Touching on two very important photo editing updates today, Apple has released Aperture 3.3 and iPhoto 9.3, specifically targeting the MacBook Pro with Retina display. In this update, Aperture and iPhoto will now share the same libraries — this means that you can import images into iPhoto from your iPhone 4S, then edit specific images later in Aperture without having to import or duplicate images. The unified library should make life much easier for photographers wanting to get the most out of their images.
Google Launches “Hangouts” Messaging Service for iOS, Android, and Web
#MacStoriesDeals – Tuesday
Pixelmator 2.2 Blueberry
iOS 7 Wishes
Today Weather Gets Dark Sky Alerts, Forecast.io Support
Records for the Mac is a brand new music player for your desktop from green&slimy software. Focused on creating quick playlists for parties and events, Records delivers a fullscreen interface on Snow Leopard that focuses on search and album artwork to identify music. Albums and songs are dragged into a tray to create a queue of tracks, and DJs will have the option of auto-mixing songs from their library for an instant queue. Queued tracks can be shuffled and played on repeat for random and continuing set lists. DJs can also add podcasts to the queue; podcasts like CLUBcast can be mixed with your own variety of tracks for near instant party playlists. Toss in keyboard shortcuts and Last.fm scrobbling, and Records is a fully functional, visual “audio browser” that makes finding music a cinch.
Okay you MacBook Pro plus Cinema Display users, I’ve got an app for you that impresses me more than the balls Tyler Glenn had to wish the USA a happy fourth of july with his pair of patriot boxers at this year’s iTunes Festival. (Can you tell I’m watching the Neon Trees today)? If you’ve ever wanted to swap windows between your MBP and Cinema Display monitors, move the front most window over, or move all of an app’s windows (say all of your open Safari windows) to the next monitor, Swapp for the Mac is impressive.
While Instapaper and Read It Later have their own web apps where you can browse your saved articles, I’m not a big fan of keeping an open tab in my browser just for the five or so minutes I want to kill. The biggest thing for me is that I like this kind of stuff to be really frictionless — the reason I use a desktop app over Twitter on the web is so I don’t have to log in each time. The same thing can be said for plucking out a quick article to read, and ReadNow for OS X is a simple menubar utility that can contains your Instapaper or Read It Later articles in convenient popover.
ReadNow allows you to preview your Unread or Archived articles, and Instapaper users can even take advantage of ReadNow’s article view to read articles with the clutter of web ads (provided you sign up for Instapaper’s subscription service). It’s almost like having Instapaper on the Mac since you can like, share, and archive articles in a simple UI. Read It Later users will have their articles opened in a web browser, but in both cases you can opt for options you’ll be familiar with if you use the services on your iPad. ReadNow supports offline reading if you want to download your hundreds of unread articles (great for the airport), and can be configured to automatically archive articles as you open items from your list. A convenient search bar will search titles for everything about the “MacBook Air” or “iPhone” for example. Articles you find interesting can be posted to Twitter, and you can even grab the article’s short link to paste into an email body or blog, and ReadNow also supports custom bit.ly URLs. Right-clicking messages give you some additional options (also accessible via keyboard shortcuts) for optionally deleting articles, which is fantastic for accidental login saves.
My favorite features of ReadNow (after search) are keyboard shortcuts and the interface. You can open ReadNow with a keyboard shortcut, use the up and down arrows to scroll through articles, and hit the return key when you want to browse an article. The best part is that even if you just want the short URL, you can hit option+B and command+V to paste it immediately. If you wanted to share a reading list online, you could probably do some wild things with Keyboard Maestro to insert your five newest articles into your Tumblr feed for example. ReadNow’s hud interface is lightweight, and reminds me of the old Twitterrific for Mac in a lot of ways — I like there isn’t a lot of chrome. Perhaps it’s nostalgia.
I generally don’t like clutter in my menubar, but ReadNow’s tag is pretty okay. I’d say it’d be nice to autolaunch with something like MarcoPolo when you’re away from your local network. It’s convenient, and offers quick access to all of your saved articles in your favorite online service. To my knowledge you can’t use both Instapaper and Read It Later at the same time, but I think most people likely choose one or the other. ReadNow is $3.99 in the Mac App Store.
*Edit: You can get the article view for Read It Later just like Instacast. Simply choose offline reading, and you’re off running!
One of the old habits Apple kept around in Snow Leopard was the handle that’s used to resize windows from the bottom right corner. While convenient out of habit, my transition to the Mac from Windows back in 2008 was met with a few minor complaints with window resizing and “snapping” being two convenient features I missed. Other oddities, such as the close button (which is really a close window button) and the zoom button (which questionably works as a maximize button) took some getting used to, although I’ve adopted the common command-Q reflex.
While Spaces manage the slew of windows I’ll open during the workday, there is an occasional need to sort between multiple windows in the same place and to group work or school related content together. The problem is that it’s not always easy getting everything just the way you want it, and as I drag windows to each side of the screen for some crazy dual setup, I would gripe before grabbing the corner, then snatching the titlebar and dragging the window to the left or right side of the display. It’s not always a problem, but boy it would be convenient if…
Flexiglass! Oh yes, we have yet another utility designed to manage your windows as efficiently as possible. I’ve covered my fair share of “window controllers” including MercuryMover, SizeUp, Cinch, Zooom/2, DoublePane, WindowFlow and I’m sure there are many others to solve a switcher’s common complaints. Flexiglass meets a nice middle ground. While MercuryMover and SizeUp are clearly geared towards power users who can’t keep their fingers off the keyboard, Cinch and DoublePane were designed for the everyday Joe wanting to replicate basic Windows features. Flexiglass contains a little bit of everything, and I think it’s one of the most approachable, yet tricked out window managers I’ve seen. It doesn’t overwhelm users with a handful of keyboard shortcuts, and it does a good job of striking a balance between mouse and keyboard interactivity.
Your calendar application might be great at mitigating and managing various calendars, but entering new dates and creating events at a moment’s notice should be practical and easy. Digitally, it’s often difficult to remove the abstraction of pull down menus, date pickers, alarms, and event notes when you simply want to note a few meetings and your kid’s soccer game. I don’t like to fidget with my calendar software, and I don’t need it open all day. Fantastical does a couple of great things, such as allowing me to remove iCal from my Object Dock so I can quickly glance at the date, and it makes entering events painless since input is derived from plain English. Just tell Fantastical that you’ll be attending a two hour meeting at four o’clock on Sunday, and without any menu-selecting Fantastical will schedule that all important briefing. The interface is terrific, sporting an iOS-like popover with a fine attention to showing you matters most without cluttering your desktop. Fantastical is always ready when I need it to be, and I don’t need to open some gargantuan calendar app just to enter a few events. Between this and the recent OmniFocus update (a quick plug since these two apps work excellently in conjunction), you’ve got yourself a slick app handcrafted to help you schedule and manage your various activities. Fantastical is currently $14.99 on the Mac App Store, but we’re going to be giving away two copies to a couple of lucky calendar-needy MacStorians past the break.
If you’re tired of using the browser to post the latest Steve Jobs spoof video on your Facebook wall, or don’t want to send quick updates using a full-featured Twitter client because you’re afraid of being distracted by the amount of content in your timeline, a new app called UpdateBar provides an easy way to post status updates on multiple social networking sites at once. Released at $0.99 in the Mac App Store, UpdateBar does one thing well: it displays an unobtrusive popup from your Mac menubar, allowing you to send a status update to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Identica. You can configure these services in the settings, and choose which one to use from a dropdown menu that lists all your available accounts.
The app can shorten links using is.gd and goo.gl, and you enter your custom URL shortening service as well. There’s no way to trigger the popup window with a keyboard shortcut yet, and I hope this will be implemented in a future update. The possibility to quickly drag photos from the desktop onto UpdateBar’s window would also be a nice addition.
UpdateBar makes it easy to post updates to Twitter and Facebook. Get it at $0.99 in the Mac App Store.
Courier is a smashing Mac app to have if you’re uploading files to Flickr, Youtube, or MobileMe, and some big changes have come along recently to those begging for Facebook support. With the latest update to version 1.1.2, Courier is bringing the ability to upload pictures to your Facebook Pages, and video to your Facebook accounts. With a simple drag and drop after adding your Facebook account, you can deliver files over the Internet in style. Right from the envelope’s stamp, you can easily select which album you’d like to upload photos to, then drag in a bundle of photos right before delivering them straight to your Facebook profile. Courier keeps getting better and better, and it was the first app I purchased on the Mac App Store. For $9.99, Courier is a beautiful app that allows you upload media to your favorite websites. To celebrate the latest inclusion for Facebook albums and video, we’re giving away three copies — just follow the rules below for your chance to win.
You might know MacPaw as the genius band of Mac savvy gurus who develop CleanMyMac and MacHider. The well known developers have introduced a fantastic teaser website and video showcasing a special project for the Mac App Store that’s going to bring a little soul to your iPhone. Details are sparse, but we’re pretty stoked after watching that gorgeous video a few times over. Heads up though, MacPaw is giving away a free copy of the app to every 100th person who subscribes to receives updates on the status of this yet unknown application. Give it a shot, and let us know what you think Ensoul could be in the comments below.