Independent Mac developers continue to innovate on the platform. Here's this week's subjective selection of highlights (in no particular order) collected across the last few days by Macworld's news editor, Jonny Evans

News is my thing, and that's why Shrook 2 deserves an introduction. Shrook is a newsreader for OS X that’s capable of reading both RSS and newly emerging Atom-based news feeds.

The $19.95 application synchronizes user information between several Macs – and in an interesting development, also allows users to set Shrook up so they can access their chosen information online through the company's Web site. It offers an easy-to-navigate user interface equipped with a selection of view options and other features. A 30-day trial version is available, and Mac OS X 10.3 is required.

Mariner Software updated its speedy, macro-virus resistant word processor Mariner Write to version 3.6 this week. The update offers an improved architecture and new features including page numbering; new colour options; a hierarchical font menu; spelling, find and insert dialogs, and more.

The application will open and edit Word documents, and is described by the developer as "a word processor for the rest of us". Mariner Software will launch Mariner Write for Windows in mid 2004. The word processor costs $69.95, though a free trial is available.

Two-times Apple Design Award winner the Omni Group, developer of OmniWeb, yesterday updated its OmniGraffle and OmniGraffle Professional products to version 3.1. The Omni Group's updated diagramming and drawing applications deliver a large number of improvements, including updated AppleScript support and Panther compatibility. Users should see performance improvements along with better Actions inspection and Visio compatibility. It's a free update for registered users.

Movie star

Movie-makers may want to take a look at Cinematize 1.02 from Miraizon. Cinematize extracts a video or audio clip from any non-encrypted DVD and saves it in a video/audio-compatible format. Effectively, users can gather clips from sources they legally own in order to mix and edit them using Final Cut, iMovie or any other QuickTime-compatible editing application.

The product can handle multi-angle DVDs, PAL and NTSC and more. It decodes audio to AIFF, WAV or QuickTime, and video in MPEG-2, all through an easy user interface. Free to try the Mac OS X application costs $49.95 to buy.

Small business owners may want to take a quick look at Ken Winograd and Space-Time Associates' new accounting/bookkeeping application, TinyBooks. Described as a "simple and flexible" single-entry bookkeeping solution. You can use this tool to create your books before you fill in your tax assessment, or hand your data over to your accountant.

TinyBooks will create income and expense reports, account listings (with profitability automatically calculated), custom reports and more. It's available for Mac OS 9 and OS X and costs $49. A free trial version is available.

Hamrick Software continues to deliver regular updates to its essential utility for scanning on Mac OS X, VueScan. Version 7.6.81 of the utility, which works with most high-quality and flatbed scanners and enhances the resultant scans. The software is designed to furnish better looking colours from negative film scans, and offers users more options (for scanning faded images, batch scanning and colour calibration) and is easy to install. Free to try, the utility costs $59.95. This version adds support for the ScanWit 2750 scanner.