Author: James

Add a tiny calendar to your OS X menubar

Itsycal

Itsycal is a tiny calendar for your Mac’s menu bar. It adds one function that has been missing on the Mac from day one, and one that has driven me crazy for years.

Itsycal will display a monthly calendar, as well as your calendar events from the Mac Calendar app. Events are highlighted on the calendar, and you can also create and delete (but not edit) events.

Itsycal is a lightweight app and is free of charge.

Filed under: I’ll believe it when I see it

Epson has released the EcoTank series of printers, which claim to be able to run for nearly two years without having to replace ink cartridges (with an average run of 60 color and 30 b&w prints per week). The only catch being that you’re going to pay $400-$500 up front for the printer.

My problem has never been that Epson printers cost too much or don’t print ENOUGH. My problem has been that the cartridges clog or expire LONG before the ink cartridge runs out. EVERY. DAMN. TIME!

So file all this happy horseshit under “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

Free and easy screencasting app

Recordit app

If you’re looking for an affordable (or free) screen recording app for the Mac, you should check out Recordit. As a bonus, you can share your recordings as animated GIF files as well.

There are limitations. The recording is limited to under 5-minutes, no audio is recorded, and your recording is uploaded and shared via the Recordit servers immediately. A pro version allows you to offer private videos for a one-time fee of $30.

How to export InDesign layers as a layered PSD file

InDesign to PSD

InDesign Secrets shared this excellent InDesign script that converts your layered InDesign file to a layered Photoshop file. Mike Rankin takes you through the simple steps in the article, but I’ll tell you from experience that this is the sort of thing that is best left to designers who are obsessive about details like naming and organizing their layers, regardless of what program they’re working in. And as Mike points out, this is something that is best left as the “final” step—as you won’t know (or have a whole lot of control over) what remains editable after the conversion.

Ideal image sizes for your social media posts: It’s actually really complicated

Social media image sizes

Who would have thought sharing an image on social media could be so complicated. After all the particulars, it appears that it boils down to using 1024×512 for horizontal images, and 800×1200 for vertical images.

It surely helps to scale and crop your images to the perfect size for each social network, but the bottom line is that if you share compelling images (or pictures of Kim Kardashian’s ass), people will click and open the full size image anyway.

$5 logos: The sad state of design

$5 logo designs

Ever wonder how some “designers” can afford to sell logos for $5? Surely they spend hours upon hours concepting, and even more choosing the fonts, colors, etc., right? The image above, What kind of logo do you get for $5, should explain everything.

And that’s what you as a legitimate designer are up against. Some hack who buys a $1 piece of pre-made logo clip-art and sells them (probably to multiple companies) for $5 after what is probably 2-minutes of “design work.” When you look at it that way, you can see how these people actually do make money.

What I find sad is not the fact that someone would pull this type of money-making stunt, but that there are so many companies that fall for it. They willingly accept pre-made clip-art as the visual “face of their company.”

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

With just a little bit of searching about this movie, I saw quite a few sites pointing to the full length HD movie online. I haven’t watched it because it requires a (free) registration to a site which, let’s be honest, is not a legal movie site. The only reason I even share it is that I came across it searching for the trailer on YouTube and they have the link right there.

One of the many versions of the movie poster is below.

Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine

The evil Adobe empire

Evil Adobe Empire

I came across this article the other day and paused for a few moments to think about the Adobe empire. The discussion in the article is all-too-familiar, and becoming a real trend. Even I have a difficult time defending Adobe.

I’ve spent years defending Adobe’s business model and applications. I still feel they’re the best tools on the market for content creators. And I don’t feel like $50 per month is the outrageous amount people make it out to be.

But I’m done defending Adobe. Because I can’t anymore.

Without going into a whole lot of detail, the logos and images for the last three freelance jobs I’ve worked on, and the graphics for this site’s last several posts were edited with an app not named Photoshop or Illustrator.

I guess what I’m saying is, the little things I mentioned a few days ago are piling up. And there are finally real options out there. By the end of this year, they’ll be a competitive alternative to Adobe’s print-related suite of apps. All of them. And I’m going to give them a serious consideration.

OS X El Capitan beta display brightness fix

If you installed Apple’s latest beta of OS X, El Capitan, you may have noticed the LCD appears to be a bit brighter with less contrast. I didn’t notice a problem until I launched Diablo III and found that it was almost unplayable due to the screen brightness.

El Capitan ambient light

After tinkering, I realized that El Capitan has added an option in the Display preferences that allows your Mac to automatically adjust the display based on ambient light. Turning this option off (unchecking) fixed my screen brightness issue.

Because this is an iMac, in an office where I control the lighting, this is probably optimal. However, I haven’t installed the beta on my MacBook Pro, so I’m not sure if the new feature offers benefits to mobile users.