Category: Mac & OS X

Tunebar adds iTunes goodness to your desktop

One of the things I loved about SoundJam, the original iTunes app before Apple bought it, was the ability to download customizable themes that took up little space on my screen. One of my favorites was one that was a slim bar that sat just below the Apple menu bar. It took up little space, and added all the basic controls needed. (more…)

Hiding icons and windows for screenshots

If you run a Web site, create training manuals or do something that requires you to take and use screenshots a lot, one thing you probably find yourself doing is hiding certain windows and moving icons on your desktop out of the way. It’s a royal pain in the behind. (more…)

Fine-tune your volume adjustments in OS X

If you own a laptop, you probably use the Volume key shortcuts (F4 and F5) to adjust your volume, rather than visiting the System Preferences or Volume menu item. Every time you press the Volume key, a full block of volume is raised or lowered in the Volume bezel on your screen. If the amount it is raised or lowered is too much or not enough, you can adjust the amount by a quarter of a block at a time. To fine-tune the Volume adjustment, hold the Shift and Option keys while hitting F4 or F5. This fine-tuning can be done with the Volume menu item as well, but it’s just easier to use the keyboard shortcuts. Update: This trick, as stated in the first sentence, is for Apple Laptops. While it may work with Apple desktop keyboards (I don’t have one hooked up right now, so I can’t check), it also may not work with any other branded keyboard. It’s also a Leopard-only trick.

How to speed up your Mac

While there is no definitive cure-all for making your machine as good (and as fast) as day one, there are some basic things you can do that might help reclaim disk space, remove some clutter and generally speed up your Mac. Wired Magazine offers some insight and advice on how to speed up your Mac – what works and what doesn’t. If you don’t read the article, or you miss it, the one point I wish to drive home is that repairing file permissions and updating the prebindings will NOT speed up your Mac. It’s a myth that has lived too long.

Save time with OSX Finder shortcuts

As with any program, the speed with which you use OSX’s Finder can increase your productivity quite a bit, and we can all use a few extra minutes a day can’t we? With that in mind, here’s a few helpful Finder keyboard shortcuts to help you save the extra few minutes. Finder Views:

  • Command 1 = Switch window to icon view
  • Command 2 = Switch window to list view
  • Command 3 = Switch window to column view
  • Command 4 = Switch window to coverflow view
  • Command Y = Toggle Quick Look on and off
  • Command Option Y = Toggle Slideshow mode

Open Items

  • Command Shift i = Open iDisk
  • Comand Shift k = Open Network
  • Command Shift a = Open Application folder
  • Command Shift d = Open Desktop folder

First impressions: FontAgent Pro 4

For those of you who’ve managed your font library with some earlier version of the program already, FAP4 doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel – it does, however, tack on some spiffy new features and makes auto-activation that much more reliable. Let’s run down the new stuff as Inside Software displays it on their web site, shall we? (my comments & screenshots following): (more…)

Top Photoshop alternatives for Mac OSX

PSDTuts has a great article covering Photoshop alternatives, for those who don’t need the power and expense of the king of all image editors. The top 5 are:

  • GIMP
  • Pixelmator (reviewed at
  • Corel PaintShop Pro
  • PhotoLine
  • Pixel Image Editor

The article also goes on to cover some lightweight alternatives such as:

  • Adobe Photoshop Elements
  • Acorn (reviewed at
  • Iris

While none of these applications offer the power and flexibility of Adobe Photoshop, most all of them have been around a while and have matured nicely. If your needs don’t warrant the Photoshop price tag, any one of these apps might just do the trick for you.

Change Time Machine’s backup interval

If you’re running Leopard and you’re using Time Machine to backup your Mac to an external hard drive, you may become frustrated with how often Time Machine backs up your drive. This is especially true if you save or create a lot of files. When Time Machine is doing it’s work, your drive may become unresponsive, and at the very least, your backup drive can fill up quick. You could hack the .plist file to alter the intervals of Time Machine, but an easier way is to use TimeMachineEditor. TME provides a simple way for you to set the time(s) at which Time Machine does it’s thing.