in Mac apps, tip

Round up of interesting things

Here are a few items that caught my interest this week:

1. MacHeist Bundle

They’re back. MacHeist announced a $49 bundle today (a variety of 12 apps offered during the past two Heists). If you bought the previous bundles, this isn’t for you. If you didn’t, you might find something here to pique your interest. The apps that stick out from the pack for me are Cha-Ching and DevonThink Personal. To my surprise, I’ve grown quite fond of CoverSutra, too.

2. Apple news aggregator debuts

Apple Enthusiast is a new, unimaginatively named Mac site launched this week. It strives to be your one-stop-shop for all things Mac, the page refreshing every 15 minutes to keep you up to date with the latest. Me? I don’t care for it. It’s too busy. Too crowded. It reminds me of CNN’s Situation Room, which I can’t stand. There is such a thing as too much when it comes to presenting information. I prefer to subscribe to feeds of individual sites of my choosing using the free and excellent NetNewsWire. Speaking of feeds, you can’t subscribe to an Apple Enthusiast RSS feed (which makes sense given that RSS is how they are aggregating all of these links).

3. Keep your day job

The last episode of MacBreak Tech was very interesting. The topic was making your Mac your business. Lots of great tips, including the best advice of all: “Don’t quit your day job.”

4. One phone number to rule them all

 

Also featured on the above-mentioned podcast were a couple of powerful phone services. One you’ve probably heard of (Grand Central from Google), one you’ve probably not (k7.net). Grand Central is currently an invite-only Beta (anyone?), but you can now sign up with your preferred area code and see what happens. The features of this service are amazing — one more example of how Google is taking over the world. The other service, k7.net, offers to send your faxes and voicemail straight to your email inbox for free. The only downside is that you can only choose from a Seattle area code.

5. SpaceTime

Here’s a new application that I couldn’t resist trying out. SpaceTime is a Windows-only 3D web search browser (currently in beta). The Mac version is in the works. I fired it up via VMWare Fusion and…I was underwhelmed. It’s an interesting idea, but I just don’t see myself using such a tool. At least not in it’s current form. It did raise an interesting question, though. What’s in store for the Mac in terms of the 3D user interface? I haven’t seen any app hit the streets yet using the full-blown, Leopard-powered 3D capabilities embodied in Time Machine. I think user interfaces that embrace 3D will walk a fine line between utility and eye candy. One could make the argument that Time Machine is a bit heavy on the eye candy, after all. But I kinda like it; I think the Time Machine metaphor is uniquely suited for 3D presentation. Still, I wouldn’t mind an alternative 2D Time Machine interface option, similar to what we have for the 2D or 3D Dock (just because I’m always for customization options). But I digress. All I really can say at this point is that I’m eager to see how Mac developers integrate 3D ideas into future UIs — I’ll bet the most successful ventures will use it sparingly.

6. Get IRCed

Internet Relay Chat is still going strong. I haven’t used IRC for a long, long time, but I recently came across an app that spurred me to once again tap into the conversation. It’s a top-notch free client called Colloquy.

 

7. Cocoa links

Here’s a small ‘aggregator’ of sorts that I really do like. It’s Cocoa Dev Central, a collection of links that are quite handy if you’re interested in learning how to program for the Mac and don’t know where to begin. Make sure you check out Cocoa Lab’s free online book.

  1. I used to use Cha Ching until a few weeks ago, when I switched to http://nothirst.com/moneywell/“ rel=”nofollow”>MoneyWell. I should write a review for it, but the central point that made me switch is that I don’t need an app that helps me record how I spent the money, but an app that helps me plan how I will spend what I have.

    The other thing that drove me away from Cha Ching is the almost complete lack of communication from the developer.

  2. AppleEnthusiast is a good concept, but an RSS reader makes more sense. It didn’t make my eyes bleed, but they did actually hurt…I could only spend about 60 seconds there before I couldn’t take it anymore.

    Also, Colloquy is a great free application. I’ve been using it for about six months to play on the trivia channels.

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