Posts tagged with macos - page 4

Pixelmator for Mac released

One of the things I love about Apple is the way they enhance Mac OS X with great features for other developers to leverage. Built-in spell-checking, incredibly rich edit controls, development environment and the recent Core frameworks are such additions. Core Image allows applications access to real-time hardware-accelerated graphic effects and is used within some of Apple’s own apps for various effects.

Pixelmator screen shotPixelmator is the product of a two-man team that provides Photoshop like abilities for $59. Apple would not ship such a product for fear of further upsetting Adobe.

Whilst Pixelmator bears a resemblance to Photoshop and will happily open PSD files the user interface is very clean and easy to use and the Core Image filters and correction tools deliver their results in real-time. No more of the tweak-wait-look cycle Photoshop forced us into and gazing at CPU benchmarks working out which combination of processor and OS would be better.

The GPU is king.

Pixelmator also delivers the usual array of painting, manipulation and selection tools, a variety of brushes, layers, gradients, support for 100 file formats, metadata access etc. It integrates with other Mac technologies including the iSight (new layer), Spotlight (search meta), iPhoto, ColorSync, Dashboard (file conversion), Automator and leverages various open-source technologies including ImageMagick, Gradient Panel, Cairo, Sparkle (software update).

If you need convincing download the demo and/or watch the introductory screen cast.

Future versions will include integration with Aperture (yes!), RAW file support, .Mac syncing (brushes, swatches etc.) and perhaps even vector support (probably utilizing Cairo).

Gruber had concerns Pixelmator was just vapourware which is now obviously not the case. I’m still waiting for Delicious Library 2 and Midnight Inbox 2 although I have a pre-release of OmniFocus I am allowed to write about if people are interested…


Confusing co-workers, family and friends for fun

Everybody enjoys a good laugh and there are some fun simple things that can confuse your co-workers, family or friends for a few minutes.

Here’s a few tricks that may… or may not cause some amusement. Just make sure you step in before they need to call their IT support guy!

Simulated operating system crash

An operating system crash sends a shiver up the most confident of spines.

Windows Blue Screen of Death

Install the SysInternals teams BlueScreen Screen Saver complete with genuine looking reboot sequence.

Mac OS X Kernel Panic

Try out Doomlaser’s Kernel Panic Screensaver although be prepared for genuine confusion at their first exposure to an operating system crash ;-)

Confused keyboard

If they are a hunt-and-peck typist confuse them by swapping a few keys around on their keyboard (make sure it lets you pull the tops off, some of them don’t and leaving them with a broken keyboard isn’t fun at all).

An alternative if the keyboard doesn’t allow you to remove the key tops or if they’re a touch-typist is to change the keyboard map to one similar but not the same. Favorites include US for Brits and and British for Americans if you want something very subtle that may take a few hours to be noticed (when they hit some symbols, pound signs etc.) or German for something a bit quicker (W and Z reversed).

Head to the Windows Control Panel or Mac System Preferences to activate.

Permanent hourglass (Windows)

A simple trick that just involves heading into Control Panel > Mouse Properties then choosing the Pointers tab and double clicking on Normal Select. From there choose hourglas.ani

Google goes abroad

Google remembers which language you you last used so simply head to something like (Russian), (Welsh) or (French) then close the Window and walk away.

Any further visits will show in that language, even searches made from the built-in boxes of Internet Explorer and Firefox. To set back head to (English) or whatever language you normally use.

Swap short cuts (Windows)

Choose properties on either the desktop, start-menu or quick launch icon they use to launch their favorite applications and change the target to a different but perhaps similar application. i.e. iTunes and Windows Media, Word and WordPad, Excel and PowerPoint. They’ll probably think they hit the wrong icon or that something has messed up the file associations.

Change the display gamma

Head into Control Panel > Display (Windows) or System Preferences > Display (Mac) and adjust the gamma or color profile for their display. No amount of fiddling with the displays brightness or contrast settings will get it quite back to how it was.

Jeff Atwood has further suggestions for people who don’t lock their machines. Remember kids, WindowsL is your friend.


Great free system tools for Mac OS X


Deeper takes you further that System Preferences and provides access to a number of extra options such as Finders graphical effects, layout, spacing and menus, as well as some extra options for Dashboard, Dock, Expose, Login and more.

As an extra cool treat you can also select a screen-saver to be your desktop background just to show off how smooth, slick and system-deep the transparency, scaling and hardware acceleration go in OS X.


I’ve commented before on how I like the Mac’s simple installation mechanism that involves just dragging a folder out of the disk image to where you want it, or in some cases running a package but uninstalling should be just as simple. Thanks to AppTrap it is.

AppTrap watches your Trash and if it detects an application being disposed of asks you if you would like to remove the support files. Great.

0xED Cocoa hex editor

Every hardcore user needs a hex editor from time to time and 0xED is free and very capable.

Features include unlimited file size, interpreting bytes as strings in a variety of encodings, or as integers, floats, doubles and support both big and little endian bytes.

0xED also supports a plug-in mechanism so you can write your own custom data types. The plug-in page includes one for interpreting four bytes as an IP address (v4).


Until I can get my hands on a Hitachi’s 200GB/7200 replacement internal drive for my MacBook Pro I’m stuck having to prune my photo, music and applications in order to make space.

Most Mac applications now ship in Universal format which means they contain binaries for both PowerPC and Intel architectures. Drag one of these applications to TrimTheFat and it will remove the part your current machine doesn’t need.


SafariStand is a plug-in that lets you tweak tweak Safari’s behavior such as applying alternative style-sheets, disabling JavaScript, Java or images, modifying encoding and minimum font sizes on a site-by-site basis as well as enhancing the bookmarks with colors and categories, disabling animated GIFs and FavIcons.

If you need a reason to install this try Hicksdesign’s Google Reader Theme to make Google Reader look much more like a Mac application.

The Unarchiver

The Mac’s built-in BOMArchiveHelper is a useful de-compressor for archives but for when it can’t handle a format turn to The Unarchiver.

Thanks to the libxad library it uses formats include: Zip .zip, RAR .rar, 7-Zip .7z, LhA .lha .lzh, StuffIt .sit, BinHex .hqx, MacBinary .bin, .macbin, Gzip .gz, .gzip .tgz, .tar-gz, BZip2 .bz2, .bz, .bzip2 .tbz .tbz2, Tar .tar .gnutar, Unix compress .z .taz .tar-z, ACE .ace, Microsoft CAB .cab, Comic Book .cbz .cbr, Linux RPM .rpm, DiskDoubler .dd, Self-Extracting .sea .exe, CPIO .cpio .cpgz, Pax .pax, HA .ha, Amiga disk image .adf, .adz .dms .dcs .pkd .xms .zom, Amiga archive .f .lzx


Hidden menu options on the Mac

Apple tends to hide away unusual functionality in order to keep the user interface easy to use.

Here are a few hidden menu options that magically appear when you press the Shift, Alt or Ctrl modifier keys.

The Apple System Menu

Standard menus

Apple menu

  • Alt > System Profiler… (Leopard only)
  • Alt > Shut Down (with no confirmation)
  • Alt > Restart (with no confirmation)
  • Alt > Log Off (with no confirmation)
  • Shift > Force Quit ? (current application)

File menu

  • Alt > Close All (in some applications)

Edit menu

  • Alt > Deselect All (in some applications)

Window menu

  • Alt > Minimize All
  • Alt > Zoom All
  • Alt > Arrange in Front


Finder menu

  • Alt > Empty Trash (no confirmation)
  • Alt > Secure Empty Trash (no confirmation)

File menu

  • Alt > Always Open With
  • Alt > Show Inspector (like Get Info but changes to reflect whatever you select)
  • Shift > Slideshow (Leopard only)
  • Shift > Add to Favorites
  • Shift > Find by Name… (Leopard only)
  • Ctrl > Open in this Window (Leopard only)
  • Ctrl > Get Summary Info

View menu

  • Alt > Clean Up
  • Alt > Keep Arranged By (Leopard only)

Go menu

  • Ctrl > Enclosing Folder in this Window (Leopard only)


Application running menu

  • Alt > Hide Others
  • Alt > Force Quit


Application menu

  • Alt > Private Browsing (no confirmation)

File menu

  • Alt > Close All Windows
  • Alt > Close Other Tabs

Bookmarks menu

  • Shift > Add Bookmark to Menu


Edit menu

  • Alt > Delete Page (no confirmation)

Insert menu

  • Alt > Custom Footmark…

QuickTime Player

Window menu

  • Alt > Show Movie Info


Photos menu

  • Ctrl > Hide Flagged Photos
  • Ctrl > Move Flagged to Trash
  • Alt > Clear All Flags

Events menu

  • Alt > Merge With Next


Buddies menu

  • Alt > Send Direct Message

Window menu

  • Ctrl > Logout Jabber List


File menu

  • Ctrl > New Empty File
  • Ctrl > Close Project
  • Alt > Open in Separate Editor
  • Alt > Reveal in Finder
  • Alt > Show Inspector
  • Alt > Save All…
  • Alt > Save a Copy As…

View menu

  • Alt > Zoom Editor In Fully
  • Alt > Split View Horizontally

Project menu

  • Shift > Ungroup

Run menu

  • Alt > Step Into Instruction
  • Alt > Step Over Instruction

Find menu

  • Shift > Find Previous
  • Shift > Replace and Find Previous
  • Alt > Find Select Regex in Project (Damn useful!)
  • Alt > Replace All


File menu

  • Alt > Save As…

Bookmarks menu

  • Alt > Open Bookmarks Window
  • Ctrl > Open All Changed Bookmarks

OmniGraffle Pro

Edit menu

  • Alt > Select None

Arrange menu

  • Alt > Bring Forward
  • Alt > Send Backward

Note: OmniGraffle Pro also toggles various toolbar buttons on Alt including lock/unlock and which side the utilities drawer slides out.

OmniOutliner & OmniFocus

View menu

  • Alt > Expand Line Completely
  • Alt > Collapse Line Completely

VMware Fusion

Virtual Machine menu

  • Alt > Start Up Guest
  • Alt > Shut Down Guest
  • Alt > Suspend Guest
  • Alt > Restart Guest


View menu

  • Alt > Show Inspector
  • Alt > Mark All

Window menu

  • Alt > Select Previous Active Panel
  • Alt > Select Next Active Panel


View menu

  • Alt > Reload All Tabs
  • Shift > Force Reload Page

Bookmark menu

  • Shift > Bookmark Current Page
  • Shift > Bookmark Current Tabs as Tab Group

If you like keyboard short cuts you might also want to check out KeyCue which can display all of an applications short cuts on in a single list when you hold down the Apple key including these key-modified options.

Heavy keyboard users may also want to head to the Keyboard & Mouse preferences pane where you can switch on full keyboard navigation allowing you to tab through all controls in a window. It also shows a number of useful key-navigation options you may not be aware of such as pressing CtrlF3 to select an item from the dock.