A (much) better window manager for macOS

Apple introduced a window-snapping feature a while ago, it’s lame. They also added a split-screen feature, which works but is extremely limited. Most users who want a window manager for macOS typically settle on BetterSnapTool ($3), Moom ($10) or SizeUp ($13). All three are great products. But in my opinion, all three do a little too-much for my taste, and in some cases cumbersome to use. It’s not that they’re terribly expensive, it’s that they’re terribly expensive for the simplest parts that I actually want to use.

I was on the lookout for a window manager that’s easy to use, doesn’t try to do too much and is either low-priced or free. That’s when I found Spectacle.
Spectacle Window Manager

Spectacle is fantastic, meeting all my requirements and nothing more. It allows you to set the size and position of the active window on your screen. Like all the other window managers, Spectacle will snap your windows to half sizes on the top, bottom, left and right of your screen, place the windows in any of the corners, as well as fill the screen or center the window on the screen. Unlike the others (unless I missed it), you can also resize and re-position windows to the left, middle and right third of the screen. But what I really love is that it offers you the ability to enlarge or reduce the size of a window… all with customizable keyboard shortcuts.

Spectacle is free, open-source software. But the developer does accept donations, and I think you’ll find it’s worth tossing him a buck or two if you use it.

Free font: Comfortaa

I love this font in all caps at smaller sizes—It’s so readable. Comfortaa comes in light, regular and bold, and is completely free for personal and commercial use.


Adding noise/grain effect to text and images right inside your InDesign document

InDesign - add noise
Adding noise to a gradient image background is something I do often in photoshop. It helps avoid color banding when printing. It can also be a nice little effect when used correctly.

While I’ve used InDesign’s ability to add noise to my drop shadows and glows using the Effects panel, I never consider the ease with which I could avoid doing it all in Photoshop… that is, until I came across this Tip of the Week from Mike Rankin over at InDesignSecrets.

Add Grain Effects to Photos and Type shows you how easy it is. And for those that do use the Add Noise feature in Photoshop, you know how much storage space this is going to save you!

Fix Safari’s lack of Favicons

Favicons in Safari

I don’t want to write a full review, because I personally find them to really ugly-up Safari’s clean interface, but if you do like Favicons in your Bookmarks bar, Tab bar or both—Faviconographer will fix what ails ya. See the image above for what Daring Fireball’s John Gruber and so many others call an improvement or necessary feature.

Download Faviconographer. Enjoy your uglified Safari interface.

Which Photoshop content-aware feature should you use?

In Photoshop, content-aware features make automatic edits such as seamlessly blending the edges of retouched image areas. Using technology that recognizes different types of image content, content-aware features help you retouch images faster, and open up new possibilities for changing the composition of an image.
Content-Aware Fill
But how do you know which of the many content-aware features might help you right now?

Conrad Chavez has a brief explanation of each of the features in his article at CreativePro.

How to get thousands of beautiful wallpapers for your Mac with no effort

Irvue desktop wallpapers from Unsplash
If you’re a designer, you’ve probably come across Unsplash, the free stock photography site that has exploded in popularity over the last few years. They have absolutely stunningly good photos you can use in your commercial design projects. They also happen to be a great place to get photos to use as desktop wallpapers.

Enter Irvue, a simple little utility that lives in your menubar that pulls photos from Unsplash based on your preferred channels and displays them on your desktop.

IrvueIrvue is like many other auto-updating wallpaper apps in most respects. It allows you to adjust the timing between new wallpapers loading, setting keyboard shortcuts to change them manually and animate the transition between old and new images.

What sets Irvue apart is its short list of unexpected features. One such feature allows you to limit preferred images to portrait, landscape or both. It also offers image blacklisting, so you if you don’t like a particular image you can block it from every showing up again. Another great option is the ability to decide if you want different images to appear in multi-display setups.

But the truly great feature is Irvue’s ability to switch the macOS’ theme from light to dark mode depending on the image itself (see the image above).

Irvue is free, so give it a try if you’re into having different desktop wallpapers with no fuss.

Resizing the Photoshop canvas when your text or artwork goes off the edge

Photoshop's Trim commandIf you’ve ever designed with type in Photoshop, you’ve probably encountered a situation where changing the size or font caused the text to not fit on the canvas any more. Or maybe you’ve placed a large logo file that didn’t fit on the canvas to begin with.

Mike Rankin has the easy alternative to the tedious norm of resizing the canvas size manually using the Reveal All and Trim commands.

10 Ways to make a great employee quit

Dumb Rules
Inc has published a great article titled 10 Dumb Rules That Make Your Best People Want to Quit. It’s a subject that is near and dear to my heart, both because I’ve experienced working with companies with some or all of the rules, and I’ve been working in the advertising business long enough to see first-hand how these dumb rules actually come into the conversation whenever I’ve asked why someone was leaving.

Among the worst rules listed:
Dumb rules for performance reviews – There’s no bigger waste of time, and no easier way to insult a great employee than making them fill out these “rate yourself from 1 to 5” reviews. If managers and companies actually cared, they would know the answers and act accordingly. I’ve never met a manager that enjoyed these types of reviews, and I’ve never met a fellow employee that didn’t cringe when it came time to fill them out. This is particularly annoying if you work for a company that is having financial difficulties and you know damn well you aren’t going to get a raise anyway, or they’ve already pre-determined that you’re getting the standard 3% raise no matter how great you are.

Dumb rules for approval – What is the point of trying to hire the best and brightest employees, and then not letting them do their job without you hand-holding and looking over their shoulder at every little thing they do? Why would they tell someone they needed a real go-getter who doesn’t need a lot of supervision, and someone they could trust to get the job done… then not trust them to get the job done? It’s insane.

How stupid would I be to hire the brightest minds in our business and then tell them what to do?
—Steve Jobs, Founder/CEO of Apple

I worked for a company that would not allow a single piece of work go through to completion without reviews by committees of managers and the CEO himself. Yes, the CEO actually had to approve EVERY LITTLE project. I had a 2-inch by half-inch white sticker with 8 words in black Helvetica type (a legal disclaimer) that had to be added to the bottom of product boxes sold in California. There was no debate about the wording—it came straight from the legal department and I copy/pasted it. It took me about 45-seconds to create it, make a PDF proof and send it to the appropriate project manager. It took two weeks to get through the approval process because the management team “didn’t have time” to talk about it in their weekly meetings.

Dumb rules for onsite attendance – It’s 2017. We have our own computers, and they’re usually much more powerful than the cheap crap companies try to get by with. We also have high-speed Internet, and it’s almost always much faster than the company Internet connection because it isn’t being shared by dozens if not hundreds of employees and network servers. You’re paying us well, and treating us decent… so why won’t you let us work from home a few days per week? I’ll tell you why. Because the people in charge are old school “We need to get our money’s worth out of you and the only way we can make sure we are is by seeing you sitting at a desk.”

So you need to be home to let the repair guy in to my house for what will probably be an hour of work. The problem is that he doesn’t know exactly when he’ll be at the house… sometime between noon and 3pm he says. If I’m allowed to work from home, I can spend all but the 5 minutes it takes to let him in and explain the problem GETTING WORK DONE. But no… you need to take an entire day off, putting everyone else behind waiting for you to return to work the next day to get what they need from you. Brilliant. That’s getting their money’s worth, alright.

I’ve heard these same stories from numerous friends working for companies of all sizes. The one constant is management/owner mentality that they need to see an employee in order to believe they’re working. Studies have shown that people are happier, and almost always more productive working from home, I have no idea why owners refuse to buy into it.

The dumb rule missing from the list
You’re always going to find somebody that abuses a work from home policy, it’s unavoidable. But that brings me to a dumb rule that’s not on the list in that article.

The “no cause” clause that companies refuse to follow. In most professional companies, you sign some sort of agreement saying you’ve read the employee handbook and accept the rules stated. One of those rules is always “you can be fired for no cause.” So if you have an employee that isn’t performing, and/or abusing the work from home policy, WHY DON’T YOU JUST FIRE THEM??? Why must the rest of us suffer through months and months of “we need to build a case to get rid of him” time? It’s insulting to good employees—putting unnecessary stress on them—and it’s doing more harm to the company than any worry of lawsuits.

Image courtesy of FreePik.