PRjohnson's Recent Posts
C'mon Realmac, where's the respect for having such an impressive list of long-time users of LittleSnapper? Many of who have also shelled out the dough for your other apps and stuck with Realmac, singing your praises to anyone who would listen along the way (i.e., years of unwavering loyalty...seriously...no, really really... scout's honor seriously...ARE you even paying attention?). We love Realmac. We love LittleSnapper. We loved feeling like we mattered and into the Realmac family...and that we felt proud to be part of something big and advocate for the little guy developer. We've thrown punches for you whenever and wherever possible. Yet now, each of us seem to have become the little guy. But who is advocating for us? Surely Realmac would be first in line? Imagine if Ember were launched not with a price tag or payola and freebies for reviewers, but had instead opted to cash in the years of building a community of users that most developers can only dream of. So Realmac, holding true to their edgy reputation and innovative flair, took crazy pills instead. Anwyay, rather than repeat the same list of qualms and complaints noted by others regarding Ember's wholesome wtf-ness (i.e., that which honestly, sincerely, and we're-not-joking just simply feels like one giant middle-finger pointed in our direction), I'd like to make a last-ditch plea to Realmac...THROW US A BONE? An omg-just-kidding-about-the-$49.99 holiday sale for $10? Or, if nothing else, maybe a get well soon card to help us get through the impending breakup.
Simple. Fast. Amazing.
Nothing else comes close to the sheer perfection of Viscosity's one-click OpenVPN connections. Beautiful Mac-like interface with much attention to detail during setup, then immediately gets out of your way via simple on/off menu bar icon.
Cocktail is one of those trusted Mac apps that I have grown to appreciate over the years. The clearly laid out settings in cocktail are exceedingly Mac-like in every way and are a breeze to use.They spent a lot of time creating an interface that understands the wide range of user skill levels. I use Cocktail mostly because it's quick and to the point—it gets the job done without getting in the way. If I want to have a bit more fun and customize OS X to the breaking point, which I regularly do, I'll load up one of the other many other similar apps that are out there. Cocktail isn't free, but it's not expensive either at less than $20. Compared to other apps, here is a case in which you definitely get what you pay for. Cocktail is worth every penny.
Amazingly Mac-like and simple to use. Been using Viscosity for years and is my trusted VPN app to use for my OpenVPN and other secure connections. Manages several profiles at once while maintaining a clearly laid-out set of master preferences for the app. Configuring your VPN connections is as simple as opening a VPN configuration file typically provided by any of the half-dozen leading VPN providers out there. Developers were smart to make Viscosity as powerful as any networking expert would want while at the same time providing an uncomplicated configuration interface that clearly marks the most commonly-used options and their functionality in places that are to find—and then get out of your way. Viscosity is great for any level of skill. If you are looking for nothing more than an ON/OFF VPN switch, look no further. And, as others have also mentioned, you absolutely cannot beat the $9 price tag for such a wonderful app.
I have been keeping my fingers crossed with the new developers' trajectory for the future of JustNotes. I want oh so, so bad for the new (post-v1.0) JustNotes to, at minimum, work as well as it did before being freshly developed (pre-v1.0) and appearing in the App Store. To be honest, I miss the days when JustNotes v0.8 just worked, but unfortunately the older version is no longer stable in newer versions of OS X. And even though it is now a much prettier and visually stunning app, there have been a handful of relatively simple yet highly relevant usability issues. Most recently, and which prompted my review, is a new "mid-sync freeze" bug, which locks up JustNotes until it finishes syncing the current note you are editing. The sync interval cannot be changed, so the user is left stuck for 10-15 seconds EVERY 10-15 seconds or so. Other usability issues, while seemingly minor are indeed much more of a problem than they seem, include: a) the inability to effectively stylize text in any manner at all which would makes sense to a human who has ever edited text before (e.g., if you highlight some text and make it bold, the entire note becomes bold); b) what happened to Markdown?; c) ineffective management of deleted notes (I have literally thousands of notes stuck in my JustNotes "Archive" that have been long deleted in SimpleNote--it would be awesome for there to be a toggle option to turn "Archive Note" off and replace it with "Delete Note" instead; d) searching notes has been rendered useless for anyone with several dozen notes or more and/or with longer notes so that when searching for a word it may appear multiple times throughout your notes--the easy solution is to simply use the shortcut CMD-G "Find next," which for for one reason or another does not work in JustNotes yet is such a universal OS X interface shortcut enabled in any app capable of searching; e) I give up--while switching between writing this review and JustNotes it crashed out of nowhere, thus marking a good place to wrap-up this review. If apps could crash themselves out of shame, well, looks like we have a winner. But, having said all of the above, I have faith in JustNotes and its developers for paying more attention to the user and overall usability. Simply listening to user feedback and suggestions is not enough--it would be a good idea to go several rounds user studies if this has not been done yet. Many of the issues found in JustNotes would become apparent early on and thus fixed more quickly.
I use f.lux every day...err...night. Can't imagine burning the midnight oil night after night to finish a project without it. Minimizes harshness of staring at a screen all night, lessens eye strain, while also allowing the brain to realize the sun as set. Another BIG PLUS is simply having the ability to dim the screen far past factory settings without going completely black, which is perfect for anyone working late with a significant other trying to sleep.
I completely agree with @NoSound4Boom one hundred percent. In the decade that I've been producing/mixing in my home studio, not once had any plugin/app/hardware caused such a dreadful experience. Boom is a deadly app, and one of the worst (and most damaging) I have yet to encounter. After years of eying Boom, I purchased it as I needed an app that would: (a) let me enhance listening at the system-level for music streaming apps (i.e., MOG, SoundCloud, Vevo) that fall outside my preferred iTunes w/SRS iWow plugin setup; and (b) even more importantly, to equalize and, ummm, 'boom' sound from my puny Air 11" speakers while streaming independently of the SRS iWow plugin, which has always done a wonderful job compensating for smaller speaker sizes. Any why not? The first statement under "Boom For Me?" on devs' web site affirmed my need with "Laptop Speakers not loud enough while watching a movie or listening to music?" Yes, Boom was certainly for me. Ah, but what was the result? Within two weeks the left speaker on my brand new MacBook Air was rendered useless (blown? short?), which left me with no other choice but to disable the speaker and switch to mono. Let's hope Apple accepts a warranty claim. I then tested Boom the much larger speakers of my MBP 17" and on a 13" MBA I use for work. I even ported sound through my studio monitors, a little iHome I use at work, and on several sets of monitoring and listening headphones. The outcome was the same, regardless of device: Boom is deadly to sound. The ways in which Boom distorts its over-driven and compressed sound output is anything but eloquent, throwing any possible signs of an understanding of acoustical engineering and DSP out the window. I loathe writing an unpleasant review, yet on this rare occasion it's probably deserved. Still, look forward to future improvements. I'm just not sure if it would ever be worth the risk to use Boom again.
Wow...Bartender is one of those "I didn't know I needed it until I saw it in action" tools. Useful, clean, and it just works, and so very, very well. Let's just say that we've all become accustomed to a half-dozen—or more—icons in the Menu Bar as not only being acceptable, but necessary. After all, it's been an even trade-off, as the alternative would be cramming our many tiny-yet-useful apps into the Dock. Any other developer/idealist who has tried in the past to tackle this dilemma (accepting an overcrowded Menu Bar rather than an overcrowded Dock) has never quite come up with a solution that could tackle the task of cleaning up the Menu Bar without at the same time losing the icons' functionality and causing even more anxiety (hiding them defeats the purpose, in other words). Well—and I am getting to my point here—Bartender found a simple and smart solution to help clean up our Menu Bars once and for all, but without jeopardizing the utility of having the icons there in the first place. Configuration takes less than three minutes—all you have to decide on is where each Menu Bar item is shown. In either: a) right where it is in the Menu Bar, or b) in the Bartender Bar, which is shown as a single Menu Bar icon that, when clicked, drops down a minimalist secondary bar containing all of your hidden items. Perfect, right? Well, one problem quickly leading to heightened initial anxiety is simply having to make the decision of whether to hide the icon when, yes, there ARE times when you really DO need to see the icon for whatever reason—Bartender takes care of this too. The second option for each Menu Bar item is deciding whether you want Bartender to temporarily display the icon back in the Menu Bar whenever Bartender detects an update to the status of the item (e.g., when Dropbox is updating, or when you receive a notification in Twitter). But it gets better—you can select how long it displays, anywhere from 5 seconds to 10 minutes. Awesome. I am overwhelmingly impressed. Bartender is one of the very few principled "Mac-like" apps in existence that all Apple fanboys and fangirls treasure (or will treasure very soon). And hey, it's only $7.50!!!
Why would anyone pay money for this app when both iTunes and QuickTime easily convert MIDI files just as easily and for free? Total scam. I wish developers would stop praying on the ignorance of others.