Archive for the ‘ Mac Software Reviews ’ Category

Mac OS X 2.0 – Where Apple is going

Some time ago I wrote down my anger and disappointment about Mac OS Lion and the way Apple is going. I concluded with the vague notion that Windows 8 might be not so bad. Since then I talked with a lot of people about Lion and the Mac platform realizing even more issues, while also I learnt a lot about Windows 8 and its upcoming features. Taking the risk of receiving dozens of flame mails, let me explain why Windows is taking the right steps and Mac OS is not.

Kernel panic in Mac OS X.

Image via Wikipedia

Where Mac OS is going

Monitoring Apple’s moves over the last months I now am convinced that Apple is planning to transform the Mac into a bigger iPhone. I think Apple realized that professional products will never earn them as much money as consumer oriented products like the iPhone. So they will probably merge Mac OS 10.8 with iOS to move all their attention to the just-for-fun consumer users that are already buying iPhones and Apple TVs. There are several striking areas where this can be seen:

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Easily rename files – NameChanger

There is a wide selection of file name changing tools of which several are very powerful but of course also cost money. They are worth it if you need to do batch renaming very often and need quite complex options.

I do file renaming not very often – maybe once a month – and I don’t need any complicated algorithms. Just for things like renaming all images from my camera from ‘IMG0012’ to ‘image_0012’. Very simple. And luckily there is just the right Application for me: NameChanger.

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New free text editor – Tincta

Tincta text editor icon

The History (skip if you want)

A long time ago everyone on the Mac was using Smultron. Smultron was a really Mac like text editor written in Cocoa. It was easy to use, had all the important text editing features and was free. However after version 3 Smultron was abandoned (yet buggy) by its developer. This year with the start of the App Store Smultron 4 returned as a commercial product for 5 Dollars but has lost all the things that once made it valuable, especially the all-in-one-window design but also features like split views. So for me it was no longer an option to use and I had switched to TextWrangler though that never became a happy relationship.

The interesting part

So much more pleasantly surprised I was when I discovered “Tincta“. Tincta is a new free text editor released some time this summer. But despite being still in the 1.x version numbers it already is a very mature editor. It is a one-window app and has a very similar design as the old Smultron, Kod (also an interesting editor but still in version 0.x) and most other modern OS X Apps. All your open documents are displayed in a sidebar so you can easily switch between them (which I prefer over the tab design in Kod). Continue reading

Mac OS Goodies – DigitalColor Meter

I recently noticed that there are several (commercial) Apps in the App Store that allow to pick colors from your screen. I find this very surprising because Mac OS has a built-in screen color picker that works perfectly well.

I guess a lot of people don’t know this very useful tool called “DigitalColor Meter”. You find it in Applications/Utilities or just using Spotlight. With DigitalColor Meter you can easily get the color of any pixel on your display. This is quite useful if you want to “borrow” a color from a website or an icon or if you want to copy a color from one Application to another. Continue reading

Personal Thought – Don’t upgrade to Lion

English: The icon of Mac OS X Lion

As a developer I had to upgrade to Lion right when it was released so I could test my Software on it. I’m sure there are lots of people who have not upgraded yet and besides all the technical reviews you can get on arstechnicaand other blogs I would like to give you my personal impression on Lion.

My first impression is: Lion is a step backward. And after having used it for weeks now my impression lasts. There are several issues that are really annoying:

Lion will delete your Windows partition. I did not know this and the installer does not warn you. Installing Lion will create a recovery partition and this recovery partition takes it space from the windows partition (if there is any). So your Windows partition will be totally destroyed. If you have Windows installed your really should make a backup or even better: don’t install Lion.

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Cooler Computing – smcFanSpeed

It’s summer and it’s getting hot. If you use a MacBook you know what this means. It’s 30 degree and you have an aluminum brick on your lap that heats up to over 65 degree (Celsius!) and finally you have to stop working because your palms are melting and glue to your MacBook.

I started using a little tool called smcFanSpeed about a week ago. This allows you to set the minumum fan speed of any MacBook. The idea is to prevent your MacBook from getting hot.

It even allows to set different fan speed profiles and can automatically switch profiles when you switch from power to battery.
smcFanSpeed runs in your menu bar and displays the current fan speed and temperature – and it is free.

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Learning foreign languages – Papapapaya

I have decided to refresh my French language skills. I already had French in school for seven years so I know the grammar and don’t want to go to class again. I just need to learn more words so I was looking for a vocabulary training app.

There are several applications that promise to help you. (Just ignore all those iPhone ports in the App Store – you know them by their names which usually are “Learn Chinese”, “Learn Inuit”, etc). I wanted something flexible and Mac like.

Finally I found Papapapaya (sic!) which is a quite powerful vocabulary trainer but easier to use than the competition (like ProVoc that I found way to complicated).

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