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SOFTWARE

17 Killer Mac Apps Under $20 (Part 3)

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8/16/2013 9:22:42 AM

Cloud clipboard

Paste all over the place

The clipboard is ubiquitous for copying and pasting content between apps on one device, but of course it only remembers one thing at a time. CloudClipboard remembers everything you copy, and lets you paste it to any Mac or iOS device through iCloud syncing.

Everything you copy ends up in CloudClipboard.

Everything you copy ends up in CloudClipboard.

To send something from your default clipboard into the cloud, just click the CloudClipboard icon or window. There’s also an option to auto-paste, in the background, everything you copy into CloudClipboard. Once in CloudClipboard, your information is divided into categories: Text, Webclips, Links, and Photos. You can title items, edit text and URL entries, preview photos, and launch the URLs of all your Webclips. The only things missing are a search field and a search field and the ability to reorder items.

You can use CloudClipboard on a single Mac, but it truly shines when you use iCloud syncing. Copy something on one Mac, and it’s available from other Macs and iOS devices (using the $4.99 universal iPhone/iPad app) within seconds. This is even faster than using Dropbox, since you don’t need to create or save a file before the sync happens. All your copied info is just there.

The bottom line

If you work between multiple Macs and iOS devices, you can’t beat the sheer convenience of CloudClipboard to sync information between your machines.

·         Product: CloudClipboard 1.1

·         Company: Light Room

·         Contact: www.lightroomapps.com

·         Requirements: OS X 10.8 or later

·         Positives: Stores anything you can copy. Organizes by category. Some types are editable. Seamless iCloud integration and syncing

·         Negatives: no search filed or reordering. iCloud requires at least OS X 10.7, and the App Store requires 10.8.

·         Rated (Excellent): 4.5/5

Newsbar RSS reader

Good-bye, Google reader

NewsBar shows just how slick an RSS app can be; it displays articles beautifully and it’s easy to customize the look, behavior, and alerts. Folders, under Preferences > RSS Feeds, let you bundle related feeds together, and NewsBar can even pull in your Google Reader feeds (before that service disappears in July) and merge them with your local feeds, so they’ll keep working seamlessly when Google Reader goes dark.

Sleek, simple, and nicely translucent.

Sleek, simple, and nicely translucent.

Not everything was perfect, though: our folders weren’t copied from Google Reader, and dragging each feed to a folder one at a time took a while. You can import and export OPML files (say, to transfer your feeds in from another reader), but it’s a little hidden, in Preferences > RSS Feeds, behind a gear button. 

NewsBar can live on the left or right of your screen, or a floating window, and when you click an article it opens in a floating pane, with a button to view the original page in your default browser. It can also alert you to new articles with specified keywords, highlighting them in a color and playing a sound. You can even get alerts from OS X’s Notification Center.  

The bottom line

Whether you want your RSS feeds front and center, or faded into the background of your Desktop, NewsBar is a flexible, elegant choice

·         Product: NewsBar RSS Reader 3.1.2

·         Company: Merlin Developments

·         Contact: www.newsbar-app.com

·         Price: $4.99

·         Requirements: 64-bit processor, OS X 10.6.6 or later

·         Positives: Slick, minimal interface. Great performance. Customizable categories and RSS feeds. Picks up where Google Reader left off.

·         Negatives: Interface can feel a bit too cut down/minimalistic at times.

·         Rated (Great): 4/5

Write 2

The sweet spot between text edit and word

If you need a word processor that’s more capable than TextEdit, but don’t want the huge footprint (or expense) of Word, then Write 2 may ably fill that need. It’s a streamlined but capable option that includes helpful features like columns and header/footer support, along with a live word count, plus you can save to and edit Word and Rich Text file formats. Columns and tables made here don’t transfer over to Word docs, though, so it doesn’t play quite as nicely as hoped.

You can create tables with ease, but saving to a Word doc drops the formatting.

You can create tables with ease, but saving to a Word doc drops the formatting.

The bottom line

Affordable, fast, and easy to use, Write 2 is a worthwhile lightweight word processing option.

Columns, live word count, and header and footer support are all helpful features in Write 2.

Columns, live word count, and header and footer support are all helpful features in Write 2.

·         Product: Write 2.0.7

·         Company: MOApp Software

·         Contact: www.writetheapp.com

·         Price: $6.99

·         Requirements: 64-bit processor, OS X 10.7.4 or later

·         Positives: More robust feature set than TextEdit. Works with Word and RTF file formats. Affordable

·         Negatives: Columns and tables don’t transfer to Word docs. Occasional crashes.

·         Rated (Good): 3.5/5

Typeit4me

Type less, but say more

TypeIt4Me comes with a few sample clippings, and as our library grew, we really appreciated all the sorting options. You can order your list by most used, last used, alphabet, last added, and so on, and sync your clipping sets over iCloud to other Macs and iOS devices with TypeIt4Me Touch ($4.99, universal). If you want to get old-school, a printable list of your clippings and abbreviations is one click away. And it’s easy to exclude some apps or restrict certain clipping sets to certain apps. You can even set up trigger keys that you have to press before an abbreviation, to avoid typing them inadvertently. Your clippings don’t have to be plain text, either. They can be rich text, images, or have special characters like tabs and returns. You can insert the date and time, nest clippings inside each other and even run AppleScripts.

One of the more useful examples: a short blog post’s worth of lorem ipsum placeholder text.

One of the more useful examples: a short blog post’s worth of lorem ipsum placeholder text.

The bottom line

Category-leading TextExpander ($34.99 Mac, $4.99 iOS) goes further, letting you set up form-letter-like snippets and share your snippets on the web. But if you can forgo those, TypeIt4Me is just as great at saving you time.

·         Product: TypeIt4Me 5.3.2

·         Company: Ettore Software

·         Contact: www.ettoresoftware.com

·         Price: $19.99

·         Requirements: 64-bit processor, OS X 10.7 or later

·         Positives: Nearly as robust as TextExpander but for less. On sale for $4.99 at press time. Syncs to a universal $4.99 app for iPad/iPhone

·         Negatives: Missing some of TextExpander’s more advanced features. No sharing or importing of clipping sets.

·         Rated (Great): 4/5

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