How to speed up your Mac

While there is no definitive cure-all for making your machine as good (and as fast) as day one, there are some basic things you can do that might help reclaim disk space, remove some clutter and generally speed up your Mac. Wired Magazine offers some insight and advice on how to speed up your Mac – what works and what doesn’t. If you don’t read the article, or you miss it, the one point I wish to drive home is that repairing file permissions and updating the prebindings will NOT speed up your Mac. It’s a myth that has lived too long.

Save time with OSX Finder shortcuts

As with any program, the speed with which you use OSX’s Finder can increase your productivity quite a bit, and we can all use a few extra minutes a day can’t we? With that in mind, here’s a few helpful Finder keyboard shortcuts to help you save the extra few minutes. Finder Views:

  • Command 1 = Switch window to icon view
  • Command 2 = Switch window to list view
  • Command 3 = Switch window to column view
  • Command 4 = Switch window to coverflow view
  • Command Y = Toggle Quick Look on and off
  • Command Option Y = Toggle Slideshow mode

Open Items

  • Command Shift i = Open iDisk
  • Comand Shift k = Open Network
  • Command Shift a = Open Application folder
  • Command Shift d = Open Desktop folder

Getting large layer icons in Adobe Illustrator

When you’re working in Adobe Illustrator, keeping your artwork on different layers can be a huge time-saver and makes it much easier to edit with complex illustrations — much like Photoshop. But sometimes you can’t be bothered to name your layers properly and you rely on the little icons in the Layers Panel to tell you which layer you want to work on. The problem is that those tiny layer icons can be difficult to identify the more you put on each layer (See the image above). Thankfully, Illustrator gives you way to make the icons in the Layer Panel larger. First, open the Layers Panel flyout menu and scroll all the way to the bottom and select Panel Options. Next, select the Other: radio button and enter a pixel amount in the size box (I chose 50 pixels). Obviously, this is the size you want your Layers Panel icons to appear. I recommend staying 75 pixels or under — anything larger and you’ll be scrolling quite a bit to see the layers in the Panel. Now just click OK and you’re all set. As you can see by the image below, the icons in the Layers Panel are now much easier to decipher. Though my sample illustration isn’t difficult to begin with, you can easily see the advantage of making the icons larger when you compare it to the first image.

Free LayoutZone tool for InDesign increases productivity

Adobe InDesignYou’re working on a layout… you have some text and graphics, but you want someone else to work on them to save time. Now with LayoutZone, you can select those objects, choose Edit > Layout Zone > Objects to InDesign Document to convert them into an INDD file which replaces the original objects. At this point, you can give the new InDesign (.indd) file to another designer to work on while you continue to work in the original file. When they’re done, you can just click Update in the Links panel (to update the InDesign document). Or you can choose Edit > Layout Zone > Linked InDesign Page to Objects, to convert that person’s design back into editable pieces in InDesign. This is so much easier than InDesign’s built-in capability to “place” another InDesign file, because you can actually turn the placed file back into editable objects again. Read through the linked article, the download link is near the bottom.

Zevrix Solutions Releases ArtOptimizer 2 for Adobe Illustrator

Adobe IllustratorZevrix Solutions announced the release of ArtOptimizer 2.0, its comprehensive solution for reducing the size of images linked to Adobe Illustrator document automatically. Similar to LinkOptimizer, the Zevrix flagship product for InDesign, ArtOptimizer saves hours of production time, gigabytes of disk space and reduces production costs by eliminating excessive image data. How does ArtOptimizer work? ArtOptimizer will automatically reduce the image resolution and resize the images in Photoshop according to their dimensions in the Illustrator document and the target resolution specified, and reimport them to Illustrator at 100%. ArtOptimizer lets you backup original images linked to Illustrator document before the processing as well. In addition, ArtOptimizer can convert image colors to CMYK, RGB or Grayscale, apply sharpening filters during processing and flatten images. The new version is compatible with Mac OS X Leopard and Adobe CS3, allows users to run Photoshop Actions and adjust layer merging options.

Which Mac to buy if you’re a designer or content creator

Which Mac should I buy? It’s a question I see constantly in forum discussions across the Web. If you’re an average consumer who needs Web, email, word processing and little more, the choices are easy. You can go with what your pocketbook allows and be satisfied. Deciding which new Mac to get if you’re in the content creation business, however, is like trying to decide what milk to buy at the grocery store when you don’t normally do the shopping in the household. You’ve got the choice between 1%, 2%, whole milk, low-fat, skim, no freakin fat whatsoever, the list goes on and on. It’s enough to drive you crazy just looking at the options. Here is my (very opinionated) advice to those who find themselves faced with such an expensive dilemma as to which Mac to buy. You’re on your own with the milk though. (more…)

First impressions: FontAgent Pro 4

For those of you who’ve managed your font library with some earlier version of the program already, FAP4 doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel – it does, however, tack on some spiffy new features and makes auto-activation that much more reliable. Let’s run down the new stuff as Inside Software displays it on their web site, shall we? (my comments & screenshots following): (more…)

Don’t design a dead-end Web site – it’s all about the content

When I look at a lot of Web sites these days, two things jumps out at me. First, many sites look absolutely stunning. Beautiful mastheads, delicious AJAX everywhere, blinky, swooshing Flash and Web 2.0-style graphics adorn tons of Web sites. Competing with these gorgeous Web sites requires not only great graphic design skills, but you’ve got to be a coding genius as well. The second thing that I notice right away is that many of these sites contain little if any useful, informative content. Opinion blogs are everywhere, virtually anyone who can type has a blog, but finding great content is just getting harder and harder. It almost appears that many of these sites’ purpose is simply to show off the fact that they know how to code. Now I’m not trying to stand on my high-horse and look down on anyone’s efforts… (more…)