The thing I like about so many Mac shareware apps is that they look so good (and the programs that I got from the MacHeist bundle are definitely no exception). I think that’s part of the fundamental Mac OS philosophy: programs should be slick, and fun to use.
This program is definitely fun to use. I spent hours (so far) using the built-in bar code reader that uses my iSight camera to scan the UPC for my books, CDs and movies, then pulls descriptions and specs from Amazon. It’s a great, easy way to catalog all my media stuff. Plus, it simulates a book case with all my books and CDs and DVDs all lined up on it. As nice as it’s all presented, I just wish there was more functionality to this program. Don’t get me wrong. There’s enough stuff going on to satisfy most users: including a full powered search feature and a Dashboard widget to go with it. However, I think it’s missing the critical ability to post my catalog to the web so that friends and family can browse. There’s a loan system to track which items have been borrowed by others, but how will they know what I have if they can’t browse my virtual bookcase?
This game is a bit tough to explain. Essentially your objective is to fill a container (or more) with water (or energy) that is flowing from a spigot. The way you do that is by placing drums or deflectors or other kinds of objects in the path of the flow in order to redirect it to the target container. It sounds simple, but after the first few levels (one of which required the use of a magnetic ball to act as the centre of gravity for a stream of energy particles), I’m now stuck. As much as I enjoy the mental challenge, I’m finding myself a bit tired of not being able to crack this level (and I’m betting that the subsequent levels will be even more difficult). I guess it serves me right for secretly scoffing at the mere 50 levels that come with the game (let’s see if I make it to level 10). The other drawback of this game is that while the graphics aren’t bad, the manipulation of the camera angle and the position of the deflecting objects is pretty awkward. Sometimes I find myself subconsciously twisting my neck as I try to see around a barrier by moving the camera. (I guess that means the 3D is really immersive, eh?)
This is another RSS newsreader program that frankly, is not that different from the one I was using before (Vienna). The main slick feature about this one is that it’s really focused on the new articles. Feeds and headlines jockey for position in the left frame whenever they have the most new articles. Even when you group your subscriptions by category, the titles will move around even in that grouping depending on which one has the most new articles. The one thing that is inferior to Vienna is that it doesn’t have a built-in browser, so whenever a feed provides only links to the headline, Newsfire opens up a browser window in Firefox instead.