Pixelmator costs $15 and does 95% of the stuff we use Photoshop for

Pixelmator costs $15 and does 95% of the stuff we use Photoshop for

UPDATE: When I wrote last week's Gearhead, "No more Adobe Dreamweaver, so how about Xara Web Designer?" I had looked at Adobe's online shop) to make sure that CS6 wasn't available. Clicking on the dropdown showed:

And choosing Dreamweaver displayed only one option:

Well, foolish me because the nice folks at Adobe wrote to me to point out that they actually still do make CS6 available for purchase. It turns out that should you want to put your qwan down on Dreamweaver CS6 you have to find CS6 via the Adobe Products page wherein you can find a purchase link. This seems oddly manipulative to me in that, going to the "Buy" option in the main menu bar for the Adobe site and selecting Dreamweaver only displays the Creative Cloud version, but there's marketing for you ... and by now Adobe may well have "fixed" this.

So, last week I mentioned Pixelmator, an OS X app that looked very promising as an alternative to Photoshop.

Now, let's be clear, Pixelmator is not a replacement for Photoshop because Photoshop is the kitchen sink, the alpha and omega, the Über Götterdämmerung of graphics tools and it's overwhelming in its scope and depth of features.

On the other hand, the majority of users only use a subset of Photoshop's features. And Photoshop is also spendy (the CS6 version lists at $699). Enter Pixelmator 2.2 which costs $14.99.  You read that right; one cent under $15!

As one user commented on the Pixelmator forum: "Pixelmator contains probably 95%+ of everything people use Photoshop for (who aren't professionals). It also has a better interface, doesn't install a bunch of Adobe garbage, and matches/is optimized for Mac OS more than Photoshop."

This app is, without doubt, awesome. It is beautifully designed and fits the OS X user interface perfectly. It's robust, slick, and very fast (it's a 64-bit app that uses the OS X Core Image technology which provides GPU enhanced image processing that makes it as fast as something nasty off a shiny shovel).

Pixelmator supports layers, effects, color adjustments, typography, painting, and retouching and includes a photo browser that is integrated with iPhoto and Aperture and the built-in Mac cameras. It also integrates with OS X's Automator for workflow automation and Apple's Colorsync for color management.

I'm not just slightly impressed by Pixelmator; I'm in love with this app! At run time it's  smaller than Photoshop, simpler to use and, unless I want to do something really complex, has become my "go to" for just about all image processing tasks. Pixelmator gets a Gearhead rating of 5 out of 5.

So, now that I'm incredibly old, I need glasses (actually, I have needed them for years) and I lose them more often than anything except my keys. I just found a product that could keep my keys from wandering away (though, alas, not my spectacles).

The product is the Button TrackR from Phone Halo. The Button TrackR is an Indiegogo project that delivers a low power Bluetooth-enabled device that works with iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, new iPad, iPad mini, new iPod Touch, Samsung Android 4.0 devices, and Android 4.3 devices.

The basic idea is that the Button TrackR buttons, which are about the size of a quarter (about 1 inch in diameter and just over 0.16 inches thick), communicate with a free Android or iOS app. You can attach them to your keys, your bike, even your dog and, when the button loses contact with the app, an alarm is sounded or, alternatively, the app can be used to find a button. You can also have a button found via crowdsourcing; when a button you own and that you have set as "lost" comes in range of someone with the Button TrackR app, you'll get a push notification.

The buttons can also be triggered by the app to sound a beep and the buttons have their own built-in buttons that, when pressed, cause your phone to ring. The app also remembers the last time and location where it contacted one of your buttons and drops a pin on a map.

The iOS apps can track up to 10 buttons each and the target price for the first generation of Button TrackR buttons will cost about $50 each.

The Indiegogo campaign had a goal of $15,000 and to date, with 21 days to go (the campaign closes on June 11 at 11:59 pm PT), they've got $59,349 in pledges. Way to go!

The company tells me that the button could, with custom electronics, be priced as low as $5 each but they'd need an investment of around $500,000 for the custom silicon. Given that that is a drop in the ocean for all you Silicon Valley moguls might I suggest you consider a small investment in a company that's got some real potential.

Then maybe they could also shrink the buttons down to size then I could clip one on my glasses so I'd no longer lose them. Of course, I'd have to have my glasses to find my iPhone so I could find my glasses ...

Gibbs can be found in Ventura, Calif. Locate yourself to and follow him on Twitter and (@quistuipater) and on Facebook (quistuipater).

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

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