Mac|Life - All Articles en Gift Ideas for iPhone, iPad, and Mac Users <!--paging_filter--> Gallery accessories CableDrop gift guide Holiday HUB-IT iconic Ideas iGlaze iPad iphone Mac Simple Snap Steelseries Stratus Wacom stylus Features iPad iPhone iPod Mac Wed, 26 Nov 2014 21:57:25 +0000 Chris Slate 21001 at Sponsored: Create better everything with LG's new UltraWide QHD curved monitor <!--paging_filter--><h3>Tear down the barriers between you and your art</h3><p>Technology can be a wonderful boon for creative professionals, but it can also get in the way of creativity, when the interface between you and the tools of your trade pales compared with real life.</p><p>LG's new UltraWide curved monitor neatly puts a bow on that problem by providing an immersive experience you can get lost in, breaking down the barriers between you and what you create, no matter what that may be.</p><p>LG's 34UC97 monitor rocks a 34-inch QHD-resolution display — that's an incredibly dense 3440 x 1440 pixels — with a beautifully wide 21:9 aspect ratio.</p><p>It provides the most screen real estate for editing videos, designing graphics and other creative tasks, while it's curved frame subtly mimics the shape of your vision. (Did we mention that it's great for QHD gaming, too?)</p><p>So what are you going to do with this beautiful machine?</p><h3>The best monitor for creative professionals</h3><p>Graphic designers are using the LG 34UC97 to run entire Adobe editing suites at once, chaining four of them together to fill their peripheral vision and multiply their creative juices.</p><p>Meanwhile digital composers, whose workspace is cluttered with gear and cables, and photographers, who constantly juggle multiple types of tech, can use a single 34UC97 to replace two or more lesser monitors, saving physical space while improving their digital real estate.</p><p>The 34UC97's dual Thunderbolt 2 connectors, two HDMI jacks, twin USB 3.0 inputs, and single DisplayPort let video editors daisy-chain as many monitors, computers, storage devices, cameras, printers, and scanners together as they need, while the LG monitor provides the best possible screen for detailed and professional-grade editing.</p><p>Or you can always go totally nuts and chain 20 together like the filmmakers in the above video.</p><p>LG engineered its IPS display technology specifically to avoid the viewing angle and color shift issues that can plague other wide-screen monitors, making it perfect for anyone who works in a visual medium. With vivid colors, a crystal-clear image and a curve that recreates exactly how you see the world, this monitor is the perfect choice for creative professionals in any medium.</p><p>The LG 34UC97 can round out your creative process, doing away with hard edges and flat spaces so you can do what you do best with technology that helps instead of hindering. If only everything in life could be so easy.</p> Deals Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:58:57 +0000 LG 20998 at The Week's Best Deals for Your Mac and iOS Device, Pre-Black Friday Edition <!--paging_filter--><p>In the spirit of the season, we're taking on one of our own columns here on Mac|Life and going toe-to-toe, price tag to price tag. There's a <a href="">great round up of Black Friday deals</a> on our front page today, but let's see if we can beat a few of those deals with some refurb selections. Keep in mind, the Black Friday&nbsp;prices highlighted elsewhere&nbsp;are on new items. Still shrink-wrapped, still in the box, untouched by human hand since they came off the assembly line and were packaged up. Our refurbs are used products, to be sure, but Apple-certified as good to go. So if you don't mind used Apples, let the games begin!</p> Gallery airplay speakers Black Friday black friday deals bluetooth Bluetooth Speakers Deals External Battery external hard drive Headphones iMac iPad iPad Air iPad case iPad Mini iPad mini 2 iphone iphone 6 iPhone 6 case iPhone case iPod touch MacBook macbook air macbook pro refurb Refurbished refurbs sales speakers weekly deals wireless speakers Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:53:08 +0000 J Keirn-Swanson 20997 at Review: FileThis <!--paging_filter--><p>FileThis is a cloud-based repository for paperless documents, including bank statements, credit card and utility bills. The free service can add up to six connections, automatically downloading online statements and parsing them into text-searchable PDF files which are then uploaded to your choice of providers, including FileThis Cloud.</p><p>The universal iOS app is far more nimble than the Adobe Flash-powered web app, although the UI gets crowded on iPhone, especially as landscape mode is only supported on iPad. Documents can be viewed as Accounts or Cabinets, the latter sorted via tags into categories like Home, Work, or Utilities. Tags are automatic and generally quite accurate, but can also be manually edited, one tedious change at a time.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/11/filethis_2_620_0.png" /></p><p>Privacy advocates won’t be thrilled to learn FileThis requires handing over login credentials for every service it connects to, although the company touts “bank-level security” and 256-bit SSL encryption for keeping sensitive data safe. The “Forever Free” and web-only $2 per month Premium plans only check for new data once a week, whereas the $5 per month Ultimate plan runs daily, increasing cloud storage to 10GB with 30 connections.</p><p>For users with a handful of bills each month, FileThis is a real time-saver; up to 40 additional connections can be added through referrals. The service offers a wide range of financial services, although there are glaring omissions, such as GE Capital (now Synchrony Bank), one of the largest consumer lending providers responsible for many store-branded credit cards.</p><p>FileThis effectively replaces the need for banks to notify you when a statement is available; the service can optionally send email when new documents have been fetched, although we’d have liked to see the option for push notifications as well.</p><p>Whether or not FileThis is worth a paid subscription ultimately depends on how much time you spend downloading bills. We already have an organizational routine in place, so paying upward of $60 per year isn’t really worth it.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> FileThis takes the legwork out of online statements, but we consider the cost too high for the resulting convenience.</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>FileThis</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"> FileThis, 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="" target="_blank"></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 (up to six connections) </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 7.0</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>Automatically fetches, organizes paperless statements. Up to six connections free. Documents can also be uploaded from iOS device.</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 subscription pricing. No push notifications. UI cramped on iPhone/iPod touch, with no landscape support. No way to manually batch-edit tags.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Reviews AppLife Apps bills FileThis Paperless iPad iPhone iPod Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:01:00 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter. 20989 at Deals: Get Your Hands on the Must-Have Mac Bundle and Pick Your Price for It <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u323895/screen_shot_2014-11-22_at_11.02.50_am.png" width="630" /></a></p><p><strong>[This is an advertorial. Maclife gets a portion of each unit sold.]</strong></p><p>There are tons of Mac apps out there that are worth well over the price of admission to get them. You pay the cost on the price tag but end up getting endlessly more value ot of the program than you could have imagined. That's the feeling you're going to have when you get the Must-Have Mac Bundle, a collection of 9 awesome Mac apps and 1 great tutorial course that you name the price for.&nbsp;</p><p>This bundle is loaded with amazing Mac apps that will serve your every need. Stay protected with HotSpot Shield VPN, never lose a file with SpotDox and Data Backup 3, go paper-free with Paperless, cut down on typing with Typinator, get photos in order with Pixa, write down everything with MacJournal 6, spruce up your images with Intensify Pro, and make your computer a virtual universe with Starry Night Enthusiast 7. You'll even get a tutorial course to teach you how to make the most of every app.</p><p>The Must-Have Mac Bundle would normally retail for $543. If you head to our Deals tab, <a href="" target="_blank">you get to set the price</a>. Beat the average to unlock all nine apps, just pay what you can afford, or get yourself on the leaderboard. It's all up to you. <a href="" target="_blank">You set the price</a> and you get the apps, plus 10% of your purchase goes to a charity of your choice. It's a deal you can't beat, so <a href="" target="_blank">grab this offer</a> today!</p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="" target="_blank"><img src="/files/u323895/buynow-maclife.png" width="123" height="38" /></a></strong></p> Deals Deals sponsored Stack Social Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:00:00 +0000 MacLife Staff 20981 at Morning Report: iPhone 5c on Chopping Block, iOS Search, HandBrake 0.10.0 <!--paging_filter--><p><img src="/files/u220903/iphone_5c_livestream_620px.png" alt="iPhone 5c" width="620" height="300" /></p><p>With the extended Thanksgiving weekend upon us here in the U.S., it's time for one final Morning Report for the month of November. Our Wednesday edition includes details on the fate of iPhone 5c, as well as Google's coveted deal as the default iOS search engine, plus a swanky new version of HandBrake for Mac has hit the street with new encoders in tow. We'll be back on Monday, December 1 in time for Cyber Monday — see you then!</p><h3>iPhone 5c Could Be Axed from Lineup Next Year</h3><p><a href="" target="_blank">MacRumors today reported</a> that Apple appears likely to wind down production of the iPhone 5c by the middle of next year, putting an end to the colorful iPhone 5 variant that received a mixed reception from users and critics alike. Currently available as a budget-priced 8GB model, the report claims Apple is likely to discontinue the device in favor of an all-Touch ID lineup in 2015.<br /><br />Earlier this week, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also predicted the end of the iPhone 5c next year, as well as the iPhone 4S, which would put an end to Cupertino offering devices in the smaller display size altogether.</p><h3>Yahoo, Microsoft Vying for Default iOS Search Engine Spot</h3><p>Since the debut of the original iPhone in 2007, Google has been the default search engine for all iOS devices — but that could change in 2015. <a href="" target="_blank">AppleInsider reported Tuesday</a> that Apple's current search engine deal with Google is apparently up for renewal next year, which has both Yahoo and Microsoft salivating at the mere thought of becoming the default partner with iOS 9 and later.<br /><br />According to The Information, both of Google's rivals have been in contact with Apple SVP Eddy Cue, whose decision is "likely to be based on the quality of the product as much as the potential money made from search ads."<br /><br />Google already got kicked to the curb for Siri-based search with the release of iOS 7 last year, with Microsoft-owned Bing stepping up as the default option. iOS users can already change the default search engine for mobile Safari, which includes options for Yahoo, Bing, or DuckDuckGo.</p><h3>HandBrake 0.10.0 Adds New Encoders, Filters</h3><p>Although optical media may be on the decline, there's still a large contingent of movie and TV fans who prefer to buy DVDs or Blu-rays and rip them for personal viewing on mobile devices or media servers such as Plex. Those users will be happy to learn that open source video transcoder <a href="" target="_blank">HandBrake released version 0.10.0 this week</a>, with "hundreds of new features, changes, and bug fixes" in tow.<br /><br />In addition to updating core x264 and libav libraries, HandBrake has added support for next-generation encoders Intel QuickSync, H.265, VP8, and LibFaac, as well as a new Denoise filter and OpenCL scaler for Windows users. The release also brings parity to the user interface across all supported platforms, along with an overhaul to default audio and subtitle settings. HandBrake 0.10.0 is a free download for Mac OS X, available now from the link above.<br /><br /><em>Follow this article’s author, <a href="" target="_blank">J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter</a></em></p><p>&nbsp;</p> News apple rumors Bing default discontinued encoders Google HandBrake iPhone 5C Microsoft Morning Report search engines yahoo iPhone Mac Wed, 26 Nov 2014 13:10:07 +0000 J.R. Bookwalter 20996 at Onecue Brings Kinect-Like Motion Controls to Apple TV, Other Devices <!--paging_filter--><p>We're still waiting on Apple to start implementing its own motion controls into Apple TV (if they ever come at all), but in the meantime, other companies are already stepping in to fill the gap with third-party devices. Among the most notable is Onecue, which will let you control your Apple TV and other devices with simple gestures of your hands when it's released in early 2015.</p><p>Much like the Kinect that accompanies Microsoft's Xbox entertainment system, Onecue is a sleek black device that sits in the general vicinity of your television and reads the room for movement. Once it finds it, it picks up on specialized gestures for commands such as changing the channel or lowering the volume (and the video below even shows it going so far as to open the blinds into the narrator's techy house).</p><p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="349" frameborder="0"></iframe></p><p>Judging from the video, there's a huge range of Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-enabled devices the Onecue can connect to, although there's enough commands on display that learning how to use the thing must feel like participating in a beginner's sign language course. It's a universal remote at heart, but it points to a future where we may not need little plastic planks covered in buttons to control the various units in our entertainment centers.</p><p>Again, seeing something like this built into Apple TV isn't far beyond the realm of imagination. Exactly <a href="" target="_blank">a year ago today</a>, we reported that Apple confirmed that it had <a href="" target="_blank">purchased PrimeSense</a>, the Israeli company responsible for designing the technology behind Microsoft's original Kinect. Apple hasn't incorporated the tech into any of its recent releases, but it's possible we could see some form of it in the long-rumored upcoming refresh for Apple's diminutive entertainment system.</p><p>Tired of waiting for a rumor? You can pre-order <a href="" target="_blank">Onecue</a> for your existing Apple TV for $129.99.</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer, <a href="" target="_blank">Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> News Apple TV entertainment entertainment center Kinect motion control motion sensors PrimeSense television TV Wed, 26 Nov 2014 01:23:58 +0000 Leif Johnson 20995 at Apple's Market Cap Reaches $700 Billion Milestone <!--paging_filter--><p>Another day, another story about Apple breaking records for its market value. But this time, it's really,&nbsp;<em>really</em>&nbsp;impressive.&nbsp;Today the Cupertino company's market capitalization shot over $700 billion for the first time before slipping a bit in after-hours trading. The current share price stands at $119.65 at the time of writing, which translates into around $837 if Apple's stock split from earlier in the year is taken out of the equation.</p><p>Only <a href="" target="_blank">a few days ago</a>, Apple reached a market capitalization of $663.2 billion, leading Bloomberg to point out that the iPhone maker was now worth more than the entire Russian stock market. That's an increase of roughly $40 billion within the span of only two weeks. The company has seen an almost 60 percent boost in the valuation of its stock over the last year alone, and the stock has jumped up by 24 percent in the weeks since the company's October 16 iPhone reveal event.</p><p><img src="/files/u334114/2014/11/timcookhappy.jpg" width="620" height="282" /></p><p>That's a big turn of events considering that so much of 2013 was filled with stories of investors fretting that Apple wasn't doing enough to introduce new categories and that new CEO Tim Cook perhaps wasn't the man that should have succeeded Steve Jobs. (In fact, Apple stock has now doubled in value since Cook took the helm.) Apple stock tumbled deeply after reaching a previous market cap of $658 billion in 2012, but the record-breaking sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have pushed it far past that.</p><p>And with the holidays just around the corner, Apple's market cap could rise further still. Apple Pay and the buzz surrounding the upcoming Apple Watch have also attracted the attention of investors, who should find their stockings stuffed with a lot of a green if Apple maintains its current pace.</p><p>The Wall Street Journal has compiled<a href="" target="_blank"> a list</a> of 17 facts that put Apple's $700 billion market capitalization in perspective, and several of them reveal just how far the Cupertino company's come in just a few years. During the dot-com boom, for instance, Microsoft's value was a full 26 times larger than Apple; today, Tim Cook's company is 1.78 percent larger than its Redmond rival.</p><p><em>Follow this article's writer, <a href="" target="_blank">Leif Johnson</a>, on Twitter.</em></p> News apple Business investors Market Cap market capitalization market value shares stock market Stocks Tim Cook Tue, 25 Nov 2014 23:48:59 +0000 Leif Johnson 20990 at How to Get Started with Libre Office <!--paging_filter--><p>If you use your Mac for word processing, creating and editing spreadsheets or putting the finishing touches to a slideshow presentation, you need a suite of office applications with the right tools.</p><p>The Microsoft Office suite is near ubiquitous, but we’ve been waiting for an update to the Mac version since 2011, and it’s still relatively expensive. While iWork is now free, it lacks some of the features that come with other office suites. LibreOffice, however, is not only completely free, but it’s constantly updated with improvements and new features.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/11/howtolibra_main.png" width="620" height="417" /></p><p>The three most popular programs in LibreOffice are the word processor Writer, the spreadsheet tool Calc, and the presentation and slide-show creator Impress. Each of these is installed with the suite when you download it from Once installed, you’ll notice the layouts of the LibreOffice programs are very similar to their competitors, so if you’re used to Microsoft Office on a Mac, or earlier versions of iWork, you will probably find quite a lot of LibreOffice familiar.</p><p>The toolbars in Writer, Calc, Impress, and the other tools in LibreOffice are pretty similar. There’s the new document icon (in the shape of the icon for the program you’re working on), plus icons for document open, save, email, PDF export, and print. The toolbars also share familiar buttons for spelling and grammar checking, cutting, pasting, and copying to clipboard, and undo/redo. Under this toolbar are buttons and menus for altering the format of text and other objects. The rest of the toolbars contain buttons for tools that are specific to the program you’re using, such as shapes to decorate slides in Impress.</p><p>Creating new documents is easy; just click the new document icon or go to File &gt; New and choose the document type. You can also access LibreOffice’s large library of templates to help you get started. To do this, click File on the top menu and select New &gt; Templates. It’s blank at the moment, so click the Spreadsheets tab. On the right of the window, click the icon with the arrow. This lets you import templates from the LibreOffice website. These templates range from budget spreadsheets that you can use in Calc to help you keep your finances in order, professional presentations for you to use in Impress, and leaflets you can create in Writer.</p><p>LibreOffice can handle a large range of file formats, which makes it easy to open and edit documents even if they have been originally created in another program. Similarly, when it comes to saving a brand new document, you have a large choice of file types — just click the save icon or hit Command + S. A drop-down list displays the vast array of file types for you to save your document as, including Microsoft Office formats. LibreOffice’s default file type is known as Open Document Format. For LibreOffice Writer files these file extensions are ODT, for Impress presentations it’s ODP, and for spreadsheets in Calc it’s ODS.</p><p>While Writer, Calc, and Impress have all the regular tools we’ve come to expect from Office suites, there are also a number of advanced tools. In Writer, you can use Mail Merge, which lets you send personalized documents to a large number of recipients quickly and easily. Click the Tools menu and select Mail Merge Wizard to be taken step by step through the process.</p><p>There are a number of powerful formatting options in Writer that can also really make your documents stand out. As well as changing the fonts, color, and style of your text, you can add bullet points and numbering, as well as changing the alignment and indentation of the text, all from the toolbar. Images and movie files can also be inserted into your documents for added visual impact — just open the Insert menu to see “Pictures,” “Movie and Sound…” and other options. If you’re producing a large document such as a dissertation or report, the indexing features of Writer are a huge help.</p><p>Using the Style menu on the toolbar, you can give your chapter and sections impressive-looking styles that make your document easier to navigate. Writer can then automatically create a table of contents based on your chapter and section names — just click the Insert menu bar and go to “Indexes and Tables.” Once your table of contents is created, you can click on the name of the section, heading or chapter you want, and Writer takes you straight there. You can also easily add footnotes and references to your text — ideal if you’re using Writer for academic work.&nbsp;</p><p>Calc is similarly well-stocked when it comes to features. With a spreadsheet full of data, you can use it to create powerful formulas that manipulate your data. You can also easily change the format of the data you include, so if you have a spreadsheet that deals with your household budget, you can turn the numbers you’ve entered into your local currency by clicking the icon of a pile of coins on the toolbar.</p><p>One of the most useful tools in Calc is the Graphs feature, which lets you create attractive and useful charts and graphs based on the data you select in your spreadsheet — from standard bar and pie charts to scatter and line graphs.</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/11/howtolibra_slideshows.png" width="620" height="350" /><br /><strong><span style="font-size: x-small;">Slideshows can be created in Impress — ideal for presentations at work.</span></strong></p><p>When it comes to presentations and slideshows in Impress, you’re going to want to make each slide look as good as possible. Impress makes this easy with a number of useful formatting tools, layouts, graphics, and color schemes. You can add transitions and animations — and even create your own — to make your presentations really stand out. Experiment!</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2>A Quick Look at the Toolbar</h2><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/11/libre_annotate.png" width="620" height="481" /></p><p><strong>A. Function Buttons</strong></p><p>These buttons let you quickly perform some of the most widely used tasks, such as creating a new document, opening an existing one and saving your work.</p><p><strong>B. Edit Buttons</strong></p><p>These buttons are used to cut, copy and paste selected elements, as well as undo and redo mistakes and corrections.</p><p><strong>C. Format Options</strong></p><p>These menus let you choose the font, style and size of text, along with formatting such as italics. Depending on the program you’re using, other text and graphic formatting options may appear here.</p><p><strong>D. Information Bar</strong></p><p>This bar contains info about the document you’re working on. In Writer, this includes the number of words and characters, page number and language. In Calc, it includes the sheet number and any sums you’ve created.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><h2>How to Find Your Way around Libre Office</h2><p><strong>1. Format Text in Writer</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/11/howtolibra_1.png" /></p><p>To give your documents a bit more visual flair, you can change the font, size, and format on part of the text. To do this, select the text you want to format by clicking and dragging the mouse to highlight the words. You can apply a ready-made style by clicking the menu on the taskbar where it says ‘default style’. Next to that menu, you see a drop-down list box that lets you select the font. The number next to this menu relates to the font size – change it to a larger number to enlarge the text, or a smaller number to shrink it.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. Charts and Graphs in Calc</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/11/howtolibra_2.png" width="620" height="318" /></p><p>One of the best ways to make sense of your important data is by creating a chart or graph for a visual overview – and Calc is great at doing all the hard work for you. All you need to do is select the cells that contain the data from which you want to make a graph. Next, you can click the red Graph icon (the one shaped like a pie chart) on the toolbar and a window opens up showing you a range of charts and graphs you can use. As you click each choice, a preview of your data in the chart appears.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>3. Simple Formulas</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/11/howtolibra_3.png" width="620" height="318" /></p><p>As the name of the program suggests, Calc is very good at calculations using the data in the cells. Click an empty cell and type “=” (without the quotes), which tells Calc you are writing a formula. You can perform simple calculations such as multiplying the data in one cell by another. Just type the name of the cell (by its column letter and row number, A2, for example), add an asterisk (*) and then the second name of the cell. For division, use the “/” symbol, and for adding and subtracting use “+” and “–” respectively.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>4. Adding Transitions to a Slideshow</strong></p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/11/howtolibra_4.png" width="620" height="350" /></p><p>Adding transitions between slides is a particularly quick and easy way to give your presentation a more professional edge, plus it makes them more engaging and interesting for your audience to look at. To add a transition, right-click the slide preview in the left-hand menu and select Slide Transition. A long list of transitions appear in a menu on the right-hand side; just click one to see a preview. If you need to, you can also select Apply to All Slides to make the transition consistent throughout your presentation.</p> Calc Free Impress iWork alternative LibreOffice Office alternative Tutorial Writer Mac How-Tos Tue, 25 Nov 2014 19:53:46 +0000 Matthew Hanson 20988 at Review: Shovel Knight <!--paging_filter--><p>For years Apple fans have clamored for Nintendo to bring its catalog of vintage games to iOS, and though that’s not likely to happen anytime soon, the arrival of Shovel Knight on Mac might be the next-best thing. Clearly inspired by the games of yesteryear, Shovel Knight feels like a lost classic from Nintendo’s 8-bit glory days in the best ways possible.</p><p>Like the nostalgic ’80s titles that inspired it, Shovel Knight doesn’t take itself too seriously — you’re a knight armed with a shovel, for crying out loud — and it makes great use of simple but inspired play mechanics. Using your shovel, you can dig up treasure, wallop foes, and reflect projectiles, but it’s the ability to use the shovel like a pogo stick to bounce off of objects or enemies that really makes the game fun. It also opens up creative possibilities for exploring the game’s levels and discovering hidden routes.&nbsp;</p><p><img src="/files/u332541/2014/11/sk-main_0.png" width="620" height="349" /></p><p>Each themed stage features a distinct look, and often its own unique hazards — flaming floors in the laboratory, lights that go out in the graveyard, or wind that blows you around a massive airship, for example —in addition to platforming staples like moving platforms, collapsing floors, spiked pits of doom, and mid-stage bosses. Levels conclude with intense battles against members of The Order of No Quarter: a delightfully goofy troop of knights, each of which requires different tactics to defeat.</p><p>And the game doesn’t just play like an NES action-platformer; it looks the part, too, thanks to charmingly lo-fi (yet vividly detailed) hand-drawn graphics and a limited color palette. Admittedly, the developers cheat a bit at times (there are way more colors on screen than old video game consoles could ever produce), but Shovel Knight is more about delivering classic gaming as you remember it, not as it necessarily was. The appealing visuals are perfectly complemented by a catchy chip-tune soundtrack, responsive controls, and some genuinely amusing writing.</p><p>While the game is decidedly old-school in many ways, the difficulty, fortunately, is not. There’s plenty of challenge to be had, for certain, but a fairly generous checkpoint system prevents it from ever becoming too frustrating. There are also numerous ways to permanently upgrade your character, plus you can obtain limited-use secondary weapons — including a flame-spewing wand and a locket that grants temporary invincibility — that can really come in handy in a pinch.</p><p><strong>The bottom line.</strong> Shovel Knight is a fantastic retro platformer from beginning to end. If you like console-style games, you’ll dig this one.</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>Shovel Knight 1.2.2</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"> Yacht Club Games </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-contact"> <div class="field-label"><p><strong>Contact:</strong>&nbsp;<p></div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="" target="_blank"></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>OS X 10.6 or later, Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz or equivalent, 2 GB RAM, 250 MB available 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>Great retro visuals and chip-tune soundtrack. Fun core play mechanics, especially the bounce attack. Creative levels and bosses. Flying roto-rats.</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>Old-school style might not appeal to some.</p> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> Gallery Reviews action App Platformer Shovel Knight Yacht Club Games Mac Games Tue, 25 Nov 2014 18:13:29 +0000 Chris Hoffman 20977 at