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If there’s one thing that consistently impresses me about my iPhones, iPads and Android devices, it’s how fast they are. My iPhone 5 in particular whizzes through web content, churning out video like butter on cellular or WiFi networks with ease. My 2008 iMac and 2012 15″ Retina MacBook Pro are both slower than I’d like when it comes to Internet use, sometimes slower than the iPhone at this point. And I’ve been looking for ways to speed them up.

Going Flash-less seemed to be the easiest answer. I’ve wanted to get Flash under control on my Macs for a while, to the point where I avoided installing it for months on the MacBook Pro. I find it just bogs up the whole system. That being said, Flash can be a necessary evil for many of us. So I’ve set out to find the best Flash alternatives for your Mac, and I’m happy to share some of the results with you now. (more…)

Writing my contribution to the Apps We Use Feature after several others makes it interesting see how many applications we have in common. Like several of the other writers I’m a recent convert to the Mac, having started using a MacBook less than two years ago.

I now use my MacBook as my main computer; however, I’ve not made the complete switch and still spend as much time within Windows during my normal day as I do my MacBook. In addition to writing here, I have a day job as an IT manager and also do consulting, mostly in networks and web development. I tend to use apps I can use in both environments, or at ones that are compatible with similar Windows programs. Here are a few apps that I turn to every day to work and organize my work.

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I recently stumbled upon a great iPad app that, as strange as it may sound, has changed the way I work with my Mac. You can read our full review of Actions on iPad.AppStorm, but in a nutshell, Actions is an app that allows you to trigger keyboard shortcuts from your iPad.

Now while this may not seem very useful or relevant, think of the amount of keyboard shortcuts apps such as Photoshop have. Now imagine being able to launch these from your iPad, visually organised in a way that makes sense to you. Or imagine harnessing the power of Automator, Keyboard Maestro or Alfred with the aid of your iPad.

Seem more appealing? Then read on for a few interesting use cases of Actions for iPad with your Mac. Since it can launch keyboard shortcuts at the tap of one finger, you can make keyboard shortcuts that’d be rather unwieldily to enter on a Mac’s keyboard, and then use them in Actions easily. And even if you don’t have an iPad or don’t want to get Actions, you’ll likely find some shortcut based tricks here that’ll speed up work on your Mac.
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iCloud promises much. Apple build the service not only to store your content, but to ensure that content is available on whatever device you’re using at the time. It gives you an easy way to keep app settings and the documents you’re using synced between your devices using the same apps, but since iCloud syncs files specifically for each app, it makes it hard to use documents in other apps.

This can be frustrating to experienced users used to moving between apps for different elements of their work. Here, the simplicity of iCloud can frustrate more experienced users by hiding some of the complexity of cloud storage. Some apps allow ways to move files out of iCloud and to your local device, but it would be nice to be able to do this from Finder directly. Plain Cloud is a simple and free app that promises simple access to your iCloud in Finder. Let’s see if this is the solution we need to solve iCloud’s complexity.

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Remember Dashboard? That area where you keep these tiny, simple widgets for converting measurements, checking sport scores and stock prices, and more? It happens to still be alive, even if you’ve likely quit paying much attention to it these days.

Is there any reason you should still use the Dashboard? Turns out, it’s still a plenty useful little Mac tool, and I’ll likely still be using it until Apple finally drops it entirely. Here’s why.
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In 2012, the Mac community lost one of the Mac OS X mail clients that many considered to be the best on the market: Sparrow. Development has stopped (which doesn’t mean you can’t still use this app, though, at least for now) since the team has been acquired by Google.

Some claim that the whole email concept needs a refresh and solutions are offered, and the previously reviewed Mail Pilot and its upcoming Mac client, or the upcoming .Mail app are proof of that. Others still prefer to use web-based apps like the popular Gmail.

I, for one, still think that Mail.app, since its OS X Lion revision, is the best. It’s built-in, offered at no cost, and is completely integrated with OS X. I’ve customized it to fit my needs and developed my own workflow to deal with emails.

In my humble opinion, you should be able to jump into your emails, process them quickly, and then get back to work. A mail client, for me, is just a way to send and receive emails, not a big messy, clunky, filing cabinet with hundreds of manually created and sorted folders. Read on to find out why, in that case, Mail.app is the best for me, even when processing hundreds of incoming messages per day.

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Todoist—the popular online task management app—recently came out with a Mac desktop app available through the Mac App Store. The app is free, so I gave it a test run. While the app does have a couple of nice features such as a quick add shortcut and a menu bar icon that shows the number of due and overdue tasks, I quickly reverted to using Todoist with Fluid.

In case you haven’t heard, Fluid is a great utility that allows Mac users to turn any web app into a de facto desktop app, or Fluid App. Read on to discover my handy Todoist/Fluid set-up, as well as some other use cases for Fluid.

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In the previous instalment, I covered quite a few topics. Ranging from search and working with URLs to the various little neat features that make working with your Mac all the more pleasurable. As overwhelming as it all may have seemed at the time, I did warn you that there was still more to Alfred. Much more in fact.

So without further delay, let’s continue on our quest and wake this beast from its slumber once and for all.

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To the untrained eye, Alfred may seem like just another simple frontend to spotlight, allowing you to launch apps and search your Mac. However, beneath its seemingly humble facade lies a dormant beast. A powerful and flexible beast, that is, that with a little knowledge can be woken from its slumber to bring your productivity to new heights.

Join me on this epic quest as we set free the beast within Alfred and have it do your bidding.

Be sure to check out second article on Alfred to find even more productivity tips and tricks.

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2Do has been a mainstay among iOS task managers for quite sometime. Previously, editing tasks in 2Do was limited to using Toodledo’s web interface—for many users this is a less than ideal experience. Consequently, many 2Do users have been anticipating a desktop app for sometime. That day’s finally come, and 2Do for Mac is finally here.

How did this popular iOS app transition over to OS X? Pretty well I would say, as you can probably tell from the title. In this review I’ll compare 2Do with two popular competitors, Appigo’s Todo and The Hit List, and we’ll see how it holds up.

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