Finder is the first element of the Mac OS you interact with after booting your computer. On a fresh Mac with nothing installed, it is the only program that starts automatically. It’s such a central component of the system that you can never close it, and only restart it. Finder lets you mange the files and documents stored on your Mac. It’s where you interact with files, disks, and network volumes and therefore the main way to find your files and documents for all users and how you keep things organized the way you like.
In spite of this ubiquity, Finder has rough edges. For the power user there are many lacking features that would save time and speed up common operations. Two programs look to extend Finder by adding additional features and functionality. TotalFinder expands the functionality of Finder while Path Finder provides a full alternative to Finder with many additional features and functions. How helpful can they be? Let’s see.
It’s very frustrating to take what you think is a great photo only to find it’s blurry when viewed later. Blur can result from poor focus, focusing on an object other than the one intended, or motion. In poor light the camera shutter often must stay open longer to allow in more light and it’s easy to move your hand resulting in a blurred image. Normally after seeing a blurry photo you’d have no alternative but to trash the photo.
On TV shows, there always seems to be a magic “fix photo” button that is used whenever a character needs fix a blurry image that magically restore it to perfect clarity. In real life, there is no magic button. But, there are some programs that can restore some clarity to images, and Blurity is one of the best. It will take a blurry image and in a few clicks produce a photo with recovered detail and far less blur. Let’s see how well it works.
Almost every web site begins life as a specially formatted text file. Initially, the web consisted of static HTML files usually create in text editors. Soon the rise of the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) web editors to sought to hide this code and present an editor more like Word or other popular word processors. This would allow the creation of web pages without the need of learning HTML.
In the summer of 2009 I began working on my Master’s degree part time. In addition to my degree I also work full time and keep up with other activities (such as writing for this site) all while trying to have some semblance of a life. In December I should complete my Capstone project and graduate.
It’s taken a lot of careful management of time and more importantly energy to keep moving to this point. When I moved to a MacBook as my primary computer last summer, I had to redo my workflow and evaluate the best tools to keep up with my courses. Here I’m going to look at a few of the tools that I’ve used to keep my notes, organize my assignments, complete assignment, and work on my thesis project. (more…)
The CD data disk came as a revolution when it arrived. Before the most common storage method was still the 3.5″ floppy disk that held only 1.4 MB. The size of programs was rapidly increasing and many popular programs already came on a dozen or more disks and a bad floppy disk was all too common. The arrival of the CD made larger programs and games not just easier, but possible in the days when dial up Internet was still the norm. The DVD soon followed and increased the amount of data on a single disk to 4.7 GB and also brought the digital movie to the computer user.
Installing software now most often comes from a download, whether from the Mac App Store or the vendor’s web site. The DVD adds space and weight that can seem unnecessary. Apple now shows no concerns about removing the drive to shrink the size of their computers. The MacBook Air doesn’t come with a DVD drive to save space and the new MacBook Retina also removed the DVD drive. The trend is clear that Apple considers these drives to be unimportant and best relegated to an external drive in the rare times it’s needed.
Still, computer users can’t quite completely ignore the CD and DVD yet. Most boxed software, which now is relegated to mainly large suites like Microsoft Office or Creative Suite, still comes on a DVD or CD. While digital downloads of both movies and music are the future, many of us also have DVD or Blu-ray movie collections and even (gasp) CD music collections that we’d like to bring with us to the digital world. Here we’ll look at a few programs either included with your Mac or freely available that will help you deal with those physical disks still lying around. An external DVD drive will allow you to get anything on those disks to you Mac with the programs below.
Most of my solo work time passes with music in the background. Sometimes I’m playing music from my iTunes library, and sometimes I’m streaming music from online radio stations or subscription services. Controlling it all can be a pain. Whether I’m writing a review for AppStorm or balancing Excel spreadsheets at work, I normally have to switch back to the music program to pause a song if someone walks in. If a song comes on that I’m not in the mood to listen to, then it’s even worse since I have to swap to the player to skip and then back to my work. Even this brief interruption can take me out of flow and require time to pick up where I left off.
After years as Windows only user, I came to the Mac shortly before Lion was released last summer. I was still so new to Mac OS at that time that I failed to notice many of the changes from Snow Leopard to Lion. I did notice the removal color from the icons in the Finder sidebar, however. Like many, I found the loss of color made it more difficult for me to quickly find the icon I wanted. The icons just blended in together more than they did before.
The color is still there. If you look under the Go Menu in Finder, the icons still show in full color. Apple described the change as designed was to reduce emphasis on the interface in favor of content. While effective for that, the loss of contrast didn’t seem worth the tradeoff. As usual, developers stepped in to restore what they saw as lost functionality. SideEffects restores color to the icons Finder Sidebar. How well does it work? Let’s see. (more…)