While I’ve been reviewing a lot of MAC software lately, I’ve been reminded by Cleverfiles about a must-have utility for any computer, data recovery software. I already had some great undelete software for my Windows box, but I was leaving my Mac at risk. Over the weekend, I downloaded Disk Drill PRO for a review and although the bar was set high by my Windows counterpart, this Mac file recovery program performed well.
(Disk Drill PRO recovers files I deleted for my testing)
Disk Drill PRO Features
The first thing that caught my eye was the simplicity. From the install to the informative tutorial to protecting and recovering files, everything was incredibly easy and the user interface is clean and quick to navigate. Of course, the tutorial helped get me up and running quickly. The ease of use actually somewhat hid the fact that Disk Drill PRO is loaded up with a lot of useful features, some of which are below:
- Live preview
- S.M.A.R.T. monitoring
- Attach non-mountable images for recovery
- Deep or quick scan
- Recover deleted files
- Back up disks and partitions to DMG images
- Available in English, German, French, Spanish and Italian
- Password protect your backups
(Above is one of nine tutorial screens loaded with usage information and tips)
Most people will find the need for backups and file recovery, which are a must, but this software wouldn’t be complete without the ability to deep scan and the complete views of all drives and partitions. The DMG options are nice, too, but I was really pleased to see the live preview. When you work with a ton of images, these become critical files to restore and it’s troubling to restore files for hours only to find out that 90% of them were incomplete. With the live preview, you can preview any image that will restore correctly.
One of the unique features of Disk Drill is its Recover Valut technology. I told it to protect my main drive, so now it keeps an inventory of sorts of my file information. Should I ever find the need to recover lost data, Recover Vault remembers the file names and other details. When I crashed a drive a couple years back, I wound up recovering about 60GB of music files all named File00xxxxx.mp3. While it’s nice to get the music back, without technology like Recover Vault, I spent weeks listening to music and renaming files in my free time.
Working with external or internal hard drives, memory cards, iPod etc., Disk Drill worked really fast and without fail. It comes in a free version with the PRO version boasting some advanced features and extras, namely HFS/HFS+, FAT, NTFS data recovery and priority support. Both versions get the Recover Vault, but only Disk Drill PRO allows you to rescue files which were deleted long ago and even after formatting.
While the free version is free, the PRO will run you $89 (15% off with the coupon code JETCHE-DD).
Disk Drill PRO’s $89 price tag is about $20 more than I paid for my PC software, but it’s a lot nicer, easier to use, and seems to boast more features. It’s built to be used quickly by just about anyone, but hopefully you’ll never actually need it. Although you’ll need to weigh the cost against your personal need for the added features, the free version should be a minimum requirement for any Mac owner.
This is a sponsored review. As always, all opinions are honest.
Anyone who downloads a lot should have a decent downloader. This is especially important when it comes to torrents. I have a couple good programs for my PC, but hadn’t considered the need on my Mac until now. Luckily, I found Folx PRO, a feature-rich download manager for the Mac.
Conscious of it or not, most of us download files all the time. It could be a PDF, a new game via a torrent, or a zip full of photos from the wedding photographer. Browsers have done a pretty good job of downloading files for us in the easiest way they can, but sometimes you need a little more. Sadly, that often happens when you’re not prepared for it. My first time wanting to pause a large download half the way through without the option was the moment I realized the need for such software.
Folx comes equipped with the basic features you need and a few extras. Of course, the main feature is the ability to gracefully handle downloads. This is enhanced with its browser integration. In Firefox, a click on a download link sent me straight to Folx’s new download panel. Chrome required an extra click to launch Folx, but still worked well. Once a download has started, you can pause or stop it at any time. This is a big deal for those of us with a lot of irons in the fire. Speaking of a lot of irons, Folx includes a way to manage an endless sea of downloads by providing a tagging feature. Tag a download with keywords and spend a lot less time searching for it later.
If, like me, you have a habit of downloading extremely large files like those provided for linux distributions, Windows previews, etc., you know the need for some advanced features that many download managers simply do not provide. Admittedly, I haven’t subjected every feature to a barrage of testing (yet), but I was pretty impressed to find a suite of features that exceeded what the site advertises. One of these features that makes this manager stand out is scheduling. With this, you can set downloads to occur on specific days and times and even tell it what to do upon starting or completing. Scheduling is a feature you or I may never use, but it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Slightly less exciting, but perhaps as important as any other feature is the interface that gives you a lot of information during the download as well as some advanced logging in case anything goes wrong. Full of detail, the interface leaves little to be desired. For the torrent downloaders, Folx allows you to pick and choose what files to receive in a torrent and which ones to not waste bandwidth downloading. And if you want to keep your cable company (or boss) from seeing what you’re downloading, plug in a proxy for privacy.
There’s a far too many gizmos and widgets in Folx to go over everything in detail, but just to give you an idea, here’s a few more features:
- Send media straight to iTunes
- Integrated torrent search
- Upload and download throttling
- RSS integration
Most features are available in the free version of the software, eliminating the need for most casual users to pay for the PRO upgrade. That said, $19.95 isn’t a bad price for the added features that the PRO version provides. Either way is sure to be the right choice.
UPDATE: You can use the promo code JOE-TECH-PROMO to get 15% off of your upgrade to the PRO version.
The Mac App Store launched today and my first thought was how awesome it is for developers, but then I started thinking about what it means for software in general.
On the surface, the Mac App Store is really just an extension of Apple’s existing App Store for their iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices. While that may sound like no big deal, there’s a reason the image above (from the Apple site) is exploding with excitement and had a file name that included the word “hero” (no joke). In one move, Apple has both consumers and software developers excited again and may have changed the way we deal with software from now on.
What It Means For Consumers
Consumers now have a single place to find, view, rate, and purchase software for their Macs. While I’m still a PC guy, I fell in love with the App Store for my iPhone. I have had several Windows Mobile phones and finding and installing software was always more expensive and cumbersome at best. Moving to the iPhone I found myself with more software (apps) than I could handle and the best part is that the competition brings the bar way down for pricing. I suspect we’ll see the same with the Mac App Store. With titles like Turbo.264 HD and iMovie 11 in the App store, competition will surely bring down prices for full fledged apps as well. Even those outside of the app store will need to remain competitive to stay in the game. Maybe we’ll see some of the $400 apps come down in price for the rest of us.
What does it mean for those of us using Windows? Hopefully, like the iPhone did for Android, this will nudge a PC App Store into the works. There’s already things like Download.com and there’s Adobe Air, but there’s no competitive one-stop shop for Windows software and I think it’s only a matter of time. Adobe, in particular, is in a good position to strike. They have a good platform with Air and as more people use it, a marketplace like Apples App Store makes a lot of sense. If you build it (and it’s done right), they will come.
What It Means For Developers
The Mac App Store can be a blessing for small developers and a bit of a curse for the big ones. As mentioned before, this is sure to drive more competitive pricing for Mac software. It will also force more developers to think outside the box, add more features, respond to requests, etc. The competitive marketplace will really keep developers on their toes. But that’s a good thing, too. Software that might otherwise go unnoticed will now have an instant audience and when Apple features an app, it’s like the Oprah effect, driving sales through the roof. Mac Apps that work well and offer all the features people want at a competitive price will now need a much smaller advertising budget. The people will find them and the cream will rise to the top, especially if it’s an addictive game for under five bucks.
What It Means For The Software Industry
This is the part I’m not really sure of yet, but I have some predictions and some fears. One thing I don’t want to see is Apple turning their Mac computers into giant iPhones. They did this with the iPad, restricting installs to those accomplished through the App Store, and it’s OK for what the iPad is. A Macintosh computer, on the other hand, needs to keep its freedom. I envision Apple trying to lock Macs down to only Apps from the Mac App Store and that would be a huge mistake. Know your limits, Mr. Jobs.
As for the industry as a whole, I think it could use a push in this direction. A centralized marketplace that becomes THE place for everyone to turn for software (Mac AND PC) will bring with it the competitive advantages mentioned above. Again, I wouldn’t want it to be the only place to get software, but it would be my first stop and a nice option.
On my PC I’m running the latest version of iTunes and it offers no Mac Apps. If you’re on a Mac and have installed anything from the new Mac App Store, I’d love to know your opinions and experience in the comments below.