Categorized | Mark Timmons

Focused, Riveted, Vulcanized, Galvanized and Refined By Fire!

There ain’t nothing like a good fight where you go to battle with your brothers and come out closer than you have ever been.


If your name is Clayton Kershaw, you drill Carlos Quentin in the ribs the next time you face him and take the suspension.


Hey, Carlos Quentin, next time you try this, AJ Ellis will have your legs.  Adiran Gonzalez will have your torso and Clayton Kershaw will pound your face.


It’s simple!  We take care of our own.


Oh, don’t even think about throwing near Kemp or Gonzo.


I got your 6!


About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

84 Responses to “Focused, Riveted, Vulcanized, Galvanized and Refined By Fire!”

  1. Bobby says:

    Clavicle surgery for Greinke. Out 8 weeks.

    No word yet on the suspension(s)

  2. Rob says:

    Capuano will be a stud for the first half of the season as always and greinke will be back in time before Cappys decline. Cappy with have a 3.30 era with a 6-2 record and will be part of a trade for a big name player.

  3. KEN says:

    Mr. Torre is a self appointed defender of persons who have suffered domestic violence. Of course spouses have a fiduciary duty to each other and a duty to not treat each other in an abusive manner and refrain from violence lest a criminal charge be imposed. There is also a unique type of fiduciary duty between baseball players who are playing an inherently dangerous activity with wood bats and 100 mph fastballs. Obviously Greinke negligently breached his fiduciary duty to Quentin. The appropriate response is not to retaliate and engage in an intentional act of physical abuse resulting in loss of employment for 2 months, although Greinke has a guaranteed salary.

    Quentin was struck by the baseball, did not immediately react in a fit of temporary insanity, but slowly walked toward the mound while thinking about what to do and then decided to charge the mound because he was previously hit with a baseball or because Greinke told him to go to first base and Quentin decided to retaliate with force against Greinke’s freedom of speech, inflicting serious bodily harm to Greinke.

    This both a civil and criminal action in the real world and both MLB and the City of San Diego should do something about Quentin’s actions.

    1. Greinke should hire a criminal attorney and go to the San Diego police and DA and attempt to have criminal charges filed.
    2. Greinke should go to court to obtain a civil restraining order to prevent Quentin from being within 100 yards of him for a period 3 years. As a result Quentin will be prohibited from playing in a Dodger/Padre game for a period of 3 years so long as Greinke shows up at the games.
    3. LAD should file a civil suit for economic damages resulting from the lost services of Greinke. This suit should be against both (1) Quentin, and (2) the Padres, under the legal principle that an employer is responsible for the actions of their employee. San Diego should pay for Greinke’s salary for the next 3 months.
    5. MLB should suspend Quentin for at least through Memorial Day.

    If Torre does not see the analogy between duties of spouses and the duties of pitcher/batters then in my opinion he is truly a moron.

  4. Bball says:

    Carlos gets eight games. Ken your right torre is a moron.

  5. Quasimodo says:

    Hard sell, Ken. Personally I don’t buy it. Baseball is evolving, but that is too far of a leap.

  6. Badger says:

    He won’t see it. And there will be no precedent allowed.

    10 games max.

  7. Badger says:

    8 games.

    And there you have it. MLB does not give a damn what fans think.


  8. KEN says:

    Torre is a Eunuch. I presume!

  9. Roger Dodger says:

    Just finished a group — tuned in and see that the Band of Brothers must be gumming it.

    This might be the difficult year. Injuries to to key players now. Out two months for each. Gotta hurt in the long run.

    Several key hitters have not gotten untracked yet.

    Time to hit the bell and wake up the players . . .

  10. Badger says:

    This is one offensively challenged ball club.

  11. Jason says:

    Everyone has scored at least one run against Arizona………………except the Dodgers

  12. Bball says:

    What the hell is kershaw thinking, doesn’t he no that he has to throw a shutout to have a chance.

  13. Bball says:

    Y is tolleson pitching anyway. Doesn’t Donnie no September call ups havnt happened yet.

  14. Roger Dodger says:

    Maybe the Dodgers should have picked up Prince Fielder last year.

  15. Bball says:

    For all the Donnie haters. Looks like Scocia might be available pretty soon. I propose that trade

  16. Michael says:

    I think all pitchers should stand up to protect themselves from idiots from charging the mound and get this fucks panties in a real wad by plunking him every AB. You just fucked yourself amigo and will forever be remembered for your ignorance.

    Zach out 8 weeks and the premeditated precipitator gets 8 games is the most blatant injustice since “the gloves don’t fit”

    Bud has no balls

  17. Michael says:

    Oh yeah, thanks again Mark for the spell-check but it didn’t work when I misspelled my e-mail. Doh!

  18. Badger says:

    Spell check? Where?

    The Dodger hitters are doing a lot of things wrong up there. Maybe it’s cuz they are pressing, maybe it’s just because they aren’t good hitters. But to miss fastballs right down the pipe and swing at pitches in the dirt as often as they do tells me something is very wrong.

    I asked the same question Bball… why Tolleson in that spot? Dumb move Donnie, but it really doesn’t matter when you don’t score.

    This team has issues. Will they be resolved? Maybe. Maybe when Kemp gets his head out of his ass the whole team will perform better. Maybe when we don’t have the same guy (Hairston, Sellers, Schumaker) coming off the bench, maybe when Ramirez gets back… maybe maybe maybe.

    Maybe not.

    I am all for a Donnie to the Angels for Scioscia. Won’t happen but I am down with it.

    At least the gints lost.

    OK, tee it up again tomorrow.

  19. Bball says:

    Kemp needs to get his head out of Rihanna’s u no what even though I’m sure it’s nice. I swear I think we care more then they do. I really thought last night would ignite this club. Sometimes I question there heart.

  20. Rob says:

    So you sit your hottest hitter but keep running out a guy who is struggling, shaking my head. Donnie has to realize that Crawford is the one reason we have a winning record so far.

    • Badger says:

      That lineup is one you might get away with against the weaker teams in the division. Hairston, Uribe, Sellers all start this early in the year? Yoiks. Not surprised we don’t score much.

      If Kemp can’t hit and Crawford is sitting on the bench, this team becomes relatively easy to pitch to.

      Kershaw deserves better. I guess $230 million just don’t buy what it used to.

      I am still fuming about the Clueless San Quentin sentencing. The Pads won’t miss him a bit. The Dodgers get hurt much worse. MLB is run by pussies.

  21. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Only 2 or 3 days ago Gordon was hitting .188. It’s now up to .286. He’s had 7 hits in the last two nights (3 yesterday, 4 today). It’s amazing how much averages can fluctuate early in the season. Not saying the Dodgers should bring him up right now, but I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss him either.

    Kemp looks likes he’s behind a lot of the pitchers he’s hitting. And just because he hit a couple of HRs doesn’t mean Uribe should be starting. He still can’t hit, but like every dog, he’ll have his days. Same problem, no offense from Kemp, and none from the left side of the infield. This offense misses Hanley, and needs Kemp to find his way out of his slump.

    But looking at things objectively, the Dodgers are still 6-4, and could still catch on fire. It could happen soon or it could happen a month or two from now. All the Dodgers have to do is stay within reach of the top, and at some point the offense should wake up.

    And Rob could be right about Capuano. I was thinking the same thing. He has a history of very good first halves. If he gives us anything like he did last year in the first half, then Greinke will be missed, but may well keep on winning if the offense picks up.

    When Adrian Gonzalez had the same surgery as Kemp in the winter of 2010, he got off slowly (at least with his power) in 2011 with the Red Sox, but picked it up in May and beyond. Might take a while for Kemp as well. He could break out tomorrow, or it could take a month or so. But sooner or later, I believe we’ll be getting a productive Kemp.

    Eight days for Quentin is ridiculous. Even his own teammates thought he was wrong.

    It sounds very nice to predict that the Dodgers will use yesterday’s incident to galvanize themselves, and take off from here. Well maybe they will, but it could also be that there is no simple formula, and it will just tkae some time. It really is a long season.

    I understood why Mattingly brought in Tolleson tonight. The bullpen has been overworked lately, and it probably was a good idea to stay away from overworking them. Besides, Tolleson isn’t all that bad, and has shown in the past that he’s capable of working a scoreless inning.

  22. Jim D says:

    This team is a BORE ! They were a bore at the end of Torre’s reign, and have been a bore since Yankee Mattingly took over. NO fire. NO heart. Boring, say goodnight baseball, night after night. Glad I don’t pay to watch these bums. I am a Dodger fan for 60 years, and this product on the field needs their ass kicked.

  23. KEN says:

    The LAD have a lot of problems but with a 6-4 record would be leading half of the divisions in MLB.

    • Badger says:

      6 and 4 the rest of the way wins the division. That’s 97 wins.

      But the offense sure has looked like crap. They won’t win 97 games hitting the way they are.

      Tolleson can’t find the plate with the bases loaded. Yeah, I too understand why he might have been brought in. But he stunk it up. And Crawford looked like he just woke up. Bad night all around.

      New day.

      If Kemp can’t hit it 400′ any more then he needs to do the little things right. His eyes are fine, just square the ball up. Hit a line drive like he did in his last at bat. He goes 1 for 4 and actually improves his average.

      As long as we are running Sellers, Hairston, Punto, Schumaker and Uribe out there on a regular basis we will be lucky to be a .500 team. Not saying those guys wouldn’t be valuable over the long haul, but all of them add up to 0 WAR at this point in their careers. We don’t want guys like that starting. We want them relieving.

      I have watched Arizona a few games this year. Right now, they are better than us. They got something we haven’t shown yet – heart.

  24. Pete M. says:

    Criticism runneth amuck 10 games into the season???

    Selig is an idiot??? Read up on the Player’s Assoc. Like a freaking offshoot of the Teamsters. 8 gm. suspension is going to be challenged…Gotta let go, that’s all we’ll get…

    Aways liked Tolleson…Pitched the night before in Alb. and just got in town…Not an excuse…Just a fact…

    The Angles Mikey might be available sooner than you think.

    Dodgers sign Sean Burroughs…Great story…No hit…

    Going to the Ravine Mon. and check out the aftermath!!! Could be amusing!!!

    6-4… Come on, Be Happy…Not content but happy…Han Ram sees a light at the end of the tunnel…

    • Quasimodo says:

      Yeah, kinda sucks when you have to fallow whats in the minors to feel good about. But at least there’s some promise in there. There’s still promise in our team but they really need to show us some awkward scoring with a quickness.

  25. Badger says:

    Criticism runneth amuck all year. It won’t stop this early. Especially with this expensive team leadeth the league only in patheticness with runners in scoring position.

    We have expectations. We take heat for having the highest payroll in the history of history, everybody hateth our team and wisheth us bad karma, it would be nice to throweth a little hatorade in their faceths.

    I’m heading down tomorrow. I got some box seats for me and my local dback rooting homies. Should be a hoot.

  26. KEN says:

    Now Ned is an idiot. Now there are no long relievers on the LAD Staff. What is the probability that Bills, Ryu, Beckett, or Capuano will get lit up and just can’t go 5 innings in the next week?

    Is Cappy the long reliever and Lilly is to be called up to replace Greinke this week? If so, then better have 2 long relievers in the bullpen.

  27. Bobbie17 says:

    I agree with Jim D, mostly. Can this team come from behind in the late innings? I haven’t seen it yet. Frankly, there aren’t enough patient hitters, two strike hitters in the lineup-or on the roster. Tolleson was a questionable move last night. These are division rivals, first game of the series, your #1 on the mound. Can’t lose that game. Too much thinking of down the road. How about winning the game you are playing?

  28. jerry says:

    i agree with what Rob said..donnie is sitting his best hitter..i think in the 10 days of baseball counting the days off..carl as sit 3 of them..

  29. jerry says:

    i think we need a different hitting coach…what has maGwire done so far..

  30. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Didn’t the Cardinals hit well last year? I guess it makes sense to judge your hitting coach every 10 games or so. How can I argue with that kind of logic?

    • Badger says:

      Maybe the Cards hit well because they are good hitters. Maybe it will take some time for McGwire to get through to these guys. Who knows. I still believe we will be the best team in the division. The organization will make the moves necessary – if necessary.

      I need some ice cream.

  31. jerry says:

    so that whole spring training didnt mean any thing… like i said before..if you have a bunch of power wont score runs .only they hit it in about every 10 games.., so it time for one of those power hitter to hit one.

  32. Roger Dodger says:

    Words have been thrown around about the Dodgers right now.

    - They are still in Spring Training mode, just getting work in.

    - They do not have chemistry as a team.

    - There is no heart.

    - They have no passion to play the game.

    - There is no energy on this team, or in the lineup.

    - It is early, other teams will have their dry spell . . .

    - All that money spend, maybe on some of the wrong players.

  33. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Badger, I too need some ice cream. Maybe I should go out and get some. Or should I get frozen yogurt?

    “like i said before..if you have a bunch of power wont score runs .only they hit it in about every 10 games.., so it time for one of those power hitter to hit one.”

    First of all, if a hitter hit an HR in one of every 10 games, they’re hit a grand total of about 16 HR during a full season. That’s not exactly a prolific HR hitter. Yes, if a team is made of a bunch of Rob Deer types, they’ll hit a lot of HRs and won’t score much else. But I believe the power hitters on the Dodgers are also guys who have hit .300, or thereabouts. And with more than 16 HR. With power hitters like that, a team should score. Fact is, the Dodgers aren’t hitting for power, and aren’t hitting for average. THAT’S WHY THEY’RE NOT SCORING!!!!!!!!!!!! They’re simply not hitting. Simplistic reasoning like I quoted above, is just that, simplistic.

    By the way, Giancarlo Stanton must be getting pitched around a lot. He’s hitting .167 with an OBP of .342. No HRs either. But I’d still include Yaseil Puig in a deal to get him.

  34. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    This from TBLA:

    The observation that “Their .203 batting average on balls in play in those situations suggests some bad luck” is something that has occurred to me. I’ve noticed that on several occasions the Dodgers have hit hard ground balls that are simply being gobbled up. Seems to me that more of those should be going through, and over time I expect that they will. Hence, the “bad luck”. Maybe the Dodgers are due for a period during which ground balls find holes and bloops find outfield grass. It’s simply reasonable to expect that if the Dodgers get runners on, they will start getting them home. And with at least Hanley coming back, runs should be in the Dodgers future. And I don’t expect that Kemp will be hitting below the Mendoza line, and w/o power for much longer. Unless of course, he has one of those ridiculously bad years.

  35. Badger says:

    Six of the nine Dodger starters tonight are hitting under .200.

    Bad luck? Has to be an element of it.

  36. Rob says:

    Does Donnie ever think of bunting with runners on first and second with no outs? We seem to hit into double plays everytime. No such thing as small ball in dodgertown.

  37. Bball says:

    Welcome to the team Ramon. You fit right in

  38. Bball says:

    This team is really hard to watch right now

  39. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Well, the ball Schumaker just hit might fall into the category of bad luck.

    • Badger says:

      And Pollack was out at second. Another example of bad luck.

      Yeah, Ramon fits right in doesn’t he.

      This team just needs to get angry and start playing pissed. Soon enough I think will say “that’s it” and start pushing back.

  40. Bball says:

    Ya your right badger. This is a good team that is playing poorly. I guess that’s y I keep watching cause I no it can change any moment.

  41. Badger says:

    Not that they were going far anyway but the Lakers season just ended.

  42. Badger says:

    Have sn eye Kemp! Geez….an easy RBI situational and he swings at two no where near the strike zone.

    Last in MLB WRISP.

  43. Quasimodo says:

    Well-from this day forward!

  44. Bball says:

    Let that be the start of him getting off the shnide.

  45. Bball says:

    This is something that has to be done. Send cruz down and call up Gordon. Cruz is horrible. Pop up after pop up

  46. Badger says:

    Hill was struck out. This ump wouldn’t know a strike if it crawled up his ass.

  47. Bball says:

    Badger I can tell in ur posts that the greinke quinton thing is getting to u. I have never seen u curse as much as u have since that happened. Keep it going I kinda like it

  48. Roger Dodger says:

    Just saw the Padre game. What’s his face just came up and the fans gave him a standing ovation. Monday should be interesting.

  49. Quasimodo says:

    Then Badger has to really be pissed at Padres fans. I am too! They gave Quentin a standing ovation in San Diego in support of his punk-ass move!

  50. Badger says:

    That is two nights in a row with bad home plate umpiring. Yeah, it bugs me.

    And yes, I am not happy MLB allows players to charge the mound. I have been clear about my feelings on that. Benches emptying is not good for baseball. If I were commish that practice would end immediately.

    Win ugly. I’ll take it. Big day for me and my homies tomorrow.

  51. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Anyway that Ryu could play short or 3B between starts? We need his bat in the lineup.

    Hernandez may have gotten off badly by hitting into that DP, but he made up for it with that hit in the 9th. We needed that insurance run.

    Kemp still looks likes he’s just a little late on the pitches he’s swinging at. Whatever it is, it’s probably just a matter of time before his bat comes alive. And he did manage to knock in a run tonight.

    All in all the Dodgers are doing OK, 7-4, half game out, tied in the loss column. Yes, for those more skeptical folks, it is a long season.

  52. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    Pollack was out at 2nd, and the ump did miss the call on Hill. Bad umpiring, but the Dodgers got the win anyway. Maybe our luck is changing.

  53. Bball says:

    Standing ovation huh. Obviously San Diego has idiot fans. I hate plenty of players but would never wish pain on them until now. That’s low. Too low. Now I say hit that mother fucker in the face and take away his whole career. Paybacks a bitch Carlos and ur almost gonna get it. I can’t wait till Monday.

  54. KEN says:

    If I was a catcher and I caught an inside pitch during Quentin’s AB and a runner was trying to steal second my knee would hit somebody’s knee on accident when I threw the ball to second base and the batter would be out for 6 months.

  55. Badger says:

    You tell ‘em Bball.

    Standing ovation for a neanderthal. The collective IQ of San Diego just took a nose dive.

    The San Diego area does have a lot going for it, but sports surely isn’t one of them. They suck at everything now. When some moron puts a Dodger on the DL it is something to cheer about? Sad really. That is what they have to cheer? They cheer him, then lose again. They remain irrelevant, so if they have to cheer for an idiot, I say let them have it. They will end the year in last place in the division, that’s a given. Just beat the crap out of them next week and shut ‘em up.

  56. Quasimodo says:

    There will most surely be no retaliation on Monday. Monday is Jackie Robinson Day. I doubt Dodgers do anything other than try to sweep Padres in the series. But pay-backs are in the bank. Just the way it is. plain and simple.

  57. Pete M. says:

    Ryu getting 3 hits means Clayton & Bills will be seen around the batting cage more…
    Ryu in the running for PH duties…( my all time fav – Big ‘D’)
    Very cool that his family was there to watch and enjoy…
    Cat reminds me of Ted Lilly of old… Kinda pitcher that gets you nervous… Kind of nervous that makes you take a walk or change channels… You sneak a peek and no real damage done and he settles down to look like Greg Maddux coasting thru a lineup……

  58. Pete M. says:

    Badger…A lil help por favor… Talking to a guy yesterday and all of a sudden it came to the “best hot dogs” debate!!! “Pinks”… “You gotta start with Nathans” etc. etc…
    Then I went on my best hot dog stand ever diatribe!!! On my way to a N.D. bowl game in Texas and stopped by El Guero Canelo in Tucson becuz of a tip on the Travel Channel…Damn, hands down the best I’ve ever had even counting the East Coast…. left the place in a semi food coma… Been there???

    • Badger says:

      Nope. Also, been a vegetarian since 1971 so I can’t help you with hot dogs. Oh wait, I can. There is a place here in Sedona – Oak Creek Brewery that has the best vegetarian hot dog I ever ate. Come on by and we’ll down there for a round a dogs and a couple of mugs. I also drink NA now. Boring I know, but, if you had been down the road I was on, you would have, like me, made some changes in your game plan.

    • Gonzo says:

      Guero canelo one of my many late night spots while in college. Those are the best hotdogs I’ve eaten.

  59. KEN says:

    Is it time to thinking whether Amezaga could be a better option at 3B than Cruz?

  60. KEN says:

    LAD Pitcher BA .286. How many millions are being spent on LAD players who can not hit like a LAD pitcher?

  61. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    “LAD Pitcher BA .286.”

    Another example of why early season stats are so unreliable.

    Amezaga might be a reliable utility guy. But as Badger has noted on numberless occasions, we have plenty of those. And I wouldn’t get too caught up in his ALBQ numbers. We know about those. In fact, weren’t there some people on this site who got caught up in Brian Barden’s hot spring? Well, be that the case or not, he’s now just above the Mendoza line at the aforementioned ALBQ.

    Cruz probably needs to be replaced, as well as Sellers. And those things will probably come with time. Hanley’s return will take care of one of them. Maybe Gordon will continue to hit, or maybe there’s a deal somewhere down the line. Whatever the case, I doubt if the Dodgers will tolerate subpar offense on the left side of the infield for too long.

  62. HemmorhoidRage says:

    yEAH Igive up on Cruz, at least for now. He needs to be sent down for a few weeks and see if he gets a clue.

    Sellers is also killing us, needs to benched and someone else given a chance.

    Kemp is also killing us. He needs to be benched for a few games and then moved down to 7 in the order when he returns. He has been a head case until two seasons ago, remember the Rhiana season? I really don’t think it is his shoulder surgery anymore, I think his problem is between his ears. I think he started clipping out his articles and pasting them to his mirror and admiring himself too much. He needs to get humbled and shake himself.

  63. Bball says:

    Lilly refuses to anymore rehab starts. Looks like they might have to unload him cheaply as well.

  64. Roger Dodger says:

    Interesting dynamics from Dodger land.

    Hanley tells the team where he wants to play.

    Lilly knows there is a lockjam in pitching, and is asked to take a re-hab start, but tells the team he does not want to go.

    Kemp is stinking up the batters box, and is still hitting in the 3 hole, but does not want to move or even suggest he could move down for a few day to get his stroke back. Leaving many runners on base.

    This teams is still in good position, but seem really out of whack.

  65. Bball says:

    I see quinton drops his appeal. Ya perfect timing u little bitch. I still say drill somebody. Polly won’t happen though.

  66. Bobby says:

    That was maybe the weakest seeing eye single i’ve seen in a long time.

    That’s baseball. That bs hit scores a run; meanwhile we’re hitting about .100 with runners in scoring position

  67. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    “I really don’t think it is his shoulder surgery anymore, I think his problem is between his ears. I think he started clipping out his articles and pasting them to his mirror and admiring himself too much. He needs to get humbled and shake himself.”

    Pure nonsense. I don’t know if it’s his shoulder or just a slump. But I do know that Adrian Gonzalez had the same surgery, and it took a while when he came back in 2011 to get it going. Looking at Kemp, it’s clear that he worked out hard during the offseason. I don’t know why a player like Kemp can’t go into a slump without people quickly jumping all over him for things they know nothing about.

    Maybe he could use a day off. Maybe he should be temporarily moved down in the order. I’ll let Mattingly make those decisions, since he knows the player a lot better than any of us. But I see no signs that his attitude has anything to do with his performance. In fact, I remember Frank Robinson hitting about .180 in the first month of 1962 and ending up hitting .342. In fact, I just checked it out. It was .186 in March/April of that year. And he did end up hitting .342. In fact, that was the year Tommy Davis won the batting title at .346, and knocked in 153.

    As for the left side of our infield. Well, I’ve let known my feelings about that, and so have others. I’m sure the Dodgers are thinking about it too. The Hanley part will just have to wait. What else can be done? We’ll see. Just a shame to waste Beckett’s pitching performance today.

  68. Brooklyn Dodger says:

    It’s early, it’s ALBQ, and it doesn’t mean all that much now. But Dee Gordon is hitting .286 with a .348 OBP, has stolen 5 of 6, and of his 12 hits, 5 are doubles.

  69. RogerCraig says:

    How many errors?

  70. Rob says:

    At some point Donnie needs to consider how much damage mentally he is doing to kemp by allowing him to hit third and never giving him time off. I know Ricky weeks is no Matt kemp but he had the same issue last year and they moved him down in the order to find his swing which he eventually did and had a strong finish. Kemp looks lost at the plate and has lost pop in his bat.

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While $350 is admittedly ridiculously expensive for a remote, I did find the Ultimate a joy to use, combining the user-friendly interface of the mobile apps with the greater reliability of RF communication.Bottom lineWhether with or without your smartphone as the remote, the latest Harmony Hub line represents a great improvement over its predecessor, and a worthy alternative to traditional IR-based universal remotes—especially in locations where Wi-Fi network interference isn’t a big problem.Review: LyX is an advanced but easy-to-use document processor based on LaTeX typesetting When one thinks of document editors, it’s usually Microsoft Word and Google Docs that come to mind. But in the world of word processors there are marquee names, and then there are some worthies not yet in the limelight. Advanced cross-platform document processor LyX has its merits. LyX is free and Open Source. LyX’s workflow is something of an adjustment from Microsoft Word, but learning it can pay off. The results are similar to professional typesetting.Creating our first document on LyX is as simple as any other: Go to File – New. You can copy-paste or type your first text without bothering about any formatting. To start with formatting, we will say LyX uses Environments. Environments are lot like Microsoft Word and its use of Styles to format documents with consistency. But Environments give far greater control across a variety of document types.Document processors are usually WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). LyX is WYSIWYM (What You See Is What You Mean), though the frontend does not differ much from any other document editor. The way LyX controls the layout of the document lies in the background, where it uses powerful typesetting markup language LaTeX.The default Environment is Standard. LyX has different Environments for typesetting sections, lists, sub-lists, verses, quotations, bibliography etc. Expanding the dropdown, we can choose to apply the appropriate ones and within a few clicks, our basic document now starts looking more professional. Different Text Styles can be used on the text. It can be previewed with a PDF reader.The idea is to separate the content from its presentation. Precise control over layout is a must for academic and scientific authoring. This is where LyX comes into its own. LaTeX is complicated. LyX is the friendly GUI. The program handles the final presentation, leaving the writer with only the business of writing the content. The end result is a more attractive and consistent document.Different documents like a book, a thesis, a letter etc. need to be typeset differently. LyX uses Document classes which tell it how to typeset the document so that we don’t have to bother about the distinctions. Each choice of a Document class also changes the Environments which go with it. Some are built-in but many Document classes and layout options are available online which allow us to extend LyX for all types of document processing needs.LyX is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, with unofficial ports for OS/2 and Haiku. For a fresh installation on Windows, opt for the 200MB bundle, which is fully functional and includes the complete LaTeX distribution (MiKTeX) and a bibliography manager. A 35MB update installation is available for older versions of LyX with LaTeX already installed on the system.LyX shows why the program is geared for the scientific community with its versatile Math toolbar. The Math toolbar helps us to create complex mathematical formulas easily. LyX has a detailed Math manual that explains all the features.Lyx uses MiKTeX, an up-to-date implementation of TeX/LaTeX. It is composed of packages (programs, styles, fonts etc.) that help to format and render documents. Many of the packages are optional. During the course of your text processing, the program might prompt you to update the packages if it finds that you need a custom package not available with the default installation. LyX You can search for relevant packages using the Package Manager and install them.Remember, LyX is WYSIWYM. In its raw form, the document might look like a mish-mash of brackets and typesetting elements. When you have finished with your text, render it with the default PDF reader. You can save it and render it later, or export it in many different formats (HTML, Open Document, Plain Text). On first launch, the GUI does not seem any different from a standard document processor (though it doesn’t resemble Microsoft Word’s Ribbon interface). If getting on the learning curve feels slightly overwhelming, you can avail yourself of very detailed instructions in’s Introduction, Tutorial, User Guide, and additional manuals in the Help menu.If you have a long and cluttered document waiting to be prepared, try your hand on LyX. It costs no money, and for complex scientific documents, it could end up saving you time.Note: The Download button on the Product Information page takes you to the vendor’s site, where you can download the latest version of the software.Review: MacBook Pro with Retina Display redefines the concept of a ‘pro’ laptop Apple isn’t afraid to stir things up, making people rethink how they use technology. In recent years, most of that kind of innovation has focused on the iPhone, iPad, and iOS. But the , released at , now directs attention back to the Mac.The Retina MacBook Pro is not only a groundbreaking release, combining stunning performance and portability in a 15-inch Mac laptop; this model will also force you to change the way you interact with a laptop. From overhauling how you view and work with content to how you deal with external devices and connections, Apple isn’t afraid to push its customers in new directions. The Retina MacBook Pro is certainly a more-than-gentle nudge.Looking good: The Retina displayThe marquee feature of this laptop is right in the name―the Retina display. The Retina display made its debut in the , followed by the . It’s finally made its way to a Mac. You can look at the Retina display as another step in the iOS-ification of the Mac, or you can see it as I do―another way to remind you that all of these products are part of one big happy Apple family.The Retina display’s numbers are mind-boggling: 2880 by 1800 pixels―that’s 220 pixels per inch―for a total of 5.18 million pixels on a 15.4-inch backlit screen. When the Retina MacBook Pro is set at its (Best) Retina setting, it’s spectacular―the detail in photos is great, and text is the crispest and cleanest it’s ever been. For the first few hours with the Retina MacBook Pro, I even found enjoyment in reading the text of system alerts. The Retina MacBook Pro helped rekindle my appreciation for the little details of Mac OS X that, over time, I’ve taken for granted. There were no dead pixels or light leakage on the two Retina MacBook Pros I looked at, and compared to my 17-inch MacBook Pro, colors were exceedingly vibrant.With so many pixels, it’s easy to notice the amount of detail you can see in high-resolution photos. But it emphasizes the low quality of many website images. Fire up Safari and you can read an article displayed in finely rendered text, with images that now look jaggy. For anyone tuned to such nuances, it can be annoying, but don’t blame the laptop. It’s up to Web designers to start to optimize graphics for Retina displays. With the popularity of the iPhone and iPad, the addition of a Retina laptop, and the eventual adoption of high-resolution displays in non-Apple devices, it’s only a matter of time before the Web catches up.Videos on the Retina MacBook Pro look excellent. To display a 1080p video on MacBook Pro, the video is enlarged to fill the screen, since these MacBook Pros already have more pixels on the screen than on a HDTV. I didn’t notice any ghosting, and the laptop’s video card seemed to have no problem handling the video.The Retina MacBook Pro actually has two video cards―one integrated, one discrete. The integrated video card (which shares memory with the main memory, and is actually part of the CPU), is Intel’s , which is used to help preserve battery life. The discrete video card (a separate component with its own memory) is Nvidia’s GeForce GT 650M, with 1GB of video memory. The system automatically switches processors based on the activity you’re performing, so you’re not sacrificing performance while, say, playing a game. You can turn off automatic graphics switching, which then sets the Retina MacBook Pro to always use the discrete video card.With 2880-by-1800 pixels on hand, you might assume that the list of available resolutions in the Displays system preference would be unbearably long―there are 19 resolution settings for my 17-inch MacBook Pro. But that is not the case. In its ongoing effort to ease choices, Apple revamped the Displays system preference for the Retina MacBook Pro. Displays offers only five choices on a scale, which makes it much easier to find a comfortable resolution setting.To the left of the scale are settings for Larger Text, to the right are settings for More Space, and in the middle is Best (Retina). If you really need to know the resolution numbers for each setting, they appear when you mouse over each setting. For example, the leftmost Larger Text setting “Looks like 1024 x 640” pixel resolution, while the rightmost More Space setting “Looks like 1920 x 1200.”When a second display is connected and set up to expand the desktop, the resolution listing appears, specifically for the external display. When I connected the Retina MacBook Pro to my 42-inch HDTV, it instantly recognized the display, and when I turned off mirroring, I was able to choose one of four resolutions for the HDTV, and set the Retina MacBook Pro to one of the five settings mentioned above.I didn’t have a chance to install Windows on a Boot Camp partition, but Macworld Lab installs Parallels as part of the benchmark suite, and I ran Windows 7 full screen through the virtual machine. I was able to set Windows to 2880-by-1800, and I was able to use applications without a hitch. Our sister publication, PCWorld, is planning a deep look at running Windows on a Retina MacBook Pro, so look for that upcoming report.The Retina display also supports (IPS), which helps with color reproduction and viewing angles. Apple states a 178-degree viewing angle, and I don’t dispute that.A longtime concern about Apple’s screens is the reflective glare. With the Retina MacBook Pro, Apple redesigned how the display is mounted. There’s no longer a glass cover, and that, thankfully, reduces the glare. Apple says glare has been reduced by 75 percent; While I can’t scientifically test that claim, I can say that the reduction is noticeable. I don’t have to work as hard to ignore the glare as I’ve had to on previous MacBook Pros.Soon after Apple announced the Retina MacBook Pro, the company . With its support for 1920 by 1200 resolution―the native resolution of the 17-inch MacBook Pro―the Retina MacBook Pro serves as the replacement for the 17-inch model. I’m a 17-inch MacBook Pro user, and I use it because I want as much screen space as possible. Can you get the same amount of space with the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro? Yes, though the trade-off is that everything on the 15-inch screen is smaller than on a 17-inch screen. It doesn’t bother me one bit―yet. As someone who’s reached his 40s, I’m experiencing the change in vision that you expect when you get older, so it’s possible that folks with aging eyes like mine will need to make adjustments.What’s inside stays insideApple offers two models of the Retina MacBook Pro. The $2199 model has a 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 6MB shared L3 cache, 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory, and 256GB of flash storage. (Most people call it an SSD or solid state drive, but Apple calls it flash storage.) The $2799 model has a 2.6GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 6MB shared L3 cache, 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3 memory, and 512GB of flash storage.The Retina MacBook Pro processors are part of Intel’s Ivy Bridge processor technology, which are smaller and more power efficient than the previous generation of Sandy Bridge processors. Ivy Bridge processors are created using Intel’s process, while Sandy Bridge processors are processors. Ivy Bridge also supports several features that promote power efficiency. Essentially, it promises improved performance from a chip that requires less power.The processors support Intel’s , which creates two virtual cores for each physical core present in the processor. With the quad-core Core i7 processor, Hyper-Threading creates eight virtual cores. Also, the processors have , where the processing cores automatically boost its speed past the specified rate if it senses that it is running under the power and heat limits. The 2.3GHz processor in the $2199 model can boost its speed to 3.3GHz, while the 2.6GHz processor in the $2799 model goes up to 3.7GHz.Before , rumors of a 15-inch MacBook Air ran through the mill. While the Retina MacBook Pro is part of Apple’s pro laptop line―and Apple representatives stressed during the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote that the Retina MacBook Pro is a pro machine―it has definitely taken some cues from its smaller, lighter sibling. One obvious cue is with the body design; it’s thinner and lighter than its 15-inch counterparts in the “regular” MacBook Pro line. (More on the design later.) But not so obvious are the RAM and flash storage implementations―which may turn some customers off.In the Retina MacBook Pro, the RAM is part of the motherboard; there are no slots and RAM sticks, and you have to decide at the time of purchase if you want to upgrade from the standard 8GB to 16GB. You can’t upgrade the RAM after purchase. The situation is similar for the flash storage; it’s not permanently attached, like the MacBook Air, but it’s not considered a user-upgradeable part. Companies such as offer flash storage upgrade kits for the MacBook Air, and chances are you’ll see similar kits for the Retina MacBook Pro, but you’ll possibly void your warranty if you use them, and Apple won’t support such aftermarket hardware.If your idea of a “pro” machine allows you to upgrade or customize some of its parts (like the Mac Pro, Apple’s most customizable computer), then the Retina MacBook Pro will be a disappointment. However, that message has been on the wall, starting with the , and reinforced with the 2010 ―you can even look to the iPhone and iPad. Apple did not change the design of the regular 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro, so you still have the ability to upgrade RAM and storage later on in the life of those machines.Upgrading to 16GB of memory adds $200 to the price of either Retina model. Unfortunately, the $2199 model does not have an option to upgrade the 256GB of flash storage. The $2799 model has a 768GB flash storage upgrade for an additional $500.Faster connections: USB 3.0, ThunderboltOn one side of the Retina MacBook Pro, you’ll find a MagSafe 2 connector for power, two Thunderbolt ports, a USB 3.0 port, and a headphone jack. On the other side, there’s another USB 3.0 port, an HDMI port, and a SDXC card slot.USB 3.0 has long been on PCs, and it’s finally―finally!―made its way on to the Mac. With the widespread availability of USB 3.0 storage devices, Mac users will now be able to tap into the speed benefits of USB 3.0. The USB ports are compatible with USB 2.0, so you can still use USB 2.0 devices, though you won’t see an additional speed boost. is the high-speed connector here. Thunderbolt’s specification states data throughput of up to 10 Gigabits per second (Gbps) per channel, though the actual speed depends on the connected Thunderbolt device.Thunderbolt is also used to connect displays such as Apple’s (?) or a Mini DisplayPort display like Apple’s (?). The Retina MacBook Pro can drive two external displays; you can connect a pair of Thunderbolt Displays, or a Thunderbolt Display and a Cinema Display, or even a display connected through the Thunderbolt port and a display connected to HDMI. With two displays connected, the laptop’s display is still available to use.Missing featuresWhat’s missing? Ethernet―the Retina MacBook Pro comes with 802.11n, and Apple sells a for $29. (You could perhaps use a USB to ethernet adapter, though I haven’t tried one.) There’s no FireWire 800, which I think is a bigger issue than the lack of ethernet, since FireWire devices are still common with Mac users. Apple will probably sell a lot of its new Thunderbolt to FireWire 800 adapters ―it’s too bad it’s not an included accessory. There’s no Kensington lock slot either, so you’ll need to find another way to secure the Retina MacBook Pro to a desk.Also missing is a SuperDrive, to no surprise. In my own personal use, I use the SuperDrive only to make backup copies of the DVD movies my kids get as presents, maybe five or six discs per year. I can’t remember the last time I burned data to an optical disc; too many times I’ve had a backup DVD that went bad, and I have USB flash drives I can use for times I can’t transfer a file over the network or the Internet. If you need a SuperDrive, you’ll have to get an external drive, such as Apple’s $79 .A not-so-obvious missing feature is an ExpressCard/34 slot, which was only available on the 17-inch MacBook Pro. The Retina MacBook Pro has no ExpressCard slot, so you’ll have to find other ways to get the functionality you’re used to having with an ExpressCard. For example, 3G connectivity: You can use a USB 3G modem, or you can use tethering on your iPhone.The Retina MacBook Pro uses a MagSafe 2 connector, the same kind that is used on the MacBook Air. The regular MacBook Pros continue to use the older MagSafe connector, and MagSafe 2 and MagSafe are not the same size. You can’t plug in a MagSafe 2 adapter into a MagSafe plug, and vice versa. If you want to use a MagSafe adapter with the Retina MacBook Pro, you’ll need a $10 . There is no MagSafe 2 to MagSafe converter.Slimmer bodyAt first glance, the Retina MacBook Pro looks a lot like the regular 15-inch MacBook Pro and the aluminum body design is essentially the same. The major difference is the thickness. With the lid closed, the Retina MacBook Pro measures 0.71 inches, while the regular 15-inch MacBook Pro is nearly an inch tall. The thin profile of the Retina MacBook Pro aids portability, but it also helps alleviate the discomfort you might have (as I do) with the edge of the laptop cutting into your wrist as you type. The angle isn’t as steep as it is with the regular 15-inch MacBook Pro, but it’s not like the tapered edge on the MacBook Air. It seems that Apple decided not to create a tapered edge in order to maximize the amount of battery inside.The Retina MacBook Pro weighs 4.46 pounds, which is nearly a pound lighter than the regular 15-inch MacBook Pro, and more than 2 pounds lighter than the 17-inch MacBook Pro. Lighter is better―that’s a given―but what’s impressive about the Retina MacBook Pro’s weight is that its 4.46 pounds feels evenly distributed. Of course, it’s a bit heavier toward the screen, but it’s also not too light in the area around the trackpad, so if you carry the laptop while it’s open (admit it, you’ve done that more times that you’d like anyone to know), the laptop won’t suddenly tip over.A minor cosmetic note: One thing you’ll notice with the open Retina MacBook Pro is that the MacBook Pro logo is no longer at the bottom of the screen. It’s on the bottom of the laptop. Apple got rid of the cover glass for the display, and the logo was part of the cover glass. Apple decided to not put the logo on the bezel of the display.Two other changes: The power button replaces the optical drive eject button on the keyboard, and there’s no longer a battery life indicator on the hardware.Benchmarks: How does it compare?To gauge the performance of the two new Retina MacBook Pro models, Macworld Lab tested the $2199 and $2799 models using , our benchmark suite of real-world applications and tasks.Macworld Lab testing by James Galbraith, Mauricio Grijalva, William Wang, and Kean BartelmanImpressively, the 2.6GHz Core i7 Retina MacBook Pro isn’t just the fastest laptop we’ve tested, it’s the fastest Mac we’ve tested, posting a remarkable 330 Speedmark 7 score. The isn’t far behind, with a score of 319. The previous fastest laptop was a , and the fastest desktop Mac we’ve tested was a .Compared to the fastest new 15-inch regular MacBook Pro with a 2.6GHz Core i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 5400-rpm 750GB hard drive, the 2.6GHz Core i7 Retina MacBook Pro is 38 percent faster, and the 2.3GHz Core i7 Retina MacBook Pro is 33 percent faster.If you look at the scores for last year’s MacBook Pros, the new 2.6GHz Core i7 Retina MacBook Pro is a whopping 51 percent faster. The comparison with the new 2.3GHz Core i7 Retina MacBook Pro is just as impressive; it’s 46 percent faster.How We Tested: We duplicated a 2GB file, created a Zip archive in the Finder from the two 2GB files, and then unzipped it.How We Tested: In Pages ’09 we converted and opened a 500-page Microsoft Word document. In iMovie ’11, we imported a two-minute clip from a camera archive, and performed a Share Movie to iTunes for Mobile Devices function. How We Tested: In iTunes, we converted 135 minutes of AAC audio files to MP3 using the High Quality setting. In Handbrake 0.9.5, we encoded a single chapter (to H.264 using the application’s Normal settings) from a DVD that was previously ripped to the hard drive. In Cinebench, we recorded how long it took to render a scene with multiprocessors. How We Tested: We installed Parallels 6 and ran WorldBench 6’s Multitask test. In Photoshop CS5, we ran an action script on a 100MB image file. How We Tested: In Aperture 3 we performed an Import and Process on 207 photos. In iPhoto ’11, we imported 500 photos.How We Tested: We ran Mathematica 8’s Evaluate Notebook Test.It’s the flash storage that gives the Retina MacBook Pros a serious boost. Compared to the new regular MacBook Pros, the Retina laptops see serious gains in disk-based activities, such as in our Duplicate 2GB Folder test, Zip 4GB Folder test, and Unzip 4GB File test. In other tests where the storage device comes into play (Import iMovie Archive, Aperture Import, iPhoto Import), the Retina laptops held an advantage.In other tests that aren’t so disk dependent and more CPU focused, the Retina laptops and the new regular MacBook Pros were within range of each other, such as in our HandBrake Encode test, Pages Import test, MathematicaMark, and the Cinebench CPU test.The one test where the new regular MacBook Pros clearly pulled away from the Retina laptops is in our Portal 2 frame rate test. The regular 2.6GHz Core i7 MacBook Pro was 9 percent faster than its Retina counterpart with the same processor. The regular 2.3GHz Core i7 MacBook Pro was 4 percent faster than the 2.6GHz Core i7 Retina MacBook Pro, but it was 17 percent faster that 2.3GHz Core i7 Retina MacBook Pro. Even though the Retina laptops and the regular MacBook Pros have the same graphics hardware (the regular 2.3 GHz MacBook Pro’s GeForce GT 650M has 512MB of memory, versus 1GB in the other three laptops), the Retina displays have so many more pixels to push that it can affect the frame rate in games.How We Tested: In Cinebench, we ran that application’s OpenGL frames-per-second test. Using Steam and Steam for Mac, we created a self-running demo for Portal and recorded the frames-per-second rating.Macworld is in the process of testing the four standard configurations of the new regular MacBook Pros. We’ll have a detailed review coming soon.We have a list of Speedmark scores that compares the new Retina MacBook Pros to , which includes some Mac models from 2009 to late 2011.Heat and noiseI don’t have lab-produced test results, but I’ll give my subjective observations. The Retina MacBook Pro, while running the Diablo III installer, warmed up, but not enough to make me uncomfortable while it rested in my lap. The heat was from the center of the bottom of the laptop, and it didn’t seem to radiate beyond that. The fans did not kick in.After Diablo III finished its installation, I ran the game. I was able to select 2880-by-1800 in the game’s settings, and during gameplay, the fans are definitely running and noticeable. The laptop heated up immediately, in the forward part of the bottom, underneath the keyboard where the GPU and CPU are located, and it heated up enough for me to move the laptop to a desk.I watched several YouTube videos and iTunes movie trailers, all streaming 1080p or 720p over the Internet. The laptop got a bit warmer than when I installed Diablo III, but not hot enough for me to need to move the laptop off my lap. I wasn’t able to trigger the fans while doing this, and the videos ran smoothly.I also used Handbrake to convert a movie file for my iPhone―the Retina MacBook Pro doesn’t have an optical drive and I didn’t try ripping a DVD or CD using an external drive. The file conversion took less than 5 minutes, during which time the fans did not run, and the laptop did not noticeably heat up.Battery lifeThe Retina display is power-hungry; you need a lot of juice to move all those pixels. The Retina MacBook Pro’s built-in battery is rated at 95 watt-hours. By comparison, the regular 15-inch MacBook Pro is rated at 77.5 watt-hours. The Retina MacBook Pro has a much bigger battery.However, Apple rates the battery life of all its 15-inch MacBook Pros at 7 hours of what the company calls “wireless web” use. When Macworld Lab tests battery life, we use a more rigorous test. We loop a movie file in full screen mode in QuickTime Pro until the battery is drained. This drains the battery faster than general use that involves Web access.Both Retina laptops lasted about five hours in our test. Even with their larger batteries, they didn’t last as long as the regular 15-inch MacBook Pros, which lasted several minutes longer. The previous generation of 15-inch MacBook Pros actually outlasted the new models by a significant margin.The new definition of “pro”Apple’s idea of “pro”―at least for laptops―doesn’t involve customizable hardware, which means a few hardcore users are at a crossroads. You can still buy the regular MacBook Pro, open it up, and have your way with it, but I’m guessing it won’t be too long before that design too follows the 17-inch MacBook Pro into discontinued status.So, what is Apple’s idea of a “pro” laptop? For now, it’s the Retina MacBook Pro, which is philosophically very close to the MacBook Air. Obviously, it’s light, it’s smaller than before, but the missing features force you to adjust, as with the MacBook Air. The “pro” aspect, in this case, refers to the performance; the general CPU speed matches the regular MacBook Pro (when you factor in the flash storage, the Retina MacBook Pro blazes past the regular laptops), so no performance compromises are made, and the performance is several notches past the MacBook Air.Macworld’s buying adviceWith the Retina MacBook Pro, Apple once again proves it is a company that refuses to sit still and get comfortable. It redefined the ultraportable laptop with the MacBook Air, and has now altered the concept of the “pro” laptop. Going lighter and smaller was expected, given how Apple does things, but the change in feature set will have current MacBook Pro owners reexamining their needs.One thing to consider: Customers actually have more laptop choices now than than they’ve had since the demise of the MacBook. There are three different types to choose from: the MacBook Air, the regular MacBook Pro, and the Retina MacBook Pro. It’s a good variety that ranges in price from $999 to $2799, not including BTO options.The Retina MacBook Pro, however, is the future of Apple’s laptop line―and it’s a bright, shining symbol of excellence. The Retina display is something to be marveled at, and the lightweight, smaller design addresses the demand for our devices to be even more portable. You’ll have to make a few adjustments, but fortunately, you don’t have to sacrifice performance. The Retina MacBook Pro is quite a remarkable laptop.Editor’s note: Updated at 6/15/12 at 8 a.m. PT to correct a price reference to the 2.6GHz Core i7 model. Updated on 6/18/12 at 7:30 p.m. PT to add a link to Speedmark 7 scores.Review: Magix Page & Layout Designer includes advanced tools for beginner users Printed media may seem to be heading the way of the dinosaur, but until the proverbial meteor hits a stack of business cards, box of letterhead, or freshly-printed brochures on their way to a conference, we’ll continue adding paper and ink (and the odd PDF) to our marketing cache.MAGIX Page & Layout Designer ($150)? anticipates the needs of a growing business by providing a single source for designing anything from a single logo to business cards to a multi-page brochure. However, if you are a ($89) fan, you will recognize the UI instantly, and may be left feeling ripped off. It’s so hard to find a difference between the two apps, it seems that MAGIX has repackaged Xara with added templates and an inflated pricetag (although Page & Layout Designer is currently on sale for $90).About a dozen template themes are included in the MAGIX Page & Layout Designer download (you can’t access or view them all in the trial). Choose a theme that suits your business, then open business card, brochure, and letterhead templates that all match the theme and are fully customizable with your own logo, text, images, etc. There are about 100 templates in total. All are royalty-free, and many verge on stylish, but organization isn’t great. It can be hard to find the matching brochure to your business card design.MAGIX Page & Layout Designer’s slide-out bitmap gallery could mean you never need to hunt and gather on the server for your company’s logo again.Customizing the templates is pretty easy with MAGIX Page & Layout Designer, even if you don’t have any design training or experience. For example, a snap function helps you align objects, text is set to automatically flow around your images, and you can chose to work without or without layers.If you do have prior experience, setting up a page from scratch also is simple and intuitive. Plus, you can easily use MAGIX Page & Layout Designer to create logos and other vector drawings without too much difficulty; and use the photo tools to adjust and manipulate your images. Refer to the Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 2013 review for more detail on how drawing and image editing tools work, since these are identical.Currently, ($59) is included in the Page & Layout Designer download for free, and also includes some additional basic photo manipulation tools as well as the ability to organize your images. On the surface, this looks like a great deal. However, you may not need Photo Manager at all, as MAGIX Page & Layout Designer includes a slide-out bitmap gallery. With it, you can save and access all of your logos, logotypes, images etc. for any of your projects. However, I wish it were easier to organize things, and would love to be able to add text boxes (so you never again have to cut and paste your mission statement and other often-used blocks of text).It seems like MAGIX is trying to reach a new audience with Page & Layout Designer, with no mention of its powerful vector drawing tools and super-easy photo editing in their marketing of the product. But the non-sale pricetag is steep unless you were actually considering also purchasing the bundled Photo Manager MX Deluxe. If you already own Xara Photo & Graphic Designer (or , the $299 heavy-lifter in the family) you are going to be an unhappy T-Rex who’ll want to eat MAGIX for lunch.Note: The Download button on the Product Information page will download the software to your system.Review: Mailstrom puts you in control of your email Many companies claim to have the solution for email overload, but few deliver. That’s why I was wary of Mailstrom, a (currently) free service that promises to deliver the elusive “inbox zero”—a state of being so far out of my reach, I’m not even sure what it means. But after testing Mailstrom, I was pleasantly surprised at just how close I came to achieving that sought-after state.Mailstrom works with any IMAP email account. All you have to do is you enter your email address and it goes to work, analyzing your account. I sat back and waited while it “loaded” my account—and it didn’t take too long, considering that the account holds more than 22,000 messages. Once the loading process is complete, you head over to your Web-based dashboard to see Mailstrom’s analysis of your account.Mailstrom lets you browse the contents of your inbox by sender, subject, and more.Mailstrom displays a very detailed analysis of your email, showing you messages by sender, subject, time, and size, as well as those from certain mailing lists and social networks. Under each category, you can browse the most common traits…and it can be eye-opening to see who sends you the most messages and what subject lines are commonly used. Mailstrom uses a three-column view that’s similar to Outlook: The first column shows the categories, while the second column shows more detail on the selected category, and the third column lets you see lists of messages or the content of a specific one.But that’s all it does, and at first, I wasn’t sure what to think. Many of the email clean-up services I’ve tried, such as and , do more work for you, sorting your bulk mail into folders that you can scan when you want to peruse their contents. But that approach didn’t work well for me, an admitted control freak. I found myself too concerned that I was missing out on important messages (which I sometimes was, as none of their sorting systems was perfect).Mailstrom makes it easy to delete hundreds of emails with the click of a mouse.That’s why I like Mailstrom so much: It leaves you in control. It shows you the problems with your inbox, and lets you solve them yourself. For example, when I realized that I was storing more than 1,000 messages from the very editor who assigned me this review, I realized I need to create a folder just for her—a task I was able to easily accomplish from within Mailstrom. When I saw that I had hundreds of messages from a bookstore that’s no longer in business, I was able to delete them all in one fell swoop.The one feature Mailstrom is lacking is an unsubscribe option. It would be nice to see the hundreds of marketing messages I get, and then be able to unsubscribe from them instantly. does include an unsubscribe feature, but its filtering approach makes the service more able to make sure you no longer receive the messages you don’t want. Mailstrom instead leaves you in control, and the benefits of that are worth the inconvenience of having to handle the unsubscribing yourself.Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor’s site, where you can use the latest version of this Web-based software.Review: Maingear’s Shift Super Stock Z87 is an exercise in PC gaming decadence Booting up Maingear’s Shift Super Stock Z87 was a bit of a letdown. Given its $8000 price tag, I expected this high-performance hot rod to greet me with the throaty rumble of a precision-tuned sports car. But it didn’t make a sound because each of its ultra-premium components is water-cooled and whisper quiet.At the top of the component list is Intel’s Core i7-4770K CPU―the pinnacle of the chip company’s ―and it’s overclocked to an insane 4.7GHz. You’ll also find three (yes, three) video cards based on Nvidia’s best GPU, the GeForce GTX Titan, each with 6GB of GDDR5 memory. There’s also?16GB of DDR3/2400 system memory, and not one, not two, but four of the best 256GB SSD we’ve tested―Samsung’s 840 Pro―configured as RAID 0 for blistering speed.ROBERT CARDINThe Maingear Shift Super Stock Z87 is a mean, green gaming machine. It’s a stupefying level of computing power, one that sets the bar for what an elite gaming PC should be. And this machine’s very existence demonstrates the enduring strength and appeal of the PC gaming market. Indeed, high-end gaming PCs like the Shift Z87 despite a in overall PC sales, and it’s not crazy to suggest that as more people abandon budget PCs and laptops in favor of tablets, premium hardware like the Shift will keep the PC gaming market afloat.The Maingear Shift Super Stock Z87 turned in an exceptional Desktop WorldBench 8.1 score. The Shift Z87’s Desktop WorldBench 8.1 score of 435 means it’s more than four times faster than our reference system, the modest . In fact, it’s the fastest desktop PC we’ve ever encountered. While that overall score is only modestly higher than the 421 that MicroFlex’s significantly cheaper earned, the Shift Z87 blew the competition out of the water when we benchmarked it playing the latest games at very high resolution.The MicroExpress 47B, for example, couldn’t deliver a playable frame rate with BioShock when we set the game’s resolution to 2560 by 1600 pixels and its visual quality to Ultra. That’s because the 47B is equipped with just one GeForce GTX 680 video card. The Shift Z87’s three Titan cards enabled it to play the game at that resolution at a mind-blowing 135 frames per second.ROBERT CARDINLiquid cooling and a unique vertically oriented case enabled Maingear to significantly overclock the system. As impressive as that is, the madness doesn’t stop there: The PCWorld lab team hooked the Shift Z87 up to three HD monitors and played Crysis 3 at a resolution of 5760 by 1440 pixels, all while achieving a consistent frame rate of 28 fps. That’s impressive performance, but more importantly it proves that all this power can afford you a real competitive advantage when playing games that challenge your situational awareness. Excelling during a Crysis 3 or Call of Duty deathmatch is easier when you can see everything in a 270-degree radius without moving your head.High-resolution gaming is certainly no obstacle, as the Maingear Shift’s BioShock performance indicates. But you don’t need to be a gamer to appreciate the Shift Z87’s exceptional performance. This machine also placed first in nearly every one of the productivity-oriented benchmarks that make up the WorldBench 8.1 suite, including PCMark 7 Productivity and each of the media editing and encoding tests we run.The Shift Z87’s signature chassis orients the motherboard 90 degrees to the right so that the ports and fans that are normally on the back of the PC are located on top. This leaves heat-generating components, such as the video cards, hanging from their brackets. This vertical orientation reduces the stress that the very heavy Titan cards place?on the PCIe slots, but Maingear also wisely mounted a bracket on each card for even more support. And because hot air rises, vertical channels between the cards keep the video cards cooler than they would be if they were mounted in a more conventional stacked configuration.ROBERT CARDINOn most computers, this shot would be of the rear panel. On the Maingear Shift, it’s a top-down view. This design is complemented by a proprietary, open-loop, liquid-cooling system that chills not just the CPU but also the motherboard’s voltage regulators to allow for higher overclocking. This also enables the system to run extremely quietly―I rarely heard the fans spin up to to full speed, even while gaming. You can gaze at all this hardware―helpfully illuminated by an internal white-LED light bar―through a clear side panel on the chassis. And that leads to one of my few complaints: The latch on that panel doesn’t easily disengage. I had to gently wrestle with it whenever I wanted to poke around inside.This machine can also deliver top-drawer performance with media editing and encoding chores. The Gigabyte G1.Sniper 5 motherboard at the heart of this beast delivers pretty much every connection option your heart could desire: a PS/2 jack, two USB 2.0 ports, six USB 3.0 ports, and a pair of gigabit ethernet jacks. And each video card has HDMI, DisplayPort, and DVI outputs. And there’s a full complement of audio input and output connectors for microphones, headsets, and speakers. A slick recessed panel near the front of the Shift’s topside pops up to reveal a a memory card reader, another pair of audio in/out jacks, two more USB 3.0 ports, and a mini-DVI port.Most of us aren’t in a position to drop eight grand on a computer, no matter how powerful it might be. But the Maingear Shift Z87 sits at the apex of personal computing, and it’s always fun to lay hands on a super-powerful, lovingly crafted PC such as this―even if you’d have to be a high-rolling, Lamborghini-driving, trust-fund baby to afford one.Review: MapiCase’s Orion case for the iPhone 5 offers more style than protection The first thing I noticed about Mapi’s $90 is its stylish look, with a soft leather exterior and leathery smell. Upon closer inspection, however, I found that the case emphasizes style over protection, and the high-quality feel is limited to its looks. I reviewed a red Orion, but you have your choice between white, black, brown, or tan as well.Mapi’s Orion covers your iPhone enough to protect against scratches and nicks, but won’t stave off damage if your iPhone slips out of your hands and hits a hard surface. The case is too bulky to easily fit in a smaller pants pocket, so it’s best suited for people who keep their iPhone in a bag or purse.To install the case, you slide your iPhone in from the bottom and wrap a small flap around the bottom of the phone. At first, I seriously questioned that this small, wrap-around tab could stop my iPhone from falling out, but no matter how much I shook the case, my iPhone wouldn’t budge. There’s no way to use the iPhone with a dock-cradle accessory while in the case, but it’s easy to slide out the phone to dock.The Orion has a front flap that covers the bottom of the iPhone and its screen when not in use, and is held in place by two magnets at the top of the case. Unfortunately, the magnets feel weak and don’t do a great job of holding on to the flap when you slide your phone into a pocket. There is a small cutout to plug in headphones with the flap covering the phone, but the flap either gets in the way or just unplugs your headphones if you try to use your iPhone at the same time.Just like Apple’s Smart Cover for the iPad, the Mapi case’s front cover folds back to create a stand to hold up your iPhone in portrait orientation. There’s also a back panel that rotates to prop your iPhone up in landscape orientation. The stand is easy to set up and feels secure enough to hold up my iPhone to watch videos or conduct a FaceTime chat.This rotating back panel doubles as both a stand and a handle. When you rotate it 90 degrees, it juts out to create a nice place to grip your iPhone if you’re recording video or taking photos. However, the back panel makes the case bulky and is hard to rotate around, as it tends to stick.?The Orion has cutouts for the Sleep/Wake button, earpiece, front and back cameras, and ring/silent switch, and press through overlays for the volume buttons. A small leather flap protects the Lightning port, which can be easily moved for charging. I had no trouble using any of the buttons or switches, and the case didn’t obstruct the back camera or flash.Bottom lineThe Mapi Orion case is big on style, but low on protection. It’s bulky and doesn’t feel great to hold, but makes up for it with a nice leather exterior. The Orion might win you some style points, but it’s not the case for you if you’re rough with your iPhone.Review: MarkdownPad makes composing Markdown even easier than usual HTML is the lingua franca of the Web. If you publish anything online, that’s the format your text will end up in. But while easy for browsers to render, HTML isn’t always easy (or fun) to compose. Some content management systems, like , solve this problem by offering a WYSIWYG editor that lets you edit visually. For those who prefer the simplicity and ubiquity of plain text, Markdown is the way to go—and MarkdownPad Pro is a simple editor that lets you compose Markdown and view your results instantly. MarkdownPad’s instant preview mode makes it easy to see what your final HTML is going to look like.By default, MarkdownPad Pro shows a split interface, with your text taking up the left side of the window and an instantly-rendered output taking up the right—much like online Markdown editor If you find the live preview pane distracting (as I do), you can hit F5 to toggle it. If you do like it, but don’t like the vertical layout, a quick tap on F4 switches the editor to a horizontal layout with the preview pane under the editing pane.Markdown is the format of choice for many writers, and MarkdownPad 2 contains several writer-friendly features: A live word count on the status bar, squiggly lines denoting typos, and frequent automatic saving are just a few. One feature that’s notably missing is the ability to copy formatted text as rich text, for pasting into Microsoft Word or other rich-text aware editors–something free editor WriteMonkey offers. On the plus side, MarkdownPad 2 lets you directly export a PDF document from your Markdown source.If you find the instant preview distracting, you can easily toggle it off and enjoy just the Markdown syntax highlighting.Markdown is a lightweight format, so your text shouldn’t be drowning in tags and angle brackets. Still, it does have its own conventions for links, titles, and text emphasis–and MarkdownPad offers syntax highlighting that makes it easy to see if you got the syntax right. It also offers toolbar buttons and keyboard shortcuts for many of the syntax constructs, but unfortunately doesn’t let you customize the shortcut keys. Ctrl+K, which I would expect to insert a link, instead inserts the token for a code block (Ctrl+L inserts a link).If you find Markdown too restrictive for your needs and require more power, you may want to try . This is an enhanced version of the Markdown syntax, including refinements like Markdown inside HTML blocks, and definition lists. MarkdownPad 2 supports Markdown Extra, as well as GitHub-flavored Markdown, for composing text destined for the open-source powerhouse.MarkdownPad ships with several rendering presents, but you can edit them or add new ones if you know CSS.MarkdownPad 2 is solid, but not spectacular. I am not convinced the commercial version justifies the $15 price tag, given Markdown’s inherent simplicity and the availability of free, powerful alternatives such as and . That said, it does get the job done, and the instant preview goes a long way towards ensuring your document ends up the way you want it to, without having to make last-minute tweaks to get things to render correctly. If you’re disappointed with the free alternatives, MarkdownPad 2 might be worth a try.Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor’s site, where you can download the latest version of the software.Review: Mash your motor with Euro Truck Simulator 2 I never thought a truck-driving simulator could be fun, but Euro Truck Simulator 2 proved me wrong. There is something soothing in watching the world go by from the high and mighty cockpit of a Volvo FH16 Globetrotter XL. If you are used to more traditional racing games, getting used to the way trucks handle in the game may take some time. They really do feel like trucks: Slow to accelerate, jarringly fast to brake thanks to air brakes, ungainly to maneuver, and immensely powerful.Euro Truck Simulator 2 offers a vast network of roads to drive on, with many missions to pick from.In this decidedly niche title, you find yourself in the driver’s seat of a full-trailer truck, hauling freight across Europe. Vehicle interiors are painstakingly rendered, and countryside views are breathtaking. The climate and time of day change, so you could find yourself enjoying a balmy spring day in one ride, and trying to navigate under torrential rain in the middle of the night in the next.With its superb graphics and realistic truck cockpits, Euro Truck Simulator 2 makes long-haul trucking quite attractive.You start the game as a freelance driver for hire, taking on trucking jobs across the continent. From one job to the next, you gain experience, unlock abilities, and set aside a nice nest egg you can eventually use to buy a truck of your own and start a trucking company.Euro Truck Simulator 2 has you carry diverse types of cargo, including heavy industrial tanks.Euro truck simulator lets you customize the controls and decide just how much of the driving you want the game to do, and how much you want to handle on your own. Manually switching gears on a truck hauling 20 tons of ore while navigating through a massive open pit mine is no mean feat…which is why it’s nice to have the game take care of that detail for you, at least as you’re getting started.Just like in the real world, Euro Truck Simulator 2 uses a GPS to help you get where you’re trying to go.Euro Truck Simulator 2′s attention to detail, convincing physics, and striking visuals transcend its niche status. This is a game so well-made, it can make you a fan of the category just by virtue of its sheer quality alone. The demo’s enough fun that you’ll find yourself speeding to buy the full game for $40.Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor’s site, where you can download the latest version of the software.Review: Master Gmail’s Keyboard Shortcuts with KeyRocket Engineers love keyboard shortcuts. So, like most Google products, Gmail offers you the ability to do pretty much anything with a keypress, from composing a new message (c for compose) to going back to the main list of emails (u for up). These keyboard shortcuts are one of Gmail’s best features: they let you compose, archive, forward, and reply to messages, move between labels, search, and more, all without reaching for your mouse.Alas, they’re also hard to learn. After enabling keyboard shortcuts in the Settings screen, you can hit “?” to get a semi-transparent overlay listing all shortcuts. For some people, looking at a long list isn’t the best way to learn–and KeyRocket thinks it can do better. Every time you use the mouse to do something your keyboard can do, KeyRocket would let you know.Veodin’s KeyRocket for Gmail sits in the background as you use Gmail, and quietly watches your every move. As soon as you tick the checkbox next to a message (to select it), it pops up a discreet notification letting you know you could have just hit “x” on your keyboard to do the same thing. When you hit the Reply button, KeyRocket informs you that “r” would have worked just as well.Because the messages are contextual, they are much more useful than a help sheet: You learn in bite-sized chunks, and only about those functions you actually use.KeyRocket makes key combinations easy to understand.KeyRocket isn’t perfect: Ideally, it should be able to tell when you already know a shortcut, and just prefer using the mouse now and then for the same function. KeyRocket shouldn’t tell me about the “#” shortcut the one time I use the mouse click the button.Still, despite this minor flaw, KeyRocket is an excellent learning aid for Gmail.Note: The Download button takes you to the Chrome Web store, where you can install the latest version directly into your Chrome browser.Review: Metro: Last Light is the most fun you’ll have in post-apocalyptic Russia Following in the footsteps of 2010’s Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light improves upon the gameplay of its predecessor without destroying what made the series great in the first place: the setting. Last Light takes you back to the post-apocalyptic Russian wasteland, employing an excellent soundtrack and bleak, desolate imagery to deliver a first-person shooter with surprising pathos and one of the most genuine game narratives in recent memory.Boot up Last Light and you’ll be dropped into the boots of Artyom–a man haunted by memories of his mother, or lack thereof–as he attempts to leave the Russian Metro to capture “a dark one”, monstrous remnants of the world before it was devastated by all-out nuclear war. Of course, nothing goes smoothly for Artyom, and along the way you’ll be captured by other survivors and work together with another captive, Pavel, to orchestrate an escape. Artyom’s quest ranges across the Russian wasteland, ultimately leading you through areas devastated by nuclear destruction and nests of enemies mutated by the apocalypse before culminating in one of the coolest and most intense firefight finales I’ve ever experienced.In Last Light you’ll leave the underground Metro to explore the desolate surface, and you’ll need to carefully shield yourself from the fallout if you want to survive long up here.But frenetic, fast-paced combat is tiresome without a meaningful reason to fight, and Metro: Last Light tells a meaningful story through emotionally-charged flashbacks to the moment the nuclear missiles struck, and how that moment affected the Russian people. It’s a series of powerful scenes scattered throughout the 9-12 hour campaign that don’t force themselves on you, allowing different players to experience as much–or as little–of the narrative as they like. That’s one of Metro’s greatest strengths: it doesn’t force anything on the player. There’s plenty of optional areas to explore at your leisure, allowing you to intuitively control how long you spend in Metro: Last Light’s bleak alternate reality.Moment to moment, the actions you’re taking in Metro: Last Light are very similar to those you performed in Metro 2033: exploring, scrounging, and fighting for your life with a hodgepodge of unique and innovative post-apocalyptic weapons. Even your weapons tell a story, like the handmade submachine gun that has a magazine that slides left-to-right, through the weapon, as shots are fired. It’s a little thing, but idiosyncratic touches like this do an excellent job of showcasing the unique, alien nature of Metro’s alternate reality Russia.Of course, those crazy cobbled-together weapons can be customized to fit your tactical preferences using Military-Grade ammunition, high-quality bullets manufactured before the apocalypse and now used in Metro as a form of currency. Paying a gunsmith to modify your armament with a silencer, lasersight, stock or foregrip is a simple way to significantly change the characteristics of each weapon, allowing you to tailor the game to your liking.The soldiers of Metro rely on an assortment of pre-apocalyptic firearms and improvised weaponry to defend their territory.Your limited inventory also forces you to make some meaningful tactical decisions: mod a semi-automatic pistol to be fully automatic and pair it with extended clips, for example, and you can use your new pistol to replace the submachine gun in your inventory. That in turn allows you to drop (or sell) the SMG, using the newly-opened space in your three-slot inventory for a long-range tool like the rifle. It’s a seemingly small decision that could mean the difference between living and dying when you’re exploring the wasteland on your own.Metro’s score is one of the best in the business and continues to establish not only the singular tone for any particular moment within the game, but a consistent and omnipresent theme throughout the entire narrative experience. Pair this with the spot-on sound effects–terrifying gunfire, wet gurgling screams, the frantic cries of communication between both enemies and the occasional comrade–and you’ll a sense of aural immersion to rival that of any great blockbuster war flick. The sound design remains exceptional throughout the game, though there’s a bit of weirdness with characters occasionally acting out of sync with their audio.Play Metro: Last Light on a powerful gaming PC with a good set of speakers if you can–you’ll be amazed at how engrossing the bleak landscape and stirring soundtrack can be.Unfortunately, for as strong as Metro: Last Light is, it suffers from a myriad of bugs and issues that can often disrupt the atmosphere it works so hard to evoke. Crashes to the desktop and random minimization happen all too frequently, destroying any sense of pacing that you might have.Occasional hard locks and freezes join the list of serious technical problems, but by far the most frustrating bug I came across was the seemingly random times that the player would become immobile and unresponsive, regardless of whether I was using the keyboard or the gamepad. It usually happens when both the protagonist and an enemy–especially the mutated creatures–make a melee attack at the same time, causing Artyom to become unresponsive, almost as if stunned.Bugs aside, Metro: Last Light still isn’t for everyone. It suffers from a lack of direction that often left me backtracking and searching the same areas multiple times before figuring out what to do or where to go. Some may find this lack of guidance charming, but it feels like even the most simple of navigational suggestions are absent and the experience suffers for it.But the main challenge of Metro: Last Light isn’t just poor directions–the game is hard. The two difficulty settings, Normal and Ranger (a special, harder difficulty setting that was made available as DLC to players who preordered the game) are a perfect balance of what you want in a game like Metro. I can’t speak to Ranger mode, but Normal is just hard enough that it forces you to slow down and think tactically in situations where, in other first-person shooters, you’d normally just run through guns blazing. That kind of recklessness will get you killed immediately in Last Light.Despite its technical flaws and poor guidance, Metro: Last Light is a uniquely challenging and heartfelt experience, a bleak first-person shooter that does more with its narrative that some films. It works well as an isolated experience too, making it a great entry point into the Metro series.Review: Microsoft Flight looks beautiful, might as well stay grounded Microsoft Flight is the current incarnation of a long and illustrious franchise of games, dating back to 1977. Unlike SimCity, you can start playing Microsoft Flight for free: Simply download the game and embark on a series of missions planned to both teach you the basics of flight, and hook you into buying later missions and additional aircraft. Microsoft Flight is the last of its kind: Microsoft permanently stopped work on the game in July 2012, just a few short months after releasing it. The futuristic Icon A5 Deluxe is not yet in production, but you can fly it in Microsoft Flight.Microsoft Flight’s graphics are gorgeous, and the scenery feels realistic. Hawaii serves as the backdrop for the first introductory missions, in which you get to fly two aircraft bundled with the free download: A thoroughly modern Icon Deluxe light aircraft and a WWII-era Boeing PT-17 Stearman biplane. These missions run you through the rudiments of taking off, controlling the craft in the air, and landing.Microsoft Flight lets you play several missions in Hawaii for free.You can fly Microsoft Flight with nothing but a game controller. There are realistic touches like preflight checklists, but in the early stages, the game runs through them on its own, checking items off as you look on.The Icon A5 cockpit feels almost like a car’s??and the GPS works.While the introductory missions are interesting and fun to play (especially the landing tutorial) and the graphics were strikingly beautiful, gameplay is marred by having to navigate using landmarks, rather than traditional waypoints. In particular, one of the challenges starts out midflight, and you’re supposed to land the plane. The trouble is, it’s not clear where the airstrip is. No heading is provided, and there’s no clear way to figure out which way to go. The careful narration that leads you through many of the other missions is utterly lacking on this one. Manually switching on the aircraft’s GPS map does reveal an airstrip, but after navigating all the way to it and executing a landing, I discovered it wasn’t the right airfield and failed the challenge after all.Another point of frustration is the low number of available missions. Microsoft Flight starts you off with less than ten missions and once you want to make progress, you have to pay up for the DLC.Microsoft Flight lets you switch between several cameras to get a better look at the action.In other words, the game suffers from the same issues plaguing many other “pay to play” titles, and even its fancy graphics were not able to redeem it. It is easy to understand why Microsoft ceased developing the game.Note: The Download button takes you to the vendor’s site, where you can download the latest version of the software.Review: MightyText wields control over desktop texting Free texting service MightyText actually manages to live up to its name.The hardest part of using MightyText is the initial setup. Like many desktop texting services, it works with Android devices only, and requires that you install a mobile app on your phone. Once the mobile app is installed and you’re ready to use MightyText on your computer or tablet, you have to do a bit of tinkering with your browser’s settings if you’d like to receive notifications of new messages. But MightyText guides you through the process— which involves changing some security settings in Internet Explorer or installing a third-party add-on in Firefox—and it’s a one-time thing.Mighty Text’s Power view displays phone-sized fields on your PC, which display recent messages in conversation form.MightyText’s Web app is slick, and it lets you choose between a “classic view” and a “power view.” The classic view uses a layout similar to Microsoft Outlook, where you see information about the sender in the first column and then message details in the next column. The power view, meanwhile, displays phone-sized fields on your computer screen that display recent text messages in conversation form. The power view lets you see more messages at once (it fit eight on my screen), while the classic view gives you more space for viewing message details. Switching between them is easy.To send a message, you click the new message button, and a small window for composing it pops up in the lower right corner of the screen, reminiscent of how Google’s Gmail works. And, much like Gmail, MightyText also puts a message composition window at the bottom of the conversations you view, making it easy to send a reply message.MightyText lets you mark favorite mess


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