Category: Mac & OS X

Mac OSX topics

30% OFF CloudMounter

CloudMounterIf you missed my review of CloudMounter, the app that integrates popular cloud-based file storage/syncing services with the Mac’s Finder, take a look at it—it’s an awesome app for the Mac.

If you’re interested in buying it, you can SAVE 30% by heading over to Eltima Software’s CloudMounter purchase page and using the code CLM-3O-GMac (it should already be applied if you use the link). The code is valid for discounts on any Personal, Team or Company license.

Mount cloud storage services as local drive on your Mac

CloudMounterDropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft One Drive, FTP… there are all sorts of file storage and syncing sites out there, and you probably find yourself using more than one, if not several.

When I first tried Eltima’s CloudMounter, an app that gathers all those services and more into one menubar item, I wondered why I would need it; after all, I already have access to them via the respective service apps. After using CloudMounter for a week, I began to notice that it was more useful than I originally thought. (more…)

Is Apple’s design style going down hill?

Mac icon evolution
Ultimately, only you can answer that. Apple has chosen a direction with the Mac’s GUI that is quite a departure from even the recent past. Lots of people love it, and lots of people don’t like it at all. I find myself somewhere in the middle.

When I look at the icons above individually, I like all the new ones. But collectively, when compared to the old ones, they don’t work as well. First off, Apple has chosen to go decidedly whiter with their icons. In a crowded Dock, they all sort of blend together. None of them are easily recognizable at a quick glance. Second, some of them make no sense. Take the new Photos app icon—what in the heck do a bunch of color blobs represent? The old iPhoto icon was clear in what it represented.

But it doesn’t stop with icons. The entire GUI has gotten lighter, more “blended in,” and sometimes confusing. Overall, I still love the Mac’s interface. Lately though, I’m finding more and more “little things” that really bug me.

Nicholas Windsor Howard has a great two-part article about the subject (complete with plenty of screenshots) that’s worth the read. Part one can be found here, and part-two here. Take a look and see if you agree with his opinions.

How to speed-up Time Machine backups

Time Machine
Time Machine, Apple’s built-in file backup and recovery tool, is awesome… eventually. I say that because it’s sloooooowww. You can quickly speed-up Time Machine’s backup process by typing the following in the Terminal:
sudo sysctl debug.lowpri_throttle_enabled=0

Type in your password and hit return and you’re good-to-go.

Unfortunately, this trick won’t hold through a restart. To do that, you can follow Mac Kung Fu‘s advice on how to permanently speed-up Time Machine.

Tutorial: Securely erasing a Mac SSD drive

With an SSD drive, Secure Erase and Erasing Free Space are not available in Disk Utility. These options are not needed for an SSD drive because a standard erase makes it difficult to recover data from an SSD.

Even though Apple states that you really don’t need to perform a Secure Erase on an SSD Drive, Peter Cohen put together a great tutorial on how to do just that over at the BackBlaze Blog. For those who take security seriously, Peter’s “Better safe than sorry” article is worth the read.

Suitcase Fusion 7: It’s kind of a big deal

Suitcase Fusion 7 iconAs a graphic designer, I have a small set of tools that I depend on and trust. Since fonts are the lifeblood of most designers, a great font manager is vital to our workflow. I’ve been using Suitcase for decades because I’ve found it to be the best all-around tool for the job. It’s compatible with all my design apps, it’s fast and stable, and it offers just the right amount of nice new features to keep me upgrading. I fear that my reviews of each new release are beginning to sound like a broken record. (more…)

Uplet brings Instagram uploads to the Mac

UpsetI have a love/hate relationship with social media services and apps. There’s something about every one of them that I dislike. In the case of Instagram, the limitation of only being able to upload images via the smartphone app has always driven me crazy. Why Instagram doesn’t at least offer a web upload option is beyond me. I was at the point where I found myself using Instagram less and less when the folks at Eltima offered me the opportunity to try Uplet—their new app that allows you to upload images to Instagram right from your Mac.

Uplet helps you share multiple photos with one click, while keeping their resolution and quality. There are multiple advantages to using Uplet on your Mac vs. the official Instagram app on your smartphone. For starters, I find it much easier to find the pictures I want to upload using OS X’s Photos app than the iPhone counterpart. Second, I can type photo captions much faster on my Mac’s keyboard than I can even on my iPhone 6s Plus. And finally, while the Instagram app on my phone can only upload one photo at a time, Uplet allows you to upload as many images as you wish, all with one click (see warning at the end of this article).

Pros:

Using Uplet is simple. You drag one or more images into the main window (or click the + button and add them via a standard dialog box. Once the image(s) display in the window, you click the Add Caption icon.

Upset app
The window switches to edit mode where you type in your photo caption, clicking on the navigation arrows to move between images. It’s also where you can crop your images before uploading. You do this simply by dragging the image around to move it left, right, up or down. Clicking the double arrows in the lower left corner reduces the image to fit in the window, or enlarging it.

Uplet Instagram uploader
When you’re finished cropping and adding captions you click the Share All button and you’re done. The images upload and post to Instagram fairly quickly, depending on the size and resolution of your images.

Cons:

There’s only one thing about Uplet that I don’t like, it’s the way cropping works. It’s extremely limiting. If you have a tall image, Uplet sets the full width of the image leaving your only option to move the image up or down to crop. If your image is wide, Uplet sets the full height and you can only slide it side to side. You can’t zoom in to crop a specific area of an image the way you can in the Instagram app (or any other image editor).

Unfortunately, Uplet doesn’t currently support uploading of videos, nor can you apply native Instagram filters to your images. But Eltima states that they are working on adding both to the app. Disappointing to be sure, but this is a 1.0 release.

Warning:

Uplet is not sanctioned by Instagram, which doesn’t allow bulk uploading, let alone directly from your Mac. Uplet doesn’t use the official Instagram API. There’s a lengthy explanation and warning on the Eltima site to explain how Upset works and what you can do to avoid being banned by Instagram.

The gist of it is this: Instagram allows you to upload only 100 photos in a 24-hour period. Don’t push your luck. Only upload unique photos, and make sure your captions aren’t strictly a copy/paste—each one should be unique as well. Also, you should only use the app on one Mac, and not while you’re also using it on your phone.

It all sounds scary, but when you think about, it’s all common sense.

Final thoughts:

If you want to upload a lot of existing photos from your Mac to Instagram, Uplet is a bargain at only $4.99.

I’ve been using Uplet for a few weeks with no issues, and found it a pleasure to use. I’m looking forward to future versions with filters added on.

Get your OS X 10.11.4 Combo & Delta updaters here

El Capitan Update

If you’re ready to update to the latest El Capitan release, but hate amount of time it takes to download via the Mac App Store—and the fact that you don’t have an installer left behind to use on other Macs—then what you want are one of these two installers from Apple.

Combo Update: Updates any version of El Capitan, including the recent betas. I find this the most useful DMG to keep around.
Delta Update: Will only update El Capitan version 10.11.3 or the recent 10.11.4 betas. This will be the quickest download (though not by much).