Miscellaneous Ramblings Reviews
Low End Mac is pleased to publish Miscellaneous Ramblings Reviews by Charles Moore . He has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and started writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His Road Warrior column is a regular feature on Mac Opinion, he writes The 'Book Mystique for PowerBook Central, and he is a news editor and columnist at Applelinks.com.
Charles lives and works in Port Hilford, Nova Scotia, on the shore of Indian Harbour Lake and in sight of the Atlantic Ocean. His newspaper columns are syndicated across Canada, and he writes regularly for several magazines, as well as doing Mac website journalism. Charles has also contributed to MacToday magazine.
- Shiira browser is lightning fast, 2010.03.08. "...I'm finding myself not in any hurry to stop using Shiira 2.3 and go back to Safari 4 as my WebKit browser pick."
- Handshoe Mouse a good ergonomic option, 2010.03.02. "If you suffer from mousing pain, they should prove well worth the price."
- diNovo Mac Edition a top quality keyboard, 2010.02.15. Logitech's diNovo cordless keyboard offers a standard Macintosh layout in a premium package.
- Free Glide OS: Computing in the cloud, 2010.01.25. Hands on with Glide OS, a free cloud-based operating system and apps that you access from your browser.
- My New Mac: Snow Leopard Edition is a great introduction to the Mac, 2009.12.08. If you're new to the Mac or know someone who is, this project-based book can help you get up to speed with OS X quickly.
- 2 wireless alternatives to Apple's Magic Mouse, 2009.10.27. Whether you prefer buttons to buttonless, are still using Mac OS X 10.4, or don't like Bluetooth, Targus has mice to consider.
- Jumpcut, a free clipboard manager for OS X, 2009.10.26. PTHPasteboard, once a free clipboard manager, has gone commercial. Jumpcut has stepped into the gap and works very nicely.
- Free Mailsmith Is the BBEdit of email clients, 2009.10.20. If you're looking for an efficient, powerful, flexible, scriptable plain text email client for POP3 email, Mailsmith could be for you.
- Free TextWranger 3.0 a steal, 2009.10.13. For editing plain text, TextWrangler 3.0 is fast, very powerful, free, and may be all you need in a text editor.
- Plantronics Voyager Pro Bluetooth headset, 2009.08.17. This Plantronics Bluetooth headset is lightweight, comfortable, and has good sound quality.
- Paintbrush: A fast, free, MacPaint-like bitmap editor for OS X, 2009.07.06. Macs no longer ship with a free paint program, but the freeware Paintbrush program replaces MacPaint nicely.
- Smultron: A fast, free text editor that's great for organizing information, 2009.06.22. NotePad Deluxe didn't fully survive the switch to an Intel Mac, and Smultron became the replacement of choice.
- Targus USB 2.0 4-Port Bend-a-Hub with Mini USB Adapter, 2009.04.20. This clever, flexible, inexpensive 4-port unpowered hub is light and includes a switch-hitting mini-USB port.
- 'Mac Migration' an excellent resource for Windows users moving to the Mac, 2009.04.13. "'Mac Migration: The Small Business Guide to Switching to the Mac' manages to a pretty much cover all of relevant bases inside of 350 pages."
- Vertus Fluid Mask 3: A powerful image masking tool for cleaning up image backgrounds, 2009.03.30. If you need to do sophisticated image masking, Fluid Mask provides lots of powerful tools for getting the job done.
- Vertus Bling! It: Affordable image masking software for casual use, 2009.03.24. Bling! It can be a useful tool for removing busy backgrounds from product photos used online or in print.
- 4-way Touch Scroll in Targus mice more than just a cool gimmick, 2009.02.02. Instead of a scrollball or scroll wheel that moves sideways, Targus uses an optical sensor that works like a champ and won't gum up.
- Wikipedia: The Missing Manual available as book and wiki, 2009.01.29. If you're at all interested in contributing to Wikipedia, this book should teach you everything you need to know.
- Eudora 8 beta 5 making progress, not quite ready for prime time, 2009.01.27. "Eudora 8 is making gradual progress, and in a pinch I think I could use it, although not happily at this point...."
- Pixelmator 1.3.2 gains some cool enhancements, 2008.12.22. "Pixelmator works so well now that I've been finding myself using it more and more instead of Photoshop Elements 6."
- Logitech diNovo Edge Bluetooth Keyboard complements modern Macs, 2008.12.08. Logitech's diNovo Edge isn't just a well built Bluetooth keyboard. It brings some new features to the Mac and looks great next to glass and aluminum hardware.
- Cruz browser introduces useful new features, 2008.11.17. Although only a 0.1 release, this new WebKit-based browser has several clever new features that just might hook you.
- Targus USB 2.0 High-Speed File Transfer Cable helps offset loss of FireWire, 2008.11.10. Although it can't replace Target Disk Mode, Targus' $40 cable makes it easy to transfer files quickly between two Macs, two PCs, or one of each.
- NewerTech 11 Piece Portable Toolkit for servicing and upgrading computers, 2008.11.03. NewerTech's $20 toolkit may have all the tools you'll need to repair and upgrade your computers - and classic iPods.
- SimpleTech SimpleDrive: Fast and stylish, 2008.09.23. With attractive design by Pininfarina, an illuminated capacity meter, and plenty of 7200 rpm storage space, SimpleDrive is a great backup drive.
- Seashore: A free, basic image editor for Mac OS X, 2008.09.08. Seashore is an open source image editing program for Mac OS X that uses parts of the GIMP but also integrates will with the Mac OS.
- iPod 'Missing Manual' grows but drops coverage of older iPods, 2008.08.18. The 6th edition of iPod: The Missing Manual has extensive coverage of all the current iPod models, but at the cost of dropping coverage of all earlier models.
- Free mEdit text editor excels at handling and combining multiple documents, 2008.07.28. Most word processors are designed for office work and short documents. mEdit is designed to work with multiple documents and multi-part documents.
- New Iris 1.0 image editor not quite ready for prime time, 2008.07.14. Compared to Photoshop Elements 6, Pixelmator, and even the low-end Acorn, the first release of Iris doesn't seem to offer comparable value.
- SteelSeries S&S Pro Gaming: Can a mouse pad really be worth $30?, 2008.06.23. Once you've used a SteelSeries mouse pad for a while, you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.
- Opera 9.5 good enough to 'ruin you for other browsers', 2008.06.16. The reviewer has long considered Opera the best among a solid collection of Mac browsers, and the latest version makes it even better.
- Kensington Ci70 Wireless Keyboard and Mouse excellent for field and desktop use, 2008.06.09. Slim, light, and small of footprint, Kensington's wireless Ci70 mouse and keyboard are great for desktop Macs and easy to take along for use in the field.
- Make your own custom greeting cards with Sophie's Cards, 2008.06.02. Design and mail customized greeting cards using your own words and photos - or ones that come with the software.
- Pixelmator 1.2 closing the gap with Photoshop Elements 6, 2008.05.27. Photoshop Elements 6 has raised the bar for affordable image editing software, and Pixelmator is coming closer to being able to replace it.
- Opera 9.5 beta add innovative features, better integrates with Mac, 2008.04.28. Already a speedy browers, Opera now launches faster, has a fully searchable history, and looks more like a standard Mac app than earlier versions.
- FaceBook: The Missing Manual a very useful resource, , 2008.04.15. There is so much to Facebook that you almost need a book to take full advantage of it. This is that book.
- Social networking on the Mac: net4mac shows promise, 2008.04.14. In contrast to huge social networks such as MySpace and Facebook, net4mac is limited to Mac users with OS X 10.4 and later.
- At play in the garden of OS X browsers: Safari 3.1, Opera 9.27, and iCab 4.01, 2008.04.07. "In some respects, the browser wars are over in the sense that just about all of the alternatives are now satisfyingly fast and stable...."
- At play in the garden of OS X browsers: Firefox 3 Beta 5, 2008.04.07. "I've not traditionally been much of a Firefox fan, but Beta 5 is the slickest, most polished Firefox browser ever, not to mention the fastest and prettiest."
- Interarchy 9: Smooth, fast, and reliable, 2008.03.17. Interarchy was already a powerful program - far more than an FTP client - and the changes in version 9 make it even better.
- Pixelmator 1.1.3: A serious challenger to Photoshop Elements?, 2008.03.10. Visually arresting, Pixlemator keeps improving, but Adobe is raising the bar with Elements 6 for Mac.
- The best alternatives to Apple's USB keyboards, 2007.12.10. There are a lot of USB keyboards out there, even for the Mac, but these two have great keyboard action, are solidly built, and have features Apple's keyboard don't include.
- Is the SteelSeries 4D the best mousepad ever?, 2007.10.15. This large, double-sided mousepad was optimized for gamers, but it makes a fine addition to any mouse user's work area.
- FastMac 8x SuperDrive and BurnAgain DVD: Fast and easy multisession disc burning, 2007.10.08. FastMac's 8x SuperDrive upgrade is remarkably fast compared with older PowerBook burners, and BurnAgain DVD makes it easy to append files to a previously burned CD or DVD.
- Discover the power of iWork with The Missing Manual, 2007.08.06. Since not much has changed between iWork '05 and iWork '06, the 2005 edition should be plenty to get any iWork user up to speed quickly.
- Bible-Discovery: Powerful but sluggish Bible study software, 2007.07.30. As a Java application, Bible-Discovery isn't fast or Mac-like, but it is a powerful tool for studying the Bible in Greek, Hebrew, and several English translations.
- Shiira 2.2 an even stronger contender for best Mac OS X browser, 2007.07.24. Shiira incorporates elements from many other browsers, has developed a unique interface, and could be a serious challenger to Opera as the Mac's best browser.
- 2 earbuds and 2 headsets for music and gaming, 2007.06.11. Colorful, good sounding earbuds, retractable earbuds, and a pair of gaming headphones that include built-in microphones.
- Bean: Free word processor is fast and lean and looks great, 2007.05.29. Bean is a great tool for basic word processing, but it doesn't support the kind of high-end features some users may depend upon.
- FileMaker Pro 8.5 well worth checking out, 2007.04.16. If you're considering investing in a database program, FileMaker Pro 8.5 is definitely worth looking over.
- Logitech TrackMan Wheel intuitive, easy to use, 2007.04.16. Trackballs are well suited for some tasks, less well suited for others. Logitech's thumb-controlled TrackMan Wheel is quickly mastered, and its software provides lots of options.
- Opera the best browser for the Mac, 2007.02.26. "In my opinion, Opera is still the best all-round general surfing browser for Mac OS X, and Safari has a long way to go to even come close to matching it."
- 3 MacMice mice compared: 2 winners, 1 loser, 2007.02.19. MacMice products are well-designed and hold up well over time, but their Bluetooth mouse is poorly balanced and suffers from latency problems.
- Tex-Edit Plus: Powerful styled text editing for OS X and the Classic Mac OS, 2007.02.05. Whether you're looking for a powerful text editor or a simple, flexible word processor, Tex-Edit Plus could be exactly the tool you need.
- Shiira 2.0b2 browser: Neat features, but not ready for prime time, 2007.01.08. Shiira is a small, fast, free browser based on Safari WebKit that includes some very useful new features.
- Goldtouch fully adjustable ergonomic keyboard for Mac, 2006.12.19. If you suffer from typing injury or want to avoid it, the fully adjustable Key Ovation Goldtouch Apple Compatible Adjustable Keyboard may be just what you're looking for.
- $20 i-Rocks IR-9200 USB 2.0 2.5" drive enclosure a good value, 2006.12.04. This inexpensive USB 2.0 drive enclosure is a great way to repurpose a 2.5" hard drive that's been removed from a notebook computer.
- FaxCenter for OS X: All the fax software you may ever need, 2006.11.06. Anyone running OS X and looking for software that can replace the classic GlobalFax should take a look at FaxCenter.
- RadTech BT600 rechargeable Bluetooth mouse, 2006.10.17. This cleverly designed Bluetooth mouse charges via USB - and can be used as a USB mouse when the batteries run out of juice.
- InforMac: A free and better replacement for Apple's System Profiler, 2006.08.07. "InforMac works great, is very quick (except for loading the Applications pane, which takes a while), and is a lot more fun to use than System Profiler."
- 7 tools for keeping your laptop (uh, notebook) cool, 2006.07.24. A quick look at the Podium CoolPad, ChillMat, ChillHubs, Laptop Desk, Xpad, iLap, and iBreeze - seven stands designed to keep you 'Books running cooler.
- Adding 'lost' OS 9 features to Mac OS X, 2006.07.12. While OS X offers a lot of things the classic Mac OS didn't, longtime Mac users may miss some features of the Classic Mac OS not included with OS X. 7 programs to restore some of those features.
- TopXNotes: A user-friendly solution for creating, managing, and accessing your notes, 2006.07.05. TopXNotes is a shareware tool for managing your text notes, replacing the Note Pad of the Classic Mac OS.
- DiskWarrior 3: The one disk utility every Mac user should have, 2006.05.30. DiskWarrior does one thing - and does it very well. It finds and repairs directory damage, then create a new optimized replacement directory.
- Flexible eWheelie stand improves notebook use at your desk, 2006.05.08. With a unique wheeled design, the eWheelie Laptop Stand lets you roll your 'Book to the side when you need to use your desk for other things.
- Degunking Your Mac, Tiger Edition, 2006.04.24. This book explains how to degunk your Mac by removing unwanted and obsolete files, clearing out spam, and generally tuning up your Mac.
- Mac OS X Missing Manual 'the OS X book to have', 2006.04.10. "Whatever aspect of working with the operating system and the 50-odd programs that come bundled with it, you're almost certain to find it addressed in the pages of this book."
- MR DEVONthink Professional, 2006.04.04. DEVONthink Professional is a very powerful, sophisticated, intelligent data manager just for the Mac.
- 'The Ball' wireless trackball meets high expectations, 2006.03.27. This Bluetooth trackball is solidly built, precise, and very compfortable to use, quickly becoming an intuitive alternative to the mouse.
- FastMac's $190 8x dual-layer SuperDrive for PowerBooks and dual USB iBooks, 2006.01.30. For US$190-250 you can replace the CD-ROM, CD-RW, Combo, or slow old SuperDrive in most PowerBooks, white iBooks, slot-loading iMacs, and Cubes with a faster, dual-layer drive.
- Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual - Tiger Edition, 2006.01.18. "...Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual is a must-have for anyone making the Windows to Mac transition."
- Matias OS X and USB 2.0 Keyboards reviewed, 2006.01.03. Two very good, nicely priced keyboards for the Mac - one even has a USB 2.0 port for the iPod shuffle and other devices.
- Textpander 1.2: A powerful, free text macro utility, 2005.12.05. Macro utilities can make you more efficient and productive, and the latest version of Textpander brings it head-to-head with TypeIt4Me.
- MacSword 1.2: A solid free Bible program made even better, 2005.12.05. This free, open source Bible research and study program keeps improving. This time around the search function is vastly improved.
- Papyrus Office: A $99 alternative to Microsoft Office, 2005.11.14. Papyrus Office 11 has been ported to OS X. With word processing, spreadsheet, a relational database, and desktop publishing, can it replace Microsoft Office?
- iCab 3.0 beta: The last new browser for the classic Mac OS?, 2005.11.14. iCab 3.0, developed for Mac OS 8.5 and later (including OS X) is very robust and offers some useful, unique features.
- SeaMonkey Preview Internet Suite, 2005.11.07. SeaMonkey continues the legacy of Netscape Communicator and Mozilla for those who prefer an Internet suite to separate applications.
- StuffIt Standard 10.0 a must have: Faster, more flexible, and more efficient, 2005.09.19. New version of the established Mac compression program supports more formats and compresses files faster than version 9.
- Captain FTP 4.3 faster, easier, better than ever, 2005.09.13. Updated FTP client gains power, new features, even a widget.
- 3D-Space VFS: A 3-dimensional Dock replacement and more, 2005.08.29. "I'm usually a fan of minimalist unobtrusiveness when it comes to program launchers, but I have to admit that 3D-Space VFS is pretty cool."
- Monitor your Mac, the weather, and stocks for free using XRG, 2005.08.15. This very useful free utility monitors CPU load, uptime, temperature, battery, network and drive use, as well as the weather and your favorite stocks.
- WorkStrip: Much more than a Dock replacment, 2005.08.08. Workstrip can replace the Dock, manage workspaces, bookmark files, and a whole lot more.
- Photoshop Elements 3.0: All you need?, 2005.07.11. For most photographers, Photoshop Elements 3.0 may eliminate the need to purchase Photoshop CS.
- XLR8 MAChSpeed Control 3.4 squeezes top performance from G3, G4, and G5 Macs and upgrades, 06.06. Latest version of CPU tweaking software supports G3-G5 Macs, G3 and G4 upgrades, and Mac OS 9 through OS X 10.4.
- NotePad Deluxe: A powerful, friendly information organizer, 05.31. "...this is such a well engineered, thoughtfully conceived, and obviously high quality product that it's worth the extra few bucks."
- SilverKeeper: The quintessential free backup utility?, 05.09. LaCie's SilverKeeper is free, and it might be all the backup software you need.
- Kinesis Contour Keyboard looks odd but is surprisingly relaxing and comfortable, 04.18. Unconventional design makes for a very comfortable keyboard that's easy to adapt to and very convenient.
- Photo to Movie takes the image presentation far beyond what iMovie, PowerPoint offer, 04.11. Use zooms, pans, rotation, transitions, titles, and more to turn your static images into an attractive, intriguing, seamless presentation.
- MacMice MicFlex USB, a great microphone for music or dictation, 03.28. This stylish, high quality USB microphone can be used with iChat AV, GarageBand, iListen, and more.
- Jotz 1.3, an innovative, thoughtful replacement for the old Mac Note Pad, 03.14. Jotz goes well beyond copying Apple's Note Pad, adding a number of helpful, powerful features.
- Interarchy a fast, powerful FTP Client for OS X, 02.28. Fast, flexible, feature-laden, and familiar, Interarchy integrates tightly with the Finder and text editors.
- Opera 8.0 for Mac: The promise finally realized?, 02.14. Earlier version of 'the world's fastest browser' weren't so fast, crashed a lot, and weren't very Mac-like. Has Opera 8.0 fixed everything?
- DEVONthink, a powerful information collection, organization, and analysis tool, 02.07. DEVONthink helps you collect and discover connections using text, images, Web pages, bookmarks, and other types of data.
- Is 'The Mouse' from DVForge the multi-button mouse Apple should have built?, 01.31. "Appearance-wise, it pays more than a little homage to Apple's USB optical mouse, but in my estimation it's a nicer mouse to use."
- Cool new stuff from SteelPad: A cure for slippery mice and a really big mousepad, 01.19. Steelgrip keeps your mouse from slipping, and SteelPad QcK+ gives your mouse plenty of room to maneuver.
- Has 'the best keyboard Apple ever made' been resurrected?, 01.03. Matias claims to have remade Apple's Extended Keyboard II for the USB era, but is it as good as the original?
- DigiTools Productivity Suite: Jack of many trades, master of few, 2004.11.22. Free word processor, image and movie viewer, font viewer, calculator, and more is a good beginning but has room to improve.
- ImageJ: Advanced image editing at a low-end price (free), 2004.10.18. Free image editing tool good for working with bitmap images.
- ToyViewer, a cool free graphics tool for OS X, 2004.10.04. "...ToyViewer has won me over, and it's now one of the applications that I keep running all the time, even when I'm using Photoshop Elements or Color It!"
- Modem Magic boosts reliability, speed for those with less than ideal connections, 2004.09.27. If you're plagued by slow or flaky dialup connections, Modem Magic could be just the ticket for a faster, more reliable connection.
- SteelPad 4S and SteelPad 4D high performance mousepads, 2004.09.13. Designed for gaming, how well do these clad aluminum and plastic mousepads work for general computing?
- Fix a Troubled Mac, 2004.08.23. Ebook provides lots of useful information for troubleshooting a Mac running either OS 9 or OS X.
- Concord Eye-Q 3040AF 3.1 megapixel digital camera, 2004.07.21. A 3 MP Mac-friendly digital camera for just US$129 - what's the catch?
- VueScan 8 makes quality scanning easy, 2004.06.21. VueScan supports dust removal, grain reduction, color restoration, and sharpening with most scanners, as well as batch scanning, autofocus, infrared channels, and multiscan on scanners that support these features.
- Contour RollerMouse Station a great alternative to traditional mouse, 2004.06.07. "If you suffer from mousing pain or would prefer not to develop it in the first place, the RollerMouse is worth considering."
- Two cool optical mice from Contour, 2004.05.24. One is designed to fit your hand nearly perfectly, while the other is intended as a perfect complement to your 'Book.
- SightFlex adjustable iSight stand, 2004.05.12. Can't get your iSight in the right location using Apple's mounting hardware? SightFlex could be just the ticket.
- Mail Beacon and POPmonitor: Spam sentinels for Mac OS 8, 9, and X, 2004.04.12. Hate downloading and wading through spam? These two shareware programs let you delete it from the server before you download.
- DEVONthink and Boswell: Two information managers for the Mac, 2004.01.06. Two very different information managers for the Mac that you can try for free. Which will best meet your needs?
- Pfinder: A Panther-like Finder for legacy Macs, 2003.12.01. Utility for OS 9 and pre-Panther versions of OS X gives Mac users many features of the Panther Finder.
- iCab 2.9.5: Tabbed browsing comes to legacy Macs, 2003.08.11. Latest version of iCab still supports 68K and early Power Macs, adds tabbed browsing, remains small and fast.
- Laptop Laidback computer stand, 2003.07.28. When you don't have a desk or table to work at, the Laptop Laidback could be your perfect solution.
- Three spam management tools, 2003.07.21. Three programs for the Mac to help you fight the growing spam onslaught.
- Macally iceKey slim USB keyboard, 2003.07.07. This inexpensive, white keyboard has short key travel and light keyboard action.
- WannaBe 1.0b14, a fast, low-end web browser for almost any Mac, 2003.06.02. As long as your Mac supports Color QuickDraw, you can run this free, small footprint, text-only Web browser.
- Quill gripless ergonomic mouse, 2003.03.31. Uniquely designed mouse reorients hand, greatly reduces stress on wrist and fingers.
- Griffin iMate lets you use ADB pevices with USB ports, 2003.03.24. Griffin's compact, low-cost iMate lets you use most ADB mice, keyboards, and other peripherals with modern USB-equipped Macs.
- Wacom Graphire2 graphics tablet, 2003.02.10. A pressure sensitive graphics tablet plus wireless mouse and software for $99.
- PhotoWorks: A low end digital image solution for 35mm users, 2003.01.27. Mail order photofinishing service now offers prints, slides, and digital files from your 35mm color print film.
- Keyspan 4-Port USB 2.0 Hub, 2003.01.13. How and why you might want to add USB 2.0 support to your G3 or G4 PowerBook or Power Mac.
- Cabrio a simple, compact, free MP3 player ideal for older Macs, 2002.11.18. Free Cabrio MP3 player demands few resources, makes a great alternative to iTunes for older Macs.
- Haxial TextEdit 1.000, 2002.04.29. New text editor really thinks different. Definitely worth a look.
- A new anti-spam weapon: POPmonitor 2, 2002.04.22. New anti-spam tool lets you delete unwanted email without downloading it - and even automates the process.
- Mozilla 0.9.8: Impressive, 2002.02.12. Not just easy to install, this build is fast.
- Contour Perfit Mouse, 01.03. "I can comfortably recommended it without reservation."
- QPS Que! QuadSlim M2 FireWire hard drive, 2001.08.27. Compact, bus-powered FireWire hard drive highly recommended.
- SpellTools freestanding spell checker, 2001.07.02. Why you might want a freestanding spell checker - and other things SpellTools can do for you.
- Almost high-end graphics for a low-end price, 2001.02.26. Review of a very low-price, highly featured alternative to Photoshop.
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