Tagged: Apple

Add an RSS subscribe button to Safari in Mountain Lion

Add to Google Reader Safari ExtensionOne of the features Apple chose to kill off in Mountain Lion is the RSS Subscribe button in Safari. While RSS feeds aren’t quite the rage they used to be, many users still use RSS feeds religiously. The king of RSS Readers is of course Google Reader. And if you miss the subscribe button, there’s an easy way to get it back.

Add to Google Reader Safari Extension adds the RSS feed of the page you’re currently on to Google Reader. It works extremely well!

Another extension that works with any RSS reader you have installed is Subscribe to Feed, a side-project by Red Sweater software, maker of the MarsEdit blog editor.

Apple’s Mac App Store Sandboxing rules already claiming victims

Apple's Mac App Store

Developers who wish to sell their software in Apple’s Mac App Store have to abide by certain rules. As of last month, Sandboxing is in effect, which restricts the level of integration with the OS any particular app has. In theory (and in practice, actually) this will help protect unsuspecting Mac users from malicious software downloaded from the Mac App Store.

The realities of Apple’s Sandboxing rules go much deeper though. For developers of some extremely popular applications like TextExpander, YoJimbo, BBEdit, TextWrangler, a difficult decision must be made. Do they completely withdraw the app from the store, or remove the features which don’t comply with Apple’s Sandboxing rules? Removing features is likely to anger existing customers, and greatly reduce the enticement to purchase the app to begin with. Removing the app from the store completely means a significant drop in exposure for the app, and more expenses involved with selling it on their own.

Ted Landau has some great commentary on the whole Sandboxing issue, along with some thoughts from a few high-profile developers and Apple pundits in his Apple’s Sandboxing…One Month In article.

OS X Mountain Lion to fix full screen support on multiple displays

When Apple releases Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8) next month, we’ll be treated to hundreds of new features. But one of the most exciting for me is the ability to take advantage of multiple displays when in full screen mode.

Currently, if you have more than one display and you enter full screen mode, your secondary display is rendered completely useless. With Mountain Lion, you’ll be able to have enter full screen mode on one display and still use the secondary display for other tasks.

When Lion shipped, I wasn’t immediately in love with full screen mode, but it wasn’t long before I wished it worked on both my displays independently. This will be a very welcome feature!

[box type=”note”]It has been brought to my attention that this new functionality will NOT allow full use of the second display. Apparently, you’ll ONLY be able to use the second display for windows of the app that is currently in full screen mode. If true, this will truly suck![/box]

Apple’s new MacBook Pro 15″ with Retina Display = Mehhhhhh!

Ok, so maybe that headline is a tad bit misleading. The new MacBook Pro with Retina Display (MBPR) is a great laptop if you love the latest & greatest from Apple. But when I look at a PRO machine, I’m looking at specs. And when I look at the specs of the new MBPR, I see a lot of trade-offs. I also see a big, giant whammy!

You’re giving up ethernet & firewire. You’re losing your CD/DVD burner. You’re giving up a great MagSafe power connector (the new one sucks). You’re losing quite a bit of storage (the SSD drive is half the size of the regular MB Pro. You’re also losing dedicated audio line in and line out ports in exchange for a single audio port. In exchange you’re getting a much faster SSD storage drive, an HDMI port, more video RAM on the low end model, and a lighter weight computer overall.

Since I can live without the losses, and find the additional features enticing, I’ll call all those specs a wash. That means it comes down to the Retina Display.

MB Pro Retina

The MBPR offers a ridiculous 2880 x 1800 Retina resolution that looks absolutely stunning. The color and vibrancy is incredible. But unless I’m watching video or looking at photos, it’s really not something that offers much benefit to me. I was more interested in the increased screen real estate.

The problem is, at the highest resolution setting, the MBPR’s display makes everything on the screen tiny. Really tiny. I fired up Photoshop on the MBPR at my local Apple store and could barely distinguish the icons in the toolbar. I had to move up so close to the display that I felt like I was looking at my iPhone, rather than a 15″ laptop. Apps that aren’t specifically built for Retina Displays show some blurriness (though I didn’t think it was bad as some tech reviews I’ve read).

You can of course change the resolution 1920 x 1200, but I found that to be a bit too small as well. The next step down is what Apple considers the middle of the road, or “best,” setting in the Display Preferences: 1680 x 1050. I agree with Apple, it was the best setting for me. The regular 15″ MB Pro comes with a 1440 x 900 resolution display by default, but for $100 you can upgrade to the HD screen with the same 1680 x 1050 resolution.

So at the end of the day the MBPR costs $400 more, and I must accept the trade-offs mentioned above, and I can’t enjoy or take advantage of the premiere feature – the display. In the end, I can spend the same amount of money to upgrade the regular MB Pro to the same specs as the MBPR, and keep the Ethernet, optical drive, etc.

How to make navigating between Safari tabs suck less

Safari Browser

Here's how to make Safari's tab navigation not suck!

With the release of Mac OS X Lion, I switched back to Safari as my main browser. Almost all the extensions I want are available for it, and it’s much less buggy than Google Chrome was beginning to be. But there are a few things that bother me about Safari, one of which is the way you navigate between open tabs.

With every other browser, you can navigate between open tabs by hitting Command + the tab number (#2 would open the second tab from the left, #3 the third, etc.). But with Safari, hitting Command + a number opens the link number of whatever is in your bookmark bar. Handy if you actually have bookmarks in your bookmark bar, but I have nothing but folders. Hitting Command + Shift + } four times to reach the fifth tab from the left is a pain because it requires both hands.

Thankfully, Olivier Poitrey offers SafariTabSwitching, a SIMBL plugin that brings the Command + number feature to Safari. I’ve been using it so long that I actually forgot where I got it from. It’s quite a nice add-on, and I’ve never had a problem using it. The only foreseeable issue is that it is a SIMBL plugin, which Apple doesn’t condone, and could cease to function at any OS update in the future if Apple so chooses – such as OS X Mountain Lion, due later this summer.

Apple is missing one killer option with OS X’s Full Screen feature

Full Screen iconWhen Apple announced the Full Screen feature in Lion I was quite skeptical of it. I really didn’t see the value of it from what I read. Of course, once Lion shipped and I gave Full Screen a try, I love it. It’s not just that it provides a distraction-free workspace, but when I use gestures to swipe between apps, I just feel more productive; much more so than using the application switcher, Mission Control or switching apps with the Dock icons.

Unfortunately the one feature that would make Full Screen much more valuable to me, and one that should be painfully obvious to Apple, is missing. The ability to set Full Screen as the preferred viewing method in the preferences would be a killer option.

Apple being Apple, if they were to implement this feature, they would probably put it in the System Settings and it would be an “all-or-nothing” option. But to me, that option would be a different devil in the same hell.

Putting the option in an individual application’s preferences won’t work, because we would be reliant upon the individual app developer to actually code this feature into their apps; and we simply can’t expect every developer to support this feature, at least not yet. But here’s an idea… (more…)

Seattle Rex vs. Apple – not everything about Apple is roses

So, there we were. Not more than 2 minutes into the trial, and Apple conceded to trying to hoodwink the judge.

This situation is typical of any corporation, but it’s sad to see our beloved Apple sinking to these legal tactics. Thankfully, this user prevailed. It’s really sad commentary on the state of our legal system, but also a black eye to Apple.

Read more about Apple’s tactics, if you can stomach it.