Create and send graphically designed email newsletters
If you just send a lot of ordinary emails, you can skip this. If you're in a company that already has designers in-house crafting gorgeous and on-message email newsletter designs, you can skip this. If you're in the middle, though, such as a small company sending out newsletters or HTML updates to a few thousand people, or even just the newsletter editor for a club with a few dozen scattered members, Mail Designer 2 and Mail Designer Pro 2 are worth looking at.
Google adds Send Money option to Gmail in United Kingdom
Google is adding the Send Money option to Gmail in the United Kingdom. Originally available to US users since 2013, the option allows users to attach funds to an outbound email by selecting the £ symbol, which can also be used to request money, with funds transferred between users via Google Wallet. The feature is rolling out to all Gmail users in the UK over the age of 18 in the coming weeks.
You'll want to use PDFs more when you've got one of these
Right, here's the thing: by the time we're done here, you really must own PDFpen for Mac. It's just a question of which version -- and it's a more complicated question than it might be. For while there's now a new version 7 and it introduces some excellent features, it introduces them in two editions -- PDFpen and PDFpen Pro -- yet its very best abilities are already right there in version 6. Plus, there is the iPad version which we've already said we rate very highly.
Turn your favorite photos into digital oil paintings
There's a good chance that everyone reading this, at one point or another, has seen those "turn a picture into a painting or sketch" apps that were making the rounds a few years ago. More often than not, these ended up looking like nothing more than poorly-Photoshopped images -- which was essentially what they were. We checked out Brushstroke by Code Organa to see if it managed to improve on the technology.
Facebook attempts to reduce number of hoaxes in News Feed
Facebook is trying to reduce the number of fake or hoax stories that appear in a users News Feed. The social network will take into account whenever a user reports a post as a "false news story," as well as whenever users delete posts linking to an article, when deciding what is shown to other users. While Facebook will stop short of blocking the content entirely, it will give the flagged hoax a "reduced distribution" in News Feed, as well as adding a notice to the top of the post warning that users "have reported that this story contains false information."
HTC smartwatch said to share data with Under Armour fitness platform
HTC may join Samsung in launching a wearable at Mobile World Congress in March alongside a new flagship. Though lacking in detail, a report claims the smartwatch will take advantage of a partnership between HTC and Under Armour, with the wrist-based tracker connecting to the sports apparel brand's own fitness service for health and fitness tracking.
Firefox Hello allows for video chats to take place within the browser
Firefox 35, the latest iteration of Mozilla's web browser, includes a more prominent and simplified version of its video chat service, among other changes. Included in Firefox 34 as an experiment, Firefox Hello is a free app based on WebRTC, which lets users create plugin-free conversations with other contacts all conducted from within the browser rather than in an external client.
Google-supplied domain registration service includes Blogger integration
Google has expanded its beta domain registration service to the entire United States. Launched for private testing in the summer, Google Domains is the search engine's own domain registrar that allows users to purchase and manage their own domain names, something that appears to be a natural fit when combined with its other services, such as Google Apps for Business and Blogger.
Superb image editor for iOS at a tremendous bargain price
Pixelmator for Mac is not Photoshop -- but it might as well be, for how those image editing features that it does have are powerful, and easy to use. It also might as well be for the majority of people who aren't full-time PS professionals. If your work needs Adobe Photoshop, then you know it -- and can make the decision about paying the modest subscription cost to use it. Pixelmator handles an ever-growing number of the most common image tasks that most people need, and we are particularly fans of the separate iPad version, which has recently been updated. Today, we're taking a look at that iPad version.
Stop the screen-stick with the Shortee Stylus
When a person thinks of a stylus, largely they all think of the same thing: a lightweight, short, stubby plastic tube with a rubberized tip. There generally isn't much difference between a $3 stylus and a $30 stylus for the most part, and their faults are many. They're too lightweight, they're not comfortable to hold, and their rubber tip sticks easily to the screen of tablets and smartphones. There is one contender, though, a stylus that we feel actually breaks the mold: Shortee, by Expert Shield.
Prepare Kindle and iBooks versions of your PDF documents
Lets just cut through it -- if you need to convert PDF documents into the ePub format that iBooks or the Kindle app for iPad and Mac use, then the eponymously-named PDF to ePub Converter does the job. It's quick, and it's easy to use, plus it has options for setting different colors for the text and page background. It's biggest problem is that there aren't many situations when most people would need to use any converter at all: iBooks and Kindle both open and display PDF files natively.
Gallery of Mac- and iOS-created photos, drawings expands from online to retail stores
Less than a week after having expanded its "Start Something New" campaign from its Japanese site to the US and most other global Apple sites, the company has begun adding some of the pictures from its curated collection of artwork made on Macs or iOS devices to selected retail stores. The campaign focuses once again on how users use the products to enhance their own lives, but this time focuses on active productivity in the form of artwork creation. Photographs, drawings and videos dominate the collection.
International, US websites showcase art made with Apple products
Having started a new ad campaign in Japan, Apple has expanded its "Start Something New" online art gallery to many of its international sites, including the US -- offering a curated collection of photos, illustrations and other pieces created using iOS or Mac hardware and software. As is typical for the company, the aim of the campaign isn't to blatantly push hardware as it is to provide inspiration to action, and showcase how people use the products rather than the products themselves. Apps such as VSCO Cam, Waterlogue, Final Cut Pro and Brushes 3 are among the apps featured.
Basic but flawed iPhone camera scanner hides its best features
As great as the cameras are on our iPhones, the only reason to use them as document scanners is when you have no other choice. There are just too many inherent problems -- from the difficulty of focusing evenly, to how hard it is to just line up the paper edges consistently. Then, of course, if you do get it perfectly straight and perfectly lit, the instant you tap the iPhone screen you introduce a judder. Scanner 2 PDF aims to be that best scanner, and specifically to do one particularly important job well, but if it's got the features then it falls down on the execution.
Converting graphics is just the start for this comprehensive image application
Perhaps you're used to getting a BMP image from a Windows user, and having to convert it to JPEG to make it usable online. If you do that a lot, you immediately see the benefit of software like GraphicConverter 9, which is best known for its conversion abilities – though you can also use Photoshop if you're the sort that does this for a living. Both can do myriad conversions, and you can set them up to run in batches: drag a folder full of images onto Photoshop, and it chugs through converting the lot for you. GraphicConverter does this too, but as part of a rather dizzying number of options. If you do any serious work with images, GraphicConverter is for you.
Simple MS Paint-like app provides the basics for drawing and image editing
It doesn't seem to matter just how many drawing apps come around -- because sometimes, you still just want to have a really basic one that looks familiar right away. What ends up being deemed "familiar" can take many forms, of course, but in this instance we refer to the glory days (okay, maybe that is a tad hyperbolic) of MS Paint, which first appeared in Windows 1.0 and remains something of a cult favorite for "pixel art" and basic usage. Today, we are taking a hands-on look at a contemporary OS X equivalent, available for $5 on the Mac App Store: Quick Paint.
Spartan browser said to coexist in Windows 10 with Internet Explorer 11
Windows 10 may be accompanied by a new browser, a report claims. Microsoft is said to be working on a browser codenamed "Spartan," one which is said to be a lightweight browser that represents a fresh start from the current Internet Explorer browser, and may end up being a completely separate browser release rather than becoming Internet Explorer 12.
Make maps with this dedicated cartography illustration software
Ortelius is map-making software designed to be used by anyone -- from the amateur wanting to show you where the fire exits are, to the cartographer making maps for tourists. If you're doing this for a living, or at high resolutions for print publishing, then there are Geographic Information System applications and there are even fractal coastline-generating apps. Ortelius, by Mapdiva, is more for the non-specialist -- and it's made by the same company that does the similar but more general illustration package Artboard.
Server issue prevented logged-out users from signing back into Twitter
Users of Twitter found they were logged out of their account and unable to log back in, for a few hours earlier today. Primarily affecting users of the Twitter app on Android as well as the mobile site, the fault has since been rectified by the microblogging service, and though there has yet to be any official explanation for the outage, at least one Twitter user claims it to be a date-based issue.
Illustration software that's easy to use
You take your life in your hands when you ask us to draw something. Look at the screenshots here, and tell us you can't tell that we're really writers with clipart. While it's obvious we don't spend all day coloring in fantastic illustrations, we do very often need to sketch out rough images -- and that's where Artboard shines. It is a fully-fledged illustration application of sufficient calibre that a full-time artist could work in it full-time -- but it is particularly suited to those of us who occasionally need a powerful tool, and don't want to dole out the cash for a monthly subscription to a software giant.
Google adds Colbert Report set to Street View using Business View
Google has recreated the set of The Colbert Report in Street View, in honor of the show's last episode. The virtual tour of the studio, including around the main desk and interview area, was created by Business View, a service which uses a Google-certified photographer or agency to take photographs at a location before generating the explorable 360-degree images.
Mac app gets demanded pinch-to-zoom option
The Pixelmator Team has released updated Mac and iPad versions of its namesake image editor. The Mac update, v3.3.1, now supports pinch-to-zoom gestures on trackpads, fulfilling a popular demand. Resizing and scrolling options have been added to the Shapes, Gradients, and Styles palettes. The code also implements a raft of bugfixes, dealing with problems such as missing scrollbars, performance bottlenecks, memory leaks, and crashes when exporting JPEG and PNG files.
CFO Mark Garrett says company as 'completed' transition to subscription business model
As part of its fourth quarter and 2014 financial report, Adobe announced its agreement to acquire stock content marketplace Fotolia, and a new, often wished-for, collaboration feature in its Creative Cloud suite. Saying the firm had successfully transitioned to its subscription-based business model, CFO Mark Garrett said the company now expects revenue to grow sequentially every quarter of the year, rather than only when upgrades are announced.
YouTube adds GIF creation tool to some videos
YouTube has added an animated GIF tool to some of its videos. Spotted by Gizmodo, the tool appears under the Share menu, with users able to select a section of video and create a six-second GIF from the clip, complete with a caption at the top and bottom. So far, the tool has been discovered on some videos created by PBS, but it may appear on other YouTube content in the future.
Proposed tool would help keep photographs taken while drunk away from Facebook
Pictures of drunk people on Facebook may lessen in future, if plans revealed by the social network's AI research lab come to fruition. Lab head Yann LeCun wants to create a digital assistant for Facebook which is capable of detecting whether photographs being uploaded to the service are being done while the user is under the influence of alcohol, with the aim of preventing anything the user would find embarrassing when they are sober from being shown to visitors.
New webpage editor finds accessibility while incorporating detail
If your work or personal situation is anything like Chilton Webb's -- a freelance web developer, and head of Conjurebunny Software -- you may have wanted for an app that simplifies the process of web design, with specific attention paid to working on one webpage at a time, as opposed to an entire site. Conjurebunny's Landscape for OS X aims to provide tools "that can quickly assemble complicated webpages, without confining the artist to a template or a limited design," in a freeform style that is also responsive on all platforms. Currently priced at $40, Landscape purports to be at once easy and detail-oriented. Version 1.2 was recently released, so we gave it a bit of a test run to find out if it, in fact, achieves the middle ground it's aiming for.
Vimeo starts accepting 4K-resolution video from Pro subscribers
Vimeo is allowing Vimeo Pro users to upload 4K-resolution videos to the service. GigaOM reports that subscribers of the $200-per-year service can transfer the high-resolution video files to its video-on-demand platform, putting the videos up for sale and download by customers. While downloads are available, Vimeo is not allowing 4K streams to operate yet, with CTO Andrew Pile admitting the lack of device support for the format.
High accuracy of scripted bots prompts change in Captcha system
Google is updating the reCaptcha human authentication system, by effectively removing the Captcha element for the majority of users. Dubbed the "No Captcha reCaptcha," the new API will attempt to monitor the user's interaction with the captcha to see if they are genuine or a script, with most valid users able to simply click a tick box without seeing a Captcha at all.
Google updates YouTube counter after limit reached by Gangnam Style
Google has been forced to upgrade the counter used on YouTube, after Psy's Gangnam Style video exceeded its maximum value. The Register reports the video sharing site had used a 32-bit integer for the counter, which failed once more than 2,147,483,647 views of the video occurred. Google has now changed the counter to fix the problem, as well as showing what the counter would read if it kept using the old system.
Search separation proposal set to be finalized, voted on next week
The European Parliament is looking to break Google apart into multiple sections, according to a draft motion discovered by the Financial Times. The proposal seeks to separate Google's "search engines from other commercial services," in an attempt to curb the power gained from being the most dominant search engine on the continent.
Imgur, The Onion among initial partners
Google has launched a new service called Contributor, allowing people to pay to remove ads from participating websites. At the service's portal, visitors can pick which sites they want to contribute to, and whether to donate $1, $2, or $3 per month. Once a subscription is active, visiting those sites will display thank-you messages and/or pixel patterns in place of the ads.
Home Design 3D Gold helps users draft a design project on the go
Drafting programs on iOS aren't really new anymore. They've been around long enough for users to realize that most are overly fussy, or incredibly impractical with the touchscreen interface, and with some inherent inaccuracy for precise placement. However, there are a few great apps out there for just about anyone to use which take into consideration the limits of the platform -- Home Design 3D Gold, by developer Anuman, has plenty of practical uses.
App makes it easy to turn the 'caption a picture' technique on its head
These days, graphic design is king (again). More and more people are looking to play around with typography and imagery, particularly using their own photos -- whether it be captions on photos or a Facebook graphic. Rather than shell out money or invest time in learning complicated programs like Photoshop to accomplish this, a visit to the App Store is a great way to get started. TextMask, by youthhr, is a pretty neat app that allows users to create impressive text-masking imagery in just a few taps.
Developer edition of Firefox set to launch soon
Mozilla is increasing the privacy options available in the Firefox browser, with a few new additions. A "Forget" button has been added for the first time, alongside the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo as a default search engine option, with Mozilla also introducing a new version of the browser for developer use, one which should make creating add-ons for the browser much easier.
Includes Handoff, iCloud Drive
The Mac version of Pixelmator has been updated to version 3.3, codenamed Limestone. The interface for the graphics editor has been lightly redesigned, in part to match the flatness and transparencies in OS X Yosemite, but also to support the 5K Retina display on new iMacs. Another key addition is support for two Yosemite features, iCloud Drive and Handoff, the latter of which allows work to be shuttled back and forth with Pixelmator for iPad.
Alex Springer relents on Google News story fee demand in Germany
Germany's largest publisher, Alex Springer, is allowing Google to show snippets of articles in its search results and Google News. A number of major German newspapers restricted the information Google was allowed to show, in a bid to try and force Google to pay a per-story fee, but some have relented after discovering traffic to the sites went down far lower than expected.
Globe Theater opens video on-demand store for Shakespeare plays
The Globe Theater has launched a streaming service specializing in Shakespeare plays. Available globally, the Globe Player store offers a selection of performances filmed at the London theater, with a seven-day rental priced at approximately £4 ($6.50) and sales including offline viewing priced at £8 ($13) for each of the famous plays, though it also hosts a number of interviews with notable performers which can be viewed at no charge. Currently, the service only works through a web browser, but the service is considering creating mobile apps if the demand warrants it.
Gold-colored Moto 360 spotted on Amazon with matching metal bands
New color options of the Moto 360 are on the way, according to a leak on Amazon. The now-removed listings spotted by Android Police showed a champagne gold Moto 360, combined with matching 18mm and 23mm metal bands, with the existing black and brushed steel versions also shown by the online retailer as being sold with their respective-colored metal straps.
Versatile pixel color grabber offers 24 color formats
Visually creative professionals have long been in favor of using OS X to get their job done, in part because of simple, included utilities, like DigitalColor Meter. This utility allows users to magnify screen contents and copy the RGB pixel components, suited for those who seek a specific hue for their own design project - web, graphic or otherwise. This included tool is great, but for those who seek a more integrative alternative, we decided to check out ColorSnapper, priced at $5, to see if more features made a better pixel color picker.
win one of five copies of Printworks
MacNN just finished its hands-on review of Belight Software's latest update to their page layout and design software title, Printworks. This software can be used for everything from creating business cards and calendars, to CD labels, postcards and more, and for a limited time it's priced at only $30 (normally $50). We have five copies to give away to our readers.
Venerable desktop publishing program given 10 features voted on by users
Today Quark Software Inc. unveiled QuarkXPress 2015, the next major version of Quark's design and layout tool for print and digital publishing. Coming in the first quarter of next year, Quark promises that QuarkXPress 2015 will deliver increased performance with a new 64-bit architecture, efficient print and digital production, and many of the most user-requested features. The new version of QuarkXPress will continue to be sold as a perpetual license as opposed to a subscription service.
Win one of 5 copies of RapidWeaver 6!
Earlier this week, we reported on a major update to Realmac's web publishing tool, RapidWeaver 6. It is now built exclusively for Mavericks and Yosemite, and has a dozen major new features. Immediately, our team was hard at work putting RapidWeaver 6 to the test, and yesterday our full hands-on review was published. We aren't quite done yet, though -- MacNN has five copies of this software to give away to our readers!
Layer-based editor leans on 64-bit processing
Initially teased at Apple's iPad and iMac event last week, Pixelmator for the iPad has now been released. The app attempts to carry over many of the features of its desktop counterpart, including numerous brushes, effects, and adjustment options. Users can for instance control levels, curves, white balance, and hue and saturation. Individual sections of an image can be lightened, darkened, blurred, and repaired, or even distorted and transformed.
Improved graphic-focused website creator now more powerful
Just because you need a website, doesn't mean that the best option is to hire someone to create one out of whole cloth. The alternative is either learning HTML, CSS, and a host of other acronymic technologies, or seeking out all-in-one website design software that allows users to publish a website without requiring coding knowledge or a ton of design expertise. Realmac Software has announced the release of RapidWeaver 6, an upgrade to its longstanding website creation app, and we've had a chance to put it through its paces.
New version of font management package adds Dropbox, Google Drive sync
Extensis today released a major update to its Suitcase Fusion 6 font manager. The new version brings full OS X 10.10 Yosemite compatibility, Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 integration, font library synchronization with Dropbox or Google Drive accounts, as well as continuing bug fixes and speed enhancements.
Major update to RapidWeaver requires Mavericks, Yosemite
Realmac Software today announced the immediate availability of RapidWeaver 6, a major new upgrade to the company's long-running website creation app. RapidWeaver 6 has over a dozen major new features, hundreds of enhancements and refinements, and is now built exclusively for OS X Mavericks and OS X Yosemite.
Desktop publisher offers tools suitable for beginner and experienced users
Standalone desktop publishing software fills a need for those who want to create a variety of printed projects, particularly if seeking a structured, template format. Launched earlier this year, Printworks for OS X is an all-purpose page-layout and desktop publishing app that offers templates for a wide variety of documents, as well as the option to design a document from scratch. A comprehensive app currently available for $30 (regularly priced at $50), Printworks' attention to detail throughout the creation process of a document is suitable for personal use or for small businesses who are seeking software specifically for this purpose. Is it worth the pricetag?
Programs gain new look, tap into Yosemite features such as iCloud Drive, Mail Drop
In addition to updating its iWork apps for OS X to better support the formal release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite (and give the programs the signature design language of the new OS update), Apple has also updated iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand with similar changes in the user interface and back-end improvements to take advantage of Yosemite features such as Mail Drop and iCloud Drive storage. In addition, the company issued what is likely to be the last update to Aperture, making it Yosemite-compatible, and also updated iBooks Author to version 2.2.
Suites gain Dynamic Blocks, previously Windows-only features
Autodesk is now shipping the 2015 Mac editions of its flagship design products, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT. There are several major additions this year, including Dynamic Blocks, which can be used repeatedly in other design elements and simply tweaked in size and shape as needed. Improving parity with Windows, AutoCAD for Mac now also supports layer states, including data such as color and linetype.
Squarespace announces major platform update, adding Google Apps, Getty Images
Squarespace has announced the release of Squarespace 7, a major platform update comprised of new features and integrations. Squarespace provides tools for Web and mobile content creation, and the latest release aims to improve upon the rebuilt codebase of Squarespace 6. Using a new visual language, according to its Frequently Asked Questions page, Squarespace 7's icons and buttons are now clearer, simpler and more intuitive.