I was in desperate need of a new laptop, one that I could use for work when I was away from home. After reading lots of online reviews, I decided to get a Thinkpad E145. The laptop was offered in different configurations, and I decided to pick the one that shipped only with FreeDOS installed. It cost me about €320 which I think is cheap for what it has to offer. Anyway, the reviewers were impressed by the device’s battery run time and even its performance, and the only complaint that most had was that the hard drive the device shipped with was slowing the system down considerable. The 500 GB 5400rpm hard drive the laptop ships with was not going to cut it, and I decided to buy a fast Solid State Drive instead. My choice was a 120 GB Samsung EVO 840 SSD for about €70. While it offers less space than the internal hard drive the laptop ships with, it eliminates the performance bottleneck. In addition to that, it is also reducing the noise of the device as Solid State Drives do not emit noise. I have received the laptop and the Solid State Drive today, and would like to provide you with an easy to follow guide that highlights how I replaced the old hard drive of the laptop with the new one. Note : This should work on most laptops out there, not only on the E145. It is important that you select a drive that is compatible with the device, and that fits it as well. Usually, all you need to make sure of is that you pick a 2.5″ drive also know as laptop hard drives. Before you do, consult a representative of the manufacturer of the device to find out if doing so voids the warranty. What you need The laptop, my choice the Thinkpad E145 . The new hard drive, for instance the Samsung EVO 840 120 GB for about $90. Proper screwdrivers, for instance this PC Precision Screwdriver set for about $15. What you do I suggest you work on a table with proper lighting and space. The screws are tiny and lost easily. Take the laptop and turn it on its back. You find three main screws on the opposite side of where the battery is inserted. I have used an N0.0 screwdriver to remove the three screws that hold the plate on the back in place. You do not need to apply force for that. Once they don’t hold the plate anymore, you can carefully remove it by pulling it from the location of the screws up towards you. The original hard drive is attached to the laptop with two additional screws. You can use the very same screwdriver to remove them as well. Once done, push the drive carefully to the right site so that it is no longer attached to the connector. Remove it from the laptop, and replace it with the hard drive that you want to use instead. Make sure the connectors of the drive face up, and push it gently into the direction of the connectors until it is firmly connected. You can remove the cage from the old hard drive and add it to the new one, so that you can increase its stability with the help of the cage and the two screws. Once done, put the back cover back on by sliding it in place at the bottom of the laptop and applying a bit of pressure. Last step is to use the screwdriver one last time to close the back plate again and you are done. What Next? You do need to install an operating system on the drive obviously, which would be the next step. The laptop that I bought does not have an optical drive, which means that you will have to put the installation files on an USB flash drive or stick to install the operating system on it. The post How to replace the laptop hard drive with a faster one appeared first on gHacks Technology News .
Current optical disc formats are less than ideal for archiving or backup purposes due to space constraints. It is often not possible to back up your root partition to a single disc, and while it is possible to span the archive on multiple discs, it not only is inconvenient but also increases the chance of data failure. Internal or external hard drives on the other hand offer Terabytes of space, which usually is enough to back up whatever you want to archive. The problem here is that the method works fine for sporadic backups, but when you need to back up regularly, you will either have to buy lots of drives, or delete old backups regularly to make space for newer ones. Business-specific archiving solutions such as tapes or cartridges offer high storage options (in the Terabyte range per cartridge) but come at a price. Archival Disc Format Sony and Panasonic announced the Archival Disc format officially today. The next-generation optical disc format will launch in the summer of 2015 with a capacity of 300 Gigabyte. Both companies plan to increase that size to 500 Gigabyte and 1 Terabyte in the future. Blu-Ray Discs support a disc size of up to 128 GB, which means that the first iteration of the Archival Disc format increases that by nearly a factor of three. The Archival Disc specification confirms that the new format uses a double-sided disc technology with three layers per side and a data bit length of 79.5 nanometers and a track pitch of 0.225 micrometers. Sony and Panasonic emphasize that the new format has been specifically designed for “the market for long-term digital data storage”. What the press release fails to address are the benefits of the new format in comparison to existing solutions. For example, while we know the storage size of the optical discs, we do not know how long they will last, how fast the recording speed or read speed is, or how much recordable discs and writers will cost. No information are provided whether the new standard supports re-writeable discs as well. The key specification lists write-once as the disc type only. The new format competes against a number of solutions. First against existing local backup solutions such as tapes, cartridges or external drives, but also against growing remote backup services. Sony and Panasonic target the professional market with the new format first and foremost according to the press release. The post Archival Disc with 300 GB capacity to launch in 2015 appeared first on gHacks Technology News .
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Archival Disc with 300 GB capacity to launch in 2015
Watches serve two main purposes. They tell the time and date, and sometimes display other information, and also express your personal style and taste. If you are a geek, or someone who likes techie things, then you have probably heard about Tokyoflash Japan and the watches the company manufactures before. All Tokyoflash watches have in common that they tell the time in unique ways. Instead of using conventional ways to display the time, these watches use a variety of unique ways to do so. Often, that means to sit back for a moment and look at the watch to figure it out. That should not keep you from buying one of those watches though, considering that you get excellent instructions with each watch so that you know exactly how it works. Tokyoflash Japan sent me two watches, the Kisai Uzumaki Analog Watch and the Kisai Polygoon Wood watch, for testing. Both watches came well protected in stylish packaging. The Uzumaki photo by Niko Synnatzschke The Uzumaki , which translates to whirlpool, is a limited edition analog watch that displays a spiraling vortex displaying hours in the outer ring and minutes in the inner ring, while the hand indicates the seconds. Once you know that, it is easy to tell the time as you just have to check where the solid color — blue in this case — ends in the outer and inner ring to do so. The body of the watch is made of durable stainless steel strap which comes in a reasonable size. If your wrist is small, you may have to remove some links so that it fits your wrist perfectly. It is not a light watch by any means with its 140 grams, but if you are used to stainless steel watches, that won’t come as a surprise to you. The custom acrylic lens features concentric circles that descend from the edge of the case into the center to highlight the whirlpool theme of the watch. You set the time just like any other analog watch. Just pull the crown out and turn it in either direction to change the time. When the time is set, push the crown back in and you are all set. Another feature of this watch is that you can illuminate the display by pressing the button of the watch. This is a cool looking effect, especially at night or in dark places. The Uzumaki is available in three different color schemes: black and blue, silver and blue, or silver and green. Black and silver refer to the band and casing, while blue and green to the inner and outer ring colors. What I like Stylish design Backlight looks great when it is dark. Durable. Not too difficult to tell the time. What’s missing It has no date function. The Polygon Wood LCD Watch photo by Niko Synnatzschke This watch is special for a number of reasons. First, its case is made of dark sandalwood, something that you do not see very often when it comes to watches. But, that pales when it comes to the display of time. It is actually not difficult at all to tell the time once you get the hang out of it. Hours are shown in the outer ring by where the two small triangles meet. Minutes on the other hand use the inner triangle to highlight minutes in groups of ten, and digits that are shown in the center of the watch that you add to it. If you take the example on the photo above, you will come to the conclusion that it is 8:50. That’s not all of the functionality the watch offers. It displays the date as well, features an alarm timer, and backlighting. It is a lightweight watch at 45 gram, especially if you compare it to the Uzumaki watch which weights more than three times as much. According to Tokyoflash, it is a unisex watch for men and women What I like The dark sandal wood case is ultra-stylish, and the leather band the watch ships with adds to that. It tells the time, data, features an alarm timer, and backlighting. What’s missing Nothing Both watches cost around €100, a reasonable price considering that you get quality watches in return for that money. Closing Words It is clear that Tokyoflash watches are not for anyone. But if you happen to be a geek, or someone who likes unique interesting things, then this is definitely an area that you may want to explore further. You find dozens of watches on the manufacturer’s website, and while it comes down to personal taste which you like, you can be sure that they are all unique in their own special way. Giveaway Leave a comment below for a chance to win a watch from Tokyoflash’s inventory. The winner can pick any watch that is available on the manufacturer’s homepage, and it will be shipped free of charge to the winner’s location. Tell us what you like or don’t like about those watches, or post your favorite watch. The winner is Nebulus. Comments are closed. The post Tokyoflash Japan Watches are stylish masterpieces appeared first on gHacks Technology News .
Watches serve two main purposes. They tell the time and date, and sometimes display other information, and also express your personal style and taste. If you are a geek, or someone who likes techie things, then you have probably heard about Tokyoflash Japan and the watches the company manufactures before. All Tokyoflash watches have in common that they tell the time in unique ways. Instead of using conventional ways to display the time, these watches use a variety of unique ways to do so. Often, that means to sit back for a moment and look at the watch to figure it out. That should not keep you from buying one of those watches though, considering that you get excellent instructions with each watch so that you know exactly how it works. Tokyoflash Japan sent me two watches, the Kisai Uzumaki Analog Watch and the Kisai Polygoon Wood watch, for testing. Both watches came well protected in stylish packaging. The Uzumaki photo by Niko Synnatzschke The Uzumaki , which translates to whirlpool, is a limited edition analog watch that displays a spiraling vortex displaying hours in the outer ring and minutes in the inner ring, while the hand indicates the seconds. Once you know that, it is easy to tell the time as you just have to check where the solid color — blue in this case — ends in the outer and inner ring to do so. The body of the watch is made of durable stainless steel strap which comes in a reasonable size. If your wrist is small, you may have to remove some links so that it fits your wrist perfectly. It is not a light watch by any means with its 140 grams, but if you are used to stainless steel watches, that won’t come as a surprise to you. The custom acrylic lens features concentric circles that descend from the edge of the case into the center to highlight the whirlpool theme of the watch. You set the time just like any other analog watch. Just pull the crown out and turn it in either direction to change the time. When the time is set, push the crown back in and you are all set. Another feature of this watch is that you can illuminate the display by pressing the button of the watch. This is a cool looking effect, especially at night or in dark places. The Uzumaki is available in three different color schemes: black and blue, silver and blue, or silver and green. Black and silver refer to the band and casing, while blue and green to the inner and outer ring colors. What I like Stylish design Backlight looks great when it is dark. Durable. Not too difficult to tell the time. What’s missing It has no date function. The Polygon Wood LCD Watch photo by Niko Synnatzschke This watch is special for a number of reasons. First, its case is made of dark sandalwood, something that you do not see very often when it comes to watches. But, that pales when it comes to the display of time. It is actually not difficult at all to tell the time once you get the hang out of it. Hours are shown in the outer ring by where the two small triangles meet. Minutes on the other hand use the inner triangle to highlight minutes in groups of ten, and digits that are shown in the center of the watch that you add to it. If you take the example on the photo above, you will come to the conclusion that it is 8:50. That’s not all of the functionality the watch offers. It displays the date as well, features an alarm timer, and backlighting. It is a lightweight watch at 45 gram, especially if you compare it to the Uzumaki watch which weights more than three times as much. According to Tokyoflash, it is a unisex watch for men and women What I like The dark sandal wood case is ultra-stylish, and the leather band the watch ships with adds to that. It tells the time, data, features an alarm timer, and backlighting. What’s missing Nothing Both watches cost around €100, a reasonable price considering that you get quality watches in return for that money. Closing Words It is clear that Tokyoflash watches are not for anyone. But if you happen to be a geek, or someone who likes unique interesting things, then this is definitely an area that you may want to explore further. You find dozens of watches on the manufacturer’s website, and while it comes down to personal taste which you like, you can be sure that they are all unique in their own special way. Giveaway Leave a comment below for a chance to win a watch from Tokyoflash’s inventory. The winner can pick any watch that is available on the manufacturer’s homepage, and it will be shipped free of charge to the winner’s location. Tell us what you like or don’t like about those watches, or post your favorite watch. Do you enjoy our publications? Consider supporting us by becoming a member . Pay what you like and get access to an ad-free site and a member’s only forum! The post Tokyoflash Japan Watches are stylish masterpieces [Giveaway] appeared first on gHacks Technology News ., all rights reserved.
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Tokyoflash Japan Watches are stylish masterpieces [Giveaway]
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, croons Andry Williams, and if free stuff makes your day, that’s never more true than online during the Holidays. There’s giveaways galore — and for the next 30 hours or so, there’s a giveaway that’s come all the way from 1997 to wish you a happy 2013 holiday season. The GOG team — the people behind the DRM free game store that re-releases classic games for the Mac and PC — have just launched their 2013 DRM-Free Winter Sale with over 600 games discounted by at least 50%. There’s different deals available every day, with everything from sets of classic games to discounts on newer games like Papers, Please and Faster Than Light . There’s apps for every genre and taste — relive classic sims with SimCity 2000 and Rollercoaster Tycoon, or take on Duke Nukem 3D, all with steep discounts. Each deal’s for a limited time, so you’ll need to hurry and grab the games you want when you see they’re discounted. But the very best deal is just for today, so you’d better hurry and grab it. From now until 1:59PM GMT on Saturday, you can get Fallout, Fallout 2, and Fallout Tactics for free from GOG. These classic post-apocryphal RPG games would normally sale for $29 on GOG, and you can now download the whole set for nothing. Each game is dated — original Fallout is now 16 years old — but hey: how can you pass up an opportunity to get what Gamespot called “one of the best role-playing games to be released in several years” back when they reviewed it? Be sure to tell all of your gaming friends — here’s your chance to almost give them a Christmas gift for free! And hey, even if you miss out on this giveaway, you might as well add some holiday cheer and pick up a few discounted games from the still ongoing sale through the end of the holiday season. You’ll even be able to vote on the deals you’d like to see, and could check some special people off your holiday gift list by gifting them a game or three while saving money yourself.
It’s the time of the year for gifts, and yet if you spend enough time around AppStorm and other app-focused sites, you’ll find a number of gifts throughout the year. We’re always excited to feature a giveaway of an app we love, and I’m certain many of you have filled your launchpads with apps you’ve picked up on deals and free giveaways we’ve featured. And yet, there’s one thing that always seems to stump almost everyone once in a while: redeeming gift codes. So here, in a nutshell, is how to redeem an App Store gift code for any Mac or iOS app — or just to add App Store credit to your account if you’re lucky enough to find an iTunes Gift Card in your stocking this year. Redeem Mac Apps Mac apps are what we giveaway the most — and if you’re a fan of Mac.AppStorm, chances are you’re most excited when you get new Mac apps. If you get a free code for a Mac app, it’ll be a 12 digit alphanumerical code that you simply have to copy into the App Store to redeem. Just copy the code, perhaps from the email where you got it, and open the Mac App Store. There, on the right sidebar, you should see a Redeem link under the Quick Links . Tap that, and enter your normal App Store password to login. Now, just paste that code into the box that appears on the bottom where you can enter your code manually. Then, tap the Redeem button that’ll appear beside the text box, and your app will automatically download. That’s it! You’ll do the very same to redeem an iTunes Gift Card or App Store gift card — and yes, any iTunes Gift Card or App Store gift card can be used to purchase anything from any of Apple’s digital stores: the Mac App Store, the iTunes store, the iOS App Store, and the iBooks store. And if you have a gift card, the Mac App Store is the simplest place to redeem it. Just tap the Redeem link and login as before, and this time, you can use your Mac’s camera to add the gift card if you’d like. Just tap the Use Camera button, hold your gift card’s barcode up to where it’s visible on your Mac, and it’ll automatically be added to your account. Or, you can type the code in manually if that’s easier. One more thing to remember: app gift codes expire after around two weeks, so always be sure to hurry and redeem them whenever you get them. Redeem iOS Apps If you win an iOS app code, and get it while you’re on your Mac, you might as well go ahead and redeem it right there. This time, iTunes is your friend. Just open iTunes, then tap the iTunes Store button in the top right, and select the now-familiar Redeem link under Quick Links . Sign in as before, and you’ll soon see a nearly identical Redeem Code screen. Now, it’s the same as before. Just enter your gift code in the box on the bottom, and tap the Redeem button. Your app will go ahead and start downloading, but if you don’t usually sync your iOS devices with your Mac, you can just cancel the download by tapping the x in the iTunes status pane on top. Then, from your iOS device, you can download the app directly from your device’s App Store under the Purchased section. And, yes, you can redeem your iTunes Gift Cards here in iTunes as well, if you’d like. The Mac App Store just happens to require one less click. Either way, though, the credit will be visible in any Apple digital store you’re logged into. It’ll Get Easier Now, it’s not so hard to redeem App Store codes — after all, it’s nice to get something for free anyhow, even if it is a tad difficult. But it’s getting easier, actually. The Tokens for Mac app that came out earlier this year lets developers share their App Store codes in a simple webpage that launches the appropriate App Store and auto-fills your free key for you. All you’ll have to do is click one link, and enter your password once the App Store opens. That’s insanely simple. Otherwise, though, all you have to look for is that slightly elusive Redeem link. So, if you happen to get any App Store codes this holiday season — or anytime in the foreseeable future — now you’ll know how to redeem them.
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Quick Tip: How to Redeem an App Store Gift Code
A week or two ago, I read an article that talked about the concept of Enough.” The idea is that you don’t need to make a million dollars a year to be happy, you just need Enough to buy what you need when you need it. Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine and I have a conversation about his shoes, of all things. Turns out that he owned a pair of Dr. Martens shoes, and for the past seven years he’s just had them resoled, keeping them in his rotation ever since the first day he bought them. So what the heck do these two things have to do with Apple? It’s about a little epiphany I had the other day. Bear with me, there’s a point to all this. Like the article? You should subscribe and follow us on twitter . Enough About this “enough” concept. You really should read the whole article , but here’s a snippet: Having Enough is awesome. How would I define “Enough”? Enough means that you can take a friend out to a nice lunch and not have to worry about how much it costs. I have hung out with a couple of billionaires—my experiences indicate that being a billionaire is just incrementally better than Enough. I’ve found myself chasing the money dragon for years, and recent events have caused me to question that practice. Not only has it caused me undue stress, but it’s just not healthy. The chances that I’ll ever have ridiculous amounts of cash are slim, so why act like it’s just a few 80-hour weeks away from happening? Be happy with what you have, and just work towards having Enough. Enough that I don’t have to stress about having money when a washing machine breaks down or a kid needs braces. Enough that money doesn’t become such a problem that I’m worrying about keeping up exorbitant figures and having to push those 80 hours to 100. Enough. BIFL A friend of mine (not the guy with the shoes) always buys cheap tools. His logic is that it’s cheaper, so if it breaks, he just buys a new one. Me, I buy the pricey tools. Not for the name brand, but for the warranty — lifetime replacement no matter what happens. When I purchase a tool, I plan to own it forever. And these boots. I’ll be keeping them for a long time. It turns out that there’s a name for that concept: BIFL or Buy It For Life. And even better, there’s a subreddit dedicated to the topic . It’s about the idea that you should buy quality items that will last you a lifetime, thus saving you money over the long term. That appeals to me on a number of levels — sustainability, recycling, costs — it just keeps going. But ultimately, part of the reason why I buy any of the stuff I purchase is the quality, which is where Apple comes into the whole thing. Apple, Enough and BIFL I’ve bought Apple products since 2004, with my first iPod (the iPod Photo, if you must know). To date, every Apple product that I’ve kept still functions perfectly well. If I didn’t keep it, I sold it without a substantial loss — sometimes even a profit — because they’re all solid, reliable, well-built machines. And reading articles like this cement that concept even further. I don’t think any piece of technology can truly qualify for BIFL status because of Moore’s Law and how electronics keep moving forward. However, you can keep a machine for a long time, especially if you take care of it. The MacBook Air that I’m typing this on will likely be in our household for the next decade, passed from me to my kids and maybe into a home server of some kind. We currently have an ’07 iMac sitting in my office awaiting an SSD upgrade. Why? The iMac will make a great learning tool for my three-year-old son, and the SSD will help pick it up in speed. And we would’ve used it as-is, but the hard drive just gave out after six years of service. The mobile devices are just the same. My original iPad is still chugging along just fine. Even though it can’t run anything newer than iOS 5, it’s a fun tool for my 8-month-old daughter to use to learn how to interact with things or watch the occasional movie. No problems with battery life, no issues with anything else other than a tweak in the screen where my son dropped it (and even then the glass didn’t break). They may not last forever, but they sure can go a long time. A Shift in Direction I think that we all get wrapped up in the hype of Apple and their new product releases. I often find myself buying whatever the new gadget is online via pre-order or whatever, particularly with iOS devices. And even though I sell the previous model for a good amount, there’s usually still some out-of-pocket cost associated with the deal, and that all adds up. But now I’m making a change. The Retina iPad mini that sits on my bed stand right now is an amazing machine, and I don’t see any reason to change anytime soon. My Air is the best Air I’ve owned, and since I’ve had a few (one is my wife’s now), I can say that with authority. I just can’t see a need to buy the next big thing, no matter what comes down the pike. Sure, there will be a faster iPad mini, likely with the fingerprint scanner and all that. Or the next Air, which might have a Retina display. And yes, I might want them for just a little bit because I am still me, a tech loving guy, and it’s easy to get caught up in the Apple hype machine (and it’s my job, there’s that). But I don’t need them, not by a long shot. I’m getting there, but right now I just don’t have Enough yet. And until I do, I think it’s best to just be happy where I am and continue working my way forward. We don’t always have to own the latest and greatest, and maybe, in my case anyways, it’s best that I don’t.
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Apple, Enough and a Pair of Boots
’Tis the season to give presents — so you’re likely spending your weekend running around trying to find the perfect gift for that nice someone. But there’s only so many ties and snowglobes one can use. So why not get the geeks in your life something special this year? No, you can’t get a new Mac Pro yet, and even if you could it’d have to be a very special someone if you were going to put one of those under the tree for them. That doesn’t mean you can’t get something very nice for them still, all without breaking the bank. So here’s our favorite geeky Mac gifts for this year, ones we’d love to receive and happen to think you’ll be tempted to splurge on for yourself as well. Raspberry Pi I know, I know: we said this roundup was of great Mac gifts, and the first thing on the list is a Linux computer. But it’s in many ways the most awesome tiny computer ever built. For just $25, you can buy a full ARM-powered computer on a tiny board that you can plug into your monitor or TV and hack away. It’s being used in all types of home automation projects — including, of all things, a home DVD ripping setup , and all types of awesome stuff our Tuts+ team has thought up — and it includes a free copy of Wolfram Mathematica , something that’d usually cost hundreds of dollars for personal use. For the kid that’s learning to code, or the geek that loves tinkering, it’s the perfect gift. Price : $25+ Leap Motion Controller All the new game consoles let you control them with your hands, just like Minority Report showed us over a decade ago. It’s time for you to stop touching your Mac’s touchpad and start using your hands and thin air to work magic. The new Leap Motion controller wasn’t perfect in our review, but it’s cool enough that it’s bound to make anyone’s Christmas. This little connecter will let your Mac detect your hands so you can pan around Google Earth, play games, or even show off a 3D model just by waving your hands around. If you do pick one up, be sure to use the coupon code LeapHoliday2013 to get free shipping and $10 credit for the [Airspace}(https://airspace.leapmotion.com) app store. That makes it an even more attractive Christmas gift! Price : $79.99 Lego Mac Legos are the toys you never grow out of, and Chris McVeigh’s lego sets are more amazing than any of the branded Lego sets ever imagined being. Most special, of course, is the original Macintosh remade out of tiny legos. It’s the perfect compliment to any Mac lover’s desk — come on, you know you want one already. But hey: if you want something even more different, he’s got lego versions of everything from an instant camera to a turkey, all with free guides you can build yourself or as kits you can buy and put together simply. Price : Premade kit $68.50, but sold out right now. You can download the guide for free, though, and buy your own Lego bricks individually for an extra special gift. PlugBug For your traveling Mac-loving friend, here’s the perfect gift that’ll make their bag lighter and traveling days brighter: the PlugBug. It’s an ingenious little charger from the Twelve South team that combines a MacBook and iPhone/iPad charger all in one stylish accessory. It’s so clever, we’re just surprised Apple hasn’t made something like this already. Price : $34.99, or $44.99 for the international version Nifty MiniDrive Want to add more space to your MacBook? It’s next-to-impossible to put in your own SSD, but it’s tough to settle on storing everything on external drives. The next best option is the Nifty MiniDrive. It’s a tiny adaptor for your SD card slot that’ll let you keep a microSD card inside your Mac without anything sticking out. That’ll give you an extra 32-64Gb of storage that’s almost as nice as built-in storage. I’ve been using it myself to store my iTunes and iPhoto libraries, and it’s been a great addition to my MacBook Air’s 128Gb of internal storage. Price : $39.99 Doxie There’s the flatbed scanners we’re all used to from 3-in-one printers, and then there’s the Doxies. These innovative little scanners make it easy to go paperless, enough so that you’ll actually want to scan all of your documents. There’s the Doxie One that lets you feed in your paper and scan in seconds, and the new Doxie Flip that turns flatbed scanning into the simplest way to scan anything — paper textures, full notebooks, and more. Either one would make a great gift for anyone that’s trying to clean up their cluttered offices and go paperless. Price : $139 for the Doxie One, $149 for the new Doxie Flip. PowerUp 3.0 This one’s going to require more than just a Mac, but it’s too cool to pass up. PowerUp is a new remote controlled paper airplane that lets you turn your smartphone and a paper airplane into a remote controlled plane that can fly for 10 minutes on one charge. It’s currently raising funds on Kickstarter, so you can’t get your hands on it just yet, but this is a gift that’s nice enough that the special person in your life shouldn’t mind waiting for. Price : $30+ — and remember, Kickstarter isn’t a store, and there’s no guarantee it’ll ship, but at over 12 times its original goal it seems pretty likely this one will ship. Iconic book This book won’t give you any new insights into Apple, or let you know what Steve Jobs was thinking when he left the company to found NeXT. But, it does include some of the most beautiful photography of everything Apple’s made that you could imagine. From pictures of original Macs and iPods to box art on Apple Software, it’s bound to be any true Apple fan’s favorite coffee table book. And if you’re willing to spend even more, there’s a special edition that includes a case that looks like a vintage computer. Price : $75; $300 for the special edition USB 3 External HDD You can never have too much storage space, and with most new Macs shipping with SSDs, a couple external drives are always great to have around. The new USB 3 drives are plenty fast enough — there’s no real reason to spend nearly double the price for Thunderbolt drives, in most cases — and you should be able to find one just about anywhere. That’s the perfect wrapable gift for almost anyone these days, seeing how many pictures and videos most people take around the holidays. Price : Depends on model; around $69 for 1Tb and $120 for 2Tb Quick tip: There’s two seemingly obvious gifts that we thought we’d make sure to mention you should not get. The first would be any external HDD that’s USB 2. They’re far slower than USB 3 drives, and the price isn’t enough cheaper to be worth that. And then, whatever you do, don’t buy Office 2011 as a gift. Every indicator is that Microsoft will release the next Office for Mac early next year, so just don’t buy it now. If you must, buy an Office 365 subscription since it’ll get updates for free. iTunes Gift Cards You can’t gift Mac App Store apps, for some strange reason, so it’s rather hard to give software as a gift these days. But, there’s always iTunes gift cards that let you buy anything you want on the App Store, iTunes Store, and iBooks Store. That’s plenty to keep anyone happy, whether it’s a new app or tunes they’re looking for. Of course, make sure to get an iTunes Gift Card and not an Apple Store gift card if you want them to be able to get something downloadable — the former is for Apple’s digital stores, and the latter is only for Apple’s brick-and-mortar retail stores for Macs, iOS devices, and more. Of course, if that special person in your life is a gamer, it might be better to gift them that Steam or GOG game they’ve been wanting, since both services let you digitally gift games. Or, if they’re a reader and not too fond of iBooks, an Amazon gift card might be even better since it can get eBooks, paper books, or, well, anything else Amazon sales (though that makes it that much less of a personalized gift, of course). Price : $10+ MacBook Bag/Sleeve/Case One of the more obvious gifts for any Mac lover would be a new MacBook bag, sleeve, case, or any other way to keep their Mac warm and protected. And yet, there’s so many different MacBook bags out there, and each of us have such varied preferences, it’d be impossible to list the perfect MacBook bag. Earlier this year, our team rounded up the MacBook bags we all use , with prices varying from around $25 to over $100. If you know that Mac lover in your life really well, and have your eye on a bag you know they’ll love, this could be a great present. Just be warned: there’s a ton to choose from, and most people are really picky about how they cary their Mac around. Price : At least $30+, realistically Subscription Gift This will sound like a worse cop-out than an iTunes Gift Card, and only a tiny step up from putting cash in a card, but hear us out. See, you can gift a Netflix or Spotify subscription — or order a gift card for either — that’ll let you give several months of unlimited TV shows or music for that special person in your life. It’s your way of giving them an excuse to binge watch House of Cards over New Years, or liven up their work in the new year. That’s not so bad — it might even come across as a thoughtful gift. And even though our Web.AppStorm readers were generally against the idea of subscriptions as a gift , they seemed to think services like these still made fine gifts. Price : $10+ The Shape of Design book Mind if I include something I personally liked enough to order for myself? No? Ok, good. Frank Chimero’s The Shape of Design book started life as a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2011, and since has been turned into the most nicely designed online eBook about design that’s been made yet. And it’s nothing like what you’re thinking. The Shape of Design isn’t a dry book about the concepts behind design and typography and more, but rather a thoughtful piece about putting creativity into our work. It’s inspiring, thought provoking, and beautiful. And now, it’s finally back in print, so it’d be the perfect gift for that design-focused Mac lover in your life. Price : Free PDF/ePub download, $30.00 for hardback book Evernote Moleskin Notebooks Computers and tablets were supposed to replace paper, but there’s just something about writing in a paper notebook that you can’t replicate on a computer. So Evernote set out to make the best of both worlds, with Moleskin notebooks — now in a whole arrange of shapes and sizes — that are designed to be easy to scan into Evernote. They even include stickers so you can add real-life tags to your notes that’ll show up in their digital copy in Evernote. They look great — enough that our own CEO Collis picked one up in Japan just because of the cover — but they’re also more valuable than just their paper. They also come with free Evernote Pro, with the small journals including one onto and the larger notebooks including three months for free. You can’t gift an Evernote subscription right now, but you can buy a Moleskin that’ll make a beautiful gift and give that special person a bonus Evernote subscription. Price : From $11.95 for a pocket journal to $29.95 for a large classic notebook. And That’s Not All! That’s some pretty awesome stuff, but it’s no where near everything we could have included. After all, there’s always the random Apple t-shirts you can find on eBay, the books about Apple we’ve loved this year, the brilliant stuff from ThinkGeek and the xkcd store , and the always handy nicer earbuds, keyboards, and more that make perfect geeky Christmas presents. There’s more, for sure, so if you’ve picked out a great Mac gift for this year, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below! And hey: from the Envato and AppStorm families to yours, here’s to a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for us all! Gift icon via Artdesigner.lv
Storage space is at an all time premium these days, with the shiniest new Macs shipping with incredibly fast — but also rather small — SSDs. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re not wasting space on your Mac, which is exactly what MacBooster , our sponsor this week, is designed for. MacBooster will scan your Mac for bloated caches, the old files left behind by apps you’ve uninstalled, duplicate files, and more. It’s stuff you could delete yourself, but nobody has has time for that — and odds are you’d overlook most of the stuff taking up space. So MacBooster does the hard work for you, finding what’s taking up space and clearing it out for you. Minutes later, your Mac will have a lot of free space that was simply taken up by junk. There’s more, too. MacBooster will help you fully uninstall apps the next time you’re removing an old app. It’ll also find the biggest files on your Mac, so you can perhaps find those old videos that need a new home on an external drive to free up space for the stuff you’re actually using. Then, it’ll show you what’s starting up when you boot your Mac, so you can turn off the stuff you don’t need and speed up your startup time. If your MacBook’s SSD has started feeling cramped and you want to save yourself some cleanup time, here’s the tool that can clean it up and free up the valuable space you need before the holidays. It’s the perfect Christmas gift for your Mac! Get MacBooster 60% Off for Christmas! Best of all, you can get your own copy of MacBooster for just $19.95 from now until December 25th in the MacBooster Christmas Sale. That’s 60% off its normal price, and if you’ve been wanting an app to make it easier to clear out your app caches and fully uninstall apps, it’s the perfect time to treat yourself to a cleaner Mac for Christmas. Think you’ve got a great app? Sign up for a Weekly Sponsorship slot just like this one.
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I write in Markdown all the time, the easy-to-use writing syntax conceived of by John Gruber (of Daring Fireball fame). The nice thing about the syntax is that it doesn’t require any one specific app, so web writers can use it with whatever text editor they feel like — including default editors like TextEdit for Mac, which is much more powerful than most of us realize, I think. That hasn’t stopped the flow of Markdown editors from arriving for Mac, though. Recently, I stumbled upon Lightpaper , which will be familiar to anybody who uses Android. Lightpaper Pro is well known on the Google Play Store, and I even reviewed it on Android.AppStorm . I went so far as to include it amongst the most noteworthy Markdown-equipped Android apps . The real question is: can lightning strike twice for developer Clockwork Engine with the Lightpaper Mac app? Read on to find out if this app is worth exploring, even in its beta state. Like the article? You should subscribe and follow us on twitter . A Desktop Design The first thing you’re probably wondering is how the Android design can fare on a larger desktop screen. After all, Android apps aren’t exactly known for their design polish. Thankfully, though, the two apps are almost entirely different from one another, taking only the slightest elements of design (like the typography for the Markdown preview). The folks at Clockwork Engine have taken their Android design and made it into an entirely different beast for Mac. This is Lightpaper for Mac. The Mac app is, first and foremost, fast. It’s a nice place to write in because it feels focused on everything you need for the task, and while a lot of people have focused on minimalist text editors, Lightpaper takes the cake for being one of the prettiest feature-packed editors I’ve ever seen. And, as a bonus, they’ve made it so that you don’t have to know Markdown to use the app’s features. You can highlight text and use the Format menu or some keyboard shortcuts to make changes the old-fashioned way. Not unlike the Android app, Lightpaper for Mac lets you work with differently-coloured themes. I’m a sucker for Solarized Light themes, so that’s what I’ve ended up sticking with, but if you don’t find any built-in themes to your liking, there’s a Github page where you can find many others to install. The typefaces are also customizable, but they regrettably don’t have access to your full OS X font library and look a little more Android-inspired than I’d like. I’m a big fan of the Solarized Light theme, which I’ve made my default. The app is split up into multiple panes, which you can easily turn on and off. First is the text editor itself. This is consistent; you can’t turn this off for obvious reasons. You can also toggle a Markdown preview on the right and file navigation on the left. I love the Markdown preview on the right, which I think is a really handy feature, and the file navigation that appears on the left is perfect for anybody working on long form writing in multiple different files. The app also comes with tabbed writing, so that if you’re working with multiple files at once, you can easily just swap from one open file to the next. I’ve found this tool surprisingly indispensable — I’ve been using it all the time since I got the app, and in a way, it helps me stay focused on what I need to write today . I keep everything running until it’s been posted, which is great as a sort of hybrid todo list and text editor. The app is split up into panes: on the left is a file browser and the right is a Markdown preview. The middle pane holds your text. The Markdown preview and file browser can be toggled on or off. There’s a couple really nice touches, too: the app has highlighted syntax, which is great, and even has a special icon in the tabs for unsaved work. Unfortunately, work doesn’t save automatically, although I think that’s the next logical step. The app also makes logical sense for author writers, too. If you turn off the Markdown preview pane and turn on file navigation, you could potentially get easy access to each chapter of a book as you write. I think it’s great. Beta Software That being said, it’s not perfect. I’ve got a couple beefs with Lightpaper, and I’m going to chalk all of them up to Clockwork Engine’s current beta status out of fairness — after all, there are likely going to be more features added and many bugs fixed by the time this hits a 1.0 status. The full screen mode doesn’t quite feel as polished as the rest of the app. The first complaint I have is that the panes don’t always work. I had to restart the app because the file navigator pane wouldn’t display. Granted, I could have opened the file just by going through the regular menu, but that defeats the point of the feature. Little glitches like that aren’t incredibly numerous, but they do happen. Secondly, the Markdown preview pane doesn’t scroll with the text. It always displays the beginning of the article, but you have to manually scroll down to keep up with any later changes you’ve made. As soon as you begin typing again, your preview often jumps back up to the beginning of the article, again making it a moot point. But this is a bug — not a feature. I wish that the Font options were more diverse. Finally, there are a couple things that I wish were actual features. For example, I prefer OS X to check my spelling as I type. That helps me edit on the fly, and it keeps me from making really foolish mistakes. I have to select this setting every time I open or create a new file; I can’t make it a default. (By default, spelling will only be checked when I tell Lightpaper to check it.) I also wish that the keyboard shortcuts were a little easier. I don’t know if I’m used to the way those other apps do it, but every shortcut in Lightpaper feels like it takes one too many keys compared to the competition. The Distraction Free Mode is nice, but I wish it wasn’t quite so buggy (the bug is pictured here). There’s also a Distraction Free mode that bears some mentioning. It doesn’t work quite as well as it does with other popular text editing software, and is a little buggy as well. When it does work, it works as you would expect for the most part. While I’m writing right now, every other paragraph is greyed out and I’m left only to focus on my current words. However , Markdown syntax highlighting is turned off in Distraction Free Mode, and the red lines signifying a spelling error remain as visible as ever when in Distraction Free mode — so text is almost invisible, but spelling mistakes are clear as day. Again, to make it clear, these are growing pains for Lightpaper. They’re part and parcel of a beta app. The real questions should be about the overall writing experience. While Lightpaper might be flawed, it’s also bringing something new to the table. It looks similar to some coding apps I’ve seen, and it just feels good. The typeface is a little robotic (not surprising, considering its Android legacy), but at the same time, it feels friendly. While I’m not sure I’d want to write the next American novel in Lightpaper’s interface, it’s perfect for web writing. Final Thoughts Lightpaper is buggy. If this was a bug-free product that did everything naturally without any setup from me, I think it’d be as close to perfect as any Markdown text editor could ever be. That being said, it’s not there yet. It’s not ready for prime time. But for those of us who are early adopters, it’s worth checking out. Something about the writing experience in Lightpaper makes it easier for me to focus. It’s not the Distraction Free Mode, and it’s not the Full Screen view. In truth, I barely use either of those because they largely feel like gimmicks. But the app does feel fresh. While using it for the past couple days, my writing productivity has skyrocketed by about 200%. If this weren’t a free beta, I’d pay good money for that kind of improvement. And while I’m not sure if I can blame it on my morning coffee recently or on this app, I will say Lightpaper is more than worth trying.
Lightpaper Brings Some Neat Features to a Markdown Editor