Dan has been writing about all things Apple since 2006, when he first started contributing to the MacUser blog. Since then he's covered most of the company's major product releases and reviewed every major revision of iOS. In his "copious" free time, he's usually grinding away on a novel or two. More by Dan Moren
Like Apple’s own app, Network Radar offers many common network tools, including ping, port scan, and whois. But it doesn’t stop there: The app can quickly scan your entire network and display a list of devices on it, along with their IP addresses, what services they offer, and more. If you need quick access via services like Telnet, SSH, or HTTP, you can access those for any device by right-clicking on its entry.
Nick is a freelance contributor and a former editor for TechHive and PCWorld. He likes puns and the color yellow. More by Nick Mediati
Contexts 1.4 supplements—and can even replace—OS X’s window management tools, and it does so in a way that is legitimately useful, especially if you rely on keyboard shortcuts to navigate your Mac.
On first glance, Contexts has a nearly nonexistent interface: The only sign that it’s running is a narrow window-picker sidebar that runs along the edge of your screen. But its real power lies in its keyboard shortcuts.
Marco Tabini is based in Toronto, Canada, where he focuses on software development for mobile devices and for the Web. More by Marco Tabini
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words—and that’s why creative professionals of all stripes like to communicate their ideas in the form of an image. As it turns out, however, a thousand words can be a few too many when you’re trying to draw attention to a small detail.
Light Up 1.0.3 solves this problem by allowing you to load up an image from a file and blocking it out with a mask whose darkness you can customize to your heart’s content. You can then selectively “carve” sections out of the mask, allowing specific portions of the underlying image to be highlighted. The carving tool supports three different shapes: rectangles, rounded rects, and ovals; you can have as many as you like in your image, and are free to resize and move them around.
Andrew Hayward is a Chicago-based games, apps, and gadgets writer whose work has been featured in more than 50 publications. He's also a work-at-home dad to a wild toddler. More by Andrew Hayward
Google has been cleaning house of services and features over the last year or so, with Google Reader and iGoogle among the most notable casualties. While not so widely mourned, the recent scrapping of Google Notifier was also disappointing, as the app had been a rather helpful way to stay on top of incoming Gmail messages on Mac.
Notifier Pro for Gmail (Mac App Store link) effectively picks up where Google left off, as the third-party option puts a tally of unread emails on the menu bar, letting you click to drop down a preview of the last ten inbox messages with sender name and subject listed. Clicking a note immediately pulls it up in your default browser without hassle, plus you can quickly hit the Go to Inbox link and be there within seconds.
Cloud storage is a great way to sync up content to access on multiple devices and platforms, and provides an offsite backup for important files. But if you’re like me, you’ve got numerous cloud accounts, with files scattered among them. Cloud Commander (Mac App Store link) decreases the insanity by letting you connect to your Dropbox, Box, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, SugarSync, Copy.com, Bitcasa, Picasa, and Flickr accounts in one place. It can also act as a WebDAV or FTP client.
Once you’ve connected your accounts, double-click one to open it in the Cloud Commander window. From there you can drag and drop files and folders to and from that service, either moving or copying the items, depending on how you’ve configured Cloud Commander’s preferences. Control- or right-click on a file or folder to rename, delete, or (for most services) get a sharable link for it. You can select an item and press the spacebar for a QuickLook preview. You can even open multiple Cloud Commander windows to, say, copy files from your Dropbox account to your OneDrive account.
As long as the Mac has stored files in virtual folders, those folders have been messy. So over the years, a variety of products have come along to help you clean those folders up. Hazel is perhaps the best known of these. But if Hazel is overkill for you, Folder Tidy (Mac App Store link) is worth a look.
Dan writes about OS X, iOS, utilities, cool apps, and troubleshooting. He also covers hardware; mobile, audio, and AV gear; input devices; and accessories. He's been writing about tech since 1994, and he's also published software, worked in IT, and worked as a policy analyst. More by Dan Frakes
OS X’s built-in Time Machine feature makes backing up your important data a relatively painless process: You just connect a drive to your Mac, tell the OS to use that drive for Time Machine, and then, to quote a famous Apple ad, “There is no Step 3.” As long as Time Machine doesn’t run into any problems, it works great.
But when Time Machine does experience a glitch, it’s not always clear what went wrong. The Time Machine pane of System Preferences provides a red Info (i) button that can sometimes fill you in on the details, but not always, and if Time Machine should face multiple issues, that button provides only the latest error message.
The info you really want is buried in OS X’s system logs...along with thousands of lines of information that has nothing to do with Time Machine. You could use the Console utility (in /Applications/Utilities) to try to uncover the relevant info, but Ron van Rens’s $2 LogViewer for Time Machine (Mac App Store link) is a better approach.