PicFrame review: Easy app makes quick photo collages

Serenity Caldwell Associate Editor, Macworld

Serenity has been writing and talking and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, writes, acts, sings, and wears an assortment of hats.
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Over the past year, I’ve seen more and more photo collages pop up on my social media timelines. Some folks use iOS apps such as Frontback for an automatic front camera/back camera collage, while others manually put multiple pictures together with an iOS program such as Diptic.

But you’re not limited to the iPhone or iPad to build collages—nor do you have to spend bank-breaking money on an image editor. For just $1, you can pick up PicFrame (Mac App Store link), a standout app for making quick and easy—and easily shareable—image collages.

The app takes after its iOS sibling in design, offering 73 frame templates with up to nine photos in a template. Each template is adjustable in both positioning and size. You can’t build your own frame from scratch, but there are enough options here that it’s pretty easy to customize anything you might want. For example, you can make photo borders thin or thick, rounded or square, solid or patterned—whatever works for you. The overall dimensions of the collage can be altered, too, depending on what social network you plan to share with: You choose from 1:1, 3:2, 2:3, 4:3, 3:4, or 16:9.

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Blinky review: Real geeks write on curved CRT monitors

Roman Loyola Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Roman has covered technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser, and he's worked for MacAddict, Mac|Life, TechTV, PC/Computing, and Windows NT Systems.
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Way back in the 6th grade, my family couldn’t afford a computer, but my teachers started to assign school papers that, ideally, would be typed on a typewriter—or, if that wasn’t an option, neatly handwritten. Both were painful processes that led to sheet after sheet of paper weighted down with dried correction fluid.

Then my best friend Ed got a word processor. It wasn’t a fully-capable computer—it was just a machine you could use to type documents. And since Ed was my best friend, he let me use that word processor. It had a nine-inch CRT display with green, pixelated text on a black background, and you had to view your text through the (significant) curvature of the screen. It wasn’t much compared to today’s technology, but at the time, that word processor was heaven sent.

Blinky screen preferences
Blinky offers several ways to adjust the way its “CRT” looks on your flat display.
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MyPhotostream review: All your Photo Stream, none of the bloat

Dan Moren Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

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.
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Apple’s Photo Stream aims to make it easier to share pictures between your various Apple devices, but using the feature on your Mac can be annoying: Doing so requires you to fire up iPhoto or Aperture just to see your pictures, and waiting for the hulks that those programs have become, just to see the photos you took on your iPhone, is overkill.

To simplify the process, Raffael Hannemann created the $4 MyPhotostream, a lightweight app that does just one thing: displays the pictures in your Photo Stream. Specifically, each time you launch the app, it checks your Photo Stream and shows a grid of thumbnails for those photos.

myphotostream main
MyPhotostream presents all your images in a grid, but the only view option is a choice between small, medium, or large thumbnails.
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Pixelmator 3.1 Marble review: New tools, expanded capabilities nudge photo-editing app into pro arena

Jackie Dove Senior Editor, Macworld

Jackie is always looking for creative mischief to get into. So it's fitting that she oversees photography, video, publishing, music, and Web design.
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Pixelmator 3.1 Marble (Mac App Store link) is the latest iteration of an image-editing app that’s often viewed as the hobbyist photographer’s alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Much attention has been focused on Pixelmator as enthusiasts seek to escape the confines of Photoshop CC subscriptions. Recently, Apple featured Pixelmator as part of its performance demos of the new Mac Pro, so it’s no accident that the Pixelmator Team has now released a fresh update of the program roughly in tandem with Apple’s new flagship desktop Mac. That said, version 3.1 follows closely on the heels of Pixelmator 3.0 FX, whose new features are included in this review.

screen shot 2014 01 17 at 14.14.10

The 16-bit output transforms Pixelmator into more of a pro-level tool, but only for Mac Pro users.

Pixelmator shares some basic features in common with Photoshop. As a full-service image editor, it has an extensive, Photoshop-like toolbar that offers a slate of traditional, recognizable controls that most photographers need for editing, compositing, and enhancing images, as well as for drawing and painting. The program also offers a wide range of special effects in categories such as Blur, Distortion, Sharpen, Color Adjustments, Tile, Stylize, Halftone, Generator, and more.

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Simplenote review: Basic note-taker for Mac bests OS X's Notes

Roman Loyola Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Roman has covered technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser, and he's worked for MacAddict, Mac|Life, TechTV, PC/Computing, and Windows NT Systems.
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When we reviewed Simplenote for iOS nearly four years ago, we found it to be a standout note-taking app. But while the company soon added Android and Kindle versions, for the longest time it didn’t provide an OS X counterpart—Mac users who wanted to access and edit their notes on their Macs had to turn to Simplenote’s Web app. So last fall’s release of the free Mac version of Simplenote (Mac App Store link) was welcome.

Simplenote Mac
Simplenote for Mac sports a clean, easy-to-navigate interface, with few features.

Simplenote for Mac is very much like the iOS version, with a streamlined interface that doesn’t fill the screen with lots of icons or buttons. You can apply tags (that you create) to notes, and you can click any tag to display related notes. The app also uses white space well, making your lists of tags and notes easy to browse.

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A Better Finder Rename review: Easily rename batches of files

Dan Miller Editor, Macworld

Dan is Editor of Macworld.
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If you deal with lots of files (and who doesn’t?), chances are you’ve occasionally run into problems with their names. Say you’ve got a series of image files with less-than-descriptive titles (such as IMG00001.jpg, IMG00002.jpg, and so on)—you’d like to rename them in a more useful, more descriptive, manner. The trick is to find a way to do so without manually renaming each file, one at a time.

There are a bunch of batch-renaming utilities out there that make such chores simpler: You give the app a selection of files, and then tell it to rename all of them at once, using some kind of pattern (for example, “Add Summer vacation photos 2013 to the beginning of each file’s name”). Many of these utilities are relatively inexpensive apps, such as File Rename Pro ($7), Rename ($4), and Rename It ($3), that provide relatively basic services. But there are also a few more-advanced (and more-expensive) tools designed for those who need power beyond what such basic apps provide.

We’ve reviewed one of those advanced tools, Many Tricks’s Name Mangler. But another, comparable, program deserves some recognition, too: the awkwardly titled but nicely designed A Better Finder Rename ($20; Mac App Store link—note that the Mac App Store version is called Better Rename 9).

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Duplicate Detective review: Make short work of finding duplicate files

Christopher Breen Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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As much as we love feature-packed applications that perform countless tasks, there’s nothing wrong with an inexpensive utility that does the one thing we need without much fuss and bother. Such is Fiplab’s $5 (currently on sale for $3) Duplicate Detective (Mac App Store link). As its name implies, it exists to locate duplicate files on your Mac and then, if you wish, fling them into the Trash.

Duplicate Detective does its work in a simple way. Just launch the application, and then drag a folder or volume into the utility’s window. Duplicate Detective scans that folder or volume, and then lets you know how many duplicates it finds. What it's specifically looking for are exact duplicates by comparing each file’s hash strings. If the strings match up, you have a duplicate; if they don’t—if one file is a PNG version of an image and the other a JPEG—the files are not included in the duplicate tally.

If you have a lot of files—say, hundreds of thousands, as could easily be the case with a large hard drive—this can take a very long time. If you’d like a faster result, scan a folder rather than an entire volume. (In a nice touch, when performing lengthy scans, the application displays humorous messages along the lines of “So, how’s your day going?” to let you know that it hasn’t locked up.)

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