Tag Archives: mac-software

Cheap Mac Software with MacGraPhoto 2

Good software is insanely expensive. Great software is usually out of the realm of purchasing possibility for many of you. This is why MacGraPhoto has worked hard to bring you nine fantastic graphics applications for a seriously low price. There are only nineteen days left to take advantage of this offer, so you’d better not procrastinate. Even if you don’t think you’ll need all of these titles yourself, why not grab them while you can and then give a few away as gifts during the holidays?

Included in your $39.99 bundle (which would normally sell for over four hundred bucks) is:

  • AtomicView – AtomicView is a digital asset manager (DAM) software program that allows users to organize, browse, and output photos, images, videos, and sounds. A flexible and fast video and image conversion and transformation tool optimized for multicore computers.
  • Hydra – Hydra provides human eye-like perception to your photographs by allowing you to create High Dynamic Range (HDR) images from a series of regular photographs.
  • ImageFramer – ImageFramer is an easy-to-use but powerful application for framing your images and photos with beautiful photo-realistic and artistic frames.
  • Layers – Layers captures every window, every palette, every menu, every menu and status bar icon, every icon on the Desktop, and even the Dock and the Desktop background for each of your connected displays will be saved as a separate editable layer in the resulting Photoshop image file.
  • Posterino – With a focus on ease-of-use, Posterino 2 creates life posters, photo collages, frames, postcards, greeting cards and contact sheets from digital images. Posterino does the hard work while users just have to fine tune the results.
  • Snapshot – Snapshot brings the power of a photo lab to your computer. Printing your digital images has never been easier.
  • Sandvox – Sandvox is easy-to-use, popular, award-winning, do-it-yourself web site builder for Mac. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro — when it comes to building a website on your Mac, Sandvox is considered the best web design software for Mac.
  • Sketch – An innovative and fresh look at vector drawing for the Mac. Its intentionally minimalist design is based upon a drawing space of unlimited size and layers, free of palettes, panels, menus, windows, and controls.
  • Swift Publisher – With Swift Publisher, publishing attractive and informative documents for business, social and home activities becomes a snap.
  • DVD Library BONUS! – DVD-Library lets you catalog, manage and backup your DVDs on Mac in a visual library. Just enter part of the title or UPC of the DVD (including Blu-ray DVDs), DVD-Library will automatically retrieve the DVD’s cover and all relevant info from Amazon, quick and easy.

You can even end up getting this entire bundle for free. When you purchase your bundle, you will receive an email with a personalized link in it to give out to others. If three or more people purchase the bundle themselves using your link, you will receive a full refund when the promotion ends! How cool is that?

Life is much easier when you have great software to help you accomplish your goals. Life is even sweeter when that software is affordable!

Do Microsoft Employees Use (and Love) Mac OS X?

My friend Brandon works for Microsoft, and he also owns a Mac. He uses Windows on his Mac, but… let’s just assume that he’s not the only Microsoft employee who carries around Apple hardware (and software, given that Brandon’s running Boot Camp on it).

What about MacBU?

I can’t say that I’ve been all that impressed with Mac Office 2008. Excel doesn’t seem to be half as user friendly (and fun!?) as Numbers, PowerPoint doesn’t hold a candle to Keynote, and Word is no longer a killer app. Entourage needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from the ground up, but by the time that happens… a true Exchange-like replacement (Web and desktop accessible) may have shipped. At least the Mac Office team has relatively prolific bloggers:

As far as the rest of Microsoft’s Mac offerings are concerned, there’s Remote Desktop Connection, but… I hate using it on Windows, so why on Earth would I want to use it on OS X? Messenger doesn’t make any more sense, either – since I use Miranda on Windows, and Adium on OS X. Microsoft has already abandoned Windows Media Player for OS X, but VLC plays WMV and WMA well enough for me. Virtual PC was waiting to be lapped by the likes of VMware Fusion and Parallels

I just don’t need Microsoft’s desktop software like I once did.

iTunes is a must-have app on Windows for those folks who carry around iPods or iPhones without a Mac lying around. I’m not saying that I like it (I don’t, on either Windows or OS X) – just that users have a clear reason to have iTunes installed and running on either OS. The day Apple decides to bundle Safari with iTunes downloads is the day their browser starts to make a serious dent in the browser agent pie chart. Safari on Windows isn’t all that bad, either.

Windows users need Apple’s software more than Mac users need Microsoft’s.

How to Move the Home Folder in OS X – and Why

Someone, who can be identified as Darwin9 in the chat room, sent me a “How to Move the Home Folder in OS X Leopard.” I hadn’t done it yet, but it’s something that I was hoping to do for my next installation.

  1. Click on ‘Macintosh HD’ in the Finder and open the ‘Users’ folder. In here you will find a folder named after your shortname. This is your home folder. As it is currently your active home folder it will have a ‘house’ icon assigned to it. Copy this folder to the 2nd hardrive by simply dragging it (moving files / folders to a 2nd volume in OS X only copies the content, it doesn’t remove it from its original location). Note: The copied folder will not have the ‘house’ icon as it is not yet recognized as you active home folder. We will change this in the following steps.
  2. Open the ‘System Preferences’ application from either the Dock, the Applications folder or from the Apple menu.
  3. Click on the ‘Accounts’ icon in the ‘System’ section.
  4. After entering your password to unlock the padlock, CTL-Click (or right click if you have this enabled for your mouse) on the active admin account (from the list of user accounts in the left pane) to reveal an ‘Advanced Options’ contextual menu. Select this item.
  5. You will be presented with a pane full of advanced settings (and also a warning about how you should only change these settings if you know what you are doing!). Ignore all of these settings except for the ‘Home Directory’ option. This is the path that OS X uses to locate your home folder when you login. It should say: /Users/shortname
  6. Click on the ‘Choose’ button, and browse to the home folder in the new location (this will be the folder you moved in Step 1 which will be named after your shortname). After you select the new location, the ‘Home directory’ path should change to something like: /Volumes/shortname.
  7. OS X will continue to use the original home folder until you restart. So restart the computer and login as normal. To confirm that the new home folder is now active, browse to the folder you copied to the 2nd hardrive and check it has the ‘house’ icon assigned to it. Now that your home folder is successfully located on your 2nd drive, you can delete the original home folder in the Users folder. It should now have a generic folder icon as it is no longer the active home folder.

Why would you bother to move your ‘Home’ folder at all? For the same reason why I recommend you keep your ‘My Documents’ folder on a completely separate hard drive. It’s just easier to manage should something happen to your OS or primary drive. Scott added, in a follow-up email:

Everything will work just the same as normal, it’s all transparent to the user. The only difference will be that all of the stuff inside your home folder (Desktop, Documents, Downloads Pictures, Music, Movies, etc.) will actually be kept on the 2nd drive instead of on the 1st (boot drive).

This is great if you ever have to reinstall OS X, you can erase the 1st boot drive, reinstall OS X, and perform steps 2 – 7 again and you’ll be back up and running with all of your stuff in the home folder untouched! You don’t need to perform step 1 because the home folder is already on the 2nd drive at this point. You will have to install Applications and set Global and System Preferences again though as i will explain below.

All you have to understand is that OS X uses 4 distinct folders: Applications, Library, System and Users. The first 3 all have to remain on the 1st boot drive – Applications and its contents all have their permissions set to allow the System to read and write to them, so this is where you should keep ALL applications.

The Library is where all Admin level files are kept. These are files that effect every user globally like system preferences, and there permissions are set to only allow Admin users access to change things in here.

And the System folder is just that… it’s for the System only and you should very rarely have to change anything in this folder. Even if you try to mess with this folder as an Admin account holder, you will most likely be denied or asked to authenticate, because the System owns most of the files in here.

The 4th folder Users, includes a dedicated folder for each user (named after the shortname) that has been setup in OS X (This is the folder we located to the 2nd drive). All of your user files and folders and kept in here. Everything in this folder has the permissions set to allow only that individual user access to it. So the (User) Library folder in here is very similar to the (Admin) Library mentioned above, except that its contents are specific to only the user in question.

This means preferences that are specific to your personal stuff are kept in here. So things like custom application preferences, email accounts, user installed screen-savers, fonts, plug-ins and codecs, and your Desktop picture, Finder and Dock settings etc.

You could get away with changing the location of your home folder whenever you want probably, not just after the initial install. I warn against it because if something goes wrong it is effortless to start again in the beginning.

But OS X will handle moving your home folder just fine if you follow the steps I gave each time. If your wondering why it doesn’t break links between applications and preferences etc, its because OS X uses Directory Services to keep a central database of all users and the locations of their home folders etc in one place. When applications and preferences try to perform user specific actions, it all flows through Directory Services – So if you keep the database up to date by following the steps I provided, OS X will always know where everything is! 😉

Most Users Simply Can't Switch to a Mac

I’m not surprised that Vista barfed on Philip Greenspun (RE: The $1000 HP desktop tower running Windows Vista), but I am surprised at his inline follow-up comment:

I returned the system to Best Buy (a painful process that would have taken hours on a busy weekend day) and she reverted to her ancient Dell. When she receives documents from people using Macintoshes, she cannot open them. If she had a Macintosh, she would be sending documents to her professional colleagues (all Windows users) and they would not be able to open them.

I two separate (and free solutions) for anybody with this problem. Understand, too, that I’m in Brad’s camp in respect to believing that Microsoft really missed the mark with Office 2008 for the Mac (it’s not a recommended purchase).

Most people don’t use the features inside of Microsoft Word (beyond inline spell check). Assuming she’s not dealing with macro-laden documents, “Office” compatibility should not be THE thing holding her back from getting a Mac.

There’s NeoOffice or Google Docs – both of which should be cross-compatible with what most people use Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for. If you want to spend money, iWork ’08 is completely worth every penny.

Philip continues his comment, suggesting that there are also Windows software compatibility issues at play. This is a much more difficult issue to deal with, as neither Parallels nor VMware Fusion have progressed to the point of being beyond brain-dead simple for the average user. The day that either one, or OS X itself, runs Windows apps natively… is the day yet one more argument for Windows on the user’s desktop disappears.

Ultimately, the solution lies in migrating to tools that (a) work via the Web / Internet, (b) don’t require platform-specific software, (c) adhere to open or largely accepted standards. Not every angle can be covered today, but I’m pretty damn sure we’re closer to desktop independence than we were last year.

Put Your Mac Apps on a Diet

MacBoy14 has seen the light:

I have finally given in and bought Xslimmer. This $11.95 app is AMAZING! Since you are now gonna switch to an almost all-Mac house I thought it would be the perfect time to tell you. Anyways, if you haven’t seen this app, or you haven’t bought it, I HIGHLY recommend it. If you don’t know Xslimmer, is an application that will scan through (or you can manually add) all your apps and check them against a database of apps that can be slimmed. If the app is “slimmable,” (Only a few are not, and I have just found one app so far that it said was okay but wasn’t… Airport Utility [The one in the utilities folder]) it will remove the PowerPC architecture of the app and all the additional languages of your choosing. This DRAMATICALLY reduces the size of an app and the time it takes to start an app.

I didn’t have to buy it. I got it for free from this year’s MacHeist. 🙂 Agreed, it’s a nice app – but not without caveats. MacBoy14’s Experience: 154 Apps Slimmed and 1.43GB saved.

Performance: Almost every time I start my mac I launch FireFox, Mail, and iChat. Before the slim (after clicking each rapidly in succession in my dock,) the bouncing icons pause for 3-5 seconds and you can hear the HD of my iMac (2.16GHz Core 2 Duo with 2.5GB Ram) read rapidly… Now if I do the same thing I get absolutely NO delay or pause.

Examples:

  • Colloquy – Initial: 16.3MB – Final: 6.87MB
  • Address Book – Initial: 47.5MB – Final: 4.06MB
  • Boot Camp Assistant – I: 12.4MB – F: 852KB
  • Directory – I: 58.3MB – F: 4.76MB
  • Terminal – I: 24.8MB – F: 3.24MB

If you don’t have a PPC processor, why load the code? Apple did the right thing by letting apps support multiple platforms, but there’s no use in keeping what you don’t need.

Smack the Dock Stacks

Rainer Brockerhoff has come up with a wonderful solution to a new OS X Dock shortcoming. Quay:

Rainer Brockerhoff announces the first public beta of Quay, a utility that brings back hierarchical popup menus to the Leopard Dock. Quay is a simple app that brings back the hierarchical menus, but with several additional capabilities. You can sort menus by name, date modified, data created or kind. Optionally you can show small or large icons, see invisible items or browse into packages and bundles.

Quay is a public beta. There is no trial period, but only the first Quay item in the Dock will work until you register – registration will be enabled in the final version. The tentative price will be Euro 7 (about US$10).

Quay items are on the right (or bottom) side of the Dock, just like you’re used to. There are no apps running on the other side of the Dock; no extra distracting “running” lights. It uses the system’s Dock, not a secondary palette or window.

Quay is a simple Cocoa application. You run it just to configure a popup item in the Dock. For the popups, it runs an on-demand background tool that uses very little CPU time and memory. Quay does no magic. It doesn’t hack the Dock in any way, and calls no private system interfaces.

Qwe qthink qthis qis qinda qool.

Top 100 Mac Apps

I’ve compiled a list of my top 100 Mac apps for your perusal, since so many people have been asking for it. Thanks to Taylor Olson and Jason for helping me put all the icons and links in place! These apps are certainly Tiger compatible, and most of ’em work inside Leopard (though the VNC utilities are now unnecessary). I did my best to avoid overly popular titles, but couldn’t avoid it in some cases.

A rolling list of ‘Honorable Mentions’ follow the Top 100, so… keep reading. 😉 Only one application is missing.

I’m also happy to announce that both VMware and Shiny White Box are coming aboard as official video sponsors – but their presence in this list is based on app merit. It’s my hope to find exclusive coupons and pricing for any of the following commercial applications… or any commercial Mac app, for tha tmatter. Stay tuned!

Which apps did I miss – especially for Windows switchers? 😉

7zX

     (Compress / Decompress 7zX Archives)

ACP Suite

     (Ultimate OS X Power Toys Array)

Adium

     (Universal Instant Messaging App based on Pidgin)

AP Grapher

     (Searches and Displays Wireless Networks)

AppFresh

     (Keeps Third Party / Apple Apps Up-To-Date)

AppZapper

     (Drag and Drop Uninstall Applications)

ASCII Projecktor

     (View Live or Recorded Video in ASCII)

Battery Health

     (Maintain Your Battery)

Bean

     (Simple Word Processor)

Bonjour Browser

     (Browse Local Bonjour Services)

Butler

     (Quickly Run Recurring Tasks)

BwanaDik

     (Monitor Networks from the Menu Bar)

ByteController

     (iTunes Controller from the Menu Bar)

Caffeine

     (Control your Mac’s Sleep Schedule)

CamTwist

     (Add Effects to Live Video)

Carbon Copy Cloner

     (Clones your Entire Mac Hard Drive)

Celtx

     (Distributed Play or Movie Script Builder)

ClamXav

     (Open Source Virus Checker)

coconutBattery

     (View and Track Battery Info)

Colloquy

     (IRC Client)

Cyberduck

     (FTP / SFTP Client)

DasBoot

     (Make your iPod an OS X Toolkit)

DeskLickr

     (Changes your Desktop with Flickr Images)

Disk Inventory X

     (Disk Usage Utility)

ffmpegX

     (Convert Video to/from Any Format)

FlickrGet

     (Gets Photos from Flickr)

FreeDMG

     (Drag and Drop Disk Imaging)

HamachiX

     (Free VPN Client)

HandBrake

     (DVD to MP4)/li>

HyperDither

     (Converts Images)

iAlertU

     (Alarm System for OS X)

Iconverter

     (Icon Extraction and Conversionl)

iGTD

     (Getting Things Done / Personal Organizer)

iPSP

     (PSP Management on OS X)

iShowU

     (Extreme Screencasting Tool)

iStat Menus

     (System Monitoring from the Menu Bar)

iStumbler

     (Wireless AP Discovery Tool)

Jarlnspector

     (.JAR Explorer)

JES Deinterlacer

     (Deinterlacer for Videos)

JollysFastVNC

     (Fast VNC Client)

Journler

     (Digital Journal)

Jumpcut

     (Clipboard Extender)

KoolClip

     (Item Locking, Instant Google)

Levelator

     (Adjusts Audio Levels in Podcasts)

Librarian Pro

     (Personal Inventory System)

LineIn

     (Enable Soft Playthru of Audio)

LiquidMac

     (Motion Sensor Liquid Fun)

Mac Pilot

     (Enable Hidden Features in OS X)

MacSaber

     (Motion Sensor Lightsaber)

MainMenu

     (Menu Bar Task Manager)

Max

     (Control CD Audio Extraction)

MediaRECOVER

     (Recover Deleted Files from USB)

MenuMeters

     (Computer Monitoring Tools)

MetaX

     (Metadata Tagger for MP4s)

Money

     (Finance Manager)

Monolingual

     (Removes Unnecessary Languages from Mac OS X)

MPEG Streamclip

     (High Quality MPEG Converter)

NeoOffice

     (Free Office Suite)

OnyX

     (OS X Tweaker)

OpenPList

     (“Edit” plist Files)

Operation

     (Project Management)

Perian

     (Enhance QuickTime Playback Range)

PrintFinder

     (Print “Finder” Folder List)

QuickSilver

     (Quick Application / File Launcher)

Quinn

     (“Extreme Tetris” Game)

Relationship

     (Customer Relationship Management)

Resize ‘Em All

     (Quick Image Resizing Application)

Rulers

     (On-Screen Rulers)

Senuti

     (Transfer from iPod to Mac)

Service Scrubber

     (Restructure the Service Menu)

Simple Comic

     (Comic Viewer)

Skitch

     (Simple Screen Shot Sharing Utility)

Sleep Display

     (Puts Your Screen to Sleep)

SlingPlayer

     (Mac Player for SlingBox)

smcFanControl

     (Control the Speed of MacBook Fans)

Smultron

     (Free XML Editor)

Stomp

     (Video Re-compressor)

Stuffit

     (The Classic Archive Manager)

SuperDuper!

     (Clone Mac Drive / Backup Utility)

Teleport

     (Virtual KVM for Macs)

TextWrangler

     (Yet Another Cool Text Editor)

The Unarchiver

     (Ultimate Archive Un-doer)

ThumbsUp

     (Thumbnail Creation Tool)

TinkerTool

     (System Tweaker)

Roxio Toast

     (Burn CDs and DVDs)

Transmission

     (Simple Torrent Application)

Turbo.264

     (H.264 Video Converter)

TVShows

     (Track Torrents of TV Shows)

Undercover

     (Anti-theft Software)

UnRarX

     (Unarchive RAR Files)

Vine Server

     (VNC Server for Tiger)

VisualHub

     (Easy Batch Video Converter)

VLC

     (The Ultimate Media Player)

VMware Fusion

     (Virtual Machine Software)

Wallsaver

     (Set a Screen Saver as the Wallpaper)

WaterRoof

     (OS X Firewall Config Tool)

WinClone

     (Clone BootCamp Partitions)

Witch

     (Better Than Command+Tab)

xPad

     (Slightly More Advanced Text Editor)

You Control

     (Puts all of your info into one spot on your Mac)

Honorable Mention (Rolling List):