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TJ Draper

Film/Video Editor (Final Cut Pro), Videographer, Web Designer, Technology (read Apple) enthusiast. I love Apple products, and love to write about Apple and other related items.

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April 23, 2007. That was the day Panic initially released Coda. The idea of Coda was revolutionary: one app, one window for the entire web development workflow. And they did it right too. They won the 2007 Apple Design Award for Best User Experience. Before Coda there were tools like TextMate, BBEdit and MacRabbit’s Espresso and CSS Edit. Yes, there was even Dreamweaver if you like spending a lot of money on a tool largely considered inferior (it does have its place). But Coda was truly a revolutionary new web development experience.

Before Coda, developing websites required a number of different tools. You need a text editor for writing code. You need an FTP application for uploading and downloading files from your server. You need a web browser to preview your work. You often need a database utility to modify your database. And you would often need a terminal application to connect to your server over SSH and make changes. Coda rolled most of the tools needed for these things into a single interface and application.

And now Coda 2 builds upon that success.

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The Mac App Store has changed our world. Apps are easier to find, buy and/or download, and upgrade than ever before. Developers can enjoy ease of use for customers, and great exposure with little overhead and minimal web presence if they want to (no need to host the app and worry about server load themselves).

But not everything is a bed of roses for developers in the App Store. Apple provides no clear paid upgrade path for major versions and therefore no incentive to continue developing an app to become even greater.

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I do not intend here to rehash any of the digital ink already put out there on Mountain Lion. Our own James Cull did an excellent job rounding up what we know about Mountain Lion. And Scott Danielson has had an in-depth look at Messages for Mac. I want to address instead something that might be nagging at all of us Mac users just a bit.

With Mountain Lion, Apple has stepped up the game of brining the two ecosystems of Mac and iOS closer together. The trend started (arguably perhaps) with Apple’s “Back to the Mac” event in which iLife was touted to have taken cues from iOS design, FaceTime was brought to the Mac, the Mac App store was announced, the MacBook Air was introduced, and oh yeah, Lion was announced with many features reminiscent of iOS.

Lion brought with it many iOS like advancements; enhancements to Multi-Touch Gestures, Full Screen apps, Launchpad, Resume/Auto Save/Versions, an iPad like Mail interface, iCal and Address Book highly styled like the iOS counterparts, auto termination of applications again borrowed from iOS, reversed scrolling to better match up with touch screen devices, and many more things that all spell out one thing; OS X is borrowing heavily from the design of iOS.

Perhaps it’s only fitting since OS X spawned the existence of iOS in the first place. They share much base code in common. In fact, Steve Jobs very much emphasized in the iPhone introduction keynote of 2007 that the iPhone OS (as it was then called) was really OS X. But what’s actually going on here? Should we fear for the future of OS X?
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I used Thunderbird off and on as my email client back in my Windows days (dark days indeed), and then again on Mac OS X for a while. I finally switched to Apple’s official Mail client and haven’t interacted with Thunderbird much until I started thinking about writing this review.

So, can Thunderbird earn it’s keep as a primary email application? Let’s find out shall we?

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With OS X Mountain Lion, there’s a new sheriff in town: Gatekeeper. This utility gives you the power to decide which apps are acceptable to install on your system and which should be blocked due to being from a questionable source.

Does the arrival of Gatekeeper mean that Apple is inching closer towards full control over your apps? Or will this utility actually give you more control in the long run? Read on to find out.

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There was a time when I read a lot more actual books than is possible for me to read these days. I work a full time job, I have a daily commute, I have a family, and I have to try to get some exercise in. It all adds up to make me a little short on “sit down and read” time. Thankfully, I have in the last couple of years discovered an alternative. Audiobooks have been a great way to satisfy my appetite for a good book and still fit into my schedule. I most often listen to books on my commute, or when exercising.

But obviously the best way for me to listen to Audiobooks is on my iPhone since that is always with me. Some of my audiobooks are on CD, and of course I could rip them like any CD and they would appear in my iTunes library, split up awkwardly into different tracks, and mixed in with the rest of my music. But there is a much better way.

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One of the best, and perhaps most undervalued features of Mac OS X is one that was introduced in 10.5 Leopard: Time Machine. As Macintosh users, we often forget just how good we have it when it comes to matters like this. I was recently discussing backup options with a Windows using friend of mine and none of the options we could find for him came even close to the ease of use and painlessness (not to mention the system level integration) of Time Machine.

Nevertheless, after I started using Time Machine in Leopard, I quickly found one major drawback. Every hour, regardless of what you are doing, Time Machine starts a backup. It slows the system down, if you back up to a Time Capsule as I do, it slows the network down, and it’s unnecessary. I really only want one incremental backup per day, but this isn’t possible by default. This is where TimeMachineScheduler comes into play.

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For the freelancer or small business owner, client management, job management, time tracking, and invoicing all tend to be more complicated than is often necessary. But iBiz greatly simplifies all these processes by providing a clean and intuitive interface that is not overwhelming or hard to understand.

Keeping track of the time spent on a project, invoicing, invoice tracking, managing clients and job history are all items iBiz handles with ease.

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