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Category Archives for Software

How To: Recover Lost Data on Windows

Awhile back we featured a tutorial on recovering data on OS X via a tool known as DiskDrill. Not to long ago the makers behind the app Clever Files released a windows equivalent completely free! So I wanted to showcase the app that allows you to easily recover files/lost data on Windows.

Be it accidental deleted data, corrupted partitions, SD-Cards and so on. Disk Drill for windows has you covered & more importantly offers features to help prevent future data loss. Disk Drill also supports all major formats & drive types.

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Video Overview:

 

The steps to recovering data is literally as simple as 2-steps on the windows app.

1- Scan

Select your drive that you’d like to recover data from be it local or external & choose the scan method of choice.

You have the options of deep, quick, and all scan/recovery methods. Personally I recommend running the default all recovery method scan in the case your looking to recover important data that may have been deleted or corrupted.

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2- Recover

After your scan has either completed or its found the data your trying to recover you can then set the data to recover to a set location. You can easily filter through files that are detected by file type, size, and date to make it easy to recover specific files.

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However thats not all that DiskDrill offers. The app features several other extras which are worth noting such as the ability to setup a recovery vault on your drive. This helps prevent file loss in the future by protecting certain files you specify within the app. Preventing accidental deletion and corruption of data. DiskDrill also packs a full data backup solution allowing you take partitions or drives & create .DMG (Disk Images) for you to save your entire drive.

The best thing about the Windows port of the app is its completely free. No hidden fees or costs just simply download & get recovering. Data like images, videos, audio, documents, and so on are priceless so in the event you lose them most will do anything to recover said files. DiskDrill makes that all possible simple & free.

Find out more information & download DiskDrill for Windows today.

What you need to know about Windows 10

Microsoft will be launching its latest OS on July 29th. Windows 10 will be the latest upgrade since Windows 8 & aims to bring the windows we all wanted. A mix of the best features of 7 & 8 while throwing in some new additions. Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming Windows release.

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How Much is it?

The Windows 10 upgrade will actually be free to Windows 7 & 8 users for a full year. After the year you’ll have to pay either $120 for the home edition & $200 for the pro edition.

Am I Eligible for the Upgrade?

As noted anyone currently on 7 or 8 can upgrade however there are some hardware requirements. Minimum requirements are as follows:

  • Processor: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster processor or SoC
  • RAM: 1 gigabyte (GB) for 32-bit or 2GB for 64-bit
  • Hard disk space: 16GB for 32-bit OS or 20GB for 64-bit OS
  • Graphics card: DirectX 9 or later with WDDM 1.0 driver
  • Display: 800-by-600 resolution

How to Upgrade

Microsoft is offering the upgrade to Windows testers first & foremost however if your a normal user you can join the upgrade queue by simply making sure your windows is up to date & you’ll be receiving an option to “Reserve Your Free Upgrade”. Which is worth doing whether you plan on upgrading or not simply for the free price point.

What’s New in Windows 10?

Windows aims to provide that familiar UI that your used to & bring an assortment of new features into the mix.

Cortana-

Cortana is Microsoft virtual assistant rivaling that of Siri or Google Now. It’s finally being ported over to the desktop with Windows 10 & will help you with various tasks on your computer from reminders to a giving you an overview of your day.

 

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Edge Browser-

The new default Windows 10 browser is known as Edge. Coming from Project Spartan Edge aims to bring a sleek UI with various features that tie right into the OS. Useable via  touch screen interface or the classic mouse & keyboard. The browser comes packed with tools to help you while browsing the web. It’s aim is to have you consume & create content easily within the same browsing interface.

Xbox Streaming-

Xbox One owners can rejoice as Microsoft is finally bringing native streaming to Windows 10.  This feature will allow Xbox One users to stream their gaming experience to their PC. So with a click of a button you can sling your gaming over to your laptop or desktop based monitor.

Improved Start Menu-

With the major backlash over Windows 8 UI forcing them to reinstate it in 8.1. Windows 10 aims to bring a new but improved start menu that windows users are familiar with. Everything is essentially tucked into the start menu now versus the whole Window/Modern UI nonsense. Giving you an overview of your latest & most used apps, universal search, and more.

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Flexibility & Unification-

With Windows 10 Microsoft wants the user to work they want. Making it flexible across all platforms phone, tablet, and desktop. Bringing a familiar feel while scaling the content/apps to perfectly fit the platform. Use it with your touch enabled device/screen or stick to the mouse & keyboard the choice is yours.

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All in all Windows 10 brings much needed fixes to the Windows. It’s a a combination upgrade of what Windows should’ve been over the last couple of years. Bringing in the best of previous versions while eliminating the worst & adding in some cool new features. It’s not a full scale change of Windows as we know it rather a throwback to familiarity with some new tricks up its sleeves. This is the first time Microsoft has taken the free upgrade route & it’ll surely help the adoption rate of the new OS. Windows 10 officially is released July 29th & I’ll be spending some time with it & bringing you more content & thoughts after further testing. Stay tuned for more updates.

Review: Klok (Time Zone Converter Widget for Notification Center)

Klok is one of those gems you find in the app store now & again. For someone like me who has to deal with multiple timezones & be able to easily convert across them this app provides all of that in an elegant interface.

When you first download Klok you’ll be able to adjust all settings within the app itself. Here you can add clocks of timezones you want to view & manage. Additionally you have options to adjust what clock you want to see be it digital or analogue. However the app is truly built for iOS’s notification center. Swiping down from anywhere in iOS gives you access to your NC widgets. You can easily add in the Klok widget by hitting the “edit” button at the bottom. Once added in your presented with a simple & clean clock interface.

This at a glance shows you the time across your set clocks.

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However taking it a step further you can then tap on any specific clock to then set a time to convert across all clocks. So lets say someone in the UK asks to schedule a call at 2:00 PM their time. You simply tap on your London clock & then tap on 2:00 PM this will then change all your set clocks to their local time so you know what time it’ll be when its 2 o’clock in London.

Video Review:

Pros- 

  • Free 
  • Ease of Use
  • Accessible anywhere via Notification Center

Cons-

  • Occasional bug with clock +1/-1 icon
  • iOS only

 

All in all Klok is completely free & definitely worth the download if you deal with timezones at any capacity. Whether you want to know the time somewhere else in the world at a glance or be able to convert timezones on the fly. Grab it free for your iPhone today.

 

Beme Aims to Make Video Sharing Authentic

I’ve personally been a huge fan of Casey Neistat (Film maker, vlogger, all around great guy) & his content for some time now. Not too long ago he ventured on a journey to start a daily vlog series in which he’d share his life while also talking about his new company in the making. That company would be working on an app that is known as “Beme”. 100+ vlogs later Beme has come to the world & aims to bring a unique spin to the social media world.

Casey bias aside, Beme is a social network that focuses on video sharing in an effortless & authentic way. While I plan to overview the app next week when they release their big update here’s what I’ve learned so far about the app.

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Credit: Thanks to the user @JammyLaffers on Twitter for the invite code

The Premise:

Beme aims to record & share video immediately without revisions. There is no adding of filters, editing, or re-shooting. Just post out whatever it is you recorded. Even more unique than the concept behind it is the recording method. Beme utilizes the proximity sensor on the iPhone to start the recording of your beme. From there it’ll instantly send out your post to your followers. The idea behind this is to take the phone out of the way when it comes to capturing moments. To be looking at the person your talking to, see the sunset your capturing, and so on. Now this entails you either block the sensor by whatever method you see fit. Put it against your chest, block the sensor with your finger, & so on.

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This idea behind is really interesting. I like the idea of making video more honest & almost unobtrusive. People react differently when an iPhone is in their face. This wouldn’t completely eliminate that but it’d be more discrete. Proximity controls make it a bit difficult to see how it’ll be used in the real world & how people will interact with it. Initial testing led to a lot of bemes that weren’t meant to be sent. The bemes are ephemeral so they disappear after someone has viewed it without any option for replaying.

Sign Up Process:

As of right now Beme is live in the app store you can download it here for iOS. However the process isn’t as simple as install & setup. Their is currently an invite process in which people who have access to the app can invite their friends & the cycle carries on. Trying to create more of a community behind this app versus random fly by installs. This will last for the initial app launch phase, as the app goes public for everyone in 100 days. There’ll be a lot of updates to come along & fixes to be made as its now in the wild. As Neistat himself has stated in his vlog

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Reactions:

The interaction part of the app comes with “reactions”. Followers & other viewers of your Bemes can react as they watch your video. An overlay appears in the top right that allows you by tapping to take a selfie to show your reaction while viewing their video. This is meant to capture the response of the viewer in that very moment. Shock, joy, laughter or what have you.

 

The app is very much still in its infancy. There’s much to be improved & even explained for some new users. However the direction is taking is very interesting. Sharing without the need to create. Think of Snapchat but stripped down to just the video aspect. Storytelling being the key focus. However at the same time introducing an honesty to videos. Now with all good certainly comes bad. Privacy issues will surely arise for users who unknowingly may have posted something or sent something they didn’t mean to. Furthermore I’ve found myself reshooting my bemes due to them being cut short. Defeating the authentic feel the app is going for. In the normal video creation process you have the ability to take & edit then post. In this case it’s straight from capture to live. Picking up on some social trends while creating its own. Beme isn’t perfect but it’s a start.

Follow me on Beme at @Adrianc & stay tuned for updates to come on the apps progress.

Also be the first to comment & receive a Beme code/invite! I’ll try to distribute as many codes as the app allows.

How To: Paint on iOS w/Pixelmator

Pixelmator has made the series of content we’ve been producing this week possible. A huge thanks to their team for the support & for making the amazing image editor that is Pixelmator. Download it for iOS & OS X today!

I’m no artist but I’ve always loved painting & creating art on digital based devices. I think the ability to create whenever inspiration strikes on our phones & tablets is revolutionary. Pixelmator is an app that facilities just that with their amazing painting tools. Painting on Pixelmator is easy whether your a novice or veteran designer/artist. The vast array of brushes, options, and technology built into the app makes it all seamless & allows you to focus on your art.

 

Video Overview:

 

Brushes-

Pixelmator offers a wide variety of brush types to get that right touch for your image.

  • Pencil
  • Crayon
  • Marker
  • Ink
  • Paint
  • Spray
  • Watercolor
  • Smudge

Each with a collection of styles within each category. The design & technology that goes into their brushes are unparalleled. My favorite for example the water color brushes allow for great blending of colors & make edges that are defined & detailed.

Here’s an example of an image thrown together using the watercolor brushes. Notice how the colors overlap & blend into each other rather than featuring harsh edges. That level of detail is what makes pixelmators brushes so great.

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Tools have never been easier to use & the interface no matter mobile or desktop is simple to use. The best part of Pixelmator & its toolset such as paintbrushes is that your limited by what you want to create.

How To: Clone Objects in Photos on OS X w/Pixelmator

A thanks to Pixelmator for making this video series possible. Pixelmator is a great image editing tool that is available for OS X & iOS. Built with the platforms in mind taking advantage of both hardware in mac such as the force touch trackpad to iOS technologies like cloud support,  OpenGL, & handoff. Find out more information here.

Continuing on with the Pixelmator series we’re focusing today on the clone stamp tool. A tool that is commonly known on image editors to clone objects in photos. This tool can be used to clone certain elements in a photo such as a water droplet & multiply it over the image. Optionally cloning can be used to hide portions of images as well.

Video Tutorial:

 

Pixelmator’s clone stamp tool is super easy to use. Simply define first your clone source point, the object or pattern you want to clone and from there begin to drag along your cursor to paint in your cloned source. This will begin to follow the original point you set as you drag along. This can be used to fill in certain parts of the image you want covered or take something as shown in above like a water droplet & duplicate across the image.

By holding “Control” when clicking you can define your tools hardness & diameter to make it easier to precisely clone over the part you want. This in conjunction with other effects can make for great ways to enhance an image. Cloning objects has never been easier.

It’s worth noting this tool is easier to use cloning rounded objects or flat patterns than lets say a person for example. As the cloning takes into account whats in the background as well it can make a photo look uneven if you copy a source across another portion of the image. However for something with a solid background duplicating various objects is a breeze.

How To: Remove Objects from Photos on iOS

This video was made possible by the great folks at Pixelmator. Pixelmator is a full featured image editor for OS X, iPhone, and iPad. Allowing you to edit, enhance, and create great works of art. Download Pixelmator today! Get a 30 day free trial for mac OS X users.

So you took that great selfie, landscape photo, or what have you. Then you realize theres that person or object that just throws off the photo. If only you could easily remove it. Using Pixelmator on the iPhone you can! Making it as simple as coloring over the object & few seconds later away it goes. This is a look at how to easily remove objects from photos on iOS.

Pixelmator for iPhone runs at $5 USD & while its a full feature image editor it also offers great tools like the repair/retouch tool.

This tool makes easier than ever to strike out the object from your photo as soon as you take it on your iPhone.

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Video Overview:

 

Pixelmator offers this tool across all platforms mobile & desktop. The great part about the repair tool is its simple & easy to use. Anyone can remove objects be it skin blemishes or people in the background. Repair tool removes the object while also blending in whatever is in the background. Making it look seamless. You can adjust the tool size in order to precisely color over the object no matter the size.

Before & After Example:

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Cover, wait, erase it really is that simple.

UPDATE: As of July 15th, Pixelmator has been updated to version 2.0.2 which has improved the repair tool to be 5x faster & even more precise!

Pixelmator Overview: Powerful Image Editing for OS X & iOS

My thanks to the Pixelmator team for sponsoring a series of upcoming content this week on Digitaldojos and their amazing Pixelmator app that is available for iOS & OS X. Pixelmator provides a highly affordable & advanced editing platform filled with tools & a simple UI to navigate through. 


 

Available on Mac OS X, iPhone, and iPad this is simply one of the best image editing apps you can get for desktop or mobile. Awarded the Mac App Store of the year in 2011 & iPad App of the year in 2014.

Download Pixelmator

OS X

iPhone

iPad

As I have a whole series of graphic design content coming up via the Pixelmator app I thought it’d be best to kick off the campaign with an overview of the application to get a better feel of what it can do.

Pixelmator for OS X:

The OS X version offers a full fledge image editor that allows for touching up, enhancements, sketching, drawing, and other great effects on photos.

So whether your  looking to move objects, paint a masterpiece, or simply retouch a photo you took Pixelmator has you covered. Below is our video overview walking you through the app.

 Mobile Editing:

For those who want to edit on the go their iPad & iPhone app is just as feature packed all in a mobile UI. Making even simpler to take a photo & quickly edit afterwards before uploading or saving it into your camera roll.

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Aside from just editing on the go you can of course create works of art using Pixelmator’s toolset such as sketching, painting, & various brushes to help you take that burst of inspiration & convert into art. Designed with iOS 8 in mind the mobile app has all sorts of compatibility with features like iCloud Drive, Handoff, etc. Whether your a mobile painter, photographer, or designer Pixelmator has all the tools for you. Check out their own overview video for the iPhone version.

The iPad version is just as great with all the screen real estate to match. Making it easier than ever to create & edit on such a big canvas. Turning the iPad into a great content creation device.

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Tools & Features:

Here’s just some of the features Pixelmator is capable of.

  • Repair Tool (Wipe away unwanted objects)
  • Handoff (Start editing on your mac & pick up on iOS)
  • Smart Move Tool
  • Magic Wand Tool
  • Refinement Tools
  • Painting Tools
  • Pixel Tool
  • Liquifying Tools
  • Blur & Sharpen Photos
  • Clone Stamp Tool
  • Type/Text Tool

 

All in all Pixelmator no matter the platform you choose to use it on is a great image editor that packs in everything you need. If your looking for a simple editor or advanced tools for your novice or more in-depth projects their suite of apps have you covered. We thank the great team behind the app for making the upcoming content we have in store possible & hope you enjoy it as well!

The list of content & tutorials via Pixelmator can be found below.

(Links will be updated as the posts go live)

  • Easily Remove Objects from Photos on iOS
  • Clone Objects in Photos iOS & OS X
  • How To: Paint on your iPhone

 

Review: Phone Clean Pro

Disclaimer: I’ve worked with iMobie in the past to provide giveaways of other software they also develop. However this review/post is in no way associated with iMobie. This software was purchased personally.

Phone Clean Pro is a utility provided by iMobie that allows you to clear up space on your iOS device be it iPhone, iPod, or iPad. By scanning for common junk files & temporary data allowing you to reclaim space on your drive. The major problem being it deletes data you don’t tell it to. Here’s my review & experience on why you should not buy Phone Clean Pro.

Video Review:

What it’s supposed to do:

So what does Phone Clean Pro actually do. The trial version offers a free scan feature while you’ll the pro to actually delete content.

You can scan, use the tools packed into the app, and restore iTunes backups of your iOS device (thankfully). Phone Clean Pro is meant to save a ton of space by deleting files from your device easily & all in one place. There are some tools packed in as well that allow you to optimize performance for both native & jailbroken iOS devices. Scan wise you have quick & deep option. Each scanning mode describes what you can specify for deletion and after the scan is complete you can then clean up your device…or so you think.

Note: Phone Clean Pro does backup your data before any deep cleaning

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What it did:

All of this is well & great however as mentioned above the big flaw here is a countless number of users have experienced deletion of files that you do not even specify. In my own testing I had it delete over 1,300+ photos & some videos from my camera roll. So it achieved its goal of freeing up space…just not the data I told it to delete. Luckily I keep constant backups of my data & had a restore point that I could jump to but still for an app that’s main feature is cleaning & deleting data you’d think it would get that part right.

I thought maybe just maybe I had a bad scan or something got corrupted. Nope, further research showed all sorts of people having similar issues. iMobie had the same robotic response to their Facebook feedback.

 

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Now the above images are just a sample of what I found from some very upset customers & rightfully so. The whole “rare” issue problem doesn’t seem to be so rare. The app clearly has been deleting key files for users without any permission whatsoever. Now I’m sure once in a blue moon it actually deletes only the data you set but the likely chance of it also deleting private data of yours without any acknowledgment to the user is a big sign to steer clear from this app.

Mind you in my own experience the app had deleted my data on my very first deep clean. My apps, messages, and other parts of iOS remained untouched however again my camera roll was completely wiped & while I could restore the data I had issues with albums, corrupted photos, and other issues. So to say I restored everything to 100% would be a lie.

What to do if your data was deleted:

While I can’t give you a definitive answer that’ll help everyone out there, here are some options. Try using iTunes to restore from a previous backup that PhoneClean made or you have made recently with your iOS device. This is usually the best course of action & can help salvage the deleted data. If you don’t keep regular backups & had no iTunes restore points you can try to invest in other software that restores iPhone lost data. Keep in mind iMobie also ironically offers this software, that choice is entirely yours. You may want to steer clear entirely & use other software.

You can also use software such as iExplorer to find old iTunes backups & manually comb through them to gain the data you want. For example grab just photos that were deleted & then sync them back to your iOS device.

Conclusion/Rating:

In a way this has been one of the easiest reviews to write in that I simply reccomend to all my audience & those who stumbled upon this wondering if it’s worth the paid edition the answer is simply no. This is a big fat DO NOT BUY warning post. Normally if I have any negative thoughts I don’t expand much further than that, however when my word can help others in wasting money & investing in tools that don’t work I’ll gladly take the time, risk, and money. There’s no use in me breaking it down pro/con style when the main feature & aspect of the app isn’t even working.

Rating: DO NOT BUY (Two Thumbs Down)

I’ve used iMobie products in the past with success & even hosted a giveaway with them. I think they make some decent mobile tools for iOS. However this is one of their products I can’t recommend to any of you who may read this. Save your money & spend it elsewhere or at that rate look for another solution or just stick to manually wiping data off & reading that usage menu to see what’s taking up the most space.

How To: Create/Publish an eBook with Scrivener

My thanks to the team over at Literature & Latte for sponsoring this post & series of content on writing. They’re the makers of the essential writing app Scrivener for Windows or OS X. Providing an all in one writing studio that allows you to edit, outline, storyboard, and most importantly write in an efficient system. Use it for scriptwriting, books, essays, and more. A must have for all writers.

Scrivener is no doubt a powerful all in one writing tool. Be it essays, books, or what have you. One thing I specifically have been using it for lately is for outlining, creating, and publishing an eBook. Scrivener makes it all simple & easy while allowing you to fill in all the elements you want in your eBook whether its for personal or professional distribution. Here’s a look at the process.

Video Overview:

Step 1: Creating a new Project

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I recommend starting off under the “Fiction” templates and then selecting “Novel”. This takes care of a lot of the structural formalities you’ll have to worry about when setting up your eBook. Such as chapters, metadata, and cover art.

Step 2: Importing/Creating Content

Now begins the actual creation aspect. Essentially with Scrivener each folder under the originally labeled “Manifest” folder (you can rename it of course) represents a chapter of your eBook. So the folder naming scheme would reflect that of your chapters. This can be tweaked later in the export process as well.

Within each folder you can easily start to create your content. So your actual material text & other media. You can of course deal with things like formatting here if you’d like however keep in mind at the end before exporting there are many options to deal with such issues.

Step 3: Cover Art

Arguably a very important part of your eBook like any book is the cover. The thing that’ll be represented within whatever digital library you publish to. Scrivener designates this section very easily and allows you import/replace the existing image very simply.

Note: 600×800 JPEG/PNG format is the recommended size and format for your cover art

Step 4: Compliation

After you’ve written and imported all your material. It’s time to compile all of it together. Opening the File menu on windows or OS X should reveal a dropdown with “Compile” as one of the options. Selecting this will bring up a window allowing you to select your desired format. In the case of eBooks theres 3 major file types supported by Scrivener that you’ll be interested in.

.ePub (Widely Universal)

.mobi (Amazon Kindle)

.docx (Apple iBooks)

Selecting your compilation format obviously depends on what market your trying to target and publish to. After selecting this you can then enter your advanced options by clicking the “All Options” tab.  This reveals a ton of options to edit before exporting.

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You can use this menu to do general formatting to sections, edit metadata for the eBook, adjust the overall layout and so on. It’s definitely worth combing through all of these and tailoring your eBook before the final process.

Step 5: Export!

The last and final step is selecting your desired export destination and letting Scrivener do the rest. From here you can now preview it in a eBook reader of your choice such as “iBooks” app or even sync it to a device to see how the eBook behaves. This allows you preview everything before publishing it out there to the web and for others to consume.

Here’s a few places you can submit eBooks to:

Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon)

Scribd

Apple iBooks

From there you can now enjoy your published eBook! Scrivener takes this complex process and makes it as simple as 5 steps. Of course your free to populate the content as much as you want and add in all the details your heart desires but at the end of the day Scrivener makes it that much more simpler to outline, create, and ultimately publish an idea to an eBook. Get started with Scrivener today!

Our thanks again to the Literature & Latte team for sponsoring the series of content on Scrivener & other writing posts we’ve done over the last couple of weeks be sure to check out the other posts below!

Best Writing Tools for OS X

How To: Improve your Writing Workflow