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Posts tagged with "os x"


A Cautionary Tale About Contacts and Backups

On episode 306 of Mac Power Users, David and Katie talked about contacts on OS X and iOS, including a discussion of Interact, which sounds pretty much like the app that Apple should have built for contacts on iOS. They also mentioned Contacts Cleaner which I consider an indispensable tool for managing contacts on OS X.

However, there are a few details about backing up and restoring contacts that I wanted to add. And by “details” I mean “war stories” and by “war stories” I mean “let me tell you how I got these scars.”

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Khoi Vinh Is Done with MacBooks

Khoi Vinh:

I’ve been using laptops for decades. The first one I ever owned was a PowerBook 3400c, and I’ve never not owned one since then. But now, in contrast to my iPad, my laptop seems altogether much more cumbersome than I prefer to deal with. It’s much, much heavier and bulkier than my iPad, especially when you factor in its power supply and a carrying case.

It’s much more fragile, too—I regularly toss my iPad around in ways that I would never do with my MacBook—and as a result, it’s much less versatile, at least for me. This is partly because the MacBook also restricts my movement; I have to be sitting or standing in a way that accommodates typing, whereas I have so much flexibility with my tablet that I’ve become accustomed to using it while positioned in just about any variant of laying down, sitting, standing or even walking.

He's not done with OS X – an important distinction.

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iPad Pro and OS X with Screens

Eddie Vassallo, writing on the Entropy blog on using the iPad Pro in combination with a Mac mini via VNC:

The beauty of a single machine fully dedicated to the iPad Pro is that we always have a full OS X instance at the ready for anything that arises - from exporting and compiling app builds to transcoding video, to downloading and uploading large files. Heck, we've even found it useful for firing up a desktop instance of Chrome when pesky sites misbehave on mobile Safari. It has truly filled the gap for any desktop-class workflows we require (that have not already been fulfilled with an iOS App or Web-based method).

Before switching to the iPad as my only computer and before iOS 9 multitasking (I would say between 2011 and 2014), this is also what I did. I set up a personal mini at Macminicolo (a fine company which also hosts this very website) and relied on Edovia's excellent Screens app to access desktop apps like iTunes and Chrome. I also used to keep the mini always running for Hazel rules (here's an archive of posts about it) and other desktop automation. I do most of this stuff directly on iOS now, but if you need a Mac for some key tasks, Screens with iOS multitasking sounds better than ever.

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The First Spotlight Interface Is Still the Best

Riccardo Mori:

From Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard onwards, while the Spotlight menu and find-as-you-type list of results on the upper right corner of the desktop remained essentially unchanged, this neatly organised window disappeared, and the Show All option simply triggered a new Finder window with the search results amassed in an unorganised fashion. If you didn’t find what you were looking for in the first results Spotlight displayed from the Search menu on the top right, you’d have to perform more organised searches with various filters and criteria directly from a Finder window. But the overall approach was less clean and clear than under Mac OS X Tiger. On the other hand, Spotlight got better as an app launcher and new features were introduced, like the ability to do quick calculations from the Spotlight search field itself.

When the Spotlight interface was finally redesigned with the release of Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite, it was great to see that Apple was revisiting that kind of search interface, with a panel front and centre, and with the results organised in categories in a similar way as it was under Tiger. Since I upgraded from Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks to 10.11 El Capitan avoiding Yosemite completely, I only started using this new Spotlight interface in recent times. And I have mixed feelings about it.

This is a terrific analysis of the behavior and design choices of Spotlight for OS X Tiger and the latest El Capitan. I agree with Riccardo – the organization of results in the original interface still looks better.

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Daylite 6 for Mac and iOS

Daylite 6 was released today for both Mac and iOS, and it's a major upgrade for the business productivity app. Already boasting a complete set of tools for managing projects, clients, and tasks for an individual or workgroup, the new version adds a slew of new features that take the app even further.

One of the major highlights of this release is the announcement of "Daylite Cloud." Previously, centralizing a group's Daylite data required running a copy of Daylite Server. With Daylite Cloud, it's all handled seamlessly, allows offline access, is cheaper, and has no barrier to incorporating it into your company workflow.

The task management features of Daylite have also expanded. The constraints of the previous Pipeline/Activity Set features have been augmented by a "Task Lists" feature, allowing free-form creation of task lists that might not be assigned to a linear timeline, with complete control over ordering, a new entry interface, and additional fields for time, location, estimated time, and other details. There's also a new "Smart Filtering Bar" for viewing tasks by details such as assigned team member, category, or keyword.

The iOS version has new goodies as well, with features including Today Widgets, full filtering capabilities, and improved editing of Daylite entries. It also adds file linking tools which allow you to snap a photo and link it to one or more items in Daylite.

If you're a Mail.app user, also check out the Daylite Mail Assistant. It's not a new feature, but it's impressive. It allows you to link emails to Daylite items, schedule meetings, and share data without a chain of cc's and forwards, all from within Mail.

For a complete rundown of all the new features, check out the announcement post on the Daylite blog. You can learn more about Daylite on the Marketcircle website.


OS X 10.11.1, watchOS 2.0.1 Also Released

In addition to iOS 9.1, Apple has also released OS X 10.11.1 and watchOS 2.0.1 today. On both updates, there are a bunch of performance improvements and new emoji characters are supported. On watchOS, there are some welcome fixes: Apple has revolved a problem that prevented software updates from completing successfully, and it has fixed various issues that were impacting battery life.

Both software updates are available now for over-the-air installations.

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Photo Extensions on El Capitan

Jason Snell has tried a few photo editing extensions on OS X El Capitan:

Like the built-in editing tools, you can actually stack multiple extensions while editing a photo, so you can combine third-party editing extensions with Apple’s own tools to get exactly the image that you want to see. However, each extension edits a “burned-in” version of your photo, so you can’t edit a photo with three extensions and then go back and turn off the first of the extensions. Instead, you’d need to revert back to the original photo (which is always retained by Photos) and start again from the beginning. You can also use the editing tools built in to Photos on images that have already been edited by an Extension, so you can really mix and match. You just don’t get the always-undoable, always-editable flexibility you get when you stick entirely to the native editing tools in Photos.

A good roundup, with some extensions I'll have to try out.

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OS X 10.11 El Capitan: The MacStories Review

In 2013 Apple left behind the decade old big cat naming scheme for major releases of its flagship desktop operating system. It set its sights instead on inspirational places in California. Beginning with Mavericks, a California surfing spot, OS X then moved on to Yosemite, the beloved national park. In this year's new release, Apple eschewed another big move in exchange for seeking greater heights within the bounds of last year's stomping ground.

Since the introduction of Yosemite last fall, Apple has faced some rough times in the press. While the company is well adjusted to the doomsday chicanery constantly tossed about by the mainstream tech media, this year the calls were coming from inside the house. Well known developers and tech bloggers who have historically been accused 1 of ingratiation with the Cupertino company, were stepping out to bring attention to a growing feeling of dissatisfaction in its software.

Software is a field which has classically been one of Apple's strong suits. Shave off ten seconds on startup and save a dozen lives. Yet recent years have brought debacles such as Apple Maps in iOS 6 and discoveryd, as well as many smaller issues such as random crashing in iOS, lost music files, and stingy iCloud storage.

The consensus that seemed to be reached when these issue came to a head this January was a plea to Apple to just slow down. While Apple's hardware division has proven themselves capable of firing on all cylinders year after year, their software division has not quite been keeping up. They could use a year to regroup, focus on existing features, and hold off on any major leaps forward. In essence, a Snow Leopard kind of year.

Thankfully, in what seems to be establishing itself as a pleasant trend of late, Apple has been listening.

discoveryd was reverted in the final update to Yosemite, Apple Music has some homework to do, and Apple Maps has picked up the last of its major missing features. Siri is getting faster, iCloud storage prices have gone down, and Notification Center widgets which launch other apps are being allowed into the App Store.

With the difficult, but necessary changes seen in iOS 7 and 8 and OS X 10.9 and 10.10 out of the way, Apple may finally have a chance to take advantage of some breathing room and address the features they've been neglecting.

With all this in mind, it's no surprise that OS X 10.11 is named after a mountain which can be found inside Yosemite National Park.

El Capitan marks an end to Apple's relentless march forward, opting instead for a calm retrospective on the applications and underlying frameworks which have been the keystones of the operating system for years. Portentous in its own restraint, 10.11 canonizes those small but significant features that enrich the OS X experience in daily use. Shaving off seconds and bandaging cuts, El Capitan is the operating system we've been looking for.

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  1. Without merit, but accused nonetheless. ↩︎