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Lion Recovery Disk Assistant 1.0

Create recovery media for OS X Lion with this Apple utility 

by Nick Peers

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Mac OS X
Requirements:

Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, USB drive with 1GB free space 

Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 09 August 2011
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 1395
Developer: Apple
RSS News Feed: http://rss.support.apple.com/macos
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/#!/AppleMacOSXLion
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Lion Recovery Disk Assistant
Creating the recovery disk is a simple two-click affair.

Anyone get the feeling that Apple is trying to consign the optical disc to an early death? The latest Mac Mini comes with no optical drive included, while its latest revision of OS X – Lion – can only be bought pre-loaded or as a 4GB download from the Apple Store.

Lion then installs its recovery files to a hidden partition on your hard drive – these files don't include the full Lion installer, which then has to be downloaded again over your wi-fi or wired network.

If your hard drive physically fails, then you're covered if you bought your Mac pre-loaded with Lion, as it has built-in capabilities to get online to recover the recovery partition (and subsequently the Lion installer files if you're installing from scratch as opposed to recovering a Time Machine backup).

If you bought OS X Lion as an upgrade through the App Store, however, your sole option – until now – was less palatable: install Snow Leopard from the disc, update it to 10.6.8 and then download the whole lot again.

Thankfully, Apple has seen the light and realised that this convoluted process is asking too much of upgraders. The end result is this: the Lion Recovery Disk Assistant. It runs on any Mac running OS X Lion with an existing recovery partition – all you then need is a USB disk – hard drive partition or thumb drive – with 1GB free space.

Plug it in, launch the utility, pick your chosen drive and click Continue to create the disk. Note that if you want to use the drive for uses other than a pure recovery disk, you'll need to create a 1GB partition on the drive using Disk Utility first – see this Apple KB article for details.

Once done, you'll be able to recover Lion to a brand new hard drive without having to go through the whole palaver of installing Snow Leopard first.

Once the new, hidden recovery partition has been created the drive is ready for use. Should you ever need it, reboot your Mac with the drive plugged in, then hold down the [Option] key and select Recovery HD from the Startup Manager. You'll then have access to all the usual recovery options: reinstall Lion, Disk Utility, restore from a Time Machine backup and browse the web with Safari.

Verdict:

An essential download for all Mac OS X Lion upgraders who want a recovery option that doesn't involve reinstalling and updating Snow Leopard first. 

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Spektrel Art 1.0.0

Free Full Commercial Software

Spektrel Art is a stand-alone program and Photoshop plugin which transforms digital photos into "magical art that glimmers and gleams with intersecting lines of tapered light".

What does that mean? Essentially it applies a configurable mix of effects, enhancing edges, smoothing backgrounds and emphasizing colours. Take a look at the thumbnail for one example, and the official product page has more.

Spektral Art works much like any similar tool. Open an image, click one of the thumbnails to apply a particular preset, or click a few buttons and drag some sliders to fine-tune the results.

There's surprising scope for variation, too. For example, just switching from the "Light" to "Dark" theme can transform a bright and friendly image into something dark and sinister, at least in some cases (results vary depending on the source image).

Please note, the demo version doesn't allow images to be saved.

SPECIAL OFFER: as we write, the developer is offering Spektral Art for free. The offer expires August 29th. Please note that you must provide your name, address and phone number to receive your free license.

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