Tagged: OS X

Recent acquisitions should make you wary of buying new apps

The headline sounds a bit over-the-top, I know. But it sums-up my point best. With Google acquiring Sparrow (the extremely popular email client software for OS X and iOS), and Facebook buying out Acrylic (makers of the popular RSS reader, Pulp), and Instagram, it’s clear that no matter how small or large your favorite app or service is – it’s entirely possible that it will cease to exist at any time.

Software acquisitions

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…)

Enlarge OS X Mail and Finder sidebar icons

Sidebar icon sizes

Large, medium and small icon options in OS X’s Mail sidebar

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.

Sidebar icon size preferencesChanging 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.

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]

Learn your keyboard shortcuts with CheatSheet for Mac

CheatSheetKnowing and using keyboard shortcuts can save an incredible amount of time over the period of a full work day. Not to mention it doesn’t stop the flow of creativity.

Having used the Mac since the mid 80s, and Adobe Creative Suite apps just as long, my brain is trained to use keyboard shortcuts. I can’t remember the last time I moused up to the menubar for something that has a keyboard shortcut available.

Learning keyboard shortcuts can take a long time, but a clever Swedish developer has created CheatSheet for the Mac OS X 10.7 that displays all the available keyboard shortcuts for the app you’re working in with the click of a button.


Learning keyboard shortcuts is made easy with CheatSheet

CheatSheet is a faceless application. There is no interface, no preferences to set. You simply hold the Command key down and a large white overlay appears which displays all the keyboard shortcuts. CheatSheet runs on Lion only, and is free.

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…)

Delay OS X Mail’s “Mark As Read” status

One annoying function of OS X’s Mail app is that it automatically marks an email as Read the second it is selected. This is compounded by the fact that Mail automatically selects the top most email in the list (usually the newest email). Sometimes I just want to take a quick peek at an email without actually marking it as read. Thanks to this clever plugin, you can alter the delay Mail uses to mark an email as Read.

TruePreview is a simple plugin that allows you to adjust the delay time Mail uses to mark an email as Read. Once installed, you will find a new tab in Mail’s preferences where you can set the delay time to whatever you wish for all emails. Alternatively, you can turn of the “Mark as Read” status completely until you open an email in a separate window by double clicking the email, forwarding, or replying to an email.


TruePreview solves a huge annoyance in OS X Mail's behavior

If you prefer, TruePreview allows you to adjust the delay time on a per-account basis. This is particularly useful for those who have multiple email accounts with different providers. (more…)

Reset your OS X Lion user password

OS X LionPrior to OS X Lion, the OS X installation DVD included a password reset utility. With Lion there is no install DVD, and no easily recognizable way to reset a password for a user account. Don’t worry, if you ever forget your password for a Lion user account, there is still a way to reset it; in fact it’s much easier than booting from a slow DVD.

Restart your Mac while holding Command + R. This will boot you into the Recovery HD Utility. Launch the Terminal from the Utility menu at the top and type resetpassword and hit enter. The Reset Password dialog box will appear where you can choose which user account password you wish to reset, and allow you to enter a new password and hint.

Remove Lion’s Mission Control animation

OS X LionFor users with the latest & greatest Macs, the animations Lion added are probably barely noticeable. But for those of us running it on older Macs, it’s painfully slow and quite annoying. Thankfully, much like removing the new Mail animation I wrote about last week, you can remove the animation completely.

Launch the Terminal app and type the following and hit Return after:
defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0

Before the change takes affect, you need to restart OS X’s Dock, which you do by typing the following in the Terminal and hitting Return:
killall Dock

Thanks to OSXDaily for the tip, and a few more adjustments you can make to Mission Control’s animation, including restoring it to its original state.