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Posts in mac

Resolutionator Makes It Easy to Switch Your Mac’s Screen Resolution

Resolutionator is a handy new utility from the great team at Many Tricks which is the best and easiest way that I have found to quickly switch between different screen resolutions.

Why would I need to do this? Well, one of the things I have started doing with my my new 12" Retina MacBook is adjusting the resolution between its “native” size (1280x800) and the “more space” (1440x900) options, depending on what I am doing.

I also need to adjust the resolution on my Dell UltraWide U2913WM 29" Monitor when I connect to it via screen-sharing, because 2560x1080 is a lot of pixels, and 1280x960 is a lot easier to manage over VNC.

My favorite feature is a keyboard shortcut which brings up a quick list of the available resolutions:

If I had one feature request it would be the ability to exclude resolutions that I don’t use or somehow easily select between just options that I do use. That Dell UltraWide has a myriad of resolution options, but I only ever use about two.

Download Resolutionator (requires 10.8 or later) and check out the free trial, and then you can buy it for $3.

Suspicious Package Lets You Inspect .pkg Files Before You Install Them

Suspicious Package is a free Quick Look plug-in which allows you to inspect package files (.pkg) on the Mac.

Package files on the Mac are awesome, because they can install all of the various files that you need in the right places, and do all of the right things to make sure that you can use them.

Package files on the Mac are terrifying, because they can install all of these various files all over the place and you probably have no idea what they are doing.

If you download a .pkg file from a reasonably trustworthy source, chances are extremely high that the package is completely safe and won’t do anything nefarious. But .pkg files also have the potential to do a lot of damage, especially because they almost always require that you enter your administrator password. Suspicious Package allows you to see inside .pkg files, including the any scripts which will be run during the installation process. All of this gives you a much better chance of understanding what a particular package will do before you install it.

Plus, it’s free, so there’s no good reason not to install it. You can download it here either as a .pkg file (yes, irony) or manually. If you want to see a good example of why .pkg files can be a very helpful thing, look at the instructions for installing this manually!

I’m not trying to make you paranoid, I just want you to be able to make more informed decisions.

Replacing QuickCursor with Keyboard Maestro

QuickCursor was a great app which allowed you to use your favorite text editor to edit text anywhere on the Mac. For example, rather than writing a blog post in a form field in your browser, you could press a keyboard shortcut and then whatever text you had written would be sent BBEdit (or any other text editor). You could finish writing your post using all of the features of your preferred text editor (and, most importantly, not have to worry about your browser window crashing or anything else that might cause you to lose your work). When you finished writing, your text would automatically be sent from your text editor back to the web browser. (If the awesomeness of this is not immediately obvious, watch this short YouTube video showing how QuickCursor worked.)

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Billings Pro Adds Mobile Estimates and Apple Watch Features

I've used Billings for invoicing and time tracking since shortly after I first started freelancing years ago. I recently (finally) upgraded to Billings Pro, and I've been testing out the most recent update to the apps for Mac and iOS. The latest version brings Apple Watch support, mobile estimates, and seamless integration of all of the Billings Pro features across all my devices.

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Gestimer: Effortlessly Set Timers on a Mac

When I think about what makes a great app, I don't think it needs to be packed full of every imaginable feature. It doesn't need to be as precisely and extensively engineered as Editorial or Tweetbot. A great app can just as easily be an app like Pedometer++ or Blink, apps which enable users to accomplish a specific task in a way that is delightful and useful. Which brings me to Gestimer, a Mac App that launched in late June.

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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.

TextBar Puts Your Text into the Menu Bar

TextBar is an awesome app which solves a problem that I have been struggling with for at least three years: “How can I put some text into the menu bar, such as the output of a shell script?” TextBar can do that, but it does it even better than I had hoped, because it also:

  • Lets you configure multiple items
  • Copies the item to the clipboard when you click it
  • Easily enables/disables individual items
  • Updates each item on its own time interval (some items might need to be updated every minute, some every 5, some 10, etc)

Here are some ways that I have been using TextBar.

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