Squash review: Drop and compress your way to smaller image files in a flash

When it comes to the web, smaller is always better. If an image-heavy site takes too long to load, visitors will just click over to something else. While there are plenty of software tools for optimizing image files on the Mac, few do it with the simplicity and speed of Squash.

Crushing it

Over a year ago, I reviewed a useful Mac utility called JPEGmini, which reduces image files with no discernable loss in image quality. Although limited to JPEG, the software was easy to use and produced impressive results, but at $99, it’s clearly not aimed at casual users.

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Grids 4.0 for Instagram review: Post photos from Mac, but sharing is limited

A year ago, I reviewed the third version of a Mac application called Grids, one of those rare native solutions for viewing Instagram posts on the desktop without a web browser. With support for multiple accounts, developer ThinkTime Creations had an early leg up on the mobile app at the time, but the inability to upload new content meant this third-party software was strictly a view-only experience.

Here’s the story

grids for instagram 4.0 post photo IDG

Grids 4.0 can finally post photos and videos to Instagram, even if they aren’t in the service’s traditional square format.

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Pastebot 2 review: Mac utility combines a deep clipboard with clever conversions

I still miss the Scrapbook that was part of the pre-OS X chain of Macintosh system releases. It was like a super clipboard that let you hold several items; you could scroll through, pick a "scrap" to copy, and then paste it into a program. Since the inception of OS X, many utilities have sought to replicate and expand Scrapbook. But for my money, I’m not sure any has brought the concept fully forward and updated it for modern needs until Pastebot 2 ($20 on the App Store). (Pastebot was in a long beta, and its maker opted to number it “2.0” as a result.)

In February 2015, Joe Kissell wrote a thorough round-up of clipboard-managing utilities, some of which have a lot of non-scrapbook functions, too. Pastebot 2 has the best features shared among those, and adds more by offering customizable filters and a clipboard “accumulator” that I’ll explain later in this review.

Scrapbook lives

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Radio Silence 2 review: Set it and forget it Mac firewall for outgoing connections

Although macOS looks deceptively simple to end users, anyone who’s launched Activity Monitor may be shocked to discover just how many helpers, daemons, services, and other processes actually run behind-the-scenes, helping power your favorite software. Such background tasks often feed off available internet bandwidth, consuming precious memory at the same time.

radio silence 2 firewall blocked apps

With a fresh coat of macOS Sierra-inspired paint, Radio Silence 2 makes it one-click easy to silence outgoing network connections from any application.

If you’d like to curtail this kind of covert background activity, there’s an inexpensive, well-designed, and easy-to-use Mac utility designed to not only keep tabs on which apps are beaming signals back to the mothership, but also selectively block them from doing so.

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Disk Drill 3 review: Mac utility now recovers data from iOS devices, too

Earlier this year I reviewed Disk Drill 2, a highly recommended utility for recovering data from any storage volume attached to your Mac, regardless of which file system it was created with. While the software exceeded expectations in terms of functionality, it was sorely lacking in visual flourish, with a user interface that seemed out of step with the current operating system.

I’m happy to announce this grievance has been addressed with the new Disk Drill 3, which not only sports a much-needed fresh coat of digital paint but also nicely spices up the existing buffet of tools.

disk drill 3 ios data recovery

New in Disk Drill 3 is the ability to recover data from iOS devices, but it’s a time-consuming process without an existing iTunes backup.

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Shredo review: Securely erase files from your Mac with drag-and-drop ease

Every Mac user knows how to delete a file. But did you know this method doesn’t technically remove anything from your drive? Instead, that space is simply marked as available to the system, making it a trivial matter to recover provided other files haven’t been saved in the same spot.

shredo one pass in progress

Shredo securely wipes files from your storage in three different ways: One-pass, seven-pass, or 35-pass.

Data shredder

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Folx 5 review: How I learned to stop worrying and love this Mac download manager

Think you don’t need extra software for managing internet downloads? If your web browser gets only an occasional workout transferring files one at a time, you’re probably right. But if you frequently pull down multiple things at once, you could certainly benefit from a management utility.

In years past, the choice was simple: Yazsoft’s excellent Speed Download tackled everything you could throw at it with a familiar, iTunes-style user interface. But in early 2014, the developer suddenly called it quits. The application continued working until OS X El Capitan 10.11, at which point I finally had to say goodbye.

Yazsoft did recommend an alternative to Speed Download, but it wasn’t quite the same. This supposed heir apparent wasn’t as user-friendly, and worse yet, the user interface was downright ugly.

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