Tagged: Mac & OS X
It happens a lot in the design business. You’re taking copy from one document and using it in another. The problem is that when you copy your text and paste it in your new document, the formatting comes with it. All the fonts, all the colors, all the special text treatments. You’re stuck “un-formatting” only to have to reformat it in the new style. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Mac OS X offers a simple way to paste text from any document into another document completely unformatted. Simply copy the original formatted text as you normally would using Command + C. Then, instead of pasting the text normally, paste it using Command + Shift + V.
Sometimes it’s beneficial to proofread text in your design work by hearing it, rather than reading it. Mac OS X offers a convenient way to do it, and OSX Daily offers a simple tutorial to show you how to set it up.
I use this feature quite often, but not as much as I probably should. Give it a try, you may find it quite useful.
Vecte is a simple Mac OS X application switcher replacement. All the standard keyboard shortcuts still work, the only difference is how it looks and feels. Vecte moves the application switcher overlay you get by hitting Command + Tab from the center of the screen to the top left corner of the screen. Vecte also switches apps instantly rather than waiting around until you let go of the command key. Finally, Vecte does not re-order the apps every time you switch to a new app. If you missed the app you were aiming for, it’s still in the same spot.
I used Vecte for a few weeks and found it to work quite well. And it’s a great way to customize OS X to your liking. Ultimately though, I prefer the built-in switcher. Given that Vecte is free, you have nothing to lose by checking it out. You can download Vecte here.
A few years ago, the TWiT network were about the only people putting out decent tech-related Podcasts. Now though, you have to spend a lot of time going through Podcasts to weed out the bad ones, rather than find the good ones.
I listen to a lot of different types of Podcasts, but for the purpose of this article, I’ll stick with just the tech-related ones. Generally speaking, I prefer shorter podcasts – they feel more relaxing to listen to and less like a chore I must complete.
I came across the 70 Decibels network a while ago and have since subscribed to several of their podcasts. They’re very well produced, and cover a decent range of topics.
Many other tech-related podcasts have turned into something you might expect from a political talk show, with two or three people all talking over each other trying to get attention. None of the shows I’ve mentioned above have this problem.
Other shows available on the 70 Decibels network include cooking, freelancing, science fiction and general technology. All the 70 Decibels Podcasts offer an iTunes subscribe feed, as well as an RSS feed to stay up-to-date with newly released shows.
Mac OS Ken is one of my favorite Apple-related podcasts because it’s timely, and typically only 10 to 15 minutes long – perfect for listening to during the work commute or lunch. Ken Ray’s daily podcast includes most stories directly related to Apple, many stories indirectly related to Apple that stand a chance of affecting Apple’s business or its users, and tangentially related stories that are funny. Mac OS Ken has an iTunes and RSS subscription link on the homepage.
Vectoraster is a Mac OS X graphics utility for creating vector-based raster patterns and halftones based on bitmap images, an effect that has been popular in illustration and design the last couple of years, but is quite tricky to achieve without the proper tools.
The raster patterns and point shapes can be freely configured to produce many different styles. The resulting rasters can then either be exported as vectors to EPS or PDF files, as images to JPEG, PNG or TIFF, or simply copied into most graphics software.
VectorRaster is $29 ($12 upgrade from previous versions) and a demo is available for download.
Mac OS X was a top-to-bottom change to the system architecture, and theming was infinitely more difficult. It took a long time before creative developers figured out a way to bring customization to OS X. There were themes, if only a few dozen, and of course you could still customize icons. But it was never to the extent that you could in Mac OS 9.
Eventually (I don’t remember if it was OS 10.4 or 10.5), theming became nearly impossible. But when Apple released the Mac App Store, customizing your Mac desktop all but died. Because of the code signing of all apps sold through the Mac App Store, altering files contained in individual apps (such as icons) rendered them either useless, or at the very least prevented you from updating them in the Mac App Store.
Between code signing, recently implemented Sandboxing rules, and the release of OS X Mountain Lion (which prevents theming of the Dock), it’s all but a dead art. If you need any more evidence, Panic Software recently announced they were sunsetting their icon customization tool, CandyBar. For many years, CandyBar was the gold-standard of customizing icons. Thankfully, Panic made CandyBar freely downloadable, and updated it for Mountain Lion. For those like me who used CandyBar for it’s icon collection organizing feature, and the ability to quickly and easily export app icons as PNG images with transparency intact, the fact that it still works is a bit of relief. But it’s future is most decidedly in doubt. It surely won’t be long before it can no longer customize System icons.
It’s sad to see theming and customization fade off into the sunset. But to be honest, Apple has improved the appearance of the OS to the point where even the most avid themed simply preferred the clean look of the standard theme. And right now, you can get an absolutely fantastic icon customizing and organizing app for free.
With Instagram, Facebook chose to allow it to live-on for now – but I suspect it will eventually get fully integrated into Facebook’s brand apps. Unfortunately, Google has not been as kind. They’ve made it clear that they have no intention on adding features to it in the future. It’s dead. And while Facebook only hired the developers and not purchased the apps themselves, they’re essentially dead as well.
I’m not suggesting that you should not buy apps from independent developers. They’re what makes the Apple community great. And I absolutely do not blame any developer for selling their company for large sums of money. They worked hard to create a great app or service and they deserve the rewards.
But you should take these recent acquisitions into consideration when you purchase your next app that may be a mission-critical one. Let me give you an example. (more…)
If you’re running OS X Lion on your Mac, you have the ability to enlarge the icons in the sidebar of Mail and the Finder. This is particularly useful for those with less than stellar eyesight, or who simply have large LCD screens and want an easier target to hit when dragging files to or otherwise clicking the icons.
Changing the sidebar icons in Mail is actually not an option if you adjust the size of the Finder’s sidebar icons. Oddly enough, both are controlled in the System Preferences under the General icon. Simply choose the size you wish from the drop-down menu next to the Sidebar Icon Size item and both Mail and the Finder’s sidebar icons will immediately adjust accordingly.