Author: James

Extensis Suitcase Fusion 8: The best font manager, reborn

Suitcase Fusion 8 main window
I’ve been a huge fan of Extensis since long before Mac OS X. In particular, their font manager, Suitcase Fusion, has been one of only two tools I consider mission critical beyond the essential Adobe apps I use.

The recently released Suitcase Fusion 8 doesn’t turn font management on its ear like version 5, 6 and 7 did—but it does greatly improve the experience for designers in lots of little ways.

What’s new:

Extensis completely revamped the user interface of Suitcase Fusion. It’s much more consistent and looks right at home in macOS High Sierra. Gone is the third sidebar that cramped the main window. To replace some of the features found in that sidebar, Extensis added a more contextual pop-up right at the font location in the window. The pop-up allows you to view info about the font, a preview of the font, available glyphs and QuickMatch info (which searches your entire library of fonts for similar looking fonts). (more…)

Save gigs of space on your Mac if you sync your iOS device

iTunes
I came across Macworld’s article on deleting iOS apps stored by iTunes a while back and promised myself I would look into it when I got home. I forgot about it for a few days, but then I remembered the other day when I had to temporarily copy a huge amount of data to my drive and didn’t have enough space.

The upside when this sort of thing happens is that I’m forced to clean out and delete a bunch of things that I know I’ll never want or need. But in this case, it still wasn’t enough. I still needed another 8GB of space. Then I remembered the article.

iTunes backupTurns out, I had 24GB of iOS apps backed up in iTunes that macOS, iOS or myself will never use. 24GB! I almost didn’t believe it. Needless to say, I dumped that folder like a bad habit.

If you don’t want to read the article, allow me to summarize:

  1. Navigate to ~/Music/iTunes/iTunes Media/Mobile Applications
  2. Delete everything in that folder (those are all backup files of your iOS apps that you can never actually use)
  3. There is no step 3

Being paranoid I made a backup before deleting the folder, just in case things went south the next time I synced my iPhone with iTunes (which I don’t do very often). The next sync with iTunes went just fine, and that folder backup has since been deleted.

The more apps you have ever installed on your iPhone or iPad, the larger that folder is likely to be.

Adobe CC 2018 and macOS High Sierra

Adobe CreativeCloud 2018
Adobe released the latest major updates to their CreativeCloud apps this past week, and I’m happy to report that they’re running smooth as silk on macOS High Sierra—both the standard release version as well as the beta version.

The major bugs present in the CC2017 versions of Illustrator and InDesign running on High Sierra have been worked out between a macOS update and the latest CC apps, and I’ve noticed fairly significant speed gains in both those apps. As for Photoshop, I’ve not noticed much of an increase in speed, but no decrease either.

Some of the cool features include the ability to add rules around paragraphs in InDesign without having to resort to crude workarounds is a God-send! And I’m happy to see Adobe add the ability to keep text in CC Libraries and have them available in both InDesign and Illustrator. Type fanatics can now use InDesign’s Character panel to search for fonts based on visual similarity, a nice feature that you would normally need Suitcase Fusion for—though Suitcase still works better because it will find fonts that aren’t activated. Read about InDesign CC2018’s new features here.

Illustrator users will love the speed increase the most, but the variable font feature is really, really cool. The new Properties Panel is fantastic for those with a smaller screen or people like me who just hate having a bunch of panels open all the time. It’s a contextually aware panel that changes based on what you’re doing. Draw out a text frame and the panel displays text-related features like font, size, kerning, etc. Draw a shape and you get stroke and fill settings. Select multiple shapes and you’ll get the Pathfinder features. You get the idea. It’s only taken me a few days of using the new Illustrator to get used to using the Properties Panel vs. having a bunch of panels open all the time. Read about Illustrator CC2018’s new features here.

You might also want to take a look at the new Adobe Dimension app. Adding 3D objects to your 2D image just got a whole lot easier. It’s ultra-slick!

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.

Comfortaa