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Pixelmator 1.1.4

Instant Filters: This Zoom effect takes time to render in Photoshop, but happens instantly in Pixelmator, thanks to Core Image. Apple loads iPhoto ’08 as standard issue onto every Mac sold, and while the app makes sharing and organizing photos a super-cinch, iPhoto doesn’t offer much of the power of Apple’s real-time Core Image technology. So is there room for a Core Image–savvy contender in the sub-$100 category of image editors? Pixelmator seems to think so. The Pixelmator app offers a $59 alternative to Photoshop. While we love the real-time filter effects, there’s a quite a bit that does not thrill us with this initial offering.

The Omni Group Omnifocus 1.0.1

OmniFocus helps you figure out what to do next, when it’s due, and where to do it.  Mark Twain wrote, “The well-organized man can be comfortable anywhere, even in hell.” But getting your life in order is easier said than done, and dozens of systems promise salvation. OmniFocus, which implements techniques from David Allen’s popular book Getting Things Done, is the newest weapon in the Omni Group’s arsenal of organizational apps. OmniFocus, which utilizes the project manager OmniPlan and information repository OmniOutliner, builds on the Omni Group’s impressive understanding of how people work, making it a useful tool once you’ve figured out (and bought into) its underlying system.

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Video: Flip Video Mino

Tiny video recorder for the YouTube generation

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SanDisk SD Plus Memory Cards

 The PowerShot G9 comes with a 32MB SD card, which is enough memory for exactly one RAW picture, so you’re going to need more storage. Even if you’re not shooting RAW images, most cameras come with very little onboard memory and meager-at-best storage on an included card, so buying a beefier card for any camera is money well spent. 

The Ethernet Disk Mini can hold all your digital files and make them accessible to any computer on your network.  It’s been said that when there’s a need, the universe provides. And sure enough, just when multigigabyte digital media libraries began to proliferate on the hard drives of consumers everywhere, along come greatly expanded personal storage devices and external hard drives to keep those libraries housed and backed up.

Optimus Mini Three 2.0

Light-up, animated keys are cool, but we want to do more.  We like the idea of tiny OLED displays embedded in keyboard keys, but until we tried one of these futuristic keyboards, it seemed like nothing more than a way to show off. After all, don’t your fingers usually cover those buttons? But after trying the Art Lebedev Optimus Mini Three 2.0, a three-key version that’s not intended to replace a full-size keyboard, we’re highly supportive of the concept. Customizable, animated keys can show instant feedback.

Apple Aperture 2.1

Adjustment settings can be saved and quickly applied to new photos.  We have thousands of digital photos, but still feel nostalgia for the days of leafing through prints crammed willy-nilly into dented shoeboxes. Wouldn’t it be nice to get your jumble of digital images out of their virtual shoeboxes? Blow up that favorite, or frame that one from last year’s family reunion and send it to your sister in St. Paul. Aperture 2 handles these tasks and more without the nagging clutter—or sneeze-inducing dust clouds—of those old shoeboxes. Meanwhile, it lets you nudge exposure levels and retouch problems. It essentially manages your photo library from import to export, keeping track of your changes and making the daunting task of cataloging hundreds or thousands of photos much easier than you ever thought it could be.

The Tuttles Madcap Misadventures

Barbara Tuttle, voiced by Jamie Lee Curtis, jumps through one of the colorful levels.  The Tuttles Madcap Misadventures has a lot going for it: big-name character voices, gorgeous graphics, several top awards. Plus, half the retail proceeds are donated to charity. But if you strip all of that away, you’re left with a pretty standard side-scrolling platform game. Then again, why would you strip all of that away? 

Ableton Live 7

Live's interface is a single-window affair, clear and uncluttered despite its depth.  The market for audio recording software is vast, ranging from GarageBand to Pro Tools, with a lot of stuff in between. Now in its seventh iteration, Ableton Live started as a tool designed primarily for—surprise—live performances, but over the years, has morphed into a popular tool for studio and recording work as well. Ableton Live 7 is not revolutionary but evolutionary. With this latest version, Live has matured into a well-rounded, integrated environment with extensive automation and a unique approach to the musical process.

Eschalon: Book I

Twelve hours of rest? Your character must be a teenager.  Eschalon: Book I, the first title from indie developer Basilisk Games, is branded as a traditional RPG, a stereotype fulfilled here with a vengeance. Unfortunately, problems with skill choices and movement, and an uninspiring story line may turn that vengeance into slaughter for anyone who might not be a hardcore RPG fan.