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Author

Barry Wiseman

The Macintosh and I reunited a few years ago after a long and painful separation littered with blue screens of death and spyware scans. The honeymoon continues, as I continue to grow my freelance graphic design and web development business that started more than 6 years ago. You can find me on Twitter @Delhokie - where I will be posting a link to my updated website very soon.

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Tables in web design were an anchor I clung to for far too long. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) were a mad mojo that I could not wrap my head around for the longest time. Until I finally just told myself “no” to tables. Using Dreamweaver to develop sites with CSS has always proved frustrating, as pages never looked right in the preview pane and were difficult to manage.

When I first started using CSSEdit from MacRabbit it was as though someone lifted the blinds and made CSS easy to understand. It offers an elegant, easy-to-use system for crafting a CSS file and takes away all the headache of doing it manually.

This review will run through my experience with CSSEdit, highlight the major features, and explain how it may really help your web design workflow.

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As a Mail.app junkie, it’s hard to convince me to try another mail app, but Postbox seemed compelling. Based on Mozilla’s Thunderbird engine, Posbox takes that code and integrates it’s own unique features into a very attractive package.

The moment you install the application (and they do have a Windows version available as well) you quickly realize that this is not like any other mail application you have ever used before.

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To be blunt, I’m cheap when it comes to buying software. I often find myself waiting for a sale, looking for a discount code, or putting off a purchase until the next great ‘bundle’ is announced. However, I occasionally see an application for which I’m happy to plunk down my credit card and pay the full price for (because it’s just that good!)

Bento is a personal database for OS X that integrates with other applications on your Mac. It was out for about 38 seconds when I downloaded it to try it out, but I didn’t really see the value in it at first. Over time, however, the ease of use of the application, beautiful interface and included templates drew me in. The new features in version 2 more than earned my $49, giving Bento a permanent place in my applications folder – and recently, a slot on my iPhone screen as well.

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Note taking is not one of my strong areas, and I’m pretty sure no-one who knows me will argue this point. However, if you’re like me, the need to jot down something down often occurs with a computer in easy reach. Typing in a few things eliminates the need to try to decipher scrawled hieroglyphics or find that crumpled up napkin you scribbled on 3 days ago.

There’s no need to be high tech about it; let’s face it, put Text Edit in the dock, click it, and type out your note. You wouldn’t be alone as this a commonly used method for saving bits of data. However, there are some great tools out there for taking and keeping any kind of note you want to track. A huge variety of apps are available, but I’m going to focus on three – the three that just plain work for me.

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It’s safe to say that you can never have too many tools. No matter what your trade, you will always be more effective if you have quality tools at your side (as long as your don’t bankrupt yourself in the process). Luckily, if your tools are of the software variety, you don’t even need to find room in the garage to store them.

One example of an incredibly innovative and effective set of tools for designers and web developers on the Mac is xScope. XScope is an app that has a wide array of features, allowing you to layout and measure elements on screen in an incredibly “Mac-Like” way. The seven included tools offer everything from color sampling to pixel spacing, and everything in between.

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I’m a very visual person and, due to the nature of the Mac environment, I’m sure there are many like-minded people in the OS X community who share my optical tendencies. We tend to think the wallpaper has to be just right, the icons in the dock and on the desktop have to be organized by category, and we take time to find just the right icon for our removable media.

DId I just hear an ‘amen?’

No matter how OCD you may be about your computing environment, we can all agree on the importance of creating some organizational structure on our computers so we can be more productive. Thanks to the features of our chosen OS (and some free or inexpensive software), there are some very simple ways to maximize our productivity in the most geeky way.

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