Category Review

Keyboard Maestro for Mac Review

How many times do you do the same thing over and over again on your Mac? If you sit back and consciously think about it, there’s probably dozens of menial tasks you perform every day. When I started to realize how often I performed these same tasks, and thus, how much time I was wasting, I looked for a solution.

I found Keyboard Maestro.

Keyboard Maestro is the go-to program for automation on Mac (maybe even more so than Automator). Any long-time Mac power user will be familiar with Keyboard Maestro, especially considering it has been around for 7 versions spanning almost a decade. Like Hazel, it’s one of the longest running apps available on the Mac.

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Dropzone 3 for Mac Review

As you have realized by now, I like any apps which promise to save me time. Dropzone 3 promises to be one of those apps by offering draggable shortcuts and actions in the menu bar.

Throughout the course of any given day, I share dozens of files on various online services. Whether it’s Dropbox, Google Drive, Bit.ly, Twitter or Facebook – a lot of my files end up online. It’s a great convenience for my files to be accessible across all my devices, but when it comes to getting these files online, it can be a pain.

This is what makes Dropzone 3 very appealing to me. For some services, it’s easy to upload new files, but for others it can cumbersome.

Let’s say I want to AirDrop a file. I have to load up Finder, click AirDrop, wait for it to load and click my recipient. This may come across as impatient, but I’ve always found this process a chore.

With Dropzone, it’s much easier. I simply drag the file from wherever it is to the icon in my menu bar – which will activate a programmable window – and then I drop the file on whatever service I want to share it with. Dropping the file on AirDrop will activate a small window prompting me to select the recipient.

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TextExpander for Mac Review

There’s a pane in the TextExpander settings that shows – based on your average typing speed – how much time you’ve saved by using the app. I can’t think of a single better selling point for an app than – ‘it will save you time.’

From it’s calculations after only a few hours of use, I’ve saved 15 minutes and saved myself from typing 3,300 characters I didn’t have to.

So how does TextExpander actually save you time?

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Hazel for Mac Review

As we continue to store more data on our Macs and cloud services such as Dropbox, it has become increasingly difficult to organize and manage our files. Every week, my Desktop and Download folders get more cluttered, full of files I either don’t need anymore or that should be located elsewhere.

Noodlesoft recognized this problem almost 10 years ago when they first introduced Hazel, a Mac app which intelligently organizes and manages your files based on ‘rules’. These rules can be powerful, multi-functional and allow you to move any file for any set of reasons. Those who use Hazel love it. It’s the kind of app that becomes irreplaceable shortly after installing it – you’ll immediately wonder how you lived without it.

Hazel lives in a simple, yet powerful System Preferences window where you can create your rules. Creating a rule can be as complicated as you want. First, specify a folder on your Mac Hazel should monitor, then set a rule for when Hazel should move a file into another folder. Lastly, specify the folder the file should be moved into.

 

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Fluid for Mac Review

Over the course of any given day, I have at least a half dozen applications open on my Mac. Everything from: Safari, Ulysses, Omnifocus, Fantastical, Spotify and Tweetbot are open all at once while I’m working. This amount of windows alone are difficult to manage and organize, but recently I’ve started watching Netflix while I work, which has made it even more difficult to manage.

For a lot of people watching video during work may seem like a unruly distraction, but to me it’s relaxing. I don’t often watch serious shows, instead I opt for comedies like Family Guy or The Office.

 

It’s not difficult for me to write an article while an episode of The Office is playing at the same time, but what has proved irritating is trying to manage the browser window. Normally, I’d open a new window with Netflix and resize/position it so that no other window overlaps it. It’s almost like completing a puzzle, one I have to complete every single day.

For a while it was tolerable, but it has quickly became a nuisance.

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Airmail for Mac/iOS Review

I’ve long struggled with Mac Mail through countless bugs and performance issues. I’ve remained (mostly) loyal to the default Mail application because, simply, it’s the default Mail application.

Next to Safari, Mail is my next most-frequently used app on my Mac, and thus, the second most important. Up until about a year ago I got by without too many headaches, but once I started using Google Apps for business it became unbearable.

Simply put, Gmail support in Mac Mail is wretched. It continually disconnects, presents random errors and takes way too long to pull new data from Gmail.

 

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Day One 2 For Mac/iOS Review

I’ve been a long-time user of Day One. I love to journal and write down my daily thoughts, I find it relaxing and therapeutic. Out of the available options (which there are plenty), Day One is the best iOS/Mac app for doing so.

Day One offers all the necessary journaling features (and no unnecessary frills) in a beautiful, well-designed interface. When I first used Day One 2, I asked myself: how can the best get better?

Turns out, Bloom Built, the developers behind Day One, knew exactly what to do – and that was to add new features without taking away from the simplicity that was the original Day One.

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MacID Review

I’d have a hard time guessing how many times I log in and out of my Mac in an average day. At the office, most times I will log out of my Mac when I go to the washroom or grab a snack. Often I forget, leaving my Mac unprotected.

Whether it be the library, Starbucks, or just an open-concept office, leaving your Mac unlocked and unattended is a risk. Having your Mac stolen is one thing, but your personal information is something insurance can’t replace.

MacID aims to fix this nuisance by pairing your iPhone and Apple Watch to your Mac. Once you install and setup MacID, walking away from your Mac will automatically log you out of your user account. Walking back to your Mac will generate a push notification on your iPhone/Apple Watch. With your iPhone, you’ll have to authenticate with Touch ID before your Mac will unlock. If you have an Apple Watch, you’ll only need to tap ‘Unlock.’

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Duet Display for iOS/Mac Review

I’ve often wondered while sitting at my desk how I can implement my iPhone/iPad into my Mac workflow. I’ve tried using several apps which promise additional utility via a paired application, such as Quadro and Mac ID (more on those in an upcoming review).

A few years ago, shortly after the iPad 2 was released, I downloaded Air Display. It allowed my iPhone/iPad to act as a second display over Wi-Fi. I didn’t use it for a long period of time though, as I found it was laggy and drained my Mac resources.

Due to this experience, I was understandably hesitant when reading about Duet Display, an app that promises to do the exact same thing as Air Display, only better.

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Affinity Photo for Mac Review

Recently I reviewed Acorn 5 for Mac, an image-editing app I said was: “an extremely powerful image editor that should be considered by any graphic designer, photographer or student.”

After posting my review, I received advice from a few of my readers that I should give Affinity Photo a try. I was hesitant at first considering I already have Acorn, Pixelmator and Photoshop on my Mac. Regardless, I couldn’t ignore a reason to try a new app and decided to give Affinity Photo a shot.

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