RSS

Category Archives: osx

>Features missing in Acorn

>I really like the looks of Acorn, a powerful little image manipulation program for Mac OS X. However, there are some hurdles for me adopting it to replace GIMP:

  • It’s not easy to remove all tranparency from an image. It requires creating a new background layer, filling it with white color and then flattening the image. In GIMP, it’s one command.
  • There is no support for viewing or removing color profiles. It seems a color profile can be removed by selecting all of the image, copying the selection to the clipboard and then creating a new image from the clipboard.
  • There is no support for quantization, to reduce the number of colors to produce an indexed color image.

Still, Acorn looks very promising. It looks and feels like an excellent Mac OS X-citizen. It seems strong in filters and automation, but that’s not what I am looking for…

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 8 September 2008 in acorn, image editor, mac, mac os, mac os x, macos, macosx, osx

 

>Favourite Mac apps (updated x5)

>Here’s the list of my favourite Mac OS X applications:

  • Parallels Desktop — For running Windows and Linux in virtual machines. With Windows XP inside it, for testing web pages in Internet Explorer (6, 7 and 8 all have their own dedicated VM). (€80)
  • Adobe Acrobat 8 Professional — Version 9 probably runs better on my Intel Mac with Snow Leopard. I didn’t need all the extra stuff in the Professional edition, but there was no Standard edition for Mac. (version 9 is $450)
  • Cheap Impostor — For creating A3 and A4 booklets. Cheap, effective and fast. ($35)
  • NovaMind Express — For mind mapping, use it for interaction designs for web sites. ($50)
  • Firefox with the Firebug, Web Developer, Weave, CyberSearch, AdBlock Plus and SessionAlive extensions — Nothing beats the fox. (all free)
  • Acorn — Fairly simple image manipulation.
  • Skitch — Easy and simple image editing and sharing for everyone. (free)
  • GIMP — Advanced image manipulation, includingremoval of color profiles. Requires X11. (free)
  • NeoOffice — Complete office suite, based on OpenOffice.org code. No need to purchase Microsoft Office anymore, it even supports the new .docx and .xlsx file types. (free, donations welcome)
  • Skype — For video conferencing, also with non-Mac people; iChat video quality is much higher though. (free)
  • iWork — Nothing beats Keynote presentations! ($79)
  • Flip4Mac — Be able to watch Windows Media videos (WMV). (free version available)
  • iShowU — Screen video capture. ($20)
  • iTerm — Best terminal program for the Mac – beats Apple’s built-in Terminal application in terms of productivity and usability (free, donations welcome.)
  • iPartition — For dynamically changing hard drive partitions, includes resizing functionality. ($50)

And I’m considering adding the following to my toolset:

  • Pixelmator — For real Mac-style image manipulation. Question is whether it can do what I do with GIMP, including the removal of color profiles and such ($59).
  • Opacity — For creating very nice-looking icons, fast ($90).

Updates:

  • Sept. 11, 2008: Considering Pixelmator instead of Acorn, the latter just does not have enough features. And added iPartition as a favourite app.
  • Sept. 17, 2008: Added Chicken of the VNC and Chax and listed the price of iPartition.
  • March 9, 2010: Updated information on Parallels. Using a different set of Firefox extensions. Removed SuperDocker.
  • March 13, 2010: Added the SessionAlive extension for Firefox and Skitch.
  • March 31, 2010: Removed OmniPlan, Leap, Chax. Changed the link to GIMP on OS X. Added Acorn and added Web Developer extension for Firefox. Updated some descriptions.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 8 September 2008 in applications, apps, mac, mac os, mac os x, macos, macosx, osx

 

>Leopard annoyances

>I finally made the switch from Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” to 10.5 “Leopard”. Here are some things I ran into while upgrading:

iChat:

  • iChat still has separate windows for Jabber-, AIM- and Bonjour contact lists. Chax can fix this, though;
  • one of my ‘buddies’ has both a GMail account (via Jabber) and a MobileMe account (via AIM) – these get mixed up in the contacts lists;

Migration:

  • When migrating the programs from my Tiger backup, I also migrated some issues, so I decides to reinstall all programs.

Spaces:

  • Spaces does not support labels for spaces; numbers are quite meaningless.
  • NetBeans 6.1 does not work well with Spaces. If you press Cmd-Tab to switch to NetBeans, the correct Space is not activated. Very annoying. It has been noticed by others as well.
  • I assigned F6 to Spaces, to show the overview. It’s not possible to start dragging an application and then press F6 to drop it in a different space.
  • Software Update does not seem to work with Spaces, when I Cmd-Tab to it after it completed (and starts jumping in the Dock), nothing happens.

Mail:

  • When I tell Mail to permanently accept an SSL certificate it considers unsafe, then it still keeps asking for it when I restart Mail.
  • When replying to a mail I sent to somebody else, my address is in the To: field and the original recipient is in the CC: field. I would hope this was fixed since Tiger.

Finder:

  • I tried to customize the icon for a folder by dropping a JPEG on top of the icon in the “Info” window. Instead of showing the image, it shows a generic JPEG icon. D’oh! The Iconic tool provides a partial resolution. It ‘carves’ an image into a Leopard folder image and makes that the icon for a specific folder, if you want. I’d prefer to have just the original image as the folder icon, but I’m not sure how to do that.
  • It is not possible to add a mount point to the Locations-section in the Finder sidebar.

Spotlight:

  • When searching with Spotlight, the results window has no option to show more columns, like the number of attachments or the size of the image. And it’s not possible to hide the Relevance column (which I never use). Leap is a powerful alternative, though.

AddressBook:

  • Sometimes when I start editing a card, all details disappear. This is resolved by pressing Cmd-Z.

Dock:

  • If I put the Dock on the right side of my screen then it turns into a 2D-style Dock; so far so good. But then when I move the mouse pointer over the stripes (between the applications and the stacks) that allow me to change the size of the Dock (without clicking), then the mouse pointer keeps its resize-appearance.

Other:

  • X11 does not work for me. XQuartz 2.3.0 seems to work like a charm though.
  • Software Update still says there’s new software available for my computer (in bold) even after it finished installing all available updates. Confusing, especially for less tech-savvy people.
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 25 August 2008 in annoyances, mac, macos, macosx, osx

 

>Firefox 3.0 released – and other browser news

>

Today (June 18), Mozilla Firefox 3.0 has officially been released. YSlow (a web page performance analysis extension for Firefox, by Yahoo) has been updated to 0.9.5 beta 2, just in time to support Firefox 3.

Some other browser news:

  • Opera 9.5 has been released;
  • the Firefox 3.1 features have been defined, see the MozillaWiki and the article on MozillaLink; a first alpha release is target for mid July;
  • Microsoft announced that the 2nd beta of IE 8 is scheduled for August 2008;
  • Apple has provided an early build of Safari 4 on the Apple Developer Connection, apparently with their new JavaScript engine SquirrelFish integrated;
  • the GrApple theme (that makes Firefox look like a native Mac app) has been updated for Firefox 3.
 

>Mac OS X 10.6 ‘Snow Leopard’ (updated)

>Several sites (including MacRumors and Arstechnica) are spreading the rumor that Mac OS X 10.6 will be announced at Apple’s WWDC, this coming week. The new release will supposedly be called “Snow Leopard” and the release focus will be on stability and performance.

If this is true, then that is in my opinion a Good Thing. After using FreeBSD and Linux on my primary desktop for years, I switched to Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) in Q4 2006. Although I’ve not had major problems, OS X has been pestering me now and then:

  • crashing background processes (sometimes several times an hour)
  • spontaneous reboots (1 or 2 per year)
  • failures to come back to life after being suspended (closed lid on MacBook Pro)

Rock solid stability is definitely very much welcomed, as well as improved security, especially for professional/business users like myself.

For me, a desktop computer should allow it’s users to work efficient. For this, you need sufficient speed, proper functionality, an effective keyboard/mouse/touch interface, stability and security.

In my experience, the OS X 10.4 operating system works nicely, but has it’s stability issues. It’s probably more stable than Windows, but definitely less than Linux and FreeBSD.

Update (June 10): Indeed this has been announced by Apple as anticipated, see the Apple site for more information.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 4 June 2008 in apple, leopard, mac, macos, macosx, osx, snow leopard

 

>Finding files on Mac OS X: Leap

>Today I came across Leap, a search utility for Mac OS X. It seems to be much better than Spotlight. Have a look at the introduction videos. Leap works on Mac OS X 10.4.10 and up and is available as a Universal Binary.

A fully functional 21-day trial can be downloaded from their site.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on 2 June 2008 in finder, leap, mac, macos, macosx, osx, search, spotlight

 

>NeoOffice 2.2.3 patch 5 available

>NeoOffice 2.2.3 patch 5 has been released. Nothing exciting, just some bug fixes:

  1. Opening Office 2003 XML files produced a General I/O error
  2. Poor selection of Polish and Cyrillic replacement fonts
  3. Landscape documents could be cropped when printing

Download from the patch download page. For more information, see the NeoOffice 2.2.3 release notes.

NeoOffice is an OpenOffice.org-cousin that nicely integrates with Mac OS X, unlike the regular OpenOffice.org 2 for Mac OS X, which requires X11 to function.