Category: Mac & OS X

Mac OSX topics

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.

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.

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.

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.

Control your Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad or MacBook trackpad like a boss

MagicPrefsWhen I came across MagicPrefs a few weeks ago, I didn’t think I would use it beyond a quick peek at what it could do. It just seemed like the sort of app that was too good to be true, be difficult to work with and make a general mess of a simple thing.

MagicPrefs allows you to completely customize your Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad or MacBook trackpad in a ridiculous amount of ways. You can add actions to existing or custom gestures and clicks/taps.

MagicPrefs
You can even assign “areas” of your trackpad or mouse to receive those gestures (see above).

There are so many options that it’s nearly pointless to go through even a few of them. MagicPrefs is free, so there’s no reason not to give it a try if you wished you could do XYZ with a simple mouse gesture.

Uplet offers multi-account Instagram uploads from your Mac

Uplet 1.3 update
I reviewed Uplet early last year when version 1.0 was released and found it to be quite nice.

In short, Uplet allows you to upload your images to Instagram directly from your Mac. To my knowledge, this is the only Mac-based app that works with Instagram.

Eltima recently released Uplet 1.3 and addressed one of the concerns mentioned in my review. They’ve added the ability to upload videos to Instagram from your Mac! Drag. Drop. Done.

Along with video uploads, the latest version also adds the ability to work with multiple accounts. This is fantastic for Mac users who might manage multiple Instagram accounts for clients, etc. A single click beats logging-out and logging-back-in all day.

Priced at $20 it’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely worth it if you upload a lot of images, work as a social media manager, or just plain hate pulling your phone out when you’re already sitting in front of your Mac.

Shortcut to symbols and emoji characters

Keyboard Emoji ViewerIf you didn’t know, Apple’s macOS has a built-in keyboard/character viewer (see image above) which allows you to view characters available to you such as currency symbols, punctuation, arrows, mathematical symbols, etc. It’s also where you can view all the emoji characters available.

They Keyboard & Emoji Viewer is available in the Mac’s menubar after you enable it in the System > Keyboard Preferences dialog window.

But there’s a shortcut to bring that Keyboard Viewer up without visiting the menubar—a good amount of time savings if you use it a lot or have the menubar icons hidden with an app like Bartender.

Bring the Keyboard & Emoji Viewer up simply by hitting Control+Command+Space.

The one thing that bothers me is that there’s no keyboard shortcut to make it go away. You can’t hit Command+W to close the Viewer window because the Keyboard Viewer isn’t a typical app in that the app window is never the “active” window, and you can’t force it to be.