Category: Mac & OS X

Mac OSX topics

Apps & Utilities for Mac OS X that I can’t live without: Part 2

My Favorite Apps: Part 2

Last week, I gave you part one of my list. Today I offer you part two of my list of OS X apps I can’t live without. Some I’ve used for quite a long time, some are a recent discover, but all of them have found a permanent home on my Mac.

RenameRename
There are plenty of file renamer apps available, but if you only need to use a tool like this once in a while, it’s a shame to spend $10 to $20 on it. Rename offers the most important features that more popular bulk file renamer apps have, and is free of charge. I don’t use it often, but when I do I’m glad I found this little gem.

AppCleanerAppCleaner
After all these years, you would think Apple could come up with a way to make it easy to delete an application and ALL its associated files. Until that happens, AppCleaner does the job extremely well – and it does it automatically. Drag an app to the Trash and AppCleaner pops up a window asking if you want to delete any files it finds that appear to be related to that app (prefs, configuration files, etc.) If you download and install a lot of different apps, AppCleaner is something you’ll want to have around, and it’s absolutely free.

TrashIt!TrashIt!
If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s when a file refuses to be deleted. The Finder somehow believes I don’t have permission, it’s in use, or whatever stupid reason. TrashIt! to the rescue. I keep the icon in the Finder window toolbar so it’s only a click away when I need it. TrashIt! simply asks for your admin password to delete any stuck file. It beats having to launch the Terminal and typing the command to delete a file. TrashIt! is free, and has saved me from throwing large heavy objects through my office window many, many times.

ApptivateApptivate
Get instant access to files & folders, or launch apps and scripts with a quick keyboard shortcut. There are tons of file launchers available today, but Apptivate is simple and works extremely well. I particularly like the ability to assign a sequence of key shortcuts to activate items in Apptivate. It also allows you to overwrite system shortcuts with a pref setting. Apptivate is free.

YoinkYoink
Drag & drop is fantastic. I use it constantly. But if you use apps in Full Screen mode, have apps in separate spaces, or have a hard time motivating yourself to hold the mouse button down while you navigate from one place to another in order to drop the file in the right spot, then it’s probably not a lot of fun. I found Yoink to be a real life-saver, popping-up a window when you start dragging a file and allowing you to “store” it there until you’re ready to drop it somewhere else. I love it because I can drag multiple files into the window one at a time from various Finder windows, then drop them all at once in an email. Yoink is available in the Mac App Store for $3.99.

Worth mentioning:

OnyXOnyx
Onyx is the one-stop-shop for tweaking your Mac, and keeping it running smoothly. With the ability to run maintenance routines and customize the Mac OS, it offers something for everyone. It’s updated frequently, and best of all, it’s absolutely free. This is one of those apps that I can’t believe everyone doesn’t already have installed.

1Password1Password
For creating, storing, and entering passwords for websites, there’s simply nothing better. And when you add in the ability to store credit card info, and software license info, 1Password is one app I can’t live without. $50 will get you a single-user license, while $70 gets you a family license (5 users). 1Password is available via the Mac App Store or directly from the developer.

Suitcase FusionSuitcase Fusion
Every designer needs a font manager. There are only a few options available, and Suitcase is the king of the mountain. Every new version brings useful features for designers, updates for new versions of Adobe’s Creative Suite are timely, and it’s been rock-solid for me for years. In particular, Fusion’s Quick Match feature is invaluable. Fusion costs $100, with upgrades priced at $50.

TweetbotTweetbot
There are a ton of 3rd party Twitter applications available, but none of them come close to Tweetbot – which strikes the perfect balance between features and usability. Tweetbot isn’t cheap. At $20, it’s not for the casual user. But if you spend a lot of time on Twitter, it’s worth every penny!

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Apps & Utilities for Mac OS X I can’t live without: Part 1

Mac apps I can't live without

“When it comes to utilities and applications for my Mac, I must admit I’m a bit of a whore.”

I’ll date lots of them, and toss them aside just as quickly as I come across them. But there are some that just seem to stick around. I absolutely love them, and can’t imagine my Mac-using life without them. Here is part one of my list of OS X apps I love: (more…)

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New color picker for web designers and developers

Skala Color plug-in
If you’re a web designer, you’re no doubt a bit frustrated with OS X’s built-in color picker. Skala Color aims to improve it with a plug-in that enhances the standard color picker by adding a few handy features.

Skala Color works by adding a tab to the color picker. It works in much the same way – you adjust the brightness and saturation by dragging the color sample circle around. You can also adjust the hue, on the fly, by dragging the outer edge of the circle around. As you adjust the color, a larger sample bar appears allowing you to really target the exact hue you’re looking for.
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Turn your photos into cool vector-pattern art with Vectoraster

Vectoraster 6
Vectoraster 6 is a fantastic little app for Mac OS X that creates vector-based artwork and patterns based on raster images. Simply put, it turns your photos into patterned vector art that you can then edit further in Adobe Illustrator.

The cool thing about this app is the “discoverability” of the app. Import an image and start playing with sliders and buttons, and you’ll soon find yourself spending a considerable amount of time coming up with ways you can use the app in your design work. That’s because Vectoraster shows you the results of your adjustments in real-time, in a single-window interface that’s quite easy to figure out.

Vectoraster 6 - sample

Vectoraster not only allows you to turn your images into vector halftone and line patterns, but it allows you to adjust the colors, hue, saturation, and density of the patterns as well. A host of other tools are also available that allow you to customize the results in almost any way you could need.

Once you’re done, you can export to vector format as an EPS or PDF, or a JPG, PNG or TIFF file if you prefer. And if you have a group of images you wish to apply the same effects to, there’s batch processing available.

The use case for this app is endless. For instance, I had a rather small 5×7 image of my son that I wanted to enlarge to hang on the wall – but I didn’t want a simple photo enlargement. So I ran it through Vectoraster and used the Character/Text point shape option to have the letters of his name create the entire photo. Not only was it a cool piece of art, but because it was vector, I could size it to whatever I wished.

Here are some more screenshots to give you an idea of how the app can help you:

Vectoraster6_color_gradient

Vectoraster 6 text raster

Vectoraster6 wavy line raster

Vectoraster is a bit difficult to explain, but the video below should give you some idea of what you can do with Vectoraster.

Vectoraster is one of those apps that you won’t use daily, but one that you’re glad you have when you want to spice-up an image in a design piece.

Vectoraster 6 requires an Intel-based Mac running OS X 10.7.5 or later, and supports Full Screen mode. The full version costs $32, and upgrades are available for $12. A free demo is available so you can check it out for yourself.

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How to show a list of all the files you’ve ever downloaded on your Mac

TerminalHave you ever wanted to show a list of the entire download history of your Mac?

Whether it’s for troubleshooting, personal interest, or forensics, MacOSXDaily has a nifty Terminal tip that will show you a list of all the files you’ve downloaded.

It’s an old tip, dating back to 2012, but it still works perfectly.

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