Posts tagged with "os x"

Dash 3: A Coder’s Best Friend

Dash 3

Dash 3

As a Mac and iOS developer, web designer, Unix lover and all around coder, Kapeli's Dash has become an indispensable part of my workflow. Version 3 of the reference tool was released recently, and it continues to be a tool I'd be lost without.

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Jason Snell’s Hands On with Photos for Mac 1.1

Good overview by Jason Snell on the new features coming with Photos 1.1 in El Capitan. Improvements to geotagging caught my attention, primarily because batch-editing of hundreds of files works best on a Mac:

Yes, in Photos 1.1 you can add a location to an image or batch of images that weren’t geotagged, as well as edit the location of data of already-geotagged images. To do this, you open the Inspector window. A not-yet-geotagged image will offer a section of the window labeled Assign a Location. Clicking in this area will let you enter a street address or a name of a point of interest, and Photos will search Apple’s Maps database. If that location isn’t good enough for you, you can always click on the pin and drag it around the map, placing it wherever you like.

See also: Jason's first look at the El Capitan public beta for Macworld.

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Apple Launching iOS 9, OS X El Capitan Public Betas Today

Following the official introduction at WWDC last month, Apple is launching the first public betas of iOS 9 and OS X 10.11 El Capitan today. According to Ars Technica, betas for the general public will be available later today; both iOS 9 and El Capitan public betas should be available to any user with an Apple ID interested in installing them.

The public betas will soon be available from Apple's Beta Software Program website and they follow the launch of the third developer beta seeded to registered iOS and OS X developers yesterday. With the public betas, Apple aims to offer a larger pool of users the possibility of testing the upcoming versions of the operating systems for Mac and iOS devices, with built-in tools to provide feedback and report issues during the beta testing period. As usual, Apple recommends to keep a backup of a stable version of iOS and OS X before installing the public beta.

It's worth pointing out that, at this stage, third-party apps from the App Store can't be updated to take advantage of the new features in iOS 9 and OS X 10.11, which could limit the potential benefit of trying a public beta for some users. On iPad, for instance, only Apple's pre-installed apps can use the new multitasking features in iOS 9. For this reason, users interested in installing the public betas should also keep in mind that developers can't submit apps and updates with iOS 9 and El Capitan features to the App Store – therefore, it'd be best not to leave negative reviews for features missing in apps that can't be updated to take advantage of them yet.

Apple's public beta website with more information will be updated at this link later today. You can read our overviews of iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan here and here.


Apple Details Two-Factor Authentication in iOS 9 and El Capitan

New webpage published by Apple today detailing the new two-factor authentication that will be directly built into iOS 9 and El Capitan. Most notably, Apple is using six-digit verification codes and passcodes by default, and the feature will be rolled out alongside the public betas of iOS 9 and El Capitan. “During the iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan public betas, enrollment in two-factor authentication will be limited”, according to Apple.

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Apple Releases OS X 10.10.4

Also earlier today, Apple released the latest version of OS X. Andrew Cunningham details a welcome change:

The first change in OS X 10.10.4 is to “networking reliability,” which is likely a reference to the replacement of discoveryd, a new-but-flaky DNS service introduced in Yosemite. It has been replaced with what appears to be mDNSresponder, the service that handled discoveryd's tasks in previous versions of OS X.

According to Apple, iCloud Photo Library in the Photos app should be more responsive now, too.

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WWDC 2015: Interesting Tidbits and Links

Every year at WWDC, Apple unveils dozens of new software features and hundreds of developer technologies, and 2015 was no exception. With new versions of iOS, OS X, and a big 2.0 update to watchOS weeks after its public debut, Apple is preparing for a busy Fall across its ecosystems.

Among big additions and redesigns, however, there are always smaller features and hidden changes that the company only briefly mentioned during the keynote or described with a short paragraph on their preview webpages and developer documentation guides. In this article, we've collected some of the most interesting details we didn't cover yesterday, with links to the original articles, documentation, and tweets.

For more in-depth coverage, check out our overviews and first impressions:

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MindNode 2.0 for Mac

Mindnode has been a favorite at MacStories for a while, and I'm happy to see a brand new version for Mac available today. MindNode 2.0 for Mac is an entirely new app, with an introductory price of $19.99 US ($29.99 after the intro sale).

The new version includes a variety of features that expand MindNode's usefulness beyond simple mind mapping to make it a powerful tool for collaboration, polishing ideas, and writing (among the many things mind maps are great for). All this while maintaining the attributes that set it apart from the beginning: simplicity and elegance.

The new features include notes, something I'd always felt was an oversight in MindNode. I like to keep my topic titles as short as possible, and being able to expand on an idea or add extended thoughts via attached notes is vital. MindNode 2.0 does a nice job of indicating which nodes have notes with an unobtrusive icon while concealing the extra cruft. Notes can be included in the various export formats (PDF, Freemind, OPML, Image, Markdown, or text).

When I'm writing, mind maps are the first tool I employ to brainstorm, develop, and begin structuring a piece. The outline view in MindNode (new to the Mac version) means I can see a linear view of my content as I work in the less restrictive format of a mind map. Being able to include notes in the Markdown export means that I can even begin developing paragraphs right in the mind map.

That leads me to mention my favorite new feature: the ability to preview the rendered Markdown from a mind map while I work using Marked 2 (my own Markdown preview and writing tool). Click File -> Advanced -> Open in Marked and a full preview of the Markdown export, including notes, will update every time the mind map saves. (iThoughtsX has Marked integration, as well.)

MindNode had also been missing the ability to add icons and markers to nodes, but not anymore. The "Stickers" feature lets you choose from a custom set of tinted icons to set ideas apart. You can also add labels to connections to help make things more scannable.

MindJet MindManager users will be happy to hear that MindNode can now import your existing maps. I switched away from MindManager a while ago, but used it for years, accumulating a significant pile of brainstorms in mmap format. Being able to access Mindjet's proprietary format in my tools of choice is important to my sanity.

The MindNode update also boasts improvements in smart layout, theme customization, and visual refinements.

Also new to the Mac version, the MyMindNode web service allows you to publish your maps on the web and link or embed them in a blog or web page. Maps can be re-published at the same URL as they're updated.

If you're looking to up your brainstorming game, you can find MindNode 2.0 on the Mac App Store.


How to Configure Gmail with OS X Yosemite Mail

My friend Amy is having her first experience with using Gmail, and, it, um, isn’t going as well as she’d like. The good news is that although Apple's Mail.app and Gmail have had a rocky relationship in the past, Mail.app in Yosemite works pretty well with Gmail, but there are some things that you should understand before you proceed.

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StretchLink Unshortens and Cleans URLs from Your Menu Bar

Brett Terpstra, writing about StretchLink 1.0:

It’s an easy-to-use tool for expanding shortened links, fixing redirects, and cleaning out referrer junk from Google Analytics and others. StretchLink runs in the OS X menu bar. You can click the icon to open the main panel from which it can expand and clean links on demand with a single click. Even better, it can be set to silently watch your clipboard. You can turn this on with a switch from the main panel, or just right click the menu bar icon to toggle it.

StretchLink 1.0 is priced at $1.99, with a free trial available on the website. An introductory sale of $0.99 (50% off) starts now and goes through the end of May. StretchLink didn’t get a beta round, but it’s been tested on a variety of my own machines. If you do run into issues, don’t hesitate to contact me. A Mac App Store release is planned for the near future, if all goes well.

As a shell script nerd who loves automation and clean URLS, I had, of course, written my own shell script to expand and clean URLs. I installed StretchLink last night, and I am sure that I will never use my script again. That’s how much better Brett’s app is.

My biggest criteria (after, of course, that it actually works) is how fast would it work. So I did what any self-respecting geek would do: I wrote a shell script to test how fast it would expand a given URL. The result was that StretchLink expanded it in less than 1 second. 1

You can download StretchLink here.

P.S. If you’re looking for something similar on iOS, checkout Clean Links.


  1. If you want more details about how I tested this, I posted my script as a gist. Because of course I did.  ↩

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