Last year, photographers interested in Apple’s software had to choose
between Aperture, a pro-level image organizer and editor, and its
farm-club counterpart, iPhoto ’09. It was a tough decision because
power users needed the editing tools in Aperture but were tempted by
Faces, Places, and other iPhoto-only tricks. Aperture 3 rebalances the
roster, adding those iPhoto functions while also juicing up with
high-end tools like Brushes. It’s an impressive update, and Aperture’s
streamlined, iPhoto-esque interface welcomes intermediates while
meeting the demands of power users.
Spring has sprung and sprung with a vengeance. Sunshine! Warm air! Being outdoors is once again a treat. Just as the vernal equinox passes us by and leads us to a bit more moving about, it'll soon be iPad launch day and we may find no good reasons to go back inside for quite some time.
Meanwhile, as we await that wonderful sidewalk cafe life with our reading and our data streaming right by our sides, here's this week's menu of the best stories from a week of Mac|Life. Order well.
In an ideal world, our Macs would be impeccably organized, not stuffed
with old versions of Word docs and umpteen copies of the Beastie Boys’
“Hey Ladies.” Hyperbolic’s Tidy Up offers powerful tools for
identifying (and dispatching) duplicate files, helping us get closer to
that ideal Mac by sorting and disposing of unneeded bytes.
It's almost an article of faith among the in-the-know crowd that the
iPhone OS 4.0 will bring third party multitasking to the iPhone and
iPad. Steve-o claims it's just too much of a drain on the battery, while
other handset makers let their customers be big kids and make up their
own minds about power management.
Well, perhaps the competition
from Google phones might be enough to force the issue, and if it
doesn't, here's someone who's cracked the multitasking nut beautifully.
A cool shooter with an even cooler soundtrack, Bullet Candy Perfect
resembles the renowned top-down shooter Geometry Wars, only with better
graphics. Since you play to the rhythm of the beat, the techno music
really sucks you in, and that synchronicity can be helpful when going
for a perfect run.
Scene It? is best known as a raucous party game, but with Scene It?
Movies, the series expands to the iPhone with a well-produced package
that maintains much--but not all--of what makes the DVD and videogame
versions such a blast. Like those more robust predecessors, Scene It?
Movies tests your knowledge of films with questions and mini-games,
some of which use actual video clips from blockbusters. Memorable
moments from numerous films appear in these scenarios, followed by
multiple-choice answers that are quickly selected with a touch of the
So patient are monks that, even in times of unsolved murder mysteries,
they manage to keep their composure and solve conundrums at a leisurely
pace. At least that’s how the monks behave in The Abbey, a
point-and-click adventure that asks you to have the patience of a friar.
Up until now, the fidgety furballs of Chuzzle, which took Macs and PCs
by storm in 2005, have been notably absent from PopCap’s iPhone library
of puzzle games. An intensely addictive tile-matching puzzler in the
style of Columns, Chuzzle presents you with six-by-six rows of brightly
hued chuzzles--puffy, big-eyed critters that resemble Star Trek’s
Tribbles, only more high-strung. Slide the columns with your finger to
match three, four, or even five chuzzles of the same color, and they’ll
pop in delight, allowing more chuzzles to flood the game board. As you
advance to later rounds, you’ll be hit with obstacles like chains that
lock random chuzzles into place. The goal, of course, is to keep
popping chuzzles until no moves are left.
What are you going to do on your Mac today? The usual--emailing,
updating your enemies list, removing the geotag data from all the
photos of your secret underground lair? That all sounds pleasant
enough, but to really flex your world-domination muscles, we found two
turn-based strategy games that ape the classic gameplay of Risk. So
whaddya say, after lunch we try to conquer the world?
BioWare doesn’t release a ton of games, but when one is ready to roll,
the developer throws everything it has at it--including a native version
for the Mac. The company’s latest epic single-player role-playing game
Dragon Age: Origins was all that our Xbox-, PS3-, and PC-gaming friends
could talk about when it was released in November 2009, and now we get
to join the party.