Completely unsolicited, here are two thumbs-up shout-outs related to Mac-related products and services — that have nothing to do with Apple Inc.
MacAuthority: I hope you have an independent Apple retailer in your area. Apple has steamrolled through the consumer retail store category with its massively successful chain of Apple Stores. In so doing, many independent mom and pop Mac retailers were forced out of business. Some, however, have survived and thrived by serving niche corporate markets (design, publishing or music businesses, for example) or doing certain things — like repair and service — that the Apple Stores ship off. Recently, the top of my daughter’s MacBook Pro came loose. Tired of my duct tape repair of the machine, she visited two different Apple Stores and was told by Mac “geniuses” that the entire top (sceen) of the machine would have to be replaced — an out of warranty expense of up to $700, she was told. And oh, it would take 5-7 days and she was heading to college in two days. A visit to MacAuthority — where they actually have technicians you can talk with — let her know that all that was needed was a replacement hinge, a part they had in stock. A $125 repair vs. a $700 repair. And she had it in hand well before leaving for school. There are two MacAuthority locations in Nashville and one in Louisville. I’ve found that everyone I talk to there is a genius, not just the folks who stand behind a bar.
ScreenFlow: There are several “screencast” capture software programs developed for the Mac from independent software developers, ranging from free to $99 (and more, probably). I’ve used most of them. Recently, after reading some positive reviews, I bit the bullet and purchased the $99 ScreenFlow Screencasting Studio product. Worth every cent. The program is a combination screencast recorder (a video screen grab) and a light-weight video editing program. The recorder captures the entire screen during the session, but during the editing process you can highlight or zoom in on any part of the screen. I haven’t mastered all of the effects, but in using it the first time, it cut down dramatically on the time I spent putting together a short video.