Objective Development's Little Snitch is your best defence against software that goes out on the Internet not only for updates but sometimes for snooping too. Little Snitch 4 is a firewall, network filter and network monitor that now lets you drill down easily into connections up to individual server level. It comes with a gorgeous interface that shows you where those servers are geographically based.
SketchBook Pro users enjoy a whole year of improvements and new features even, for a price of about €30/year. A few months ago, Autodesk’s sketch app was upgraded to version 8, which comes with textured brushes, a new predictive stroke and direct access to brush libraries created by leading professionals. I checked out if the new stuff is worth the subscription money.
Ergonis Software is celebrating its 30th birthday this year. In the beginning there was the first version of PopChar. It ran on a Mac Plus with System 6 and was soon acclaimed to be the best character finder on the Mac. Today, PopChar X 8.0 has been released. It’s a major new version of the company's award-winning tool for finding and inserting special characters and exploring fonts. With over 40 new features and improvements, it’s going to be the best PopChar ever.
Affinity Photo is a strong competitor for Adobe’s Photoshop CC product on the Mac and now it’s an equally strong alternative for Adobe’s Photoshop on the iOS platform. I tried Affinity Photo on my iPad Air 2 and I was very impressed with it.
Most users in the creative industry know they should regularly calibrate and profile their monitor for colour-critical work, but there’s more to colour accuracy than keeping your monitor in shape colour-wise. If you’re going to be printing or projecting your photos, art or videos, you’d better calibrate the output equipment as well. In fact, if you want to be absolutely certain colours will be accurately rendered from input to output, you will need to calibrate — or at least profile — cameras, scanners, monitors, printers and projectors. There’s only one affordable option that is accurate enough: the Red Dot Award winning X-Rite i1Pro 2 and I had the chance to test the Photo version.
When Magix Audio took over Sound Forge Pro Mac from Sony, the application was in need of an update at the very least. With macOS Sierra, Sound Forge Pro didn’t work all that well anymore. In addition, it became clear the app was in desperate need of some new features. Magix Audio’s first upgrade of the sound editor meets the most urgent needs and then some.
Things received an Apple Design Award in 2009 and today it’s on its way to a second such award. Things 3 is even more user-friendly than its predecessor. Feature-wise the new version gains a new design, improved interaction, a day planner with the ability add your Calendar events using huge dates so you can’t miss them, a week planner, headings to subdivide your task list, checklists, a Plus button that allegedly is magical (I only tried the macOS version briefly; the Magical Button is iOS only) and time-based reminders. Furthermore, the Mac version knows about split screen and multiple windows and lets you get rid of the sidebar.
Wacom’s new Intuos Pro graphics tablet is the thinnest since the company started selling graphics tablets many years ago. Wacom sells its professional line of tablets most often to graphics designers and photographers, but I managed to put it to good use with mocha Pro and Motion as well. The experience led me to try to use the newest Intuos Pro with Final Cut Pro X, my goal being to use it as a poor man’s control surface. For my tests, Wacom kindly sent me a large Paper Edition model.
Shooting film outdoors can be a lot of fun, but it’s detrimental to your equipment if the weather turns against you. That’s why companies like LaCie, CalDigit and G-Technology make these rugged drives you can toss around, drop and submerge. CalDigit’s bus-powered portable Tuff drive is a fine example of a really tough drive. It’s now available in 1TB format with an SSD drive inside.
The Luxi for All is a light meter accessory for smartphone and tablet light metering apps. It turns the camera of your mobile device into an incident light meter.