused a storm when it was launched in 2013. From that point on, you couldn’t buy Photoshop with a perpetual licence, you had to rent it via an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. This still causes dismay amongst some users, but there are upsides — free updates and an increasing range of Creative Cloud services. And since its rocky launch, Adobe has dropped the price and increased the value.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/photoshopcc2014_620.png" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>Adobe’s current Photography plan costs just $9.99 per month (if you take out an annual subscription) and includes not just Photoshop CC but Lightroom 5.5. It’s a great double-act. Photoshop takes care of the editing, Lightroom takes care of the organization.&nbsp;</p><p>Photoshop CC introduced an all-new Smart Sharpen tool designed to maximize clarity and reduce noise, together with a Camera Shake Reduction tool that can analyze the direction of movement (“trajectory”) and then reverse the blur digitally. CC 2014 introduces a new Focus Mask tool to go alongside them, which can isolate the sharpest areas of your pictures.</p><p>But the biggest cluster of new features centers on Adobe Camera Raw 8, Photoshop’s companion RAW conversion tool. You can now carry out so many everyday photographic enhancements in Camera Raw that you may need Photoshop less and less. There’s also a significant change to two of the tools in Adobe Camera Raw. This is Adobe’s raw conversion plug-in, and it launches automatically when you attempt to open a raw file. The Graduated and Gradient Filters now have a manual masking brush tool, which enables you to mask the effect in specific areas.</p><p>Photoshop CC 2014 is a tough program to review because it doesn’t really have any rivals — apart from the last perpetual version of itself, Photoshop CS6. Some photographers may get by with lower-cost alternatives, including Photoshop Elements or Paint Shop Pro, but in reality Photoshop CC is out there on its own when it comes to photo manipulation.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/photoshopcc2014_2_620.png" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>But to get the most out of Photoshop you do need to know what you’re doing — there’s precious little help here for beginners. And there’s a strong market in creative plug-ins which provide instant effects, inspiration, and creative options simply not available in the Adobe program.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> The improvements in each update of Photoshop CC itself are relatively modest, but they accumulate — and they’ll carry on accumulating for as long as you subscribe. The spectre of paid upgrades is gone, we assume, forever, and it’s getting harder and harder to argue against Adobe’s subscription-based software 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>Adobe Photoshop CC 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"> Adobe Systems, 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.adobe.com" target="_blank">www.adobe.com</a></p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-price"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Price:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> $9.99/mo or $119.88/year </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 a multi-core Intel processor and 64-bit support, Mac OS X 10.7 or later, 2 GB of RAM, Internet connection</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-positives"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Positives:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Subscription plans mean lower cost entry point. New selection and blur tools. Clear and simple interface for a complex 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>Update installs alongside Photoshop CC. Lightroom and Photoshop need better integration.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_adobe_photoshop_cc_2014#comments Reviews Adobe Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 Creative Cloud image editing Photography Photoshop Mac Tue, 16 Dec 2014 18:32:53 +0000 Rod Lawton 21088 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_parallels_desktop_10_mac <!--paging_filter--><p>There are many good reasons to run alternate operating systems on a Mac, but this year Apple gave us the best one yet, courtesy of the OS X Yosemite public beta — and the latest version of Parallels Desktop not only delivers the necessary 10.10 compatibility and guest virtual machine support, but provides bits of the shiny new desktop OS to Windows too.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/parallelsdesktop10_620.png" width="620" height="388" /></p><p>Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac arrived right on cue ahead of Apple’s now-yearly OS X refresh. This timetable comes at a cost: Upgraders are required to shell out 50 bucks to maintain compatibility with the latest operating system, despite Cupertino’s tradition of giving it away. While some veteran users may cry foul over this policy, Parallels hasn’t simply added Yosemite compatibility and called it a day. There are plenty of convenient new features on show, with performance enhancements at nearly every turn and a fresh coat of paint that nicely complements Apple’s new UI aesthetic.</p><p>Atop the list of improvements is real-time virtual disk optimization, finally automating the process of compacting VMs to reclaim space. Users no longer have to fret about manually retrieving that precious unused storage — simply check the settings option for each VM, and forget about it. Parallels also managed to increase battery life for MacBooks by as much as 30 percent, while accessing snapshots up to 60 percent faster — both immediately noticeable and very welcome improvements.</p><p>Given the popularity of Windows, Parallels once again fine-tuned integration with Microsoft’s operating system. Opening Windows documents is now 48 percent faster, while Office 2013 applications launch 50 percent quicker — changes that add up in daily use. In Coherence mode, that controversial Windows 8 Start screen can even blend into Launchpad, adding new apps as they’re installed.</p><p>But it’s the little things that shine. Our favorites are the ability to drag and drop files onto a Windows VM icon to open them, while Outlook now displays an Apple Mail-style badge for unread messages. Office applications can also now save files directly to Mac-hosted cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive, as well as iCloud Drive with the arrival of Yosemite.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Parallels Desktop 10 for Mac gains a fresh, Yosemite-inspired look, welcome performance tweaks, and a big helping of convenient features. But existing users should budget accordingly if they want to remain current.</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>Parallels Desktop 10 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"> Parallels IP Holdings GmbH </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.parallels.com">www.parallels.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"> $79.99 (upgrade $49.99) </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 Mavericks 10.9.3 or later; Intel Core 2 Duo or newer processor; 2GB RAM (4GB recommended); 850MB of disk space for installation; 15GB or more disk space per virtual machine</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>Ready for OS X Yosemite. One-click presets optimize for best performance based on usage scenario. Adds Mac-style Save to and Share options to Windows.</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>Upgrade required for Yosemite support.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_parallels_desktop_10_mac#comments Reviews Operating System OS X parallels Parallels 10 PC windows yosemite Mac Thu, 11 Dec 2014 18:05:00 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21062 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Timeful http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_timeful <!--paging_filter--><p>Productivity apps tend to be too rigid about scheduling events — a problem Timeful deftly manages to overcome. In addition to events and to-do items, this free iPhone app also encourages good habits, gently helping users find time for personal goals like exercise. The app does this by proactively protecting pockets of time in your day, even on shared calendars.</p><p>The UI is clean and focused primarily on the day ahead; month and list views are also available, although the former doesn’t do much for those who prefer to see everything laid out at once. Timeful color-codes entries based on categories designated by the user, while also being respectful of calendar events synced from Apple, Google, and Microsoft accounts.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/timeful_620_0.png" /></p><p>One of our favorite aspects of Timeful is the ability to drag-and-drop items, which applies both to existing entries as well as all-day events perched atop the Today view. This kind of breezy, simple feature makes managing the day feel less like work and far more fluid than other apps.</p><p>Timeful also has a few tricks up its sleeve for the more obsessive-compulsive, with the ability to “sideline” less important events to make room for what matters most. Users should be prepared to commit a few weeks so Timeful can adapt itself to your schedule, but otherwise our only real complaint is the lack of iOS Reminders and native iPad support.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Timeful walks the delicate tightrope between calendar and to-do app with a lot of grace and style, and gets smarter as you use 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>Timeful 1.3</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"> Timeful, 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.timeful.com" target="_blank">www.timeful.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 or iPod touch running iOS 7.0 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>Syncs with calendars from Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Adapts to user habits to help find time for everything. Clean UI focused on getting things done. It’s 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>No ability to sync with iOS Reminders. Tends to get noisy at times with notifications. Some preferences buried in Settings. No native iPad support.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_timeful#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps Calendar productivity scheduling Timeful iPhone iPod Wed, 10 Dec 2014 19:30:00 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21058 at http://www.maclife.com Review: 80 Days http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_80_days <!--paging_filter--><p>A rendezvous in Paris. A pause in Bucharest. An incident in Astrakhan. 80 Days challenges you to beat the famous record set by Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in 80 Days. The difference here, however, is that this is a steampunk alternate historical setting, and one that mixes strategy and adventure to create one of the most fascinating experiences on iOS.&nbsp;</p><p>On the grand scale, you discover routes to unlock new paths, from borrowing an inventor’s new flying machine to riding shotgun with fugitives on the back of a steam shovel, hoping that luck and strategy produces a fast enough route. Inside cities you get caught up in opportunities and disasters ranging from revolutions to musical powered golems to murders, with brisk but plentiful prose building the world and offering new dangers, delays, and opportunities at every stop.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/80days_620.png" /></p><p>At times it can feel like you’re being rushed through these. Likewise, a hefty reliance on random elements and having no real way to plan a route beyond the next stop can annoy, plus the strategy side of buying and selling gear to fund the trip, never really clicks. But 80 Days really isn’t about the deadline, to the point that you won’t even consider it Game Over if you don’t make it. It’s all about the journey, a beautifully written chance to see a very different world, all bolstered by the ghosts of other players on the paths not taken. There’s no sense of a golden route, no way to make a mistake. Exploration may not win bets, but it certainly unlocks a world worth taking the time to see, and a game that absolutely understands that appeal. We’d like to think that Verne would tip his hat at the sight of this.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> A fantastic conversion of Jules Verne’s wonderful novel. Full of discovery even after several trips around the world.</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>80 Days</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"> Inkle 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://www.inklestudios.com" target="_blank">www.inklestudios.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"> $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>iOS device running&nbsp;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>Deeply immersive. Beautifully written. Looks gorgeous. Merits multiple plays.</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>Can feel a little rushed.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_80_days#comments Reviews 80 Days App AppLife Apps Jules Verne iPad iPhone iPod Games Wed, 10 Dec 2014 18:40:49 +0000 Richard Cobbett 21057 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Typinator 6 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_typinator_6 <!--paging_filter--><p>Typinator is the cut-and-paste tool you can only live without until you’ve used it for about five minutes. It’s an auto-corrector that handles more than simple typos, and a way to keep text, pictures, or HTML snippets just a couple of keystrokes away.&nbsp;</p><p>And that’s just the start. Those templates can automatically include elements like the current date or insert keystrokes like tabs and carriage returns as easily as raw text. They can make use of scripts, variables, calculations and the clipboard to do anything from adding a signature to creating an entire letter that’s ready to send. For an invoice, that could mean having the payment date in 30 days’ time automatically listed. For web design, it can be as refreshingly simple as having stock elements like the doctype appear when you start typing.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/typinator6_620.png" width="620" height="457" /></p><p>This version includes support for regular expressions, which respond to patterns rather than simply triggers like “invoice1” or “mysignature.” These are complex beasts to actually create and not many presets are provided right now. But they add plenty of scope for more intelligent replacements and easier shortcuts, like being able to set up one repeated key to cycle through signatures.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Great for anyone who regularly types the same snippets, and smarter than your average copy-paste.</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>Typinator 6</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Ergonis </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.ergonis.com" target="_blank">www.ergonis.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"> $30 </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 10.5.8 (installing on OS X 10.7 or later enables regular expression support)</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>Extremely fast and stable. Highly scriptable. HTML 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>Few regular expression demos.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_typinator_6#comments Reviews cut and paste text expander Typinator 6 typing Mac Tue, 09 Dec 2014 22:55:26 +0000 Richard Cobbett 21055 at http://www.maclife.com Review: xScope 4 http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_xscope_4 <!--paging_filter--><p>If you're a web designer or developer, xScope 4 is an essential purchase. Two new tools have made their way into this major update to Iconfactory’s indispensable app for measuring, inspecting, and testing on-screen graphics and layouts. “Text” is a powerful way to search, decipher and format text. You can rifle through 100,000 Unicode characters, convert strings, and measure glyphs. Via the preferences, you define the fonts the tool can access, and the end result is extremely useful for programmers and designers alike.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/xscope4_620.png" width="620" height="440" /></p><p>“Overlay” is even more impressive. The tool’s frame is attached to a browser window, and you then define breakpoints for responsive web layouts that you can snap to with a single click. Additional tools provide the means to add column grids or an image overlay that can be toggled to quickly compare a mock-up with a live site. For mobile and web designers, this would be worth the price of admission alone.</p><p>All the old favorites remain, but with a smattering of new features and a subtly updated interface that should chime nicely with OS X Yosemite. The Screens tool now boasts a useful “de-retinizer,” which gives designers with Retina Macs a quick indication of how their work will appear on older displays.&nbsp;</p><p>For many designers, xScope has long been an indispensable tool, and this latest update remains an essential purchase.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> An excellent update to what was already a first-rate Mac app, with plenty of useful and vital changes.</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>xScope 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"> The Iconfactory </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://iconfactory.com" target="_blank">www.iconfactory.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 </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 10.8 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>Great "Overlay" and "Text" tools. Tons of new features and fixes. Extremely configurable.</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>Slightly opaque UI elements.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_xscope_4#comments Reviews inspecting measurement web design xScope xScope 4 Mac Thu, 04 Dec 2014 19:34:54 +0000 Craig Grannell 21030 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Rules! http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_rules <!--paging_filter--><p>Great puzzle games have a simple hook, and in Rules! that hook is, unsurprisingly, that you need to follow the rules. From this simplicity emerges total chaos, as you struggle desperately to remember all of the rules that the game keeps fiendishly adding to the process. Rules! is a game of memory and speed. It's totally entrancing, and it'll soon have you both frustrated and entertained in equal measure — at exactly the same time.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/rules_620.png" width="620" height="541" /></p><p>You're given an ever-evolving sequence of rules about which cards to tap on a 4x4 grid. Rules may be easy to follow, like "tap numbers in descending order" or rather trickier when combined with time pressures, like "tap adjacent monsters" or "tap odd numbers." Follow one rule and then you have to continue with the rule from the previous round, and then the round before that and so down the chain until all the cards are gone.</p><p>Rules! grows ever more complicated and pushes your memory and observation skills to the absolute limit. You periodically get a breather with resets, new cards, and some other surprises, but that's pretty much it: tap all the cards in the correct order before the 20-second timer runs down, then rinse and repeat over and over through 100 levels. It's simple yet tough, and an absolute blast to play, although its repetitive nature may eventually wear thin after protracted spells of card tapping.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Rules! is a fresh, delightful, and entrancing puzzler from the creators of Carcassonne that tests your memory and slowly pulls you into its ordered chaos.</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>Rules! 2.1.3</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"> The Coding Monkeys </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://rulesgame.net" target="_blank">rulesgame.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"> $1.99 </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>iOS device running iOS 7.1 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>A challenging, splendidly original take on puzzle games.</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>Can be frustrating at times.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_rules#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps iOS puzzle Rules iPad iPhone iPod Games Wed, 03 Dec 2014 21:56:13 +0000 Richard Moss 21025 at http://www.maclife.com Review: Inbox by Gmail http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_inbox_gmail <!--paging_filter--><p>Gmail users can be a finicky bunch that fears the slightest little change to their beloved mobile apps, but the creators of Google’s email service have come up with a bold new solution the search giant promises will be “the inbox that works for you.”</p><p>Inbox by Gmail is a completely separate iPhone app (also available on Android and web) with a familiar user interface that delivers a few unique twists of its own. In addition to email, the app also takes care of reminders and allows users to quickly search or snooze both types of data with ease.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/12/inboxbygmail_620_0.png" width="620" height="542" /></p><p>Bundles consolidates similar messages so users can act upon everything with a single tap or swipe while still retaining the option to open individual missives. Another feature called Highlights extracts only the most important details, bringing them front and center without having to actually open the email. Results were varied on text-heavy emails, but photo attachments worked particularly well.</p><p>Inbox performs this magic without disrupting the traditional IMAP folder arrangement used by Apple Mail and other clients — a vast improvement over Mailbox, which forces users into a new organizational structure. We found Inbox more colorful and intuitive than the Gmail app, but neither currently is capable of managing other email accounts; the lack of native iPad support was also a disappointment.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Inbox by Gmail makes short work of unruly inboxes without making a mess of IMAP mail folders in the process, but other email services need not apply.</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>Inbox by Gmail 1.0.2</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-company"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Company:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Google, 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.google.com/inbox/" target="_blank">www.google.com/inbox/</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 (with invite) </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, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 7.0 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>Bundles helps get even the busiest inboxes organized. Highlights bring important details front and center. Quickly act upon multiple emails at once.</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 invite to use. Works exclusively with Gmail. Completely independent of Gmail app. No native iPad support.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> http://www.maclife.com/article/reviews/review_inbox_gmail#comments Reviews App AppLife Apps Email Gmail Google inbox Inbox by Gmail iPad iPhone iPod Wed, 03 Dec 2014 19:11:37 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 21024 at http://www.maclife.com