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Susie Ochs's picture

 When Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in his January 9, 2007, keynote address, he called it “a widescreen iPod, mobile phone, and Internet communicator.” And it was. Later in the speech, he explained that it ran a version of Mac OS X, designed for “desktop-class applications.” And it did—but the iPhone only used the applications that Apple chose to build into its firmware. Developers could only write apps to run in the Web browser, or be installed on hacked, or jailbroken, iPhones.

InterOffice Mac Envelope Sleeve

 You too can re-create Steve’s keynote stunt with your own Envelope Sleeve. 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 sleeve is usually considered money well spent.

Synium Software MacFamilyTree 5.1

The Virtual Globe is almost as fun to twirl as a real one.  Family rifts aside, it’s a nice idea to keep track of where you’re from and who your ancestors are. MacFamilyTree 5.1 makes it easy to organize the myriad limbs of your family’s tree—even those you wish you could lop off at times.

Roberto Baldwin's picture

OtterBox iPhone Armor

The Armor keeps your iPhone safe...and makes it look like it’s driving a Humvee.  If you lust for an iPhone, but your lifestyle is too extreme for an expensive, fragile überphone, the OtterBox Armor series will take some serious pounding.

HDRSoft Photomatic Pro 3.0

HDR and tone mapping bring out all the detail in this shot of Venice’s Grand Canal.  High dynamic range (HDR) photography is a technique designed to capture much more detail in color and contrast than traditional photography can. When taking a photograph, a camera can only capture a single exposure. A shaded subject with a bright sky behind it presents a classic conundrum. Capturing the details of the shaded subject requires an exposure that will wash out the sky. Yet an exposure optimized for the sky will underexpose the shaded area, swamping its details in inky darkness. HDR photography captures all those details by snapping three or more images at differing exposures and blending them together.

Modartt Pianoteq 2

While there are lots of controls for tweaking the sound, you’ll fall in love with Pianoteq by just playing the darn thing.  While the digital music world is ruled by gnarly synthesizers, decked-out drum machines, and spacey sound effects, most musicians will tell you that the Holy Grail of software is one that can emulate the good old acoustic piano. Sampled piano instruments typically require sample libraries that eat up between 15 and 30 gigabytes of hard drive space, and are constrained by the limitations of sampling technology. Well, fear not: A group of French geniuses have come up with the ultimate nonsampled piano, and it’s downright luscious.

X-Rite i1Display

The same colorimeter comes with both options—only the software is different.  Color experts are aware that the average Joe isn’t cuckoo for color theory, but we’d all like to depend on the consistency of a calibrated, profiled display. The X-Rite i1Display does an impressive job of attending to the needs of both enthusiasts and pros, depending on the software package selected. Color Me Accurate

Susie Ochs's picture

Perfect for camping, hotel rooms, or anywhere you need a tiny speaker.  We’ve seen hundreds of iPod cases, scores of speakers, and even a few novelty products like bags and coolers that pack built-in speakers with iPod connections. But the iMainGo 2 combination case and speaker is one of the most useful and decent-sounding products we’ve tested—especially for its $40 price.

Synology DS107+

This powerful system comes without a drive, but installing your own is a piece of cake.  Of all the NAS devices we tested, the Synology DS107+ promised the most extensive feature list, and the device consistently impressed us with its Swiss-Army-like capabilities on our network. The enclosure ships without a hard drive, so your first task is to install one. The instructions for doing so are simple and easy to follow, and we were plugging the device into our wireless router within minutes. (Disclosure: Synology was kind enough to install a drive in our test model, so we removed it and installed a second drive to duplicate the standard user experience.)

Susie Ochs's picture

Our level 10 knight battles a level 11 troll to become Lord of the Swamp.  Practically everyone has played a board or two of Bejeweled, the match-three puzzle classic that sucks casual gamers in on Macs, PCs, consoles, iPods, and mobile phones. Puzzle Quest starts with the same gameplay, but adds strategy and RPG elements to keep things interesting.