The world of IRC is an interesting one. Despite a large and extremely active user base, most people have no idea what IRC is and how it’s different than the type of instant messaging we’re used to today.
Today we’ll give you a crash course in chatting using the IRC protocol and take a look at one of the most popular Mac IRC clients around: Colloquy.
In my last software review, I covered Blast, an application that shows you the recent files you’ve open or modified. In a similar spirit – but with more of a creative, professional spin – I’d like to introduce you to GridIron Software’s Flow.
Flow’s main goal is to help you stay sane and organized with all of the different files and projects you have cluttered around your Mac or Window’s box. Instead of creating a large ‘collection bucket’ for your files or automatically sort them as you create them, Flow takes a different approach, more on that after the break.
When I first started using Twitter, I relied on the browser interface, and that seemed good enough. And then I discovered Twitterrific, which provided a better-designed and more enjoyable experience. And then I got an iPhone, and – as they say – that changed everything. After a few hours using the original version of Tweetie, I found it very difficult to use any other client, either on the desktop or my iPhone. Thankfully, not too long afterwards, Atebits released the desktop version of Tweetie, and all was well in Twitterland.
This status quo remained for a long time: Tweetie on iPhone, Tweetie on desktop. But then things changed. Specifically, Twitter bought Tweetie. A few months passed, and then a new version of the iPhone app was released. I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t like it – but I know I wasn’t alone in feeling this way. The King had been deposed. A recent update to the desktop version changed little, and I found myself wanting a change – I decided to leave behind the world of Tweetie-now-become-Twitter…
And so began a quest for a new Twitter client – really for a clutch of Twitter clients: for iPhone, Macbook, and iPad. This market is pretty full now, and I’ve tried most of them. Here I’m going to give a tour of Kiwi, which is a fairly recent addition to the list of desktop apps available.
Have you ever longed for something a little more extensive than the AirPort Wi-Fi menu built into OS X? iStumbler is a simple utility that helps you find AirPort networks, Bluetooth devices, Bonjour services and Location information with your Mac.
Today, we’re going to look into this app a little further, and compare it to another competing piece of software that does a similar thing. Prepare to discover everything there is to know about the digital airwaves surrounding your Mac!
“Tinker, v.: attempt to repair or improve something in a casual or desultory way, often to no useful effect.”
If I could get back just some of the time that I have spent tinkering with computers over the years, I think I might be able to extend my lifetime quite significantly. One of the great things about OS X is that it actually requires little tinkering (and yes, some systems do require quite a lot of it!).
If you simply hand over control to the operating system, things will generally run quite smoothly. This does, though, also mean giving up on some choice, and so some freedom.
There are many apps available that help you to change various aspects of your Mac’s appearance and the way it generally runs. One of the best, and widest known, is Marcel Bresink’s TinkerTool. Join us after the jump as we explore what this app can do for you.
Apple made a controversial change in Snow Leopard. It’s a fairly system-level one, though, so perhaps the majority of users will not have had any issues with it – but it’s made some experienced Mac users pretty unhappy. What’s changed is the way in which files open when double-clicked.
It used to be that OS X embedded what’s known as a Creator Code in new files, so that the system knew to open files within the applications that made them. Rob Griffiths published a discussion of this behaviour, and the changes in Snow Leopard, in Macworld back in September last year. Have a read of that piece, and the lengthy comments that accompany it, if you want to understand the issue better.
I haven’t been impacted by this change to a great degree, but one of the applications that comes up in discussion of ways of fixing the change, and giving back more control over what applications open files, caught my eye. Michel Fortin’s Magic Launch is a Preference Pane that lets you manipulate file-opening in ways that allow you a great deal of flexibility.
It solves the problem of Creator Codes being removed, but it also adds some excellent functionality, and that means it’s well worth a look even if you’re untroubled by the main issue it addresses.
We’ve taken a look at the various different screenshot apps for OS X previously, but I’d like to focus on one in particular today. Skitch is a combination of a desktop application and web service that makes capturing and sharing screenshots fun.
As well as all the functionality you’d expect from a traditional screenshot app (or OS X itself), you can annotate your captured image, easily drag out the result, or publish it to your Skitch.com page in a few simple steps. Read on to find out how the application works, and whether it’s for you!
Despite Apple having done a great job of streamlining the process of app switching on OS X, it’s easy to reach a point where having many applications open can become a jumbled mess. Making sense of a maddening scene full of application windows, open folders and several documents can make it difficult to get anything done.
Spaces was Apple’s answer to the chaos, but for those that don’t find it deep or intuitive enough, Many Tricks’ Witch may provide a way out. This is an app that promises to do a better job than Spaces, Expose and Command-Tab ever could in making switching through any open window elegantly easy.
And since Witch installs into System Preferences, the level of customization is pretty high, which can be a bonus for those looking to have maximum control of what’s open and where. Let’s take a look at how it works!
Some of the comments on that review asked why anyone would use a download manager when most modern browsers have excellent download management built in. I thought the answers given were quite convincing, and it seemed that quite a few people do already use such apps, or might be in the market for one.
The short version of my own feelings about Speed Download is that I’ve never gotten on with it, though I own a licence and have used it on and off for the past year or so. But since there is a demand for download managers, and since Speed Download is well-known and widely used, I thought it would be worthwhile giving it another look and seeing whether or not my assessment was fair.
Join us after the jump for a walkthrough of its capabilities, and my personal judgement of whether looking at it again has changed my view of Speed Download.
When you own a PC, you need to pay attention to things like defragmenting your hard-drives, installing and updating antivirus, antivandal and firewall software. If you switch to a Mac, you need worry a lot less about such things. I’m not saying you should be complacent, but things generally just work much more easily and straightforwardly.
Your Mac has built-in maintenance routines that run periodically, and – for the most part – you will have a simpler computing experience that requires you to spend much less time under the hood tweaking things.
If you’ve made the switch from a PC, one thing that you might find yourself wondering about is defragmenting your hard-drive. Today we’re delving into that topic, and taking a look at iDefrag. After the jump, I’ll walk you through the app, and conclude with some reflections on whether or not you need it.