Posts in mac

Apple Refreshes Retina MacBook Pro With Faster Processor, Doubled RAM on Two Models

Apple this morning refreshed their MacBook Pro with Retina display models with the latest generation of Intel's Haswell processors. All things considered, its a minor update with each of the five base models receiving a 0.2GHz processor speed bump. All that means is the base model goes from 2.4GHz to 2.6GHz, whilst the most powerful preconfigured model goes from 3.5GHz to 3.7GHz. The other notable hardware change is the doubling of RAM for the base model 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (from 4GB to 8GB) and base model 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro (from 8GB to 16GB). Finally, the 15-inch 2.5GHz model gets a price drop of $100, now selling for US$2,499.

“People love their MacBook Pro because of the thin and light, aluminum unibody design, beautiful Retina display, all day battery life and deep integration with OS X,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “The MacBook Pro with Retina display gets even better with faster processors, more memory, more affordable configurations and a free upgrade to OS X Yosemite this fall.”

Also worth noting is that Apple today also dropped the price of the MacBook Pro (without the Retina display) by $100, so it now sells for $1,099. For those of you considering purchasing one of the new MacBook Pros, and live in the northern hemisphere, keep in mind that Apple's Back to School promotion is currently running. So if you purchase one of these new Retina MacBook Pros (or any other Mac) before September 9 you'll get a $100 Apple Store card.

Read Apple's Press Release or view the new models on Apple's website.


Sandboxing Difficulties Mean Coda 2.5 Will Not Be Released on the Mac App Store


Panic announced yesterday that they will be moving away from the Mac App Store for distribution of their popular and Apple Design Award winning Coda app. Panic has been working for a number of months on a significant 2.5 update for Coda but have been struggling to resolve issues with maintaining adherence to the sandboxing requirements of the Mac App Store. Instead, Panic has decided to revert back to distribution of Coda outside of the Mac App Store so they can release the update shortly.

As we continued to work on Coda 2.5—a significant update that we’re really excited about—we continued to discover new corners of the app that presented challenges under sandboxing. Coda, to be fair, is a very complex developer tool and is something of a sandboxing worst-case scenario.

Panic makes this move despite the fact that they had a notable degree of help from teams within Apple - but it seems that ultimately it just was not enough. They write that Apple "to their considerable credit, spent a lot of energy assisting us with ideas, workarounds, and temporary exemptions we might be able to use to get around some of the issues". The move also comes more than a year after Panic successfully made the decision to change the way Coda worked in some ways so that it could be sold on the Mac App Store despite the, new at the time, sandboxing rules.

The new version, which will be available from Panic's website upon release, will automatically detect if there is a Mac App Store version of Coda installed and unlock the app for use. As a consequence of moving away from the Mac App Store, it also means the Coda can no longer use iCloud Sync and as a result, Panic have developed their own sync service - Panic Sync. This new service will be free and work across Panic's apps, including Coda and Diet Coda.

Panic write in their announcement that they will always "evaluate the possibility of sandboxing with each future release of Coda", with the hope of one day returning to the Mac App Store. Finally, Daniel Jalkut made the point on Twitter that Coda will no longer be eligible for the award it won last year, the Apple Design Award, because it is leaving the Mac App Store.


PaintCode: Vector Drawing to Code

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If you are active in the Apple developer community, you are probably already familiar with PaintCode. It is a unique Mac app capable of turning your vector graphic design into pure Objective-C code. PaintCode is a professional quality app and the price tag is a reflection of that fact. The normal selling price of $99.99 (currently $19.99 via MacHeist) is a big pill to swallow for the average user but for a professional iOS/OS X developer it is merely a business investment. However, it is up to you to get your money’s worth out of the app.

PaintCode is full of tools that blend together the look and feel of traditional vector drawing apps while including customizable fields you would more commonly see in Apple’s Interface Builder. It supports numerous object shapes and custom bezier paths, as well as detailed color options including linear and radial gradients. The app is versatile and the uses are limited only by your imagination.

I thought the best way to give you an overview of PaintCode would be to come up with a sample project that I could walk you through. So I decided to make a menubar icon for a non-existent app. This app lets you drag files to the menubar icon to delete them, thus the icon needs to be a little trash can. Read more





Shiori, Free Pinboard Client for Mac

Shiori is a nice new Pinboard client for Mac that lets you find and add bookmarks. The app can be configured to have two separate keyboard shortcuts for adding and finding items; alternatively, you can click on the app's icon in the menubar and work with the dropdown menu (which also contains shortcuts for Refresh and Preferences).

The interface is clean and minimal, with tags highlighted in light blue/green; Shiori comes in the foreground with a list of the latest 7 bookmarks from your account (by default; you can show up to 10) and you can start typing to filter results. The app is extremely fast at retrieving items, and it supports abbreviations to look into bookmark titles, URLs, and tags. According to the developer, the app can get smarter over time by learning from your "habits" (I assume it means abbreviation use and choice of results in search).

There are other nice touches worth mentioning. There's a Private URL feature to automatically make URLs that match criteria specified in the Preferences private in your Pinboard account; when adding a new bookmark, Shiori can get the active webpage URL and title from the browser (Safari, Chrome, and Firefox are supported) and provide a list of recommended tags (a feature of the Pinboard API).

Shiori is simple, elegant, and fast. Get it here for free.


Transfer Files with Alfred – Zero Config Required

File transfers between computers on a network can be a pain. No one wants to memorize hostnames and IP addresses are often dynamic. Apple made huge strides in simplifying the process with AirDrop but the UI leaves a lot to be desired especially if you are looking for fast transfers with minimal interactions. If you are an Alfred Powerpack user then you are probably already familiar with the many ways Alfred workflows can speed up simple actions without ever having to take your hands off the keyboard. Wouldn’t it be great if you could transfer files using Alfred with absolutely no configuration?

This is exactly what I had in mind when I made the Alfred File Transfer workflow. So how does it work? It is powered by the pyncp project. A few months ago one of my favorite blogs, One Thing Well, linked to the pyncp project which is a Python port of the popular linux utility – NCP. Pyncp is essentially a command-line tool for copying files across a LAN without any configuration. You simply run the pyncp push command on one computer, then run the pyncp poll command on the second computer and file is transferred. However, I ran in to some initial issues that prevented pyncp from working properly on OS X – so I forked the project, refactored some code, and got it working.

The Alfred File Transfer workflow is simple. First, install the workflow on each computer. Then select a file to transfer in Finder and show the list of available Actions using Alfred’s ⌥ + ⌘ + \ keyboard shortcut. Type push and select the corresponding Alfred action. On the second computer, simply bring up Alfred and type pull – the file will be transferred to the ~/Downloads folder on the destination computer. That is all there is to it!

Check out a video of the workflow in action:

This workflow is simple yet very powerful because it allows you to move files across your network using nothing more than your keyboard. It is worth noting that this does not provide the encryption and security provided by AirDrop so if you are transferring sensitive information on a public network – use with caution. However, I have found it extremely useful on my personal computers at home. If you find this workflow handy be sure to thank Felix Richter for his hard work porting NCP to the Python language.

Download the Alfred File Transfer workflow.