Posts tagged with macos - page 2

What I would like to see in Snow Leopard

The word is out that Snow Leopard will be about trimming down Leopard – likely Apple’s effort to switch to lower-capacity solid-storage such as found in the MacBook Air and perhaps future iPhones and maybe a tablet.

Mac OS X binaries have always been on the large size containing as they do multiple human languages and processor code (PPC, X86, X64) and it will be good that you don’t need to keep running TrimTheFat or XSlimmer to get them down.

Given this is such a system-oriented release, here’s what I want to see:

  • More detailed system information such as RAM SPD details, processor revision etc. (Manufacturers are offering faster RAM but you have to run a tool in Windows to find out what you have)
  • Option for ZFS system-partition with intelligent fast compression.
  • Support for flash memory as a cache/page-file – 32GB ExpressCards are cheap but useless on OS X.
  • Uninstaller to clean up installed/created files squirreled away in /Library etc. (Present in NextStep but had disappeared by OS X now space is a priority it’s time to bring it back.)
  • System notification API with standard responder that can be replaced by Growl for more customization.
  • Show package contents to work on ZIP files and other supported archives. Ability to drag files in/out.
  • Core compression API to complement core video and core data API’s with plug-in ability for extra compression algorithms and archive formats.
  • Optimization of the OpenGL drivers and API to get frame-rates for Mac games on par with their Windows equivalents.
  • Smart play-lists in Font Book – come on I want a list of English fonts… or monospaced ones. Why should I have to manage them?

I’d be very surprised if Blu Ray support doesn’t show up too and it might be time for DVD Player to just become Movie Player and gain some features from QuickTime which would then become just an API and the missing authoring features exposed to CoreVideo or iMovie.

[)amien

Four Windows apps for home-sick Mac users

Libra (like Delicious Library)

Delicious Library is a DVD, game and book organization tool I’ve been using since my PowerBook G4 and a 2.0 version has been dangling from Wil Shipley’s mouth longer than I care to remember.

Windows users however will find Libra a very interesting clone and it features some of the same great features such as bar-code scanning via a web cam, tracking loans, a rendered virtual shelf and fast queries.

Unlike Delicious Library 1.x it also features sharing your library on-line, tweaking the types and rendering and a more advanced query engine and is available free for non-commercial use.

E Text Editor (like TextMate)

TextMate is a programming editor for the Mac that can be extended through the use of Bundles to provide additional syntax highlighting, menu options and command processing. It is fast, feels lightweight and therefore incredibly customizable all of which contribute to it’s success.

E Text Editor is a Windows clone of TextMate that doesn’t just mimic the user interface but also provides compatibility with TextMate bundles allowing you to take advantage of some of the many great enhancements available and at $34 is almost half the price although it doesn’t feel as snappy as it’s Mac counterpart.

Digsby (like Adium)

Adium is my instant messaging client of choice allowing me a single app to manage MSN, ICQ and Google Talk (I wish they would get basic Skype support in there too).

Digsby provides similar functionality whilst also throwing social networking (Facebook, Twitter) and email notification (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail etc.) into the mix.

Dash (like Quicksilver)

QuickSilver provides a quick keyboard-based entry system for performing a wide variety of tasks and selections within Mac OS X and what it doesn’t do can often be added with plug-ins.

Dash achieves a similar effect on Windows but I have to admit I’m not really sold on either yet. I think the movement from keyboard to mouse and back every now and then must be a good break for your hands if not for your productivity…

[)amien

Mac freebies for Christmas

MouseWarp

Spaces is new in Leopard bringing virtual desktops to the masses. Leopard gives you a number of ways to switch between spaces including a menu-item drop down and configurable keyboard shortcuts.

To move a window to another space you drag it to the edge of the screen and wait a moment but curiously you can’t use this great technique without a window to switch!

MouseWarp adds that missing feature and provides configurable delay, an optional keyboard modifier to activate it and the choice of whether the mouse stays where it was or flips to the opposing edge on the new space.

BitRocket

I’ve tried and recommended a number of Bit Torrent programs in previous Mac software posts but BitRocket sports a great modern Mac look. The user interface tends to get a bit confused wen switching around a bit but being open source this could be fixed quite promptly.

Update: I can’t recommend this program whilst it crashes so often, check out the alternatives Jane suggests in the comments.

LiteIcon

Tools to replace the Mac’s choice of system icons are surely only going to get more popular with Leopard’s annoying almost-identical watermarked folders. Whilst LiteIcon isn’t quite as slick as the commercial app CandyBar it is $29 cheaper and still lets you use the multitude of pre-made iContainer packs from the likes of IconFactory.

Think

Are you one of those people that get distracted by other apps on the screen? Me too, which is why I now use Spaces but Think is an alternative darkens the other running applications to your taste.

Carbon Copy Cloner

If you are a Boot Camp user like myself you might want to be able to backup that Windows partition to disk somewhere and Carbon Copy Cloner comes to the rescue. This is fine for the occasional backup but I’m finding myself wanting something like Time Machine for Windows – suggestions anyone?

MacHeist

MacHeist is an odd concept to explain but starts with a couple of free apps and alternate reality game. If you can solve the missions then your name is probably Jonathan Creek but the rest of us can take tips, or combinations wholesale, from the official forums where those with more brains, resources or time have collaborated on solving it.

As you enter more combinations you unlock additional free (but non-up-gradable) applications and the odd discount for a forthcoming bundle in January which you are under no obligation to buy. You can also get an extra free app for Christmas by referring a friend. Just remember to backup the downloadable installers and serial numbers as once they’re gone that’s it!

So far the apps are (and I’ll update this tomorrow when I can unwrap the other three:

WireTap Pro

WireTap Pro lets you record any sound your Mac can make – thereby effectively allowing you to rip anything you can play if you don’t mind the the degradation in quality of lossy re-compression. It also lets you record snippets from DVDs you are watching or games you are playing for perhaps review purposes.

BitClamp

Encryption has lots of uses, not all nefarious, and BitClamp offers simple drag-and-drop encryption of your files into 256-bit AES or Serpent encryption or super-secure 448 bit Blowfish. It also offers gzip compression and the ability to bundle a Mac-only decryption program into the file.

Mouseposé

Screen-casts are getting slicker by the download and now includes web-cam-in-picture and a variety of keyboard and mouse trigger effects so you can see what they are doing. Mouseposé won’t help you with the webcam bit but it can darken the rest of the screen and highlight the mouse, visually show clicks on the screen and display your keystrokes.

Runic

A free game that I haven’t yet played, sorry. The only gaming I’ve been doing of late is Guitar Hero II/III although I’m hoping to get a couple of DS games tomorrow as well as a nice backpack to store my shiny new laptop in :)

Wallet

An address-book style application for storing items such as credit card numbers and serial numbers/registration details secured with 448-bit Blowfish encryption.

Catalog

Let’s you store an index of all your media on your computer for ease of scanning. These sorts of programs made sense in the days of floppy disks and small hard drives but seem pointless to me now…

Enigmo

Weird puzzle game that bears a little resemblance to the pipe-mania style games (that also made an appearance in BioShock under the guise of ‘hacking’).

Podcast Maker

Assembles XML files to describe Pod-casts with support for adding images and links. Useful because it’s free but I can’t see how anyone would have previously paid $29.95 for an interface to editing specific XML files.

Freeze Frame

Allows you to pause applications when you need the CPU back. Err, okay…

Voice Candy

Here’s a cool fun little app reminiscent of 80’s TV show Whiz Kids and later messing around on my Amiga. It basically lets you talk into your computer whereby it will adjust the wave-forms so you sound different. Like a chipmunk, Darth Vader, a robot, on the telephone, on an old radio, like a bad sci-fi movie, a sore throat or a mouse. You can also record the audio for later mixing up in GarageBand. Good fun and if the next version includes configurable effects I might have to actually buy a copy.

DEVONnote

Note taking and organizing application.

Hana

What appears to be a minimalist browser on top of the WebKit/Safari engine.

Billy Frontier

Space cowboy shoot-em-up game.

Monkey Lover

What appears to be monkeys fighting for their life on an American Football pitch. Not really my thing.

Sofa Control

Extends the use of your Apple Remote to applications besides iTunes and FrontRow :)

Xslimmer

Another tool to prune applications of the languages and architecture segments you do not require albeit with a much better interface than Monolingual.

Hope you have a great Christmas (or a great Tuesday if you don’t celebrate that ;-)

[)amien

More free Mac software picks

Alarm Clock 2

Wake up every morning to your iTunes playlist without the danger of an app launching it and having a problem/update pending that prevents you getting to work on time.

Alarm Clock 2 also includes Timers (great for a quick 20 minute power nap) and Stopwatches alongside the normal one-off or regular scheduled alarm that will bring both you and your machine out of sleep ready for that early-morning email check.

AP Grapher

If you need to keep an eye on what your WiFi connection is doing AP Grapher can help a little by showing you noise and signal levels over time.

Quick tip: Hold down Alt when going to the normal Apple WiFi menu to see some stats on your current connection.

AppFresh

Keeping your apps up to date can often be a pain and until Apple extend Software Update out to third parties we’ll have to use alternative solutions.

AppFresh is much more reliable than the previous Software Update widget which I was previously using. It still has the odd problem recognizing unusual version numbering such as build numbers and beta’s but otherwise does a pretty good job.

Cyberduck

I’ve been using FireFTP for a while under OS X but as I find myself spending more and more time in Safari and less in Firefox I wanted a standalone FTP client that’s a little better than using the command line or Connect To Server disk-mounting option.

Thankfully Cyberduck comes in to play and apart from not supporting my favorite column-mode and no option to make default connections passive it does the job quite well.

Senuti

There are a number of legal and legitimate reasons for grabbing songs back off your iPod (hard drive crash, removing music from your laptop to make space, overenthusiastic parents and siblings cleaning up your machine…)

Senuti helps save the day by letting you get your tracks back off your iPod and onto your Mac.

SyncMate

I must confess I haven’t had time to try this yet but if you want to syncronize your Windows Mobile phone with your Mac and don’t want to pay up for MissingSync (or pay extra just to get Leopard compatibility, grrr) then SyncMate is your only option although how long it stays free beyond beta remains to be seen.

[)amien