HazeOver 1.6 review: Dim those background windows so you can focus on the task at hand

There are lots of ways you can manage windows in OS X. You can use Spaces, or you could use multiple displays, and sort your windows on different virtual or physical desktops. But if you don't use either of these methods, you may find that when you have a lot of windows visible on your display, it can be hard to focus.

HazeOver helps you deal with multiple windows by masking the ones that are in the background, putting a sort of translucent curtain behind your frontmost window. Instead of seeing multiple windows with their text and graphics distracting you from your task at hand, HazeOver lets you focus on the app and window you're working in. You can dim your Twitter client, your email app, and Messages, so their changes don't catch your eye when you're browsing the web or writing in a word processor.

hazeover

HazeOver dims all but the frontmost window.

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Infographics 2.4 review: Robust graphics collection for Keynote

Jumsoft’s Infographics app is not so much an app as it is a collection of high quality images, graphs, and table elements you can use and repurpose in Keynote presentations. Or, translated into a little old-school parlance, this is high quality clipart designed for use in Keynote that, unlike normal clipart, can be edited and updated so it looks and works just the way you want.

Infographics is purchased and downloaded from the App Store, but the app itself is really just a delivery system for Keynote templates containing Infographics’ custom table, graph, and graphic elements. (It should be noted that everything in Infographics, and more, is available as an in-app purchase in Jumsoft’s Toolbox for Keynote app.) This is an important distinction. You don’t create any Keynote elements using Infographics, instead you open them in Keynote and copy and paste them into your own presentations. You’ll need Keynote 6 or later in order to use any of the templates in the app. Also of note, while these are designed for Keynote, you can use any Infographics element in any iWork application.

infographicstemplates

The Infographics app is a Keynote template delivery systems that gives you access to a huge collection of graphic and chart elements you can add to your Keynote presentations.

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Grids for Instagram review: View (but don’t share) social photo feeds on Mac

Considering Instagram’s baked-in limitations, it’s a miracle the photo-centric social network has become as wildly popular as it has. After all, third-party apps aren’t permitted to upload images to the service at all, and nearly six years after the debut of the iPad, there’s still no tablet-optimized iOS update to be found.

Instagram is also oddly walled off from desktop computers. Sure, you can use a web browser to search or view images, but it feels like something the company grudgingly maintains. Even after Facebook acquired the service in 2012, Instagram remains stubbornly mobile-first, despite the efforts of developers like ThinkTime, who keep trying to expand its reach.

grids for instagram on macbook

With support for Retina Displays and full-screen mode, Grids makes Instagram photos look their best on the Mac.

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Elmedia Player Pro review: Better, stronger, faster than QuickTime Player

When it comes to OS X media playback, QuickTime Player is free, included with every Mac, and optimized to handle Apple’s preferred file types. But if you want to play content that isn’t natively supported by the operating system (such as popular Windows formats AVI and WMV) Apple’s software won’t help without third-party software components installed.

The better solution is to skip Cupertino’s media player altogether and download an application built for playing virtually any media you throw at it and can also be upgraded with even more powerful features whenever the need arises.

elmedia player

Elmedia Player Pro 6.1

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NTFS for Mac 14 review: A read/write speed freak for Windows volumes

Mac shipments may be outpacing the industry as a whole, but if you need a reminder it’s still a Windows world, look no further than new hard drives. The majority are formatted for PCs, requiring them to be reformatted prior to use on OS X—that is, unless you have the appropriate driver installed for native access.

NTFS or bust

NTFS for Mac is the best such software solution: Reliable, fast, and now affordable as well, version 14 (Paragon skipped unlucky number 13) provides unlimited read/write access to hard drives, SSDs, or thumb drives intended for Windows computers.

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Numbers 3.6.1 for Mac review: The best version of Apple’s spreadsheet app so far

When I last reviewed Numbers for OS X, it was the first release of the “new” Numbers, and it came with a slew of changes—both good and bad—to the interface and feature set.

Now, two years on, Numbers has gained 0.6.1 version numbers, as well as some new features and changes to its interface. It’s also a much stronger collaboration tool now, and you can work on spreadsheets on OS X, iOS, and the web.

Issues from the original review

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Chapters review: Mac app adds segment marks to MP3 podcasts and audio files

Some apps are highly focused; Chapters is clearly one of them. Chapters lets you add division markings—yes, chapters—to MP3 files, useful for podcasters who want to provide a quick way for listeners to jump to a segment or past one. It’s also handy for making a single long MP3 file of a music performance, album, or lecture, and marking points along the way rather than dividing into individual audio file tracks, which have to be managed.

Divisions could be added to AAC files using a format defined by Apple to create so-called enhanced versions for years, but which aren’t universally supported. An AAC chapter break can contain a title, a URL, and an image. A fair amount of OS X audio software, starting with the bare-bones and very useful Fission editor from Rogue Amoeba, supports AAC chapter creation and editing.

But MP3 chapters never seemed to get the respect, despite their definition in the MP3 metadata spec since 2005 and their ostensible broader utility. An MP3 division mark allows a start and end time and optional text labels, which can contain URLs or other information. (There’s even a third chapter format, which uses XML and connects to feed syndication formats.)

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