First of all, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get around to this skribit suggestion!
The original suggestion asked for “freeware” applications for mac, but I reckon you get better quality by going for open source applications, for a variety of reasons which I won’t go into here.
This is a list of some of the open source and free applications that I have on my mac:
- Adium is a really good chat application that supports lots of protocols like msn messenger, gmail talk, facebook and others.
- Firefox is a brilliant browser. It isn’t perfect but is my favourite browser.
- Seashore is a cocoa derivative of The Gimp, a graphics manipulation program. While both will run on the mac, seashore avoids having to run X windows.
- Fluid is used to make a standalone app out of a web app- personally I use it for wordpress.
- Cyberduck is what I use for FTP, Secure FTP, and SSH transfers.
- Audacity is a handy sound recording application
- OpenOffice.org is great for opening up almost all Microsoft Office files, though I prefer to either use a plain text editor or google docs.
- VLC is a brilliant video player. It is particularly useful for avi files and DVDs, because it doesn’t care about zones, unlike Apple’s built in player.
- Gawker is a fun little app for taking timelapse movies with a web cam.
I was finding it frustrating finding the wordpress dashboard tab in firefox as I was browsing the web, looking for solutions, or simply wanting to credit my sources properly. I remembered something about being able to run a web app as a separate application, and set out to find it. fluid.app is the program I was looking for. Cocoa based for smooth integration with macintoshes, fluid takes the url, an icon (if not the website icon itself) and makes an application that you can launch on it’s own. The biggest advantage I find is being able to use the apple-tab keyboard shortcut between my wordpress dashboard and firefox, my web browser.
To set it up, I downloaded fluid.app and ran it. It asks for the url of the web app you would like to run, the location it should install (Applications is the default), and the icon. (You can set this later.) Now, I was at the wordpress dashboard log in page. It wasn’t working quite as I expected, so I checked the password, yep, it was the right one. Still no go: a new tab would open in firefox with the log in page, and not log in on the fluid.app. I found what was the problem, under Preferences -> Advanced -> Allow browsing to any url. Make sure this is set, otherwise you won’t be able to progress beyond the log in page. “Remember me” is a handy to have checked too.
Making it pretty: I downloaded my wordpress icon from WordPress Logos, go for the biggest of the sizes so your dock icon doesn’t look stretched, pixelated or both.
Minor gripe: the speed doesn’t seem to be the same as firefox, it’s a bit slower. I’m going to install gears and see if that helps. There are also no specific “back” or “forward” buttons, but these can be reached through the “history” menu.
The tech world buzzes. Excited geeks hold their breath after muttering about rumours for months. Finally, the moment comes when the Apple announcement gets underway- in this case, a new uni-body series of Apple Laptops, including redesigned Macbook Pros and Macbooks.
In the days after, you can find Macbook Pro unboxing shots, Macbook Pro reviews, and other Macbook Pro information. I happen to think that the 13 inch Macbook is pretty exciting too, as it has a back lit keyboard, 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo Processor and other goodies. It is perhaps the answer to the people complaining about the lack of a 12 inch Powerbook, which had power and portability in a silver case. The only obvious things that make the new Macbook Pro different from the new Macbook are:
- Size. The Macbooks are 13 inch, and Macbook Pros are 15 inch.
- Video Cards- the Pro has an extra one.
- Firewire Port. The regular Macbook doesn’t have one.
You can max out the pro with a faster processor speed, but they do share the 2.4GHz level. The top level Macbook has become the lowest level Macbook pro.
So, after not having a computer of my own for a while, and needing a new computer to do university work, I decided that I would like Macbook, mostly because of price and form factor. My parents were very nice and got me an early birthday present. Here are a few Macbook unboxing shots, more on my flickr.
Some First Impressions: it’s light. While it isn’t as light as the Air, it is still pleasant to pick up. I thought: “it’s an Air with a CD drive.” It’s curvy, very appealing. It is very glossy, but the screen is bright. The reflections are noticeable, but I’m not the kind of person that gets annoyed with stuff like that. I haven’t tried to use it outside yet, but so far I haven’t had to move to see the screen. The battery life is great, the keyboard is nice to use, and the backlight is something I’ve hoped for in a macbook for a long time.
However, it’s not complete. While OSX is a great operating system, it does lack a little. These are the first things I downloaded to make my computing experience a bit more comfortable. An interesting thing here is that all of these I downloaded from the internet for free, no install CDs at all have been used to set up this computer. This is also a handful of software- most of the things I use on this computer are web pages. At the moment I’m happy with iTunes for music playing, so that side of things is covered from the first boot.
- Firefox is my internet browser of choice. I prefer it over Safari- if I can, I only use Safari long enough to download Firefox! I also downloaded
- Adium as a multi protocol chat client, so I can talk to my friends on gtalk and msn (and many more!) It’s cute and friendly, with a duck icon. I am currently using the “Decay 2.0″ style, with the message style “Gone Dark- undersea”.
- OpenOffice.org because sometimes you need to do serious work too! While google docs is great, sometimes a complete suite on the desktop is what you need. Notably, it will open spreadsheets when gdocs is throwing a tantrum for some reason. Open Office has really matured since I last looked at it, and it is a good option for a grown up document editing.
- Seashore is a simple image manipulation program, based on the GIMP. It is different to the GIMP because it doesn’t rely on X11 to work. It has the basic “photoshopping” toolkit, like a stamp/clone tool, as well as various brushes for plain painting.
- Growl should be part of OSX. It’s a clever notification system that really fits in, and when it wasn’t there, I began to look for what was broken. Then I realised I had to download it! You should too- it’s great.
- Skype is handy to have for long distance phone calls.
- I also downloaded java 6 and drjava for some university stuff, as well as twitterific and some other apps to play around with.
As well as looking good, the new Macbook works. It works well, and in the end, that’s what you want from a computer. I am very happy with it.
It was a dark dark night. I was awake. The white from white web pages was glaring in my eyes. Then I remembered. Control + Option + Apple + 8. This nifty key combination inverts the colours of the monitor. (Thanks to lifehacker for pointing this out sometime.) Oh, and sorry other computer users- as far as I know, this is apple only.
Firefox 3 looks great in colour inversion, and iTunes isn’t bad either. I had a giggle looking around my regular pages, and noticed that some looked good either way (the aforementioned lifehacker and facebook isn’t bad) and some websites turned from a serious good looking site to a silly or not-fitting colour. Photos, of course, look really weird.
This brings me to an announcement- I’ve tweaked my web page colours again- now it looks nice when inverted. The content box colour was a horrible puke-like green before.
What do you think? Is the ultimate design problem choosing colours that go well when inverted? Do my new colours look weird on your monitor? Let me know in the comments. Go on, don’t be shy!
An After Thought. I took a screenshot and inverted the colours so those of you without the cool ctrl+opt+cmd+8 key combo can see what I’m talking about. I also inverted the old colour so you can see why I changed.
You know the feeling- you’re grooving away to your favourite tunes, and happen to notice that your little juice-meter is awfully low. What to do? You decide that prolonging battery life is your priority. Here are some (purely anecdotal) tips that might help.
- Turn it off, put it away. (Did I say these were useful tips?)
- Turn down the screen brightness to as low as you can bear- I hear 0% is brilliant for boosting battery life.
- Similarly, turn down the time the back-light is on to the lowest setting.
- Don’t play the games, watch photos or browse through album art. These are more intensive and thus probably use the battery juice faster.
- Plug it in. This is a fantastic way to boost battery juice.
Now, I know that I have specifically dealt with the Apple Ipod in this article, but I am sure that many of these tips will apply to those MP3 players sold by other Manufacturers also.
This is humour, in case you haven’t picked it up yet…
I was casually surfing the ‘net recently, and when I swung by apple.com I saw the new PINK ipod nano (shudder). Now, pink isn’t exactly my favouritist colour, but I had a look at the product photos.
I noticed then that all the ipod nanos, except for the black one, all had white control wheels.
This got me thinking. If the black ipod nano had a white scroll wheel, it would look like the fashionable converse all-star shoe. The rubber shoes were first sold as winter shoes, then were as a sports shoe, with the backing of Chuck Taylor, a basketball player. (source: [wikipedia].) These days, you don’t see these shoes with the striking white sole and toe cap in sports much any more, but rather as fashionable footwear, as they also where in the 1960’s. They come in many colours; red, neon green and bright blue are my favourites, but the ‘staple’ converse all star shoe is black and white.
Why not have an ipod that matches your oh-so groovy shoes? I decided to use my decidedly dodgy skills to photoshop up a black and white ipod nano. (Except I don’t have photoshop, but used seashore, a cocoa adaptation of the GIMP for use on Macs.) Ladies and Gentlemen: I present the converse nano!
What do you think? Maybe apple are in fact more fashionable with their all-black nano instead of following the fickle fashion trends. Or, since the first ipod was all white, did they make the all black ipod to complement it? As always, comments very welcome.
Image credits to apple.com, bodypunks.com, plus my own “photoshopping”
Thank you for showing us new products to drool over. The new Macbook Air looks cool, very clever getting a thinner height by curving the edges, but I won’t be buying one as it doesn’t really meet my needs/budget.
I will be buying one of those new timecapsule things- wireless printing and backup is something that is seriously groovy, and the price is good. I really like the size of it- a short square.
Now, Apple, I make it no secret that I will be in the market for a laptop in late 2008. I really like the look of the Macbook, the black one in particular. However, a few requests: Please add the backlit keyboard to this model, just like the Macbook Pro and Air. This feature cannot be that expensive, and it is a silly thing to keep “exclusive” for the non-plain Macbooks. Also, I would like that awesome IPhone like trackpad included.
My other big gripe, is how you rip off the Australians, Apple. ( This isn’t new.) When I look at the prices, even with the Student discount, it is still cheaper to buy in the US, at full price! The Australian dollar is at about 90 cents to the dollar at the moment (and has been for at least a month or two) so the $1,499.00 top of the line Macbook in the USA should cost $1692.00 AUD. In reality, you can buy one for $ 2,199.00 AUD. That’s a 507 AUD (449 USD) difference, I could buy a timecapsule with that. Or 7 textbooks.
So Apple, please bring out a new macbook with the backlit keyboard, new trackpad and at a more reasonable price for the Australian market.
Hope you’re keeping well.
I have recently shifted continents and computers, so little things that I had set up on my other computer aren’t here, and it annoys me a little.
One such issue was that Finder wasn’t showing me image previews for the icon of the image- just the “jpeg” icon. The fix, found in the comments of this askdavetaylor.com entry:
The easy way is to use the Finder’s folder preferences.
Open the folder with the photos in the Finder.
Bring up the folder preferences. (command-J).
Turn on “Show Icon Preview”, either for all folders or for this folder only (your choice).
No need to mess with a graphics application.
Posted by: Jo Wenner at April 17, 2006 9:17 PM
Much better. This method lets you organize your photos at a glance, instead of opening each individual photo to see what it is.