Posts Tagged

utility

With more Mac users than ever before using a portable Mac and Apple’s adoption of SSD storage, apps that specialise in finding ways to free up space and generally “tune-up” a Mac are becoming ever more popular.

The latest offering in this ever-increasing space is MacBooster, an all-in-one app that includes some additional features and functions that aren’t found in similar apps.

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How many windows do you have open on your Mac right now? How about when you are working? If you consider yourself a Mac power user, you likely work with a large number of windows open at the same time. There are a few ways to make working with droves of windows more manageable including the built in options (mission control and cmd-tab), using multiple monitors (like this guy demoing the new Mavericks multiple display features), or third part solutions. For the past couple of years I used Optimal Layout until recently switching to HyperSwitch — based on Paula’s review — for my window managing needs.

Another third party window management solution recently updated to 2.x: WindowMizer. It replaces the discontinued app WindowShade X as a way to “roll up” your windows similar to a window shade rather than minimize them to the dock. This is actually a previous feature for Macs back in the day, but is it still useful?

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Let’s be honest, Apple’s calculator app nearly as appealing as the other stock apps on the Mac; heck, it even falls short against its iOS counterpart. With just the basic functions available, it’s one of the least used (not to mention forgettable) apps on my computer. And of all things, it has a Dashboard sidekick that’s even more forgettable.

On the flip side, this can mean more breathing room for more flexible and powerful mathematical tools for the Mac. In fact, a quick search on the Mac App Store shows a wide range of apps to choose from, ranging from scientific to purpose-specific calculators.

One of these that I’m interested in is Numi by Dmitry Nikolaev & Co, a menubar app that moves away from the typical way we use calculators by incorporating text into computation. The idea is that calculations can be made more comprehensive by adding text into the process, and so it is easier to see and understand how we’d arrive at the result.

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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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Last month I looked at a couple of programs to improve the experience with Finder on your Mac. Several readers mentioned XtraFinder in the comments to that post. This program appeared to be very similar to TotalFinder so I decided to take a look at the program to see how it compares to the other Finder tools already examined.

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Panoramic photography has become wildly popular in recent years, due in no small part to the smartphone market getting flooded with devices that have the functionality built right in. These sorts of shots have never been a staple of professional or amateur photography, but they can help give a broad perspective on interesting scenes.

Stitcha, by Florian Denis, gives you the ability to merge several different photographs or video clips into a single wide-angle shot. This simple app aims to keep the process as straightforward as dragging and dropping.

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In today’s day and age where mobility is essential, we’ve seen a huge proliferation of increasingly smaller laptops, led by the MacBook Air’s success. With smaller laptops come smaller screens. While this is great for mobility it does come with a cost. Screen real-estate!

Not everybody is fortunate enough to work on a big beautiful 27″ iMac or a shiny new Retina MacBook Pro (I know I’m not). Most, whether by choice or necessity, work on small screens, and more often than we realize find ourselves jugling windows around or Alt-Tabbing between them.

Thanks to SnappyApp, a delightfully simple app that’s proven to be oh so useful, this has mostly become a thing of the past for me. Read on to find out why.
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For a lot of applications that save data, it’s difficult to accidentally quit; there’s going to be a prompt that stops us from making a huge mistake, but I’ve blown past that prompt to save when I was in a hurry more times that I’d like to remember. It’s possible to turn some of those prompts off, too, if you’ve gotten a bit cocky. You may be able to recover some of that, but it’s going to pull you out of whatever you were doing if you have to start even an internet browsing session over.

Helping prevent some of that accidental quitting is CommandQ. Never again will you attempt to select all (Command+A) and quit an important application with a rogue Command+Q keystroke. CommandQ makes it just a little more difficult to go for that shortcut, but does it really make a difference? (more…)

On a fine summer day this year, I stood in front of my MacBook Air — yes, sitting had become tiresome — thinking of a way to make my process of reviewing apps better. Sure, there are lots of ways my workflow could be improved, but I had one element in particular that kept me from being a pedant: the unobtainable icons for iOS apps. I could review whatever I wanted, but how was I to get a quality 200 x 200 pixel image? I thought about it a bit and to no avail, then pushed on to another task that needed attention.

A few weeks following the transpiration of said events, I happened upon Retina Mac Apps, my new favorite place to discover quality Mac apps. Among the collection of beautiful icons was Pragmatic Code’s Crunch, an app that stood out by having an icon closely resembling the well-known home button found on iOS devices. I wondered, why would a Mac app have such an icon? After a bit of reading, I realized that this was the very app I had been searching for weeks before. So I downloaded it and have been using it regularly. If the idea of this app sounds like something you see yourself using, keep reading for a assiduous appraisal of the app and its worth. (more…)

I’ve recently started toying with the idea of upgrading my MacBook Pro’s stock 500 GB hard drive with a new SSD. The cost of an SSD that comes anywhere close to 500 gigs is terrifying, so I’ve been shopping around for a drive that has less than half of that capacity. In order to determine if I could survive with a comparatively diminutive drive, I’ve begun some serious spring cleaning.

There are a ton of great apps out there for keeping your Mac’s hard drive clean. FIPLAB joins this crowded market with a very simple utility called Disk Doctor. I’ve employed it in my quest to squeeze my disk usage down to SSD capacity. Read on to find out how it fared in my tests.

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