Ask any Mac power user about their menubar and you’ll get a different list of 5-10 must-have applications and utilities that boost productivity. The menubar is the mission control of a user’s computer, giving them an at-a-glance view of stats and apps that are important to them. The menubar can become so crowded, in fact, that’s there’s a menubar app that collects menubar apps. So meta.
Speaking of OS X features that haven't been ported to iOS, Zach Hamed published an interesting look at the history of Mac menu bar apps last month.
As his images show, the landscape of menu bar apps is a jungle of different sizes, interfaces, keyboard shortcuts, and colors. It's no surprise that Apple is setting strict and specific guidelines with iOS 8 widgets – admittedly, the closest thing to menu bar utilities we'll soon get on our iPhones and iPads.
I’ve been using the Unix command line since 1983 and like most software developers, the Terminal app is a permanent fixture in my Dock. Over the years I’ve learned a lot of things that make working in this environment more productive, but even old dogs like me are constantly learning new tricks.
As much as I love them, these long “trick lists” on Stack Overflow have a problem: they’re poorly organized with little narrative describing why you’d want to use a technique. This long homage to the command line is my attempt to remedy that situation.
This is a fantastic collection of Terminal tips and tricks, elegantly narrated by Craig Hockenberry. Being able to do this sort of stuff is one of the things I deeply miss on iOS.
Developed by Francisco Cantu, Fileup is a new OS X utility that lets you quickly share files through Dropbox by dragging them onto a menu bar icon. Unlike other apps that have implemented the same sharing mechanism and user interaction (which Dropbox surprisingly doesn't support with their own menu bar app), Fileup adds filters for file types, integrates with Notification Center, and lets you set up templates for naming files through a simple syntax. The idea is reminiscent of Vemedio's shortlived Sharebox experiment, but, as required by Dropbox, Fileup is a separate menu bar utility that doesn't interact with the official Dropbox client.
Two years after the release of version 4.0, Bjango has launched iStat Menus 5 today, adding hundreds of new features and improvements, and bringing a new design for both OS X Mavericks and Yosemite.
Nick Keppol has published a great look at the icons from the developer beta of OS X Yosemite:
When 10.10 ships this fall, your users will expect your icons to feel at home in the new system. Rather than critique the icons, I’m going to dissect the icon system and focus on the small details that will help you make icons that look great in Yosemite.
When I saw this link in my Twitter feed, I thought the article would focus on colors, gradients, and comparisons with iOS 7. Instead, Nick has inspected the tiniest details of Apple's icon design on Yosemite, such as reflections, materials, grids, and combination of shapes. If you're a designer or just curious about Apple's new dock icon language, I recommend reading this post.
In his first hands-on with OS X Yosemite, Jason Snell points out an issue with the redesigned title bars that no longer show a title:
I have to admit I’m also a little nonplussed about the disappearance of titles from the top of many windows. In apps that never really have more than one important window (Calendar and Maps come to mind), the title is unnecessary; labeling my Calendar window with the word Calendar seems pointless. But in many other contexts, the title of the window imparts important information, and there’s a danger that some of that information could be lost if Apple takes this approach too far. It’s something worth keeping an eye on, especially given the radical changes Yosemite has in store for Safari.
I've been trying the first Yosemite beta on my MacBook Air, and I find it annoying that Safari doesn't show the title of a webpage (just the domain in the address bar) when a single tab is open. It'll be interesting to see if third-party apps will switch to this integrated toolbar approach with no separate area for a title.
I’ve always wanted to be able to access my iCloud Tabs directly from Editorial, but, unfortunately, due to the lack of an iCloud Tabs API, that’s currently not possible. Last week, however, when I linked to the iCloudTabs for Alfred project by Kevin Marchand and saw that the workflow was based on a bit of Python code, I realized that I could modify his script to find a way to make Editorial read constantly-updated iCloud Tabs from a text file.
What follows is a combination of a server-side script and an Editorial workflow to read and open iCloud Tabs within the app. The system works and I’ve been using it every day for the past week with good results.
I've been using a Mac for several years now, and I had no idea that the Color Picker built into OS X could accept image files. A recent Bjango blog post covers some clever uses for sampling images and swatches from Photoshop.
If you have a Mac running OS X Mavericks, update 10.9.2 has been pushed to the Mac App Store, which adds several new features, fixes a variety of bugs, and namely fixes the SSL/TLS vulnerability. On the feature side, 10.9.2 adds the ability to initiate and receive FaceTime audio calls, while also blocking individual senders on iMessage. Mail is named as having received a slew of bug fixes: compatibility improvements for Gmail's Archive folder and labels are listed, as well as resolutions for a bug that prevented Mail from receiving messages from "certain providers." The update will require a restart for installation.