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MacUpdate: App Reviews

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    Airmail is an endlessly customizable improvement over the conventional Mail.app. My identity can be tied back to my inbox. Reach me at one address and you'll get a different version of me than you might on another. We all maintain multiple selves; shifting seamlessly between them is a hallmark of professionalism and grace. Many of today's highest profile email clients try to reshape the way email infiltrates our lives, but Airmail instead returns to this fundamental idea of us being ourselves in different ways and allows this to blossom. Airmail, above anything, is aesthetically customizable. The obvious points on these grounds can be made: you can change the way Airmail looks and feels so easily that the application immediately becomes an extension of yourself after a couple minutes in the preferences. Beyond the superficial dressing up of the app is a slew of tweakable features that let even the tiniest interactions with Airmail feel exactly how you want, from customizable keyboard shortcuts, to unique message behaviors, to robust support for labels, aliases, and folders. And Airmail has seemingly limitless email account support, presenting your multiple inboxes in a comfortable, intuitive way rather than in an impenetrable list. Airmail users are guided towards a conventional approach to email rather than a complete redefinition of the nature of email, and this feels like a deliberate choice rather than a lack of ingenuity. By offering this amount of control over your email, the developers of Airmail put you in a position to make email exactly what you think it should be, rather than having you buy into a new ideology. Yet even this traditional approach is more than it appears: you can turn messages into to-dos that integrate with the Today widget in Notification Center, make them into memos, or just star them for later reference. Google "email thinkpieces" and it may seem like the greatest threat on our productivity, communication or even sanity is email, but Airmail doesn't buy that. It just wants to help you be yourself – whatever that means to you, at the moment.

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    HoudahGeo brings travel photos taken with non-GPS cameras together with GPS location data in order to swiftly and easily make these photos easier to track, organize, and share. With a large single-window interface, HoudahGeo hides none of its features. It occupies a very specific space in the world of photo software, so even with its entire feature set on display, the user experience remains streamlined and unambiguous. Users that are active in the Flickr community or like sharing their photos on Google Earth will find in HoudahGeo the fastest way to geotag photos and upload them onto one of those platforms thanks to native support within the app. Some apps dazzle with their novelty. But there’s something equally impressive about an app that simply states and then solves a problem with no fuss. HoudahGeo impresses as one of the latter. The wide array of location matching options makes it virtually impossible to close the app without achieving your goal of tagging your photos. No option is off the table, from the obvious – ability to choose locations on a map; to the professional – extensive support for GPS location data and devices; to the creative – ability to use an iPhone’s geotagged photo as a GPS reference point. The simple workflow guides you from loading photos, to processing them, to the final output stage with minimal friction, as accessible to complete novices as it is malleable to the savvy user. Go somewhere and take lots of photos!

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    BeaTunes is approachable as a general music playback app while remaining a robust and novel DJ library management utility that is initially unassuming for the novice but still expansive and delightful for the veteran. Its interface has a distinctly Apple vibe with its familiar 3-pane setup making it easy to navigate, but it’s dotted tastefully with with helpful, colorful information throughout. The hallmark feature of beaTunes is its ability to analyze your music and display BPM, musical key, and ‘color’, which is analogous to the mood of the song. Songs of the same or similar color sound great together; very different colors will be more jarring when played back to back. These are the most basic bits of analysis that you can have performed on your music, but for the true audiophile that wants to emphasize the particulars, there is a world of granularity lying just under the surface. Your first launch of beaTunes will be the most time-intensive one as it scans your library and analyzes each track with an ear for a series of information. beaTunes is an all-in-one master of your library, able to edit and update metadata as easily as it offers a semantic breakdown of a song’s structure. For the perfectionist DJ, volume levels are at hand to avoid any jarring volume transitions, song key is at hand to ensure a harmonious set, and color is made obvious to keep the mood going in the right direction. And for a user just trying to make an action or event specific playlist, beaTunes is the perfect option as it takes all the guesswork out of playlist creation, offering up great suggestions and crucial information to give you variety that works beautifully and seamlessly. Whether you need an iTunes library helper or a full-featured DJ library utility, beaTunes is poised to help just about anyone.

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    Having used various platforms for editing and creating timelapses, it's become clear that Persecond is the way to go. It's an extremely easy application for getting your final product done quickly. The simple interface is welcoming to beginners but also flexible enough to engage experienced pro users. Its only downfall is that it could have more special effect options that are delivered with the same amount of ease that the app provides in its current setup. Overall, it's the easiest way to end your search for a great timelapse-making app.

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    SongKong is an automated tagger for your music collection. As music listeners gain access to what increasingly feels like every song ever, the notion of a collection of music begins to feel remote. When listening to music means logging into a streaming service and wandering around a limitless selection of music, the sentimental connection between the listener and the song is minimized. So while SongKong is just a music tagger and organizer – and a very powerful one, at that – it does more than just bring order to some files; it cares for things that really mean something on your Mac. And luckily, SongKong is up to the task of maintaining your music. Simply point the app at your music folder and go step-by-step through SongKong’s clear workflow to get your music cleaned up. Each section of SongKong’s workflow couldn’t be clearer; all of its tweaks are out on the table, and the user gets to treat their music collection exactly as they’d like. SongKong fills in the gaps that bubble up when music is imported from a multitude of sources. Users with vinyl collections will love SongKong for ripping their records to their Mac because SongKong can fill in the missing metadata in a snap. And by setting it up to continuously monitor particular folders, you can grow your collection without heaping cleanup work on yourself. Keep your music collection in pristine condition with SongKong.

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    Having used various platforms for editing and creating timelapses, it's become clear that Persecond is the way to go. It's an extremely easy application for getting your final product done quickly. The simple interface is welcoming to beginners but also flexible enough to engage experienced pro users. Its only downfall is that it could have more special effect options that are delivered with the same amount of ease that the app provides in its current setup. Overall, it's the easiest way to end your search for a great timelapse-making app.

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    CloudMagic Email is a beautiful hybrid application: at its core, it’s a full-fledged email application in the vein of Airmail, Mailbox, and many other 3rd party apps, but it comes in a package that is reminiscent of minimalist word processing apps like iA Writer, Byword, or Ulysses. Most mail applications focus on organization, labeling, and other general mailbox maintenance pursuits, while leaving the email composition step as a seeming afterthought, peripheral to the application. CloudMagic Email flips the script by putting serious thought into the way the application looks and feels when you’re actually composing an email. It does so to the extent that the application could legitimately stand in as a word processor for many users — no minor claim, given the wealth of word processing options available these days. But that’s not to say that CloudMagic Email skimps on mailbox management. A wealth of intuitive gestures and neat tricks make it as worthy an option as any of its direct competitors, meaning you’re not sacrificing quality for an attractive feature. Because it began as an iOS application, CloudMagic Email delivers a forward-thinking interface that is at once informed by the simplicity expected of an iOS app, and the greater range of freedom that is afforded by the Mac environment. This developmental decision-making comes through beautifully, as the iOS app is geared towards quick, simple replies while the Mac app is designed for longer form, thoughtful responses, and their respective interfaces and feature sets are geared towards these causes. It’s a new Mac app being robustly developed, so there’s much more to come, but as an initial offering, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better email client.

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    CloudMagic Email is a beautiful hybrid application: at its core, it’s a full-fledged email application in the vein of Airmail, Mailbox, and many other 3rd party apps, but it comes in a package that is reminiscent of minimalist word processing apps like iA Writer, Byword, or Ulysses. Most mail applications focus on organization, labeling, and other general mailbox maintenance pursuits, while leaving the email composition step as a seeming afterthought, peripheral to the application. CloudMagic Email flips the script by putting serious thought into the way the application looks and feels when you’re actually composing an email. It does so to the extent that the application could legitimately stand in as a word processor for many users — no minor claim, given the wealth of word processing options available these days. But that’s not to say that CloudMagic Email skimps on mailbox management. A wealth of intuitive gestures and neat tricks make it as worthy an option as any of its direct competitors, meaning you’re not sacrificing quality for an attractive feature. Because it began as an iOS application, CloudMagic Email delivers a forward-thinking interface that is at once informed by the simplicity expected of an iOS app, and the greater range of freedom that is afforded by the Mac environment. This developmental decision-making comes through beautifully, as the iOS app is geared towards quick, simple replies while the Mac app is designed for longer form, thoughtful responses, and their respective interfaces and feature sets are geared towards these causes. It’s a new Mac app being robustly developed, so there’s much more to come, but as an initial offering, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better email client.

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    Seasonality Core is an information-packed weather monitoring application for diving deep into local and global weather conditions and patterns. The app grabs its weather information from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) nearest to your location. This does, of course, mean that you need to have an ICAO within reasonable distance of your vicinity, so users outside of North America may want to verify this within the app ahead of time. But as soon as your location is selected, you’re getting real-time information streamed into Seasonality Core, and there’s no shortage of weather data to explore. The most visually intriguing aspect of Seasonality Core is its “particle mode” view that features swirling wind movement vectors that are colored by temperature. It’s a fascinating view that is as interesting as it is informative; zoom out and you get a sense of global weather patterns. But as compelling as particle mode is, the information layout specific to your locale tops it in utility. Get multiple day forecasts and graphs that predict changes in everything from temperature to cloud cover to humidity. And for the real enthusiast, the ability to select and monitor cities from all over the world means you can get an intimate view of the conditions in places where loved ones live, or where you may one day move. Seasonality Core is a pleasant ride for the novice and a true powerhouse for the aficionado – give it a try!

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    CloudMagic Email is a beautiful hybrid application: at its core, it’s a full-fledged email application in the vein of Airmail, Mailbox, and many other 3rd party apps, but it comes in a package that is reminiscent of minimalist word processing apps like iA Writer, Byword, or Ulysses. Most mail applications focus on organization, labeling, and other general mailbox maintenance pursuits, while leaving the email composition step as a seeming afterthought, peripheral to the application. CloudMagic Email flips the script by putting serious thought into the way the application looks and feels when you’re actually composing an email. It does so to the extent that the application could legitimately stand in as a word processor for many users — no minor claim, given the wealth of word processing options available these days. But that’s not to say that CloudMagic Email skimps on mailbox management. A wealth of intuitive gestures and neat tricks make it as worthy an option as any of its direct competitors, meaning you’re not sacrificing quality for an attractive feature. Because it began as an iOS application, CloudMagic Email delivers a forward-thinking interface that is at once informed by the simplicity expected of an iOS app, and the greater range of freedom that is afforded by the Mac environment. This developmental decision-making comes through beautifully, as the iOS app is geared towards quick, simple replies while the Mac app is designed for longer form, thoughtful responses, and their respective interfaces and feature sets are geared towards these causes. It’s a new Mac app being robustly developed, so there’s much more to come, but as an initial offering, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better email client.

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    BeaTunes is approachable as a general music playback app while remaining a robust and novel DJ library management utility that is initially unassuming for the novice but still expansive and delightful for the veteran. Its interface has a distinctly Apple vibe with its familiar 3-pane setup making it easy to navigate, but it’s dotted tastefully with with helpful, colorful information throughout. The hallmark feature of beaTunes is its ability to analyze your music and display BPM, musical key, and ‘color’, which is analogous to the mood of the song. Songs of the same or similar color sound great together; very different colors will be more jarring when played back to back. These are the most basic bits of analysis that you can have performed on your music, but for the true audiophile that wants to emphasize the particulars, there is a world of granularity lying just under the surface. Your first launch of beaTunes will be the most time-intensive one as it scans your library and analyzes each track with an ear for a series of information. beaTunes is an all-in-one master of your library, able to edit and update metadata as easily as it offers a semantic breakdown of a song’s structure. For the perfectionist DJ, volume levels are at hand to avoid any jarring volume transitions, song key is at hand to ensure a harmonious set, and color is made obvious to keep the mood going in the right direction. And for a user just trying to make an action or event specific playlist, beaTunes is the perfect option as it takes all the guesswork out of playlist creation, offering up great suggestions and crucial information to give you variety that works beautifully and seamlessly. Whether you need an iTunes library helper or a full-featured DJ library utility, beaTunes is poised to help just about anyone.

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    Vitamin-R is an all-in-one task management powerhouse. At first glance, it’s a simple time keeper, affording the user the ability to quickly and easily time their work session. You can extend your time block if the task isn’t over or enter a break period – easy and straightforward. The fuss-free time keeping interface is reason enough to give Vitamin-R a shot, but it’s what the app offers after the “time slice” is complete that makes it shine. The Now & Later board is the perfect space for capturing transient thoughts, and it’ll propel you through your task rather than bog you down with bells and whistles. Ingenious templates give you a place to comment on your in-progress task, linking one session to the next, encouraging reflection and improvement as you proceed through your time slices. The ‘Tools’ section of the app is a revelation, as it gives you an enhanced perspective of your ability to focus through a statistics view, as well as a running history of completed tasks in a log; these two sections of the app are tucked away just enough to sit out of sight of users that are trying to get work done with minimal friction, but at hand enough for the true power user to get great insight on their self and their work. And the noise machine is a delightful, unexpected addition, creating a soft bed of noise to drown out distractions and keep you on task. If given the opportunity, Vitamin-R will surprise you over and over again, making you increasingly productive with diminishing amounts of effort.

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