Greeting Card Shop 3 review: Mac design software bulks up on new features

Greeting cards are something of a lost art in the era of social networking. After all, it’s far easier to snap a picture with your smartphone, upload it, and share instantly with friends or family than it is to order physical cards, lick and address envelopes, then go broke paying for postage to mail them.

If the social media approach feels too impersonal and you dread standing in line at the post office, there’s an OS X application to help bridge this divide. Whether you want to design and print your own cards at home or create an impressive collage to share online, veteran Mac software maker Chronos makes it not only possible but downright easy to do.

greeting card shop 3 photo frames

Greeting Card Shop 3 makes design easier than ever with one-click frames for imported photos.

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SpamSieve 2.9 review: A must-have spam filter for your Mac email client

Oh, spam. There is so much of it. Some estimates say that 90 percent of email sent around the world is spam. Sometimes it's hard to sort the wheat from the chaff; or the ham from the spam.

It's been a plague since the earliest days of the Internet. Whether it's spam that contains attachments—which, if opened, could hijack your computer (though most often, these attachments carry Windows malware)—or phishing emails that try to trick you into entering your bank or Apple ID credentials on dodgy websites, spam is both an annoyance and a danger.

There are several ways you can block spam. If you use Gmail or iCloud for your email, there are built-in spam filters. In Gmail you can view your spam to check for any legitimate email that has been filtered as noxious, but you can't do this with iCloud. Much of the spam that iCloud gets is simply deleted, and you don't even know about it.

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PowerPhotos 1.1 review: Now with library merges, album copy, and search across libraries

While Photos is streamlined and zippy compared to iPhoto, its stripped-down approach can be confusing. PowerPhotos takes some of the shock out of Photos for OS X by helping bridge the gap between old and new. Fat Cat Software’s app offers assistance in migrating iPhoto libraries, managing (and merging) multiple Photos libraries, and offers a different way of viewing images and videos. It’s more flexible, to be sure.

When launched, PowerPhotos shows—under an Operations listing—Migrate iPhoto Libraries, which can also be selected later from the File menu. This lists all iPhoto libraries that it can find via Spotlight; you can add others manually.

The migrate operation lets you manage creating Photos-compatible libraries without babysitting the Photos app, and shows progress and errors. It can also migrate several libraries from the same interface instead of requiring multiple iterations of quitting and launching Photos with the right key held down.

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Commander One Pro review: A free Finder alternative for power users

Since the debut of the classic Mac OS System 1.0 in 1984, the Finder has been an indispensable hub of the graphical user interface experience. Despite many improvements over the year—most radically with OS X in 2001—the core functionality of Apple’s Finder remains largely the same, despite efforts to improve upon the experience even today.

Take command

Commander One is a Mac application written entirely using Apple’s new Swift programming language that provides an alternative to the Finder. The main window is split into dual panes that can be used to act upon files and folders in multiple locations at once. Similar to popular applications like ForkLift, the free version works with local and network drives for search, preview, and other file operations, including the ability to rename files during copy and move. (Try that with the Finder and let me know how it works out for you.)

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Desk review: Writing app has an expanded lineup but the original is the best value

It wasn’t all that long ago when the value of software was measured in menus. Rich, versatile apps from Adobe, Quark, and Corel put the tremendous power of their apps on full display, using every inch of available screen real estate to make as many tools, options and pallets accessible in an instant.

But mobile devices have shown us a better way. With a smaller canvas to work with, today’s apps put a premium on space and focus, streamlining bars and menus and eliminating all but the most relevant options. The trend toward minimal workspaces and windows is evident all across the desktop app landscape, but no other category has benefitted more from the mobile movement than text editors.

Desk PM is one of the standouts of the new school of text editors. When it was released late last year it positioned itself as a tool for bloggers rather than casual writers, offering a simple place to both write and publish. One-click integration with many of the popular platforms (WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, etc.) gave Desk a unique edge over its similarly styled competitors; in a crowded clutter-free sea it carved out its own wave and rode it right up the App Store charts.

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Swift Publisher 4 review: Full-featured desktop publishing for next to nothing

The original Macintosh computer Steve Jobs introduced in 1984 might never have achieved such iconic status without the help of the desktop publishing revolution. Together with the first LaserWriter printer and software like PageMaker, the Mac made it easy for anyone to lay out newsletters, brochures, or even entire magazines.

More than three decades later, the term “desktop publishing” isn’t used all that much now that the focus has turned to web, social media, and mobile—but developers haven’t turned their backs on the original concept, which is easier and less expensive today than it used to be.

swift publisher 4 layout

A quality, full-featured Mac page layout application for cheap? Swift Publisher 4 makes it possible.

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DaisyDisk 4 review: Now faster than ever at cleaning out unwanted files on your Mac

Although solid-state disks (SSD) are lightning fast compared to poky old hard drives, they’re also far more expensive, which is why Mac users have had to with more restrictive internal storage than in years past. It’s a tradeoff: Speedier disk access, but less room for files.

One way to maximize this smaller capacity is to carefully monitor which files—especially big ones—take up that space and then terminate them with extreme prejudice. DaisyDisk 4 is a utility app made expressly for this purpose, and it’s as attractive as it is handy.

A scanner darkly

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