Posts filed under 'Mac'
I use QuickSilver on my Mac all the time. It’s one of those indispensable applications that I just can’t do without – I really, really miss it on my Windows XP PC at work, but I can’t find any Windows equivalent.
There are always new tricks you can learn with QuickSilver. Here are a couple of useful pages of tips:
Feel free to add any extra tips to the comments here!
July 2nd, 2006
I use iView MediaPro 3 for managing my digital images, and absolutely love it. These kinds of digital asset management (DAM) tools are great for adding keywords to your photos, searching based upon keywords, editing down to a set of selects after a shoot, creating slide shows, keeping track of offline images (i.e. those stored on CDs/DVDs or external hard drives), and creating web-based galleries.
It’s normally USD$200, but here’s a handy link to give you a huge 15% discount on iView MediaPro 3. Enjoy!
Oh, and it works on both Mac OS X and Windows.
May 18th, 2006
It doesn’t matter how large your hard disk is, you’ll always run short of space eventually. While trying to free up some space on my PowerBook for a video project, I came across these handy utilities for understanding where all your space has gone and freeing up space that’s wasted:
- Disk Inventory X – Gives a graphical representation of how much disk space is taken up by various types of files, and allows you to identify and delete them to free up the space. Especially good for locating videos, photos and music that you don’t need instant access to and can archive to DVD.
- Monolingual – Removes unnecessary language resources from Mac OS X, reclaiming hundreds of megabytes of disk space. Why waste space on files for languages you don’t speak?
- Tidy Up! – Searches out duplicate files and packages. You can also search by the tag, duration and bit installments of MP3 and AAC sound files, search the contents of the iPhoto, iTunes and iPod dababases, and synchronize deletions with iPhoto and iTunes.
- WhatSize – Lets you browse the folders on your disk, showing the sizes of the subfolders and files within. Helps identify large folders that you might not need (e.g. GarageBand samples, unused applications, etc).
- FileWrangler – While not directly intended for recovering disk space, FileWrangler is very handy for renaming files in preparation for backing up to an external drive or burning to CD/DVD. For example, I use it to rename the DV files from my video camera with a consecutive numbering scheme so they’re in chronological order and won’t have filename clashes.
May 17th, 2006
I came across another couple of great Mac tools this week.
ImageWell is a free, simple image editor. It’s designed for rotating, resizing, cropping, and adding borders or drop shadows to your images quickly and easily. It can even upload them to your website at the click of a button, and will give you the HTML code to insert the uploaded image into a web page. Great for bloggers!
MenuCalendarClock is a highly-configurable calendar and clock that sits in your Mac’s taskbar. I find it really handy for seeing the day of the month at a glance, but it also integrates with iCal to show you calendar bookings, to do items, reminders, etc.
May 10th, 2006
I found a couple of cool OS X applications this week:
- Onyx – System configuration, optimisation, maintenance, log file viewing and cleanup, cache and temporary file cleanup, etc. Freeware.
- Sticky Windows – Drag any window to the sides or bottom of the screen, and it becomes a tab and the window is hidden. Great for getting applications out of the way temporarily, when you don’t want to close and relaunch them. Shareware.
April 14th, 2006
I just discovered a cool feature in Quicksilver on the Mac. It has iTunes integration.
In Quicksilver’s preferences, click on the iTunes pane. Make sure you’ve selected ‘Show Artwork’, ‘Monitor Recent Tracks’ and ‘Display Track Notifications’. Now, whenever the song changes you’ll get a popup showing you the name of the new song and the album artwork associated with it. Very cool.
Also, in Quicksilver’s Triggers pane, you can set up some keyboard shortcuts to control iTunes. I’ve got mine set up to map Command-Option-Space to pause/play, Command-Option-Right Arrow to ‘Play Next Track’, Command-Option-Left Arrow to ‘Play Previous Track’, and Command-Option-Up Arrow to display the current track. I also mapped Command-Option-Plus to increase the current song’s rating, and Command-Option-Minus to decrease the current song’s rating.
Little things like this make a huge difference to the usability of your computer. No more fumbling for the iTunes window when you want to pause the music or skip to the next song. I really, really wish I had something similar in Windows at work!
April 4th, 2006
Bare Feats have done a performance comparison between 5 different 2GHz Macs:
- Dual Core G5 Power Mac
- iMac Core Duo
- MacBook Pro
- MacBook Solo (i.e. a Pro with one CPU disabled)
- PowerBook G4 (upgraded to 2GHz by a third party)
The MacBook Pro really holds itself up well, even compared to the iMac Core Duo. There’s not much trade-off in going for an Apple laptop instead of a desktop anymore! The MBP even holds its own against the Dual Core G5 Power Mac.
March 14th, 2006
There’s a short period of time where a new switcher to Mac OS X has heightened credibility amongst their Windows- or Linux-using peers.
During this period of time, Windows and Linux users will listen to your experiences with OS X with interest. You can draw comparisons and point out differences between the platforms, and they’ll take you seriously. People are actually interested in why you’re switching, what you like about the Mac, what applications it comes with, etc. Several will even secretly admit to you that they’d switch too if it wasn’t for .
This period of credibility seems to last for around three months, after which you are tarred with the same brush as all the other Mac Zealots. Now your discussion points are regarded as the rants and raves of a lunatic, and largely ignored by non-Mac users.
It’s no wonder Mac users are a close-knit bunch!
May 4th, 2004
I’m a keen amateur photographer, and occasionally shoot weddings professionally. So if I’m going to switch to OS X I need a good system to download, manage, edit and print my images.
I looked around the forums at Photo.net (thread 1, thread 2, thread 3, thread 4, thread 5) to see what programs people are using to manage their photos on the Mac platform.
Now I’ve got to evaluate them all.
More coming soon!
April 12th, 2004
I don’t want to make the switch to Mac OS X and then discover I’ve made a costly mistake. Here’s how I’m planning to mitigate the risk.
The most obvious way to de-risk the switch to OS X is to try it out first. It’s actually surprisingly cheap to do that.
After talking to some Mac friends and doing some research on the web (LowEndMac is a good starting place), I decided I’d buy a Macintosh G3 with at least a 400 MHz processor, 512Mb of RAM (apparently RAM makes a massive difference for OS X) and a 10Gb hard disk. This combination would run OS X well enough for me to give it a fair tryout.
I did some research on eBay to see what this type of system would cost. A basic iMac G3 400MHz with 64-256Mb of RAM and a 10Gb hard disk sells for just over AUD$300. To that I’d have to add roughly $200 for 512Mb RAM and $129 for an OS upgrade to OS X 10.3.
While doing this research I came across a G3 500MHz iMac with 640Mb of RAM, 20Gb hard disk and 10.3 already installed. It also included iLife’04, an external Iomega USB CD burner and an Epson 740 colour printer. Perfect! The buy-it-now price was only AUD$600, so I snapped it up.
I’ll be running this iMac until almost the end of the year, when I’ll be able to salary-sacrifice a new laptop. So I’ve got plenty of time to evaluate the platform and, if I’m happy, decide which Mac laptop to buy. At that time I should be able to sell the iMac package for at least $400, and recoup most of my investment. You’ve gotta love eBay – where else can you rent a computer for $200/year?
Since I’ve got lots of time for this evaluation, I’m breaking it down into small bite-sized chunks. By the end, I’ll have looked at everything I do on a computer in day-to-day use, and I’ll know whether I can still do all those things on a Mac. For each task, I’ll try to evaluate whether I think OS X or Windows is better.
As I look at each task, I’ll try to then only use the Mac for that task in the future. So by the end of the year I should be doing almost everything in the OS X environment, and my switch to a new Mac will be painless.
There’ll be some commercial applications along the way (e.g. photo management software, VirtualPC, etc) that I probably won’t buy, though, until I’m commited to fully switching to OS X. I’ll download trial/demo versions of these products and defer the purchase decision until the end of the year.
So that’s the plan – now on with the playing!
April 11th, 2004