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Bowers & Wilkins’ first step into the world of portable audio is less like a step and more like an orbital leap. B&W has always been applauded for rich sound and contemporary design, but its first headphones to hit the market, the P5s, are so far ahead of the times that they feel avant-garde.
Your iPod excels at serving up music for one, but using it to entertain a crowd is problematic. Speaker docks are an option, but most are anemic at best, more suited to background music in your cubicle than serious listening. Audyssey’s South of Market dock changes all that. Taking inspiration from San Francisco’s famous party ‘hood—SoMa to the locals—known for bars and nightclubs that go bump in the night (and well into the next morning), Audyssey’s first consumer device delivers amazing sound and comes packed with some stellar features.
If you’ve never used a quick-launch tool, you might not want to start. As a word of warning, these applications will change the way you use your computer forever. Once you’ve experienced the productivity these bad boys offer, they will quickly become a necessity that’s as essential as your mouse or monitor. So if you like your old-fashioned computin’ lifestyle, move along. But if you’re ready to give your productivity a turbo boost, LaunchBar is the ticket.
If you have a project to finish or a test coming up, do not play Bejeweled. Don’t even launch it, thinking you can clear your head for 5 minutes before getting back to work. Hours later your stomach is rumbling, you have three missed phone calls, and your legs are asleep.
For close to two decades, Sid Meier has fed the monkey on many a strategy gamer’s back. His prolific Civilization series has set the bar for turn-based strategy games for a long, long time. The series puts you into the shoes of the leader of one of a number of civilizations—each with their own advantages and shortcomings—as you guide your people from the dawn of time to the space age. The latest iteration, Civilization V, is easily the most addictive and accessible so far. Since it was released last fall for Windows, Mac gamers have been champing at the bit to get their hands on an OS X version, and at last they can.
In spite of a few blemishes, the game is as fun as a first-person shooter fan could ask for. The game’s characters are engaging, an interesting but fairly basic story holds the game together, and both the single-player and multiplayer modes are wickedly fun. If you’re looking for a marquee strategic shooter on the Mac, gory bits and all, you’ve come to the right, zombie-packed, place.
The all-in-one printer market offers a wide range of choices for every price point, but the Canon Pixma MG8120 hits all the right notes for under $300--including superior film scanning and rapid-fire 4x6 printing that doesn’t compromise quality.
Some of the more clever new features in Elements 9 are a little hit and miss, but it’s still a terrific editor overall. The Guided Edit mode is great for novices, while the addition of layer masks brings Elements another step closer to Photoshop itself.
Even Apple’s standard can be beat, and Matias’ new Tactile Pro 3, a USB 2.0 keyboard with a decidedly old-school feel, does just that. Mechanical springs and switches let you feel the action as you type, subtly improving your accuracy and comfort while you’re in front of your Mac.
Flickery is faster, cleaner, and arguably an all-around better experience than Flickr. Frequent users shouldn’t hesitate to drop $18 on this impressive software.