Tag Archives: Mac OS X

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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Getting control of your Mac’s volume settings

Volume controls

If you’re using an Apple keyboard (or many third-party keyboards with a dedicated audio volume button), you can adjust the volume up and down with the push of a key. For many people, that’s enough.

For those who need a little more control, you can adjust the volume in quarter increments (rather than whole increments) simply by holding Option + Shift keys while pushing the Volume Up or Down keys. You’ll notice on the Volume bezel that appears on screen that the volume is adjusting a quarter box at a time, rather than a whole.

And for those of you who are annoyed by the quacking/beeping/burping sound with every press of the volume key, you can temporarily mute that sound by using Shift+Volume Up or Down keys. Unfortunately, you can combine the two to make silent adjustments in small increments.

Easily rearrange the order of accounts in OS X’s Mail app

Mac Mail address send order

If you have several different email accounts, you may find it annoying to have to choose the right email address as your “From” email from the drop-down menu (providing the default send account isn’t the one you want to use) in OS X’s Mail app. There is no cure for this problem, but you can at least put the list in the order you want it to appear in.

Mac Mail address send order fixI’ve seen other Mac sites that offer tips to accomplish this that range from the outrageous advice that you must delete all your email accounts and re-add them in the order you want them to appear, to the less dramatic but still cumbersome idea that you must uncheck the email checkbox in the Internet accounts preference pane and re-enable email in the desired order.

Thankfully, there’s a much more convenient way to accomplish the same desired result that doesn’t require you to delete anything.

Simply drag the individual email inbox icons for your accounts in the Mail sidebar to the order you want them to appear and restart Mail. Boom, you’re done. Now your drop-down menu will list your email addresses in the order you set them in.

Voila: The ultimate screen capture, editing and organizing utility for the Mac

Voila

I’ve been taking screen captures for decades. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve been using Snapz Pro. It’s simple, effective, and does exactly what I need it to. At least, I thought it did, until I tried Voila from GlobalDelight

I’ve been giving Voila a try for the last month or so, and I must say that I’m quite impressed. It’s not perfect, but it packs a pretty powerful punch for $30 compared to Snapz Pro X at $70. At $15 though the end of September, it’s an outright bargain!

Voila bills itself as the ultimate screen capture solution for your Mac. At first I wasn’t convinced, but after a month of use, I’ve removed Snapz Pro from my Mac and have been using Voila full time; I love it! Continue reading

Prevent your Mac’s drive, display, or both from sleeping with Sleep No More

Sleep No More

Sleep No More is a tiny menu bar application, that allows you to prevent your Mac from sleeping for a specified amount of time. An app like this is perfect for those who like to watch movies on the computer but still keep their sleep settings set to a low amount (I keep mine at 15 minutes to conserve battery life on my MacBook Air).

Sleep No More allows you to prevent computer sleep, display sleep or both of them simultaneously. Unlike other sleep-prevention apps, Sleep No More can be set to prevent sleep for up to 24-hours. That makes it perfect for preventing your Mac from sleeping while downloading massive files over the Net.

The interface is pretty slick, using an analog dial as the method for setting the time. You simply click and drag to set the time. The app even makes a nice clicking sound as you drag.

Sleep No More is free, and available only in the Mac App Store.

How to add an email to OS X Reminders app

Add an e-mail to your Reminders list on OS X to ensure that you remember to reply or complete a task. Here’s how.

Since the Cnet article I linked to appears to be having issues, I’ll tell you that it’s quite simple. Just drag the email from Mail to the Reminders app icon in your Dock. Presto, you now have a reminder titled with the subject line of the email and a link to the email itself in the reminder note.

Keyboard shortcuts for selecting text

Apple Keyboard

Being the fan of keyboard shortcuts that I am, I rarely pass-up the opportunity to use them. Here are a few keyboard shortcuts for selecting text in virtually any Mac OS X application that allows text entry.

Placing your cursor at any point in a line of text, you can:

  • Select text one letter at a time by hitting Shift + Left/Right Arrow
  • Select text one word at a time by hitting Shift + Option + Left/Right Arrow
  • Select all text to the beginning or end of a line (from wherever your cursor is currently located) by hitting Command + Shift + Left/Right Arrow

I knew there were other similar shortcuts, and a quick search brought up this great set of Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts for navigating and selecting text at OSXDaily.

Jony Ive isn’t killing the Mac, and Apple’s core isn’t rotten

I came across an article at ZDNet this past week that just drove me absolutely crazy. It serves me right for reading anything from ZDNet—because with little exception, they have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to Apple and the Mac. But when I saw the headline: “Is Jony Ive killing the Mac?” I just couldn’t resist clicking through.

Jony IveThe first thing that got my hair up about the article is that other than the headline and the summary at the top, the article makes no mention of Ive, or why the author seems to think the Mac is being systematically killed off by him. I’ve spoken to Jony Ive personally, and he assures me that he isn’t a killer.

Disclaimer: I haven’t spoken to Jony Ive, but I’m willing to bet the only thing he’s killed at his time at Apple is a mountain of bad ideas.

Even if you don’t bother to read the rest of the article, or actually believe that Mac OS X has gone to hell, most Mac users know that Jony Ive has had absolutely nothing to do with OS X up to this point. Obviously the headline is click-bait in an effort to gather more page views.

Now the reason the article is so short is because it simply points out another blog post titled Core Rot at Apple. It is here that I found myself throwing my hands in the air in surrender at the feet of nitpicking at the least, or in many cases, outright stupidity. My thoughts on a few of his points below.

“iTunes — a nightmarish kitchen sink design cluttered with dozens of tabs and modes and animations and clutter, all mixing highly variant purposes Fortunately, Walter Mossberg likes it (but it’s time for him to hang up his jockstrap).”

This is perhaps the only thing in the entire article that I could somewhat sympathize with. iTunes DOES do much more than it should. But “dozens of tabs?” Where are there dozens of tabs? Modes, animations and clutter? If anything, I think Apple has done a decent job of hiding what a mess iTunes is. The dig at Walter Mossberg just goes to show he had nothing of substance to say about it.

Still, at this point in the article, I thought perhaps it had some merit because I know iTunes is a sore spot for many, many people. I’m not in love with it either, so I read on with anticipation. Unfortunately, it got worse. Here are further thoughts… Continue reading