Quick Takes on Five Apps (No. 3)

I’m back with another set of quick takes, check out the past posts here.

CalendarBar (Mac OS X)

A very handy menubar app that shows you upcoming appointments. I typically don’t like apps like this, but this one is done very well and I really have found it useful to me. I like that it can pull your information from multiple services at once and you Facebookers will like that it integrates with events you have in Facebook. Mostly though it is just a great way to see what is coming up.

Instacast (iPhone)

I don’t like the name — in fact I don’t like the fact that “insta” has become so popular — but the app really is clever. Basically you can search for and browse podcasts that are in the iTunes directory and subscribe to them in the app. The app will then download episodes and allow you to watch and listen to them on your phone. This means no more plugging into your Mac to get the latest and greatest episodes of podcasts.

You should subscribe to The B&B Podcast when you are checking out the app. 1

You won’t like this app if you are not a podcast person, but if you are this is a great little app.

Canned Mail (iPhone)

From the guys who made the excellent Canned app comes Canned Mail. Just like with the former you create precomposed messages that you can quickly send out when needed, this time with email instead of text messages. Great for creating responses that you have to send on a regular basis (mailing addresses and directions for me). Be sure to check it out — it’s nice to have in your arsenal.

That said I have only used it once since I installed it — unlike with text messages I rarely send that many of the same emails. This is definitely a niche app.

Acorn (Mac OS X)

It’s like Photoshop without all the crashes and stupid UI design. It is a great Photoshop-ish replacement and I have been using it a lot lately for compressing down images and resizing them. It is fast and light and I really like the way it is laid out in comparison to Pixelmator. Check this out (free trail on their website) before you consider Photoshop — you will be surprised.

Having said that, Acorn is certainly not Photoshop — you can do a lot in Acorn, but not a lot as easily as you can in Photoshop. Where with Photoshop you get great tools like Background Eraser, you can do the same in Acorn — minus the automatic / easy part. My problem has always been that I have used Photoshop for as long as I can remember, so when a new tool comes about it is not as easy for me to think “outside” of the straightforward tools PS offers.

NetNewsWire Lite (Mac OS X)

I know a lot of you don’t want to use Reeder, or simply don’t like the look of it. Have no fear NetNewsWire is back with a free Lite version for the Mac App Store. The looks are cleaned up, but the Lite version doesn’t offer Google Reader syncing. That maybe the deal breaker for most, but if you just read RSS feeds on your Mac this is a good place to start.

It’s not of any use to me without Google Reader syncing, but I really like the direction it is headed with the design of this Lite version. I can’t wait for the full version to come out (and it is coming with Google Reader syncing).

  1. Shameless plug.
Originally posted for members on: March 7, 2011
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