I spend a fair bit of time on VersionTracker and macosxapps.com looking for new software. Last night, I downloaded a program known simply as Watson. I wasn't quite sure what it did, but it had glowing reviews on VersionTracker.
It's hard to describe everything that Watson does, but it does it all quite well. It's a very nice Cocoa application that includes interfaces to Internet movie finders, images, phone books, stock listings, and eBay auctions. In addition, there are planned future plug-ins for things such as TV listings, maps, flight finders (available already), automated teller machine finders, ski resort information, and sports and weather. Yes, you can do all this yourself by hitting the various websites, but Watson does the hard work for you and presents the results in a very Mac-like manner.
Take a look at Watson's home page to get an idea of the interface; it's extremely well done and takes advantage of drawers in a great manner - settings drawers slide out of the right side of the main window, and a detail drawer drops out of the bottom.
Watson isn't free - it's a $29 shareware program ... but I've just sent in my fee after only 15 minutes of usage. The interface is useful and intuitive, the functionality is perfect, and it does exactly what you'd expect it to do. I can see this quickly becoming an indispensible tool.
Not sure if this has already been mentioned, but, if you find that the terminal in OS X is too slow for you, then you might want to check out GLTerm. This is a fast, no frills terminal for OS X that will allow you to work at the speed you want.
Give it a try! Now that I have used it I don't think I will ever go back. This is not a paid endorsement.
[Editor's note: GLTerm uses OpenGL to render a predefined selection of font sizes very very quickly. I tried it, and it's definitely FAST. However, I've gotten used to my semi-transparent terminal, and would find it difficult to give up this (trivial yet valuable to me) feature. GLTerm does not currently offer transparency (a future update, perhaps?), but it is incredibly fast and well worth a look.]
Found this app on my local users group - ASM 2.0x. It's a great utility to ease me into independence from the dock.
ASM is the reincarnation of the application switcher menu. It's highly customizable and offers some nice extra features, such as "Classic Window Mode" (orders all windows of an application to front when it becomes active) or "Single Application Mode" (automatically hides applications other than the front-most one).
The fact that its free makes it even better. Download it from their web site. The developer makes the source code available and you can modify it if you want. Very cool!
There are three reasons you may wish to remove channels from Sherlock:
Sherlock loads faster with fewer channels and everybody loves more speed
Some channels are hidden ads anyway (No, I don't shop at amazon.com and never will)
I just hate that woman staring at me on the people channel. She has a crazy look.
The folder that holds the Sherlock channels and plug-ins is located in ~/Library/Internet Search Sites (~ = /Users/username). Now, the catch here is that if you simply go trashing the folders inside, Sherlock will happily recreate them the next time it is launched.
Trash them anyway, but then put a Textedit file with the same name in its place (Ex.: put a file named "People" where the folder "Pepople" is supposed to be). Sherlock won't be able to recreate the channel and will not display it in the future. Any kind of file will do. Just make sure your file does not have any kind of extension (.rtf) at the end.
Disabling a plug-in works the same way. Just put a file named "Altavista.src" in the Internet folder, for example.
Broadband Optimizer for OS X claims to optimize your network settings for broadband connections (like cable modems) to the Internet. There's some discussion of this program and the results obtained with it on the Ars Technica Networking Forums.
[Editor's note: I downloaded and installed this package. It's a very benign installation - a folder which sits in your /Library/StartupItems folder, and sets four different TCP values. To remove it, just remove the folder and restart. If you have a broadband connection, it can't hurt to give it a try. My test results were interesting. I ran the speed tests from bandwidthplace.com, and I also looked at Quake3 ping times. My download speeds seem to have dropped slightly since installting the package, but my Quake3 ping times are notably (and repeatably) lower. I'll keep an eye on it over the next few days and see how things go with both downloading and Quake3 before I decide whether I'll keep this package or not.]
In the now-shipping Office v.X, saving documents with long filenames is not yet supported. You can open a long filename document, and (just as in OS 9), Office will display the name truncated. Upon saving, the long filename is retained.
If you try to save a new document with a long filename, however, you'll be told that the "filename is too long" and must not exceed 31 characters. Dan C., a member of the Mac Business Unit at Microsoft, posted the reason to Omni's OS X Talk mailing list:
Word can open and edit files with >= 32 characters, but will show the truncated file name in title bar. Also, when saving a new file, the name is limited to 31 characters. Supporting longer file names requires rewriting a lot of file handling code in Word and the Office shared code. There's a lot of code there! We are working on adding this support in the future.
So for now, you'll have to create longer filenames in the Finder when using Office v.X.
As you reply to messages in Mail.app, recipients' names and email addresses are automatically stored in your address book. That's fine for people you want to stay in touch with, but I'm often writing to people just once and don't want them cluttering up my contact database. Apple built in a nice mechanism for dealing with this that doesn't require going through the list one at a time to remove unwanted addresses.
The secret is in the "Categories" function of the address book, and you'll need to adopt the Categories system for this hint to be useful.
Double-click an entry in your address book. If you've never categorized them before, you'll find they're in a "Temporary" category. When you decide to keep someone, assign them to a non-temporary category.
Now all you have to do is periodically view your address book by "Temporary." If there's anyone you want to keep, assign them to a different category. Otherwise, just hit Cmd-A and hit Delete all the deadbeats at once.
SnapzPro X includes the ability to specify a destination for the images you capture. The choices include the desktop, the clipboard, the printer, or the Pictures folder. It will also list any folders within the Pictures folder as avaialble destinations. For one of my current projects, however, I wanted all the images in the a folder outside of the "Pictures" hierarchy.
So I tried the obvious solution, and was quite happy to see that it worked: To save your Snapzpro X images into whichever folder you'd like, simply place an alias to that folder in your Pictures folder. Select that alias in the SnapzPro pop-up, and all your snapshots will wind up in the folder of your choice. No more dragging images around; now my screenshots go where I want them to go.
We have a Brother 1270N ethernet printer which works in OS X quite nicely most of the time. It will, however, occasionally fail to print PDF's in Preview. The printer spits out a page, but it just says "ERROR NAME: limitcheck ... COMMAND: Type42BuildGlyph ... OPERAND STACK". Not exactly what I was expecting to see. I just assumed it was a fault of the printer driver or maybe a graphic in the PDF file.
Not sure why I hadn't tried it before, but tonight I discovered that the bundled Acrobat Reader printed every one of my troublesome PDF files perfectly. Needless to say, I've now switched my default app for PDF's to Acrobat Reader!