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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Documents in the Cloud

Useful iOS features on the Mac

You have been notified

Customize your notifications

Notification Alerts

Notes just got more powerful

Game Center

Safari Top Hits

Mountain Lion likes to share

Tab View works like a charm

Get connected

Sign in once and start Tweeting

Gatekeeper keeps you safe

Don't worry, it will remind you

Messages with images

Mountain Lion gives you upgrades to several core apps, bringing new and useful features for sharing and social connectivity across the entire operating system.

With Apple's latest version of Mac OS X, upon launch of any app that lets you create documents, you'll now have all of your cloud-synced projects available, whether you created them on your Mac or on an iOS device.

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Just as in iOS, in the Open Panel you'll be able to click and drag a document on top of another to create folders. This will come in handy in work environments and for anyone juggling several documents.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

The new Notification Center opens with a two-finger swipe from the right edge of your trackpad, and you can customize how things show up there in the System Preferences. Also note the options to Click to Tweet and Click to Post (to Facebook) at the top of the Notification Center for quick social network interactions.

Editors' note: The Facebook features are not available in this initial release of Mountain Lion, but Apple says they are coming in an update this fall.

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You can adjust how each notification shows up depending on the content by going into the System Preferences. You can switch between banners and alerts, allow Badge app icons, or choose to play sounds when they arrive.
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When a new notification comes in, it shows up in the upper-right part of the screen. Notifications come in two flavors: Alerts (shown here) stay on screen until you deal with them, while Banners stay on screen for a few moments, then slide off to the right. You can review all your recent Alerts and Banners with a quick visit to the Notification Center.
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With Notes on your Mac, you'll now have all your quick notes and information synced between all your devices. But on a Mac in Mountain Lion, you also can create formatted numbered lists, use rich text, and add images.
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Game Center on the Mac gives you gaming info about what your friends are playing and leaderboards, and offers recommendations for new games based on what you already have. Unfortunately, it won't tell you what your friend is playing presently.
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The second you start typing into the new Smart Search Field, Safari will show you top hits based on your browsing history. You'll also get common search terms, hits based on relevant bookmarks, and related items in your browsing history.
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Across all the core apps you now can click the Sharing Button to send items through e-mail, via Messages, to social sites, and other options based on the current app and content you are sharing.
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When you have a lot of tabs open it can start to get confusing. With Safari in Mountain Lion you can use a pinch gesture to go into Tab View, then use a two-finger swipe to smoothly browse through open pages.
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Mountain Lion adds a few more ways to get connected to social networks and your personal e-mail accounts. Twitter integration is available now, but Apple says full Facebook integration is coming in an update this fall (my review copy included Facebook).
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Just like in iOS 5 on your iPhone, you'll be able to sign in to Twitter once in Mountain Lion, and from there you can send tweets from the Notification Center and all the core apps through the Share button.
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With Gatekeeper you can set up what level of security you want for downloads. Choosing the Mac App Store only option is the safest, while choosing Anywhere will mean you'll have to be especially careful.
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The Reminders app keeps all your reminders in one place and syncs with your iOS devices so you can manage important alerts from anywhere.
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The Messages app lets you chat with both Mac users and people with iOS devices. You can add a picture by dragging and dropping one in, but I wish there were a button for uploading an image to cut out steps.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
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