It’s not hard to spice up photographs in just a few clicks of the mouse these days. The more difficult part of the process is finding an app with quality filters worth using—and one of the better mobile solutions around has finally made the leap to the desktop.
Priime Styles ($30 on the Mac App Store) is a Mac version of the popular Priime photo editor for iPhone. The two apps share the same impressive catalog of “styles,” what we typically refer to as one-click image filters or presets. Created by dozens of the world’s top photographers, there are over a hundred styles to choose from—101 to be exact, although the apps offer them up in different ways.
If you’ve bought a new Mac in recent years, chances are it arrived with flash storage in place of a traditional hard drive. In terms of reliability and rapid-fire boot times, flash storage is awesome, but it’s expensive. So to make it more affordable, you don’t get the capacity you see with hard drives.
There are a lot of ways to work around the built-in limited flash storage, but there’s another method for eking out a little more space: Purging duplicate files. Few of us bother doing it, because weeding out extra copies of photos, documents, and other media simply takes too much time and energy.
Vivaldi (free), the new browser from some of the creators of Opera, blends appealing looks with clever innovations. But while Vivaldi deserves applause for trying new things and getting many of them right, it still strikes a few sour notes.
Many browsers trade off between ease of use and customization, sacrificing one for the other’s sake. Vivaldi doesn’t. You can move and change nearly every element in the interface, but upon first opening, Vivaldi walks you through that process with easy, elegant setup screens. Want tabs on the bottom of the window, and the URL bar up top? No problem. (If you change your mind, you can adjust all these elements, with only slightly more difficulty, in Vivaldi’s clean and well-organized Preferences.)
Our productivity is measured in megabits. No matter how fast the processors are or how much RAM we have installed, our Macs are only as efficient as the Internet connections they receive; in this age of always-on apps and streaming everything, downloads speeds are king, and even a slight dip in bandwidth can make or break your day.
Whether you rely on the Internet for work or play, you want to make sure your connection is always running at its optimal speed (or just something close to what you pay for). There are numerous ways to do so right in your browser, with Ookla’s speedtest.net setting the bar with a reliable tool that doesn’t use Flash. But like most browser tests, it’s not exactly elegant, with several banner ads surrounding the testing screen, and some may have concerns over the potential for viruses or malware.
Believe it or not, QuickTime turns 25 years old this year. The multimedia software that debuted with System Software 6 (?!) soon became the de facto method for playing video on the Mac, eventually introducing an optional Pro upgrade that allowed users to perform basic edits, merge files, and export to supported video codecs.
With the release of Mac OS X Snow Leopard and QuickTime X in 2009, Apple went back to basics, stripping QuickTime Player X of most pro-centric functionality. Over time, some features like trim would return, but in the eyes of power users, the damage was done.
There’s been no shortage of powerful media players ever since, many capable of playing just about any file you can throw at it, even without proper codes installed. But these alternatives are often designed for power users, rather than content creators who require a fast, lightweight player for reviewing files.
Airfoil 5 is a digital ventriloquist that lets you throw your computer’s “voice.” The latest version builds on the foundation of letting you take a single app’s audio output and route it to one or more places to play it back. It's something like iTunes multi-“speaker” support but with much more control and it works with any application, all while not relying entirely on AirPlay.
Airfoil can target any AirPlay destination, as it’s long been able to. In my house, that includes an older and current-generation Apple TV, a Yamaha stereo receiver during a brief period of rudimentary but functional AirPlay support, two computers via Airfoil Satellite
(also discussed in this review), and a Jawbone Mini Jambox (via Bluetooth). Airfoil Satellite can stream to iOS and Windows 10 devices and Airfoil Speakers in Android. That’s a lot of options.
Way back in 2009, developer Tapbots released an iPhone app that made it easy to organize, store, and search everything you’ve ever copied to the clipboard. Through what I can only assume was the power of sorcery, Pastebot also worked in tandem with OS X companion software, allowing anything copied on the Mac side to be magically pushed to iOS, and vice-versa.
Although iCloud makes such app-to-device interoperability seem like child’s play today, at the time Pastebot was nothing short of a revelation. Sadly, the app was put out to pasture last year and faces an uncertain future, leaving longtime users to hold a candlelight vigil in its absence.