Mac News Review

SandDisk's Fast New USB 3 Flash Drives, Pixelmator and CameraBag Apps Updated, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2012.06.22

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News

Desktop Mac Deals

News

SanDisk: Fastest, Thinnest, and Highest-Capacity USB 3 Flash Drives

PR: SanDisk Corporation has announced a suite of USB flash drives that includes the company's fastest, thinnest and highest-capacity USB products ever. The drives offer consumers the storage they need to carry libraries of digital content with them wherever they go, transfer their files quickly and do so with style.

"Whether consumers are seeking super-fast transfer speeds, maximum storage capacity or a stylish fashion statement, we offer a drive to meet their needs," says Bob O'Keefe, vice president, retail marketing, SanDisk. "SanDisk pioneered the USB drive and now offers one of the broadest lineups in the industry, with a wide range of form factors and reliability that consumers can count on to store their important files."

SanDisk Extreme USB Flash DriveSanDisk Extreme USB Flash Drive

The USB 3-enabled SanDisk Extreme USB flash drive can transfer, store and share large files up to 10 times faster with speeds of up to 190 MB/s. USB 3-enabled device shipments will surpass one billion in 2014, up from 70 million in 2011, according to NPD In-Stat1. The SanDisk Extreme USB flash drive provides the fast performance that these next-generation computing devices demand.

The drive dramatically reduces wait times for consumers. It can transfer smaller files almost instantaneously and larger files such as a 3 GB file in 20 seconds or a 40 GB file in four minutes2. The SanDisk Extreme USB flash drive is backed by a lifetime limited warranty3 and available worldwide now in 16 GB to 64 GB capacities carrying MSRPs of $64.99 to $159.99.

Available from Amazon.com.

Cruzer Glide USB Flash Drive

Cruzer Glide USB Flash DriveThe 128 GB Cruzer Glide USB flash drive is SanDisk's highest-capacity USB drive ever, and features reliable, secure and portable storage for photos, videos, music and other files. The drive is an ideal companion for anyone using ultrathin notebooks, which are often limited to 128 GB of storage. In such a configuration, the Cruzer Glide USB allows consumers to double their available storage with a convenient portable solution.

Backed by a two year limited warranty4, the Cruzer Glide USB flash drive is available worldwide now in 4 GB to 64 GB capacities with MSRPs starting at $19.99. The 128 GB capacity will be available worldwide in Q3 2012 carrying an MSRP of $249.99.

Available from Amazon.com.

Cruzer Facet USB Flash DriveCruzer Facet USB Flash Drive

For users whose style is reflected in everything they do, the Cruzer Facet USB flash drive is a durable drive with stainless-steel casing designed with a variety of rich vibrant colors and a faceted texture. The Cruzer Facet drive combines function and personality, making it a fashionable way to store digital files.

It is available worldwide now in 8 GB to 32 GB capacities carrying MSRPs of $32.99 to $84.99.

Cruzer Pop USB Flash Drive

Cruzer Pop USB Flash DriveThe Cruzer Pop USB flash drive is designed for young urban users looking for unique designs that complement their personality. The fun custom USB flash drive features rich colors and patterns plus a unique design that opens with a pop and conceals and protects the connector when not in use.

This new drive is SanDisk's thinnest and is available worldwide now in 8 GB to 32 GB capacities carrying MSRPs of $32.99 to $84.99.

Virtually every SanDisk USB drive and all drives in the new suite include secure file encryption and password protection. SanDisk SecureAccess software provides 128-bit AES file encryption and password protection5 for private files while leaving the rest of the drive available for worry-free sharing. For added protection and convenience, two GB of secure online storage6 is offered for easy file backup and access from any web browser.

SanDisk also offers downloadable Cloud Catcher software, which allows users to backup and organize personal data from some of their favorite social media and online sites, hassle free on a SanDisk USB drive.

Notes:

  1. NPD In-Stat, USB by Device, Q1'12 Forecast
  2. Based on internal testing using USB 3 compatible host; performance will vary based on host device.
  3. 30 years in Germany, Canada and regions not recognizing lifetime warranty.
  4. Five year warranty in regions not recognizing two year warranty.
  5. Password protection uses 128-bit AES encryption and is supported by Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Mac OS X v10.5+ (Software download required for Mac, see www.SanDisk.com/SecureAccess)
  6. Offered by Yuwaa. Terms and conditions apply. Internet access required.

Pixelmator 2.0.5 Released, Price Cut to $14.99

PR: Pixelmator 2.0.5 is a prosumer grade bitmap image editing and drawing program with with selection, painting, retouching, navigation, color correction, vector drawing, and healing tools, and supporting layers-based image editing.

Pixelmator

Drawing Tools

Pixelmator's full-featured drawing tools allow you to easily create and edit any vector shapes using the Rectangle, Rounded Rectangle, Ellipse, Polygon, Star, Line or Custom Shape tools to quickly add shape layers to your compositions.

In addition to Pen and Freeform Pen tools, Pixelmator also includes pre-drawn shape tools for quickly adding lines, circles or rectangles. Fill and stroke settings for shapes you've created, as well as shadows, can be easily adjusted.

Painting Tools

PixelmatorPixelmator's painting tools come built with the ability to use different brush sizes, shapes, hardness, and even blending modes as you paint. The Colorize tool allows you to change or add any color to your document. Use the Color Balance tool to change the overall mixture of colors in an image for color correction. Use the Channel Mixer to create sepia tones (or other tinted images) or to come up with creative color adjustments by mixing color channels.

Color Correction

Pixelmator features a simple but powerful collection of intuitive, professional-grade color correction tools. Using these tools, you can fine-tune hue, saturation, and luminance; adjust exposure, color levels, brightness, and contrast; replace colors; use Auto Enhance to dramatically improve less-than-perfect images with one click; tailor Curves, Color Balance, Channel Mixer, Shadows and Highlights, and use the Hue and Saturation tool to adjust the hue, saturation and lightness of a specific color in an image, or all colors in an image. Use Curves to adjust the entire tonal range of an image. Use Levels to set the tonal values of shadows, mid-tones, and highlights in an image, selection or layer. The Brightness and Contrast tool makes simple adjustments to the tonal range of an image. Use the Exposure command to adjust the exposure setting for an image in a similar manner as you use to control exposure when using a camera.

Retouching Tools

Perfect your aging or buggy photos with Pixelmator's advanced retouching tools. Easily blur hard edges or sharpen fuzzy areas of your image; naturally darken or lighten areas of your image; paint with a sample of an image to remove wrinkles from faces or scratches in your photos; paint using any brush tip to add color or take away color; quickly get rid of the red eye effect or any other unwanted elements in images automatically, as if they never existed, with just one click.

Healing Tool

A new Healing Tool remove unwanted elements and imperfections as if they never existed.

Content-Aware Fill

Another technology that helps get rid of unwanted elements in images.

Smudge Tool

Use the new Smudge Tool to smear paint in your images.

Sponge Tool

Paint using any brush tip, either to add more color to or to take color away from objects, small details or any other areas of an image.

Burn Tool

Use the Burn Tool to naturally darken specific areas of an image-whether in the highlights, midtones or shadows range for a given area.

Dodge Tool

Use the Dodge Tool to naturally lighten specific areas of an image-whether in the highlights, midtones or shadows range for a given area.

Red Eye Tool

Use the Red Eye Tool to easily - either automatically or manually - get rid of the red eye effect in your images.

Pixel Tool

Edit images at the pixel level by taking advantage of the hard-edged, pixel-precise, pixel-art-type Pixel Tool.

New Eyedropper Tool

Use the new magnifying Eyedropper Tool to efficiently snap colors from an image to use as needed.

The new Info Bar provides you with the most useful information required at a specific moment, depending on the tool in use. Tools Customization

New Type Tool

In addition to easily placing and formatting text in your images, now also enjoy advanced typography features.

Slice Tool

The powerful Slice tool can be used to slice an image into sections, allowing each section of an image to be optimized and saved using its own optimization settings. Saving an optimized part of an image is as easy as dragging and dropping it onto the Desktop.

Auto Save

OS X Lion Auto Save technology support in Pixelmator lets you completely skip manual saving of your documents.

Versions

Versions support allows you to browse through, compare, copy, take snapshots, and share any version of your work, whether current or previous.

Full Screen

Use every inch of your Mac's display by taking advantage of Pixelmator's built-in support for the systemwide OS X Lion Full Screen feature. OS X Lion Goodies

Pixelmator takes advantage of many other OS X Lion features, and makes it simple to send your images directly to your photo libraries, whether iPhoto or Aperture, or to quickly publish your images to online photo management and sharing applications like Flickr, Picasa, and Facebook.

64-Bit Architecture

With its 64-bit architecture, Pixelmator is built to take full advantage of the power that comes bundled with today's Macs.

Pixelmator supports all popular image file formats. You can open and export in PSD, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, WebP. Pixelmator can also open and save Photoshop files with layers.

Pixelmator 2.0.5 brings a list of other enhancements and modernizations throughout the whole app.

System requirements: OS X 10.6 or 10.7

Pixelmator, which originally sold for $59.95, is available from the Mac App Store for an regular price of $29.99, and is currently on sale for $14.99, which represents an incredible value. Pixelmator 2.0.5 is a free upgrade for everyone who already purchased any version of Pixelmator via the Mac App Store.

GPU-powered image processing, and other features. This release includes improved support for Intel graphics cards, support for use as an external editor in iPhoto and Aperture, improved stability, and other changes. Pixelmator 2 is currently $14.99 for Mac OS X 10.6 and 10.7 and is available only in the Mac App Store.

CameraBag 2.0.5 Update Released, 50% Discount at App Store

CameraBagPR: The CameraBag photo app for Mac and PC with a whole new approach to editing was recently redesigned from the ground up with Version 2, and a new incremental update was released this week.

New in CameraBag 2.0.5 are:

  • Support for OS X 10.7 Lion's Full Screen mode
  • Ability to adjust JPEG quality when saving
  • A Color Balance method in the Color Corrector tile

CameraBag 2's Analog Engine pairs a full suite of photographic tools with the high quality filters and vintage simulations we're known for. Its key innovation is a stunningly straightforward approach to layering, rearranging, and endlessly tweaking all of these effects in realtime. The 100+ fully adjustable filters and 25+ professional controls CameraBag 2 ships with are only the beginning, forming the palette from which you can find, and create, your own styles.

CameraBag

With CameraBag 2, you don't have to know what look you want to get started. CameraBag 2 lets you see all the possibilities at once: old-school instant film or modern high-contrast portrait, subtle color adjustment or complete artistic overhaul. Choose from side-by-side comparisons with the fullscreen Quicklooks, or get large, instant previews on mouseover; the emphasis is on creative exploration. Once you've chosen a filter, its components are all in the tray to tweak and adjust nondestructively with large, interactive sliders. The Remix slider in particular brings back the "happy accidents" of analog film, smoothly transitioning between infinite natural variations for each style.

Advanced Control

CameraBagThe new CameraBag features a full suite of photographic tools, from simple exposure and cropping to advanced vignetting, color correction, and curves. The built-in styles also now have full control over their strength and variation. Since every adjustment appears as a tile in the tray, it's easy to see everything affecting the image at once, as well as rearrange tiles or edit amounts without compromising image quality. Adjustments and styles can be freely layered to create new looks, which can be saved right into the interface as new filters. When you load a filter, you again have full control of its tiles. You can batch process a folder, or use arrow keys to browse with the current look.

The Analog Engine

At CameraBag 2's core is the brand new Analog Engine: high-fidelity, 32 bits-per-channel, nondestructive, multithreaded image processing. In other words, it's fast and smooth. CameraBag 2 matches the power of high-priced software, yet it's light on its feet and starts up instantly. Its old-school looks are particularly high tech: recreating the natural blemishes and random variations of the analog world is one of the hardest digital challenges, and that's where we've devoted much of our research. Even the most heavily modified photos retain smooth, film-like colors (especially with the extra color information in RAW files).

Key Features

  • Use the 100+ built-in styles and filters or create and share your own.
  • Full suite of 25+ photographic tools including advanced curve editors.
  • Attractive new interface.
  • Fast image processing via the all-new Analog Engine.
  • Add any look to the toolset as a fully adjustable filter.
  • 32-bits-per-component color depth.
  • Nondestructive editing (active history).
  • Easy layering of styles and adjustments.
  • Quicklooks and previews for visual decision-making.
  • Large, precise controls.
  • Laptop- and touch-friendly design.
  • Batch saving.
  • The Remix slider, which smoothly transitions between endless variations.
  • RAW format and metadata support.

In-Depth: Selected Features

CameraBag always works in 32-bits-per-component color depth. This is higher than the default in Photoshop, for example, and matches the highest precision you can work with in Photoshop.

CameraBag There are actually many ways to adjust the color of an image, each with different and useful results, but most image editors force you to use just one. CameraBag includes many and puts them side-by-side, including Tint, Color Balance, Colorize, Color Filter, and Dye.

The unique Color Corrector tool offers targeted color adjustment, a brand new approach to precise color corrections and modifications. It's curve-based, so you can target different brightness ranges using all of our built-in color adjustments.

The adjustment sliders in CameraBag are big, but it's not just for style: big controls give you precision unmatched in other apps. The developers have carefully thought out what each slider range should be, and what should happen at the end of each slider's range. It can be frustrating in some photo editors when adjusting exposure, for example, and the software doesn't let you make your photo as dark or as light as you want it.

Arrow key navigation makes it easy to quickly view lots of photos with different filters. Use left and right to go between files, and up and down to switch filters.

There are three ways to browse possible looks for your photo in CameraBag: you can use the fullscreen Quicklooks, mouse over each filter in the side panel to get a hover preview, or you can use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard to view each filter in the main window. Each is best in different situations.

You can also get inspiration when you don't know what look you want by pressing the spacebar, which calls the Random Remixed Filter command from the Edit menu. This will choose a random filter from the built-in styles or from your saved favorites and randomly set the Remix value for any tile that has a Remix slider. Keep pressing it until you find something you like.

Filters are easy to export as files to share online. Just drag and drop a filter file to apply it in CameraBag. Once applied, its tiles are fully editable.

System requirements: OS X 10.6.6 up

CameraBag 2 sells for $29.95 and is currently offered on the Mac App Store for $14.99.

Also see Charles W. Moore's full review at MacPrices, CameraBag 2 Image Editor and Special Effects App.

Wondershare PDF Converter for Mac

PDF Converter for MacPR: Convert PDF files to most popular document formats on Mac with this high quality yet affordable PDF Converter.

PDF Converter

PDF Converter solves a very common problem among frequent PDF users how to convert the PDF to an editable format. PDF Converter is an affordable, easy-to-use tool that allows a PDF document to be converted to a fully editable MS Word, Excel, or PowerPoint Mac 2008/2011 file; or even an HTML, EPUB, or plain text file preserving the original layout of the document complete with original fonts and embedded images, graphs/charts. Users with lots of PDFs to convert will appreciate the batch file conversion feature.

PDF Converter for Mac

Top Features

  • Convert PDF files to fully editable MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint Mac 2008/2011 files, or HTML, EPUB, text documents, allowing full editing and publishing capabilities
  • Conversion from PDF to supported export formats preserves original presentation layout, fonts, and embedded images/charts/graphs
  • Works FAST - convert a 100 page PDF in about 1 minute
  • Converts encrypted PDF documents to supported export formats without printing and copying restrictions hassle free! However, if the PDF file require open password, you need to enter the password first.
  • Batch conversion of up to 50 PDF documents to supported export formats at a time saves time!
  • Stand-alone application, does not require Adobe Acrobat to be installed on the system
  • Works with Lion

New in Version 2.1.0

  • Adds the traditional Chinese and French version to interface
  • Fixes for various documents that did not open successfully
  • Other minor fixes and improvements

System Requirements

  • OS X 10.6.6 or later
  • 64-bit processor

$59.99

Wondershare PDF Converter Pro for Mac

Wondershare PDF Converter Pro for Mac adds new OCR (Optical character recognition) and can convert both normal and scanned PDF to most text-based document formats without hassles. So you can quickly extract text from scanned PDF to make the content searchable and editable. Reusing PDF content can't be easier and smarter.

PDF Converter Pro for Mac

PDF Converter Pro Key Features

  • Convert normal/scanned PDF to text-based Word / Excel/ PPT/ EPUB/ HTML/ Text formats;
  • Preserve original text, images, graphics, etc.
  • Convert multiple PDFs to multi-format documents
  • Fast conversion: Convert a 100-page PDF within 1 minute
  • Convert encrypted PDF files without hassles,However, if the PDF file require open password, you need to enter the password first.

New in Version 2.1.0

  • Adds new function that convert PDF to HTML
  • Fixes for various documents that did not open successfully
  • Other minor fixes and improvements

Requirements: OS X 10.6.6 or later

$79.99

MachineProfile 1.0.3 Free Mac Hardware Monitor Utility

PR: MicroMat's MachineProfile collects key technical hardware information about your Mac that's not easily found elsewhere or by clicking through the tabs in "About this Mac". Get that information now with MachineProfile, before you need to use it.

MachineProfile

Originally released under the name "MacProfile" in May 2012, Apple "requested" that the software be renamed to be compliant and made available through the Mac App Store.

MachineProfile is especially valuable when reviewing system compatibility or when sharing your Mac's system information with others, because it displays the technical profile of a Mac within a single window, which can then be saved as text or PDF or emailed to others. Using MachineProfile, it's easier to find your Mac's serial number, processor speed, if you're running in 64 bit or 32 bit mode, whether you can run the next version of the Mac OS and more.

MachineProfile

While geared for all users who want quick access to the technical aspects of their Mac, first-time users can use MachineProfile to easily learn more about their system hardware, and Macintosh consultants will find it advantageous when assisting Mac users with maintaining or troubleshooting their systems.

MachineProfile includes:

  • Model Name, Identifier, when Manufactured.
  • Processor Name, Model, Speed.
  • Processor Cache, Bitrates, Bus Speed, Boot ROM Version.
  • Firmware Version.
  • Graphics Card Model.
  • Mac Serial Number.
  • Active Power Source.
  • Active Boot OS.
  • Maximum Supported OS.
  • Hardware Hardware Unique Identifier.
  • Plus other specifications.

System Requirements:

  • Intel-based Macs.
  • Mac OS X 10.6 or greater, including Mac OS X 10.7 Lion

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