Posted: December 12th, 2012 | Tags: Applications, Mac OS X, UNIX, Usability | No Comments »
What makes it so surprising that AppleScript survived and remains a fully-supported-by-Apple technology today (including in OS X Mountain Lion) is that it was never loved by anyone. It was a fine theory and noble experiment, but it turns out that an English-like programming language didn’t really enable a large number of users to become programmers. And conversely, AppleScript’s English-like syntax often made (and to this day continues to make) things more difficult and confusing for scripters, not less.
Put simply, the number of programmers in the world who consider AppleScript their favorite language could fit in a very small car, or perhaps even share a bicycle. But, as noted, AppleScript was the only OSA scripting language that ever gained any traction.
Automator, Services, Applescript and it’s UNIX base which allows other automation sequences using UNIX pipes, is what i love most of Mac OS X, and why i currently consider it the best current operating system.
Applescript is indeed hard to master because of its lack of resemblance with any sort of standard programming language but Automator very decently allows for a quick way of putting an automatized workflow in place.
Just hope that Apple not only not kills it with its iOS’ification but takes some time to make it stronger, correct its deficiencies and implement some other decent scripting language support, such as Python.
Posted: November 5th, 2012 | Tags: Applications, Games, Linux | No Comments »
“If you look at the way the world is going, where you see Apple completely in control of their system, and at least part of Windows 8 entirely controlled by the Microsoft App Store, Steam is going to be a little bit harder to do – both in the store aspect and in the content delivery aspect.”
That’s why Valve have turned. They want to make Linux the best little gaming platform it can be.
“We want to continue developing in open platforms and so we’re looking around, and obviously Linux has become a very viable alternate platform. So we are now looking into doing Steam for Linux and supporting as many of our Steam games for Linux as we can.”
Go for it, please! With Apple ridiculously high prices for desktops and Microsoft Windows complete descent into crazyville software, getting a decent gaming machine and putting Linux on it might be the perfect solution for most people that want a desktop machine but at decent prices and with decent software.
If Valve releases a couple of hardware specs and requirements to make sure all their software runs in Linux flawlessly I’m in!
Posted: October 18th, 2012 | Tags: Applications, Games, Mac OS X | No Comments »
We’re bringing a part of our massive catalog of all-time classics to Mac, starting with an impressive 50 titles for Mac gamers to play and enjoy. 28 of the 50 titles, the best games in history, including Syndicate, Ultima series, or Wing Commander, will be playable on the Mac OS X for the first time ever–exclusively on GOG.com. The complete line-up reflects the diversity of available games unmatched by other distributors: classics like Simcity 2000, Crusader: No Remorse, Little Big Adventure, Theme Hospital mix with Anomaly Warzone Earth, Tiny & Big: Grandpa’s Leftovers, Botanicula, and The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings. Speaking of monster-hunter Geralt and The Witcher 2, the Enhanced Edition of this award-winning mature fantasy RPG was released on Mac just today and is available on GOG.com with a 25% discount (that’s only $29.99) for the next 48 hours.
We have also prepared a set of specially selected games from various genres that will be available 50% off for the next week: The Witcher Enhanced Edition, Crusader: No Remorse, Theme Hospital, Little Big Adventure, Postal Classic and Uncut, and Simcity 2000 are all available for 50% off–that’s as little as $2.99 for unforgettable classics.
How do I love thee, let me count the ways.
Posted: October 3rd, 2012 | Tags: Applications, Browsers, Google, Usability | No Comments »
Google, please stop doing that. I’d actually love it if you took features out of Chrome and brought it back to the original, clean builds that were fast as fuck. That’s all I care about in a web browser.
Instead, we’re at the point now where I cannot shut down my computer without force-quitting Chrome. And the browser is just about the only thing that can get my brand-new MacBook Pro to beachball.
Posted: August 24th, 2012 | Tags: Applications, Development, Intelectual Property | No Comments »
My perception: Apps will be pirated.
The reality: Yes, that will happen, no matter what you do. Guaranteed. Can’t stop it. Can’t prevent it without (unreasonable, for most cases) amounts of effort. It happens to App Store apps too, all the time.
Suggestion: Seriously, don’t worry about it. Most people don’t pirate stuff unless it’s trivially easy to do so, and/or you make legitimate purchasing unduly difficult or expensive (see The Piracy Threshold).
Just accept that it’s going to happen, and don’t lose any sleep over it. Take it as a compliment that hacknerds want your stuff. As long as enough people do actually pay for your software, what do you really care anyway?
How long it’ll take: To not worry it? Zero minutes. Do something fun instead.
Notes: Maybe read a book? Not a technical book. A novel. Or head to the pub for a while.
This is probably the sanest thing about piracy i’ve heard in a long time. It’s gone happen, you can’t stop it, just make some minimum level of protection so that most honest/regular people can buy it and stop worrying about it.
The whole insane level of protection of big developer house games / software that makes you jump through 99 loops before you can play is not only insulting to honest buyers but mindlessly useless. If it can be built, it can be hacked and it will be. The only persons you’re inconveniencing are the ones that actually bought your game and didn’t got it already cracked from the web. Those who did got it cracked from the web, actually manage to get a better gaming experience, essentially due to the developers efforts to screw its paying customers. Does that make any sense?
For a personal anecdote, let’s say hypothetically that i once managed to get hold of one of those cracked games downloaded from the web somewhere… Let’s say hypothetically, that i loved the game so much that i went and bought the game in a promotion due to me wanting the full experience, the nice box and manual, and also so that i could give back to the developers. Let’s also say hypothetically, that the game had a CD verification system that required that i carried the optical disk all the time with me if i wanted to play. Let’s say hypothetically that this was somewhere in the last 4 years, where laptops are omnipresent and over the internet verification / activation where already the norm. Let’s also say hypothetically that it mainly wasn’t even an online multiplayer game but a regular single player offline game.
See the problem here? If i wanted to play the legitimate legal copy of the game, i had to carry a CD and insert it, and spend battery just spinning the thing so that the game could start. If i just went and played the illegal downloaded copy, i wouldn’t have such limitation and could just enjoy the game whenever and wherever i wanted. Let’s say hypothetically, that for the first months i didn’t even played the game because every time i remembered and had time to play, i wasn’t even near the physical media. Do you wanna take a wild guess how much time it took me to go back and just download the illegal copy again so that i could play the game when i wanted? (hypothetically, off course…)
Posted: July 26th, 2012 | Tags: Applications, FileSystem, Mac OS X | 1 Comment »
“After the announcement was made that Ten’s Complement’s Don Brady is joining GreenBytes, we were overwhelmed with the volume of requests for clarity on the future of ZEVO. We wanted to take a few days to nail down the specifics, but we are happy to announce that beginning on September 15, 2012, GreenBytes will offer the ZEVO Community Edition as a freely downloadable binary!
As we approach the September 15th launch date, we will reveal more details about the functionality in the ZEVO Community Edition — and you should expect enhancements from the prior commercial version!”
Great! Waiting patiently for September then.
For those of you that don’t know what ZEVO is, ZEVO is the Mac port of the ZFS File System, a highly advanced filesystem which focuses on Data integrity and “magical” features as single-disk data redundancy , multiple disks spanning logical volumes and a gigantic maximum possible size. Mac OS X was supposed to get this in Leopard and Snow Leopard but for some reason, we were left with HFS+ only, which has the same problems that any decades old file system has.
I have looked at ZEVO several times before, considering wether to purchase the cheapest paid product (which was meant for a single external USB disk) but if it is coming in September with full features and free, i couldn’t be happier.
Posted: July 25th, 2012 | Tags: Apple, Applications, Humor | No Comments »
“The 10.8 review maintains Siracusa’s standard at approximately 26,000 words, an impressive feat given that the interval between 10.7 and 10.8 was much shorter than most previous OS X update intervals.
This is not a quick read, so it’s a good opportunity to try a read-later method such as Safari’s Reading List, which Apple invented completely on their own.”
Marco Arment – Marco.org
This review of a review, done slightly in humoristic terms is lovely. But you would miss the larger joke, bold in the quoted paragraphs, if you didn’t knew that Marco Arment is creator and main developer of Instapaper, the original “source” for Apple’s reading list feature.
Posted: February 20th, 2012 | Tags: Applications, Mac OS X, Usability | No Comments »
“- Growl is not dead - Growl is alive and kicking – We are still actively working on shipping two future versions of Growl. Our understanding from press reports at this point is that Notification Center is only available to apps from the Mac App Store, which effectively locks out the entire class of applications that aren’t or can’t be in the store.”
Seems reasonable. I hope they won’t go away but if the Notifications API ever goes “public” for all applications, AppStore or not, Growl will find themselves between a rock and a hard place.
Posted: January 10th, 2012 | Tags: Applications, Mac OS X, Tips, Usability | No Comments »
“One of the little-known time-saving features of Mac OS X is services—hidden, single-feature commands that you can access from a special Services menu, or, sometimes, from a contextual menu. These features are generally provided by applications—built-in OS X applications or third-party programs—and let you quickly preform actions that usually require launching additional programs and taking many steps. Here are answers to frequently asked questions about how to find, use, and manage services.”
Working Mac – Macworld
One of my favourite things in Mac OS X. And if you’re geekish and bold you can even use Automator or an Applescript to define a workflow and set it up as a service, thereby avoiding you wasting your time doing some menial, time-consuming and repetitive tasks.
I strongly recommend that you take some time to read through the Macworld article. And stay tuned as the second part is coming soon.
Posted: October 13th, 2011 | Tags: App Store, Apple, Applications, Security | No Comments »
“The combination of application sandboxing and entitlements could provide a more elegant solution if it is applied carefully. Apple doesn’t need to solve the entire problem all at once, but it does need to recognize there are important applications beyond self contained productivity or entertainment, and begin thinking about how to include some of them in the Mac App Store.
To help get the conversation started, I’d like to suggest a rating system similar to the already familiar film-rating system:
“G” for General use or everyone
“PG” for Parental Guidance suggested (security implications should be noted, such as anything that installs a plugin)
“R” for Restricted (requires more extensive system access such as a backup or disk utility)
The point here is that Apple could offer a better user experience by allowing a broader range of integrated solutions to be offered in the Mac App Store.”*
Sustainable Softworks Blog
Yes. The one approach fits all is in itself a security risk as more and more users and apps opt-out of the Mac App Store (MAS) entirely or circumvent its restrictions. Add to this the updated delay for security bugs most apps have – comparing with the non-app versions – this might blow up in Apple’s face. But read the full post at the source to get a better view of what’s being criticized
I usually just try to use the non-MAS versions for these reasons as well. And i find the all “download dmg file -> open it -> drag the app to where you want it” not that cumbersome, but then again, i’m not the usual Mac user so my view is skewed.
But Apple needs to seriously consider the criticism being stated all around the developer’s internet. Switching Preference Panes for a Menu Bar icon is, on the long run, a dumb idea. What happens when people have more than 10 apps that require this “hack”? Stop buying apps at the MAS entirely?
Posted: October 12th, 2011 | Tags: Applications, Mac OS X, Security, Tips, Usability | No Comments »
One of my biggest complaints and pet-hates are the Install Packages many developers feel they must include.
The problem is that Install Packages are a security and abuse issue waiting to happen. You are required to go back to the “dark ways” and just mindlessly click “next, next, insert password, next…”
to go through screens of useless information while the installer package can simply be wiping out your home folder and installing a key logger on a system level and you will never even know what it did.
A possible solution to this is a Quicklook plugin called “Suspicious Package“, a very apt name i must add. With it you can simply invoke Quicklook on a Install Package and see what its contents are.
You will now see where the installer will install files, if it haves any install scripts (and you can look through these if you understand them) or if they require an Admin password or a full System Restart to install. All without even executing the file once.
A QuickLook on the MAMP install package.
The installation of the plugin itself is very simple and you just need to drag the plugin to your Quicklook folder on YourUserFolder/Library/Quicklook . If no such folder exists just create it with the exact name of “Quicklook”.
It should be noted that although Mac OS X is a very secure system, it is no more secure than any other when it comes to the user allowing suspicious applications to run with the elevated privileges of a Administrator. If an application has that privilege, because you gave them to it by typing your admin password, then the app can do as it pleases with your system. So, always go for the paranoid side of things, specially the ones that you are not fully sure of its character. Better safe than sorry…
Posted: October 12th, 2011 | Tags: Applications, Mac OS X, Tips, Usability | No Comments »
Few “regular” users fully realize this but Mac OS apps are just a single contained file that you can run from basically anywhere. This includes your Desktop, a USB disk or any other location of your choosing; but Apple has inserted in your Mac OS a little hidden gem: the User Applications folder.
To use it, you can just create a top level folder on your Home folder, named “Applications”. After you do this, your Mac system will even suit it with the Application folder icon you now see on this post and spotlight will give it a preference on the ordering list of results.
You now have your own Application folder to use. You can simply drag and drop apps into it as you would do with the system level application. And you can drag this folder to the dock and have it appear with the App folder icon.
Some applications might even work better they are on this standard folder than if you just kept it on the desktop or other random spot, although i can’t say this for sure.
The best part of this is that if you are using a shared Mac where you aren’t the admin or simply don’t want to let every other user access your apps, you can simply install them on your User folder and keep them private and non-intruding for your host OS. And if you’re a non-admin user this is pretty much the only way that you can get to install and use applications at will.
And there you go. The shared Mac where everyone gets to have their own System with basically no overlapping regarding ownership of the Applications you use.
Posted: September 13th, 2011 | Tags: Applications, Bundles, Mac OS X | No Comments »
MacLegion Fall Bundle is out. And it has Postbox, Devonthink, Rapidweaver and another 7 applications for a grand total of 10, plus an additional one for the first nine thousand customers.
Go check it out.
Posted: September 8th, 2011 | Tags: Applications, Mac OS X, MacBundles | No Comments »
Seems we are in the bundle season. In case you are not familiar with it, the indie application bundles are one of the great advantages of the Mac software ecosystem. You can frequently purchase a bundle of great applications at 80% and 90% discount regarding their normal resale price. Some of these applications are live savers and others are just great productivity enhancers.
You can find an application bundle from the macupdate website at www.mupromo.com, a great bundle at BundleHunt and apparently another one seems to go live somewhere in the next days at Maclegion.com. Keep checking their website or subscribe their twitter account
The Macupdate bundle has Data Rescue 3 of which i already wrote here. In short, it’s a great data rescue app and it saved my royal bacon when no other application seemed that could do it. So if you need a data rescue app or want to have one just in case, now is your chance, as even if you bought the full bundle you would already saved 50% of the normal resale price.
I can’t vouch that enthusiastically on the other apps though. Roxio Toast 11 it’s a waste of money as optical storage is going the way of the Dodo and in case you need it you can either use the Disk Utility that comes with your Mac or simply use the free alternatives Burn or LiquidCd.
The other apps are just meh… For Concealer for example, you can either just do the same using a Disk Utility encrypted sparse-bundle image or it’s already done naturally by the Mac OS Keychain. And if you purchased another Mac application bundles in the recent past you probably have some equivalent of most of the other apps.
The only one that stands in the crowd is Printopia, which allows for iOS devices to use any printers available in the house. Although i have a license for it, i lack any experience with it but the general feedback on it seems to be rather good.
A much more atractive bundle seems to be BundleHunt. From it i already have Launchbar and WriteRoom. And i love both of them.
Writeroom is very easy to explain. It turns your computer in a two color retro screen for distraction free writing. If you need to do serious writing and everything around you is distracting, Writeroom is the answer. My mac instantly turns in a green on black screen with a blinking cursor; and it’s Heaven!
Launchbar however is more complicated. It’s a launcher, in the same way as Quicksilver or Alfred. But at the same time is much much more… The interface could use some improvements, but basically you would could do everything that you would usually do on you Mac on/by it; simply by using the keyboard which is faster and less error prone than the mouse. Launch an app; open files; send them to the Mail app or a contact on your address book; open a website; search in google; send any data, either text, files or clipboard content to any other app; open most apps recent documents; browse your disk (and see the invisible folders if you want); and much much more… I admit, it took me a couple of months until i understood the potential of the app. And a couple of web tutorials to realize it. But if you have the chance to purchase it, go for it.
From the other apps Colorschemer seems great for any web or document design. Matching colors, and the family of colors that you can use in a document without it appearing a garish rainbow from hell is a strong plus on your presentation skills. In fairness though you can get a similar function at colorschemedesigner.com but i assume the native app probably has more content and functionalities. Haven’t tried it yet. Divvy is a usual on other websites recommendations. Hype is a fairly new HTML5 web design app but it has garnished very good reviews.
There’s more apps on the bundle but you should check it out for yourself as they fall out of my natural software usage and so, I can’t really assess their usefulness. Personally, what would interest me in the bundle would be the 3 ThemeTrust WordPress themes of my choosing for a redesign of other of my web projects as i already have some of the other applications.
But this bundle seems a good one so evaluate if the software on it has any interest for you. You probably won’t have the chance to buy it this cheap so soon.
Keep checking those bundles
You can regularly find the current Mac bundles at Squidoo and i recommend you keep it in your bookmarks and check it monthly. Sometimes you can get great value for 2 or 3 apps that you already wanted but weren’t ready to pay full price for them.
Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Tags: Applications, Mac OS X | No Comments »
I had written the post before this weekend. Due to several issues, i didn’t posted as soon as written, so during the weekend i ended up buying the MacLegion Spring 2011 Bundle. And with it, Data Rescue 3.
And guess what! My music, my entire old music collection is back! Data Rescue appears to have retrieve it in full. I didn’t see any missing file, tried a random couple of them, all good.
And it did it at the first scan option, without any difficulty. As if the disk never had any problem. It just scanned it for a couple of minutes, showed me a list of my missing folders and asked me what folders would i like to retrieve.
It has an interesting approach, as it doesn’t repair the disk, it simply copies the data to another disk we select. Which i’m perfectly fine with, as i have a large 640gb external disk at my desk, with a lot of empty space. For those who don’t have an external disk with enough space in it, this might be a problem, but to be perfectly honest, i didn’t explore the software that much, so it might have the option to restore the disk integrity. I was just so happy that i got my music back that i loaded up VLC and started hearing random folders from my retrieved collection.
So, if for nothing else, buy this bundle for Data Rescue 3. Love it, love it, love it!
Posted: May 2nd, 2011 | Tags: Applications, Mac OS X, MacBundles | No Comments »
The nice folks at MacLegionBundle are providing a great bundle of applications for the mac. I’m not usually a big fan of paid bundles as they never seem to get more than one application that i might want, and usually for just one is cheaper to buy it isolated. In fact, the only “bundle” i ever adquired was one of the free macheist nano bundles. But this specific bundle seems to hit the jackpot and provide a bunch of really great applications at a really great price — total cost is 49,99$ or, for europeans, roughly ~34€.
About the apps, some i had heard of before, as Forklift ( a nice FTP app that doubles as Finder replacement ) or Screenflow, which i read about in some newsite and thought that would make a really cool way to do the “newbie videos” i want to do here at the maccouch. For Launchbar i’ve heard several compliments by Ben Brooks at the BrooksReview, a blogger i usually read. I haven’t tried it as i wasn’t ready to shell out the usual price for it as i use AlfredApp, a free simple launcher. But all together, these small 3 apps already were under my eyesight for a while and i used to check their websites from time to time, looking for a promotion. If not only for these 3 i already thought this macbundle would be interesting.
But then another application catches my eye. Data Rescue 3. And now i’m interested. You see, about 2 months ago, i had a problem with an external drive, the one where i had my old music collection. Really old eclectic mp3 collection, accumulated musical knowledge from the last 10 to 12 years. Stuff from when Napster and Kazaa were roaming the earth alone to my first very own “ripped” mp3 from household cds and audio tapes. Even my very first mp3 files ever, brought by a friend through the faithful sneaker net.
It was a messy folder structure, completely disorganised, full of low quality mp3 and stuff that i had heard once and forgot after. But it was my music! And i missed it! Very. You only realise how much your digital data is part of your identity when you keep remembering strange music you want to hear, or moments that happened with those background tunes and you simply cannot hear it again, because the music files are missing in the “bad disk structure” void.
I don’t specifically know what happened. I just remembering getting an error about bad disk information, allowing the disk utility to try to correct it (big mistake…) not even checking what it was because i was busy with something else, and suddenly it happened. I couldn’t get to my data. It was still there i knew. Disk Utility just tried to fix something in the disk main journal, it didn’t take that much time, the data was surely still there but i simply wasn’t able to get to it.
During the las two months i tried a couple of solutions or free programs i found on the web, when i had the time. With no luck. I constantly tried to repair the disk structure, i spent hours leaving the programs doing deep scans to the data, i went trough endless file name and possible recovery options. No chance. And to be perfectly honest i was starting to despair. But suddenly here comes Data Rescue 3. Another data rescue software i never heard of. But it comes on this nice bundle. Should it be the reason i would buy it?
Download the trial, start it up, perform a initial scan. Bingo! Jackpot! Eureka! My data structure is there. I can see the folders as i remembered them, the endless and confusing folder structure. All of the mp3 files inside of them. Some lost WMA files from when i tried Windows Media Player in the early 2000′s. The old university group songs. Ah… Heaven! And apparently, in less than 20 minutes from start to now, Data Rescue 3 could help me get this back again. Tried it with a single mp3 file. Done. Got it back! People of LostDataLand, this is the answer to your prayers.
You then add to these 4 great apps the Contactizer Pro which appears to be the lost personal information and task management i was looking for, you have a really compelling bundle right here. During the next days, i will try to try out most apps in this bundle, check them out and see if they fit my needs or use patterns. I’ll write my thoughts about them here, so keep reading.
Undoubtedly, I’m so getting this bundle.
Posted: February 17th, 2011 | Tags: Applications, Mac OS X | No Comments »
My favourite radio app is at a discount price of 9,99$ at their website and the Mac App Store.
For Europeans it’s (very) marginally cheaper to buy through their website than the app store. A “liberal” (and very usual) approach from Apple to the Euro/Dollar exchange rate.
Posted: February 4th, 2011 | Tags: Applications, Mac OS X | No Comments »
Listening music from our iTunes Library is a great aid for work. However, it has the typical downside that you find yourself listening to the same musics over and over, even if you have a 90 GB library. Humans tend to fall back on known patterns.
Many times i consider buying a small radio to put on my office. However, either by the expense alone either by the fact that i anticipated the predictable discussion with my “office-mates” regarding the station and volume it should set on, i’ve never actually seriously considered the purchase. Until now.
I’ve discovered this little app, Radium, that allows me to tune in and listen to endless internet radios. It’s light, clean and functional. And i love it. I’m now going through the trial period, considering if it is worth the slight high price for a app of this kind (25€). I would consider half of that a much fairer price. But i have to admit that i actually like the application allot!
I know iTunes already has a internet radio section, but in a typical Apple style, it only has some selected radios, the vast majority of them American, and i can’t figure out how a simple way (or any way whatsoever) to add my own favorite radios.
Also the sheer difference in resource consumption between Radium and iTunes justifies it. I like to keep my mac lean and fit. I hate over consumption of resources, whatever they are. And iTunes always consumes over 100 Mb of memory. Just for listening to music. Radium is a stable ~30 Mb.
So now i can listen to my hometown radio all day, even when i’m 200 km away. Local politics here i come!