Comic Life 3 review: New tools help make you a better storyteller

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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For over eight years, Plasq’s Comic Life has provided an easy way to present your photos and other images in comic book form. (We previously reviewed version 1 and version 2 for Mac Gems.) Now at version 3, Comic Life offers more features geared toward people who have a serious interest in storytelling using the comic book medium.

Comic Life 3 two page view
Comic Life 3 now supports two-up page viewing.

It’s likely that most folks use Comic Life to throw a few pictures together to create simple, humorous anecdotes, and the app works well for that. But if you want to tell more detailed, complicated stories, Comic Life now has a Script Editor to help you form your comic’s storyline. The Script Editor uses keywords to automatically format the text in the proper way. For example, If you type a person’s name, Comic Life recognizes that you want to format the text as speech and will put it in a speech bubble. When the Script Editor recognizes a keyword (Comic Life has a set of default keywords, but you can also add your own), it creates an icon specific to that keyword that appears in an icon column on the left side of your script. You can then drag and drop the icons into your comic and easily adjust the formatting to your liking.

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New ProductiveMacs bundle offers Mac Gems on the cheap

Dan Frakes Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

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.
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As longtime Mac Gems readers know, I rarely cover bundles or promotions—only when a particular sale offers readers a great deal on a number of great Mac apps.

That’s the case with the current ProductiveMacs bundle, which includes seven quality apps—five of them past Mac Gems, with another also earning a high Macworld rating—for just $30. Here’s what three Hamiltons will get you:

Default Folder X icon
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Playlist Assist review: Drag and drop to create playlists, like iTunes of yore

Jonathan Seff , Macworld Follow me on Google+

Jonathan has been covering the tech industry since 1998. He loves watching TV shows on his iPhone while exercising, and has already indoctrinated his young twins in the ways of the Apple TV.
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Among the many (somewhat jarring) changes in iTunes 11 is that you can no longer open and display multiple iTunes windows. This feature of iTunes 10 and earlier was useful for a number of tasks, not the least of which was building playlists.

In those older versions of iTunes, you could create a new playlist, open it up as a separate window, and then drag and drop tracks from your iTunes library into that window to build a custom and organized collection of items. iTunes 11 instead offers a new Playlists view, accessible only if you hide iTunes’s sidebar. To add items to a playlist, you find or create that playlist, click the Add To button, and you get playlist-building functionality somewhat similar to what you had before, with the playlist appearing in its own sidebar to the right—you can drag items to it and arrange items within it. This approach works, but if using multiple windows is the way you like to build playlists, you’re out of luck. (There are other ways to make and add to playlists in iTunes, including by dragging and dropping from the main window to a playlist in the sidebar, but none provides the same two-window ease of use as before.)

Playlist Assist lets you drag and drop tracks to create and edit playlists; when you’re done, you send the playlist to iTunes.

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EasyRes review: Resolution switcher's animated previews set it apart

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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OS X 10.9 Mavericks is out and it’s full of new features, including improved multi-monitor support. But it still doesn’t provide a quick way to change screen resolutions—you’d think that after a few generations of Retina MacBook Pro laptops, Apple would bring back a way to switch resolutions from the menu bar.

Of course, third-party developers have come to the rescue. The latest, Bright Vertex, offers EasyRes 1.0.4 (Mac App Store link), which joins Eye-Friendly, Pupil, QuickRes, and ResolutionTab in the resolution-switcher fray. Fortunately for EasyRes, it has one feature that makes it stand out from the crowd.

EasyRes 1.0 menubar
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Yojimbo 4 review: Stellar information manager adds better sync (for a fee)

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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Everyone needs a simple organization app. There are just too many random bits of information out there to rely on the sticky notes, snippets, and other hacks we all used at the dawn of personal computing to keep track of information.

Which is why when Bare Bones Software’s Yojimbo information manager arrived on the scene in 2006, many people snapped it up and never looked back. Since then, competitors such as Evernote and DevonThink have taken different approaches to organizing, managing, and storing data such as text notes, images, drawings, PDFs, passwords, serial numbers, Web URLs, Web archives, and much more. But Yojimbo has remained popular, and Yojimbo 4 is the most capable version yet. (Yojimbo 4 is $30—a $20 price drop from previous versions—or $20 for owners of previous versions.)

What’s compelling about Yojimbo, ironically, is that over time, relatively little has changed about the program’s clean interface, even as Bare Bones has added major improvements and enhancements such as sidekick, tags, and, in version 4, Mac-to-Mac sync. In fact, version 4 looks roughly same as the original release: the ultimate virtual file cabinet (or junk drawer, depending on your approach), with little bloat and a minimal upgrade learning curve. Version 4 also adds goodies such as a full-screen view and support for Retina displays.

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CargoLifter review: Automatically send email attachments via the cloud

Dan Frakes Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

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.
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Email has come a long way in the past couple decades, but it’s still a hassle to send large files as attachments. Some email accounts have attachment-size limits, either for the sender or the recipient; many people check email on mobile devices, where large attachments can be both difficult to manage and expensive to download; and many people simply think that large attachments are bad email etiquette.

For all these reasons, cloud-based file-sending services have become quite popular. Instead of attaching a large file to an email message, you upload the file to cloud storage (a service that stores your data on a server that you connect to over the Internet). The service then provides you with a URL for downloading the file, and you include that URL in your message. The recipient receives an email unencumbered by an attachment, but with a link to download the file if and when they want.

iCloud email-attachment limitation
iCloud’s attachment-size limit
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PhotoReviewer review: Quick and easy image triage

Dan Frakes Senior Editor, Macworld Follow me on Google+

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.
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Way back in 2004, I reviewed PhotoReviewer 1.4, which quickly became my favorite way to “triage” the flood of photos from my digital camera. As I explained back then:

Although the ability to take unlimited photos gives aspiring photographers the freedom to make sure they get the best shot, it also has a drawback: At some point you have to weed through those 24 photos of Uncle Bob’s embarassing softball swing at the family reunion, and the 63 pictures of your niece’s first recital, in order to find the three or four worth keeping.

My complaint at the time was that while iPhoto is a decent app for managing the photos you want, it’s a poor solution for going through your photos and deciding which are worth keeping—and, thus, importing into iPhoto in the first place. Of course you can import everything into iPhoto and then delete what you don’t want, but it’s a slow process, and iPhoto just isn’t optimized for the task. What I really wanted was an easy—and fast—way to review photos before they ever got near iPhoto.

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