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Posts in reviews

TouchRetouch Review: Object Removal Made Easy

On my best days, I’m a novice photo editor – a lot of my work involves color and brightness tweaks to make my shots look better. If I’m feeling adventurous, though, I’ll try to touch up the pictures and remove unwanted objects, blemishes, or lines.

A lot of times, that ends in horrible failure.

However, TouchRetouch makes me feel like a pro photo editor. In just a few taps, I’ve been able to remove elements in my pictures at my will, making my photos look much better than before. And with a pretty interface and a low price, I think I’ve found another tool to add to my repertoire.

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GAget: Google Analytics Widgets and Alerts for macOS

GAget is a Google Analytics app for macOS that started life as a Dashboard widget. These days, GAget resides in macOS’s Today widget panel of Notification Center. If you’ve ever used Google Analytics, you know that its web interface is complex. There’s a place for digging through Google’s many tabs of data, but when all you want are the highlights, GAget is better. It takes Google Analytics’ data and boils it down into cleanly-designed dashboard widgets and alerts that make it easy to understand what is going on with your website at a glance.

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Game Day: The Escapists

The Escapists is an award-winning indie title from Mouldy Toof Studios and Team17 that has been available on consoles and PCs since 2015. This week marked the title’s first appearance on mobile systems, though, with simultaneous releases on iOS and Android. The goal of the game is straightforward – escape from a series of prisons with varying levels of security – but there are so many complex variables at play that The Escapists is good for many hours of exploration.

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Game Day: Evergrow

Many of the best games I've played on iOS recently remix elements of existing genres in new and unexpected ways. Evergrow by Imagility does just that, mixing puzzle, action, and tower defense elements into a fun, colorful game that keeps things interesting by throwing new details at you throughout the game.

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RAW Power Review

RAW Power is a powerful image editor reminiscent of Aperture that takes Apple’s discontinued pro photo editing tool a step further than Apple ever did. Whether you use RAW Power as a standalone image editor or as a Photos extension, what strikes me most about it is that with a little experimentation and patience, it’s accessible regardless of whether you consider yourself a pro user.

Before Photos, Apple had two photography apps: iPhotos for average consumers and Aperture for pros. In 2014, Apple discontinued Aperture. Around the same time, Apple evolved iPhoto into Photos, bringing the macOS and iOS apps that go by that name closer together from a feature set standpoint. That left pros and ‘prosumers’ who relied on Aperture in a bind. There are alternatives like Adobe’s Lightroom, but if you preferred Aperture, you were out of luck, until now.

RAW Power, by Gentlemen Coders, has a stellar pedigree. Its lead developer, Nik Bhatt, was Senior Director of Engineering for Aperture and iPhoto, so it’s safe to assume he understands Apple’s RAW engine. What sets RAW Power apart from something like Aperture, though, is its flexibility. Images can be edited non-destructively either in the standalone RAW Power app or from within Photos because RAW Power’s full functionality is also a Photos extension.

Like many people, my photo library is a mixture of thousands of images taken over many years that were shot with a variety of hardware, including old point-and-shoot digital cameras, a variety of iPhones, and a Sony NEX-5N I got in 2011 for a trip to Patagonia. I enjoy photography and have improved beyond taking simple snapshots, but I’ve never gone too deep into the technical side of it. Nonetheless, for special occasions I still shoot RAW images on my Sony camera to give myself maximum editing flexibility when I process my photos. RAW Power’s Photos extension fits my mix of photos and approach to editing perfectly by offering pro tools that are available on my command as an extension from within Photos when I need them, but stay out of the way when I don’t.

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Moment Review: Get the Right Shot

In my early pick for 2017’s “App Description of the Year,” Moment’s Eun Seong Kim tells a story about his frustration and disappointment after the dreaded “Storage Almost Full” message caused him to miss an exciting moment at a Toronto Raptors basketball game. It’s an elevator pitch that ends with the question that drew me to Moment: “What if I could keep video recording but only capture the last 5 seconds?”

I instantly identified with Kim's hypothetical. When I’m shooting video, I’m often only looking for the 5 or 10 seconds of action, but I'm stuck with a multi-minute clip that I have to edit. Moreover, even though my iPhone has plenty of storage now, there’s a real chance I will run into the same problem in the future.

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Overcast 3.0: iOS 10 Features, UI Changes, Easy Queuing, and an Interview with Marco Arment

Overcast, Marco Arment's popular podcast app for iOS, is defined by an interesting dualism: its essence has remained remarkably consistent with the original version released three years ago; at the same time, Arment has periodically revisited Overcast's design, features, and business model to build a superior listening environment for a larger audience.

The same judicious iteration permeates Overcast 3.0, launching today on the App Store. With improvements to episode management, visual changes aimed at modernizing the interface, and an evolution of the existing subscription-based model, Overcast 3.0 is another thoughtful combination of new ideas and old tropes, which converge in a refreshed yet instinctively familiar listening experience.

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Game Day: Causality

There is a certain amount of ‘trust me, just play this game’ involved with recommending Causality by UK-based Loju because it’s such a brain-meltingly complex puzzle game that it’s hard to explain in writing. In many respects, this game has to be experienced to understand it.

Causality blends time manipulation with a familiar grid-based puzzle game in a way that transcends other games in the puzzle genre. The result is a fresh, compelling game that stands out from the pack.

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