Microsoft Updating Office for Mac 2011 to Use Lion Features

No matter how you feel about Microsoft, Office 2011 is still the most popular office suite for Enterprise Mac users. It is simply a matter of compatibility with the rest of the business world. Unfortunately, the current version of Microsoft’s office suite does not currently support any of the new features introduced in OS X Lion.

For the uninitiated, the features I am talking about include Auto Save, Versions (which keeps a history of document changes), and full-screen mode. These are already integrated into Apple’s iWork suite, and they are very useful. It was only a matter of time until Microsoft saw the need to support them as well.

MacNN is reporting that Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit is already doing just that. However, don’t expect to get the new features in the next few days. Pat Fox, a member of the Microsoft Office team, says that the update wait should be “measured in months.” This is a little disappointing, but completely understandable.

Microsoft also made a point of noting that Office for Mac 2004 will never be supported on Lion. This is due to the program being written for PowerPC-based Macs. Lion dropped all Rosetta code, which allowed for PowerPC applications to run on the newer Intel-based machines.

While there was no word on distribution of the upgraded program, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect Microsoft to bring the application to the Mac App Store. The only thing that may stop them is the face that Apple takes a cut of all sales through its digital distribution markets. However, we won’t know either way until the upgrade shows its pretty face.

Xcode 4.1 is Free for Lion Users

If you are a developer on the Mac, then you are aware of what Xcode is. If you aren’t a Mac/iOS/Safari Dev, then you may not have even heard of Xcode. That’s to be expected, as it used to be only  available  to those with developer  licenses.

However, when the Mac App Store launched, Apple released Xcode for a mere 5 dollars. I, like many others, picked it up for personal reasons. I wanted it to enable the beta versions of the multi-touch gestures for my iPad.

Now, Apple has decided to give Xcode away for free, given that you have purchased a copy of OS X Lion. This is huge news, because it will save casual developers a hundred bucks a year. If you need an application to write the  occasional  piece  of code, or even just a simple script now and then, you should check out Xcode.

Xcode is constantly rated as one of the best sets of tools for development on the Mac. It sports some of the best formatting and color coding I have ever come across. While I don’t write code for a living, I have done some basic web development, and Xcode makes my life easier when I do.

If you are interested in Xcode, and you have already upgraded to Lion, then I suggest you pick it up. While the price may stick, it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple changed the price with an update in the future. Jump on this deal while its  available.

Persona Wants to Revolutionize Email on your Mac [Preview]

As a professional working on the internet, I get a lot of email. As such, I have taken steps to make my life a little easier when it comes to email. I first moved everything over to Google App or Gmail. Then, I set up various mail clients on my old PC laptop, and was never satisfied. After moving to the Mac, I have been stuck with Mail, and I’m still not satisfied.

I discovered an upcoming mail client coming for the Mac, and it’s name is Persona. Persona is looking to change the way that Mac users work with their email. They have promised a number of great features, including 3 conversation views, a more visual interface, and a focus on the user. You can take a look at it in the video here.

I think what makes me most excited about Persona is that it is so different from its competition. The interface is similar to Mail, but the new views make it really different. It takes a Gmail style approach by using conversations, but gives it that polish that Mac users expect from their apps. They will also group your emails by sender and attachment, which is really new and different.

Persona will also connect with social media They will link to your Facebook, LinkedIn, or other accounts an add those people you your address book. For me, this is a killer feature. I use Facebook as my phonebook on my Android phone. I don’t know people’s email addresses, and this would help me keep track of them all.

I can see myself getting this app as soon as it is available. I am now following their Twitter account, and I will be on top of the release when the time comes. You can check out Persona by heading to their site. If you want the latest news, follow them on Twitter, and keep an eye on Techie Buzz.

Moom: Make OS X’s Green Plus Button More Useful [Review]

As a recent convert from Windows to Mac, there are some aspects of OS X that seem counter intuitive. Some of them I love, like the simple application installation process. Others I down right hate. Specifically, I hate the native function of the Green Plus button on windows.

For my Windows readers, I will give you an idea of what I mean. In Windows, you have the ability to maximize a window using a simple mouse click. Then, if you decide that you don’t want that window to be so big anymore, you can click again and it shrinks back down. In OS X, the Green Plus button serves a similar function. It will make a window big enough to fit all its contents.

My issues with the Green Plus are pretty simple. First, I want the ability to take some apps full screen. Second, I would really like the be able to undo the size change as I see fit. It serves neither of these purposes. I have a solution however, and its an app called Moom.

Moom is aan  extremely  powerful app that extends the functionality of the Green Plus without taking away is original purpose. Moom solves most of my problems with window sizing in OS X, and gives me another feature I missed from Windows 7: Window Snapping.

If you use Windows 7, then you probably know by now that you can snap a window to an edge of your screen, and it will resize to take up exactly half. As a student, I used that feature all the time when writing papers. OS X contains no such feature, but Moom does.

To access any of Moom’s features, you simply hover your mouse pointer over the Green Plus. As you can see, there are pictures to help you understand what functions are available. To fit the window to the contents (original Green Plus), simply click the button itself.  Moom also gives you a full set of keyboard controls, and even a grid mode. You can select any or all of the features you want through the application preferences.

As far as I am concerned, Moom is the best 5 dollars I have spent on my Mac. It gives me features that I wished OS X had built in, and it does it in a non-obtrusive way. I recommend that you head over to the Mac App Store and buy it right now.

App Name: Moom by Many Tricks
Price: $4.99 in the Mac App Store
Score: 5/5, Techie Buzz Approved


Skype releases Version 5.2 for Mac

The ever popular text and video chatting service Skype has released an update for their OS X client. Version 5.2 brings a few new features to the main silent that have been part of the beta version since 5.0. These include group screen sharing as well as group video calling. Unfortunately, in order to take advantage of either, you will need to be a Skype Premium subscriber.

OS X Skype Client Screen Sharing

For the non-premium users, there are a few improvements that make the upgrade from 5.1 seem like a good idea. For instinct, the new client seems to have fewer bugs than its predecessor. There are also small changes to the UI, like the ability to hide the sidebar to focus on your conversation. You also have the ability to pop-out the cider controls for video calls.

The changes in version 5.2 should appeal to power-users, especially the Premium users who use Skype for video conferencing. The new screen-sharing options (which are Mac exclusive for the time being) will make the Skype a better productivity tool. It is good to see that, in the wake of Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, the other platforms aren’t being totally ignored.

The downside to 5.2 is that the UI that Skype introduced in 5.0 is largely unchanged. The popular opinion is that it is too bulky of an app. A simple Google search will result in a downloadable copy of Skype 2.8, that last “good” version of Skype for the Mac. If you aren’t a premium user, then the upgrade isn’t really worth your time. However, the new feature sonly require one premium user to activate, you may want to pick up 5.2 incase a request comes your way.



Reeder Is A Fantastic RSS Reader For Mac OS X [Review]

As a Blogger, I am constantly trying new ways to read blogs and news. I have gone through all the typical solutions. I tired reading every blog individually, and that was obviously a poor choice. I tried to use various forms of RSS feeds, and while it was more convent, it wasn’t elegant. I think I have found the solution I have been searching for.

Reeder, the incredibly popular feed reader for iOS, has been released for Mac OS X. While the idea of porting an app from iOS to the Mac may sound like a terrible idea, this one really works. The feature set of Reeder is fantastic, the interface is beautiful, and the whole experience is worth the price. Let’s take a deeper look at Reeder.

Reeder’s Beautiful UI

Reeder Mac OS X RSS ReaderAs RSS readers go, Reeder has to be the most beautiful one I have ever used. In the past, I have used RSS readers that tried to be more function than form, and it didn’t make me want to keep using that program. Reeder has achieved something special with their balance between art and usability.

One really good example of the form and function balance in Reeder is the dock icon. NetNewsWire, the RSS reader I was using before Reeder, had a less than pleasing system for handling unread story notifications. When you had stories to read, NNW would give you an iOS style icon notification. Reeder, on the other hand, does a much better job of blending the notification with the icon.

Reeder’s Features Make It Great

Another aspect of Reeder that separates it from its competition are the additional features that it offers. At the top of the Reeder window, there is a row of icons that will allow you to interact with the current story in various ways. You can link your Twitter account and share stories, you can add them to Pinboard, or you can send them to ReadItLater or Instapaper.

Reeder Readability On Off

At the bottom of the window is the toggle button for one of my favorite Reeder features. As many of us are aware, there are certain websites that only give partial RSS feeds. While I understand why they may do that, it interrupts my workflow. Reeder offers a “Readability” button that will give you the full story within the app. The screenshot above will show you more of what I mean.

Reeder Gestures OS XAnother great set of features that Reeder comes with is its use of the multi-touch ability of MacBooks and Magic Trackpads. There are various features and things you can access using the gestures. My favorite are the ‘pinch’ gestures. An outward pinch will switch a story to Readability mode, and an inward pinch will disable Readability again.

Reeder: The Best of The Best

As you can see, Reeder is one of the best looking and feature rich RSS readers available today. After spending a few days with it, I have decided that i will be getting it for all my devices. Some may say that $9.99 is expensive for an RSS reader. When you consider all that Reeder does, as well as the great interface, its actually quite a steal.

Score: 5/5 – Techie Buzz Approved
Price: $9.99 in the Mac App Store

Wootish is the StumbleUpon of Apple’s App Stores

As any iOS or Mac OS X user knows, one of the worst things about the App Stores available to us is that it is often hard to discover new and interesting apps. You could search on the Internet, or try to dig through the lists that Apple puts together, but it’s not always the most interesting thing to do. That’s where Wootish comes in.

If you are familiar with the popular web discovery application StumbleUpon, then you will understand the idea behind Wootish. What Wootish is designed to do is to collect information about what apps you are interested in for what platforms, and then it offers suggestions for you to look at.

Using Wootish to Discover Apps

Wootish Starting Screen

Using Wootish is actually very simple. When you first load the website, you will see a screen like the one above. Follow the instructions, and select your devices, desired app categories, and price range from the drop down menus towards the top of the page. Once you do that, you can hit ‘Discover’.

You will be offered one app at a time to look at. You can look at the screenshots, the description, and even see the rating of the app. The one feature that I can say I wish Wootish had was the ability to read reviews from within the web page.

If you decide that you are interested in an app that Wootish shows you, there is a ‘Download’ link on the left side of the page. Clicking that link will send you to the iTunes page for the app, and even open iTunes to download it. If you are browsing on your iOS device, then you will be given the App Store page for the app instead.

Wootish: Where it Falls Short

As I said above, I really wish that Wootish had the comments within its web interface. While they are easy to access via the iTunes/App Store link, it’s inconvenient to leave the page. I also noticed that whenever I selected ‘Free’ in the ‘Price’ menu, I got an error like the one below. I hope they get that fixed soon.

Wootish SQL Error

Another feature that I wish Wootish had is language filtering. While using it, I got multiple hits in  languages  that I do not speak or read. If there was a simple tick box to select a language, it would  improve  the  experience  significantly.

Overall, I think Wootish is a great way to discover new apps. I recommend that you check it out if you are an iOS or Mac OS X user.

Facebook Acquires Sofa – A Software and Interaction Design Company

The social networking giant Facebook has acquired Sofa, a Amsterdam-based company.

Sofa is a small software and interaction design company,  founded in 2006 and is an Apple Design Award Winner for their Mac applications, Kaleidoscope and Versions.

Facebook Acquires Sofa
Sofa said that their products, Keidoscope and Versions are not a part of the acquisition and will remain available.

Sofa announced about the acquisition in a blog post

“Sofa’s products, Kaleidoscope and Versions, are not a part of this acquisition. Both apps will remain available and we’re committed to securing a great future for them outside Sofa. We’re also working with our joint venture partner to provide the smoothest transition and best possible future for Checkout, Enstore and their collective customers.”

Sofa now will be moving from Amsterdam to Palo Alto in the coming weeks.

The terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

Nokia Betalabs releases Nokia Software Updater for Mac

Up until now Nokia provided software update tool only for Windows Platform. Nokia has now released a Beta version of Nokia Software Updater for Mac via Nokia Beta Labs.


Although most of the current Smartphones released by Nokia have the facility to receive an update Over-The-Air (OTA), yet many find it easy to update via Nokia Software Updater. The first version of NSU for Mac by Nokia Beta Labs does not offer much features besides updating the firmware. The software also cannot be used to install or update apps on your Smartphone like you can do it on the Windows counterpart.

Once you connect your device to the Mac and start Nokia Software Updater for Mac, it quickly connects the handset to PC Suite mode but fails to automatically detect whether a new version of firmware is available for the handset connected. Users need to manually check whether the firmware is available or not. Since it’s still a Release Candidate, Nokia expects the software may even not function properly so use the software at your own risk.

If you still want to give it a try head over to Nokia Beta labs to download Nokia Software Updater for Mac (You need to login to download).

Using a Comic Book Viewer and Not Growing Up

[Windows, Mac, Linux]

Did you ever read comic books when you were younger? Maybe, you are like me, and you will never grow out of enjoying a good comic book. If that’s the case, you may want to read and collect comic books on your computer.

Recently, I spotted a post at How To Geek about a great comic book viewer for Ubuntu Linux, called Comix. I tried it out and I was not disappointed. Comix is already in the Ubuntu Software Center, and you don’t have to work hard to find it.

Typically, I spend most of my time on Windows computers, and I wondered if there was a good comic book reader for XP, Vista and Seven. I found the answer very fast on Google. There’s a great viewer for Windows and Mac, called Comical. It’s an Open Source project, and fairly new, but it makes viewing comic book files pretty simple.


Here is the description of Comical from the readme file.

Comical – The Comic Book Archive reader

Finally – a cross-platform, open-source CBR and CBZ reader!   Read your favorite scanned comic books and graphic novels with Comical’s absurdly easy GUI and in-your-face double page display!

Nifty Features:

  • Single-Page or Double-Page display modes.
  • Several zoom modes – Fit, Fit-to-Width, Fit-to-Height, Original, and Custom.
  • Crisp image scaling with algorithms adapted from FreeImage 3.
  • Autodetects double pages scanned together and displays it accordingly.
  • Page rotation.
  • Full-Screen mode.
  • Left-to-Right or Right-to-Left browsing.
  • Displays JPG, GIF, and PNG images.
  • Supports RAR(.cbr) and ZIP(.cbz) comic book archives.
  • Supports all encrypted RAR archives as well as ZIP archives with pkzip 2.04g

I’ll take a moment to explain the two file types .CBR and .CBZ, that are mentioned above. CBZ means Comic Book ZIPped, and CBR means Comic Book RARed. Both of those are simple archives of images. Therefore, the Comical viewer is a great tool for viewing any collection of images that is archived as a ZIP or RAR file.

Do you need to know how to open ZIP, RAR, ISO or other archives?

There are very few places that offer truly free comic book files. Here is one place that will help you find some.

Free Online Comic Books

Searching online, you’ll find that most of the comic books there are pirated copies and are located in places that are not always safe to visit. Please be extremely cautious while looking for free comic books. I recommend using the WOT addon for filtering out risky search results.

arrow-down-double-3Download the Comical viewer

Techie Buzz Verdict:

The Comical viewer is small, easy to install, and simple to use. If you need an easy way to read CBR and CBZ comics, this is a great solution.


Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)