Tagged: Mac & OS X

OS X El Capitan beta display brightness fix

If you installed Apple’s latest beta of OS X, El Capitan, you may have noticed the LCD appears to be a bit brighter with less contrast. I didn’t notice a problem until I launched Diablo III and found that it was almost unplayable due to the screen brightness.

El Capitan ambient light

After tinkering, I realized that El Capitan has added an option in the Display preferences that allows your Mac to automatically adjust the display based on ambient light. Turning this option off (unchecking) fixed my screen brightness issue.

Because this is an iMac, in an office where I control the lighting, this is probably optimal. However, I haven’t installed the beta on my MacBook Pro, so I’m not sure if the new feature offers benefits to mobile users.

Solve the age-old question of “What’s filling up my storage drive?”

“What the hell is filling up my hard drive?” It’s a question we all have after a year or so of downloading files and storing work documents on our Macs. A cluttered storage disk can lead to all sorts of problems, not the least of which is making your Mac run slow.

CleverFiles has a fairly new app for Mac OS X that can help you analyze your storage drive and remove large files and folders easily. Disk Cartography maps your drive data and lists the space-hogging files in an easy-to-read list, and allows you to delete the unwanted files/folders with the click of a button.

Upon launching Disk Cartography, it scans your chosen disk and displays a tree-like folder-structure which you can use to evaluate what’s taking up space, as well as where it is on your drive.

Disk Cartography window

You can manually or automatically filter what is shown by setting parameters such as minimum file size, or whether or not to show System files, etc. The minimum file size feature is particularly useful because it allows you to view your file folder list without the thousands of files taking up so little space that it’s not worth seeing. You can see an example in the image above. Those “Filtered Objects” folders contain all the files on my drive that don’t meet my minimum filter requirements of a minimum of 128MB in size.

Scanning my drive took only a few minutes, and the app displays the data in a clear and simple interface. I also liked that I can right-click on a file or folder to ‘show it in the Finder.’

Disk Cartography isn’t the only app out there that does this, and it certainly doesn’t have the most luscious user interface of them. But I like the simplicity of the app.

There is no dedicated web page for Disk Cartography as of this writing, but you can buy it directly from the Mac App Store here.

You can grab your copy for $1.99 until May 18th when the promo ends.

30% discount on Airy 2.0 upgrade

Airy 2

I’ve written about Airy in the past. Eltima Software has upgraded their awesome little YouTube video downloader to 2.0, and brought with it a few handy features.

Airy 2.0 continues to make downloading YouTube videos even easier by adding the ability to download an entire YouTube playlist with a single click. I was able to download several playlists of music videos numbering from 15 to 40 videos with no problem at all. Downloading is the same as previous versions: you paste a YouTube video address into the Airy app URL bar, or use the included browser bookmarklet (my preferred method).

Airy 2 Playlist

The update also adds the ability to pause downloads, so the next time you open Airy, the downloads resume automatically. Given that Airy downloads videos so quickly, this may seem unnecessary, but when you consider downloading a playlist with dozens upon dozens of videos, it can come in handy.

Airy hasn’t added any new formats that I can see. But you can already save videos as MP4, FLV and 3GP formats, as well as save only the audio as an MP3, so I see little room for improvement here anyway.

Airy 2.0 is a little faster, and a little more stable—though I never had problems with the older version to begin with. This is one of those little gems that I’m glad I have around. For years there have been plenty of YouTube video downloaders that were a pain to use, and usually stopped working after a few months. Airy has been around for a while, is not free, and is provided by a stable developer. That means it’s likely to be supported for the foreseeable future.

The latest upgrade runs on Mac OS X 10.7 and later. Previous Airy users can upgrade to the new version for 50% off, and new users can use the coupon code THGM-DSC at checkout time to receive 30% off the regular $19.95 price.

Welcome Apple World Today

Apple World Today

It didn’t take long for some TUAW alumni to start a new site after AOL shut down the long-running Mac-related news site. TUAW was one of those sites I had a love-hate relationship with as far as content, but I always respected the writers and their work.

Apple World Today has launched, with Steve Sande, Dave Caolo, and Kelly Hodgkins at the helm. I’m looking forward to seeing what these guys come up with on a daily basis; as I’ve grown tired of the sensationalistic headlines (and quite craptacular articles) found at some of the other Mac sites out there.

I also recently added SixColors (by Jason Snell, former editor at Macworld) and MacSparky to my “check regularly” bookmark folder in Safari.

How to Flush DNS Cache in OS X Yosemite

TerminalSome Mac users may encounter situations where they need to flush DNS cache in OS X for a name server to resolve properly, or for some DNS address change to become noticed by their individual computer. Longtime Mac users will know that resetting DNS cache has changed in nearly every version of Mac OS X, and OS X Yosemite is no different. Thankfully, Paul over at OSXDaily has a great write-up on how to flush all your DNS Cache.

To flush and reset all DNS caches in Yosemite, launch Terminal app and type the following command:
sudo discoveryutil mdnsflushcache;sudo discoveryutil udnsflushcaches;say flushed

Be sure to check out the article linked above for more Terminal commands regarding DNS Cache.

141 free “Google Material Design” wallpapers that don’t suck

Material Design wallpapers

Google recently announced their next Android operating system, 5.0 Lollipop. The most visual change is the interface, which they refer to as Material Design. While I can’t think of anything good to say about the OS, I can say that these Material Design wallpapers shared by Brian Parkerson on Google+ are gorgeous. All will look great on an iPhone, and many look pretty damn good on my 15″ Retina MacBook Pro

If you like what you see but don’t want to be bothered to download them individually, you can grab all of them in a single 60+MB ZIP file from here.

Free and easy audio control for your Mac with AudioMate

AudioMate

Control all your audio input and output devices from the status bar, receive system notifications when relevant events happen on your audio devices, change the master output volume, sample rate, clock source, system default input and output and more!

AudioMate has gone open source, and is now free. Requires OS X 10.7 or later and a 64-bit Mac.

Mail Pilot public preview available

Mail Pilot for Mac public preview early sign-ups are now live. On Thursday, December 5, the first batch of public previews will go out. Sign up now to be one of the first to get Mail Pilot for Mac.

Mail Pilot users can quickly manage and productively organize their inboxes with a simple, task-oriented approach, tailored for the desktop. Mail Pilot for iPhone is already available, and quite popular.