Narrow your choices

Olympus E-3

Olympus’s Four Thirds sensor limits your lens choices, but the E-3 takes excellent pictures.  The Olympus E-3 is a beefy, 10-megapixel, semipro DSLR aching to beat up on the competition. But at $1,700 for its magnesium-muscled body and another $900 for a top-of-the-line Supersonic Wave Drive (SWD) lens, it may be tough to take on contenders that offer as much (or more) for the money.

Susie Ochs's picture

Speck SeeThru

The sleek SeeThru adds barely any bulk, but a bit of weight  If buying a MacBook Air didn’t empty your bank account, fear not. The stampede of related accessories is ravenously thundering toward you, ready to gobble up every spare dollar. Sure, that might seem cynical, especially since, as far as add-ons are concerned, a good laptop case is usually considered money well spent. Spare Your Air.

Belkin Mini Surge Protector

The Mini Surge is incredibly handy for recharging your USB devices while traveling.  Back when FireWire was first introduced, one of its coolest features was that it delivered power and was a fast data conduit. At the time, USB’s trickle of electrons wasn’t enough to power much of anything. As devices became more frugal with their electricity, USB slowly turned into a recharging standard for many small gadgets. But there’s one major difference in how Macs handle these ports while asleep: FireWire ports continue to receive power, whereas USB ports don’t. So you can recharge a FireWire device while your laptop is asleep, but not a USB device. You have to leave the whole system running just to charge your iPod.

Martin Jahn iBackup

iBackup’s list of default sources includes all the files that most home users will want to save.  iBackup’s Spartan interface may give the impression of a featherweight, but looks in this case are deceiving. Although it eschews the slew of options offered by ChronoSync, the application retains just enough power to best Apple’s Backup 3 at running regular network backups. iBackup saves and organizes backup plans as profiles, each of which has its own set of options within the Preferences menu. For network backups, the application can automatically connect to network volumes by IP address, and can automatically disconnect when the backup is finished. Backup profiles can be scheduled to repeat daily or weekly.

Neon Tango

Bank shots are even better when you shoot them on purpose!  With Neon Tango, Freeverse conjures up the spirit of classic, vector-line arcade games. This unabashedly retro shooter features typical, blast-anything-that-moves gameplay that would normally cost you an afternoon pumping quarters into a cabinet. And even though Neon Tango never feels completely original, its high standards make for some fun shooting.

Canon PowerShot G9

No need to lug a DSLR to every outing—the PowerShot G9 saves room in your beach bag for more sandwiches.  The PowerShot G9 is a “prosumer” camera, neither fish nor fowl in a world that otherwise clearly defines point-and-shoot versus full DSLR. But in not being clearly one or the other, the G9 winds up delivering many of the best characteristics of both. Its $500 list price is at the high end for point-and-shoots, and adding Canon’s optional lenses pushes it toward DSLR prices, but the price also foreshadows features with a high-end bent.

Déjà Vu lists all saved backup plans in its pane inside System Preferences.  Déjà Vu stands out as the most effortless and invisible application that we tested, offering an intuitive interface that collects all of the features most essential for network backups.

Detailed videos show proper finger and hand position from multiple angles.  The mention of guitar lessons probably conjures images of hunching over an acoustic guitar in the back room of a strip-mall music shop while an aging hippie prods your unwilling fingers to contort to the chords of “Kumbaya.” Fortunately, iPlayMusic has a more effective and humane way to teach you guitar with Beginner Guitar Lessons and Play Music Together.

PersonalBrain Pro

PersonalBrain helped us organize our thoughts, notes, and research while writing this very article.  Simultaneously a wonder of nature and source of constant frustration, the human brain can effortlessly choreograph the movements of a complex body yet fail to record the location of car keys. Imperfect, yes, but it’s all we’ve got. To help us exercise a little more control over our master, TheBrain Technologies offers PersonalBrain Pro. PersonalBrain Pro is a tool for collecting and organizing thoughts, files, and webpages into a coherent framework called a “brain.” Just as important as the thoughts themselves are the relationships between them, and unlike most other organization tools, PersonalBrain avoids imposing external rules or structure on your brain.

As the Portuguese battle the mighty French, those aren’t mere numbers rising from our avatars. They’re people! Thousands of people!   The exciting, and sometimes upsetting, national narratives of world history form the setting and mechanics of Europa Universalis 3, the latest strategy title from publisher Virtual Programming. But don’t worry—the game and its expansion pack, Napoleon’s Ambitions, are more of an exercise in strategic domination than a history lesson.