BitTorrent Labs has released BitTorrent Sync, a tool for syncing files across computers, using the BitTorrent peer-to-peer protocol. This app lets you choose a specific folder (or folders) to sync, and have it automatically synced on one or several computers. It runs on OS X, Windows and Linux.
I find this an interesting tool. While I use Dropbox regularly, and depend on it for collaboration, and to sync a number of files between my two Macs, there is a limit in the amount of space available. (With the free version, it's 2 GB; paid subscriptions are available if you want more storage.) But also, Dropbox requires that anything you sync be put in its own folder. You can use symbolic links in a Dropbox folder, but if you want to sync the contents of a specific folder on your Mac to another Mac, this gets a bit complicated.
With BitTorrent Sync, you choose the folders to sync, and store them wherever you want. You could conceivably sync your entire home folder, though I'm not sure I want to try that yet. There are no space limitations, because you're not storing the files in the cloud; they're merely getting moved from one side to the other. And you can sync files in both directions, or only one, using read-only folders.
Dropbox has many advantages. You can access files on an iOS device, and Dropbox stores multiple versions of files. But if you want to simply sync one or more folders across computers, BitTorrent Sync could be the way to go.
If anyone else has tried this out, feel free to post comments on how you've found it.
If you type a lot, you may find that the letters on the keys of your Mac's keyboard will slowly fade away. In my case, not only do they fade away, but one key - the D key, which, since I use a Dvorak layout, is the E key - actually has some of the plastic worn away. And this is on a wireless Apple keyboard that's only about a year old. (Note that since I touch-type, it really doesn't matter whether I see the keys or notÖ)
Topher Kessler, writing at CNet, posted an article with some ways to keep the letters from fading. He suggests possibly using a silicone keyboard cover, but I don't think that would be comfortable. But he also recommends using standard cellophane tape, cut into squares that cover the keys.
You probably wouldn't want to do this to all the keys on your keyboard: the most commonly-used ones are those most in need of protection: E, T, A, I, N, and others. (If you're not an English speaker - or typer - see this Wikipedia article which discusses the most common letters in a number of other languages.)
I wonder if there's not another solution though. While I've not tried it, I would think that clear nail polish might do the trick, and might be better than cellophane tape. The tape is likely to peel up from the corners after a while, but nail polish should stay shiny for a long time. I may try this and see how it works on my already-faded keyboard. Any other suggestions for protecting keys?
Sometimes clicking the "Show or hide panels" (the top-right icon on right pane for Tools or Comments) in Adobe Acrobat Pro XI v.11.0.2 on OS X 10.8.3 does no work. Clicking it does nothing. Here is the fix:
1. Select View > Read Mode.
2. Select View > Full Screen Mode
3. Press the Escape key
[kirkmc adds: I donít have Acrobat Pro, so I canít test this.]
If you've ever been irked by the need to download iTunes Store purchases right away, or by seeing them constantly pop up in your Downloads queue until you download them, you'll be happy to know that Apple has changed this. You can now choose to download iTunes Store purchases later, as long as you're in a country which has iTunes in the Cloud. If you choose to download the content - a movie, TV show, or other large download - at a later date, it will simply be added to your Purchased list and you'll be able to download it later. Or not. Because in some cases, you may want to buy something on, say, an iPhone, but watch it on an Apple TV, and never actually download it locally. This will save a lot of time and bandwidth.
You may be familiar with the fact that, when typing on iOS, you can press and hold the . (period) key, or the .com key, to get a popup with a handful of top-level domains, such as .com, .org, .edu, etc. If your iOS device is set up with a country other than the US, you'll have these, plus others, such as .co.uk if you're in the UK, or .de if you're in Germany.
OS X Daily recently pointed out that you can also quickly type other top-level domains by simply adding international keyboards to your iOS device. To do this, go to Settings > General > International > Keyboards, then tap on Add New Keyboard. Tap the keyboard for the country you want to use. When you next go to type text, you can press and hold the . (period) key in, say, Mail, or the .com key in Safari, and access additional top-level domains.
Interestingly, when I did this, I found a surprising change. I added a UK keyboard to be able to type .co.uk easily, since I've just moved to England. I dictate a lot into my iPhone - much quicker than typing - and found that iOS was no longer recognizing "period" as a . but would type out the word. It would, however, type a . when I said "full stop." This shouldn't happen, because my iPhone is set with Voice Control to English (United States). Removing the UK keyboard fixed the dictation issue.
FaceTime uses 100% CPU when in a call, probably because of video encoding. Yet it's possible to reduce CPU usage to 20% when you only need voice, extending battery life when mobile.
To stop FaceTime from encoding video when in a call, make it fullscreen and it will move into its own space. Then switch back to your main desktop space with a four finger swipe to the right (or by simply switching to an app in that space). Although your camera LED stays on, this actually pauses the video, reducing your CPU from 100% to around 20%. You will also find that voice quality improves with less drop-outs and cracks because now your CPU is prioritized on encoding audio.
Update: As mentioned in the comments, it's seems to be sufficient to just have FaceTime in a space and move to a different space, or to minimize the FaceTime window to the Dock.
[kirkmc adds: I don't use FaceTime often, choosing rather to use Messages video chats or Skype, so I can't confirm whether this CPU usage is universal.]
If you use BBEdit to work with text files, you're certainly aware of its powerful regular expression feature for searching and replacing text. Based on the PCRE (Perl Compatible Regular Expressions) engine, the BBEdit regex language can find and replace pretty much anything.
GitHub user ccstone has published a BBEdit Regular Expression Cheat Sheet, which shows all the standard regex meta-characters, those used for non-visible characters (such as tabs and returns), and classes (such as digits, lower-case letters or alphanumeric characters).
If you use BBEdit to find and replace text, and especially if you're not familiar with using regular expressions, you should bookmark this page.
Over at the Mac Observer, Dave Hamilton told of an iPod touch whose SpringBoard would repeatedly crash. (SpringBoard is the iOS equivalent of the Finder.) After trying a number of troubleshooting procedures, he narrowed it down to an iCloud issue, where corrupt data was causing the crash. Hamilton found info in crash logs indications of what was causing the crash. He eventually deleted a folder on the Mac that was linked to the iPod (com~apple~TextInput) and this resolved the issue.
iCloud has been, for me, a common source of dismay. I've not found it to be reliable enough to entrust any important data to it - though for some data, such as contacts and calendars, you have no choice. I've had to go through complicated procedures to reset different types of iCloud data several times to resolve syncing issues. This crashing problem is just another of the issues that iCloud can be responsible for.
Apple has released Safari 6.0.4, and 5.1.9, which, together with a recent update to Java, provides site-specific settings for activating Java. As Java has become a widely-exploited vector for malware attacks, it's a good idea to keep it turned off if you don't need it. The problem is, however, that many people do need it, and the safest way to protect from drive-by attacks on malicious websites is to provide a site-specific activation method.
Safari 6.0.4 offers this. If you visit a website that tries to load a Java applet, a dialog will ask if you want to block or allow the applet. You can later go to Safari > Preferences > Security, and click on Manage Website Settings (just after the Allow Java option) to view a list of websites which have attempted to load Java applets. You can then change the behavior for each of those sites.
Amnesty, the reverse engineered version of Apple's Dashboard that allows widgets to run on the desktop with Konfabulator-like abilities, has been made open-source and is now freeware.
Originally released in 2005, days after Apple introduced Dashboard with its release of OS X Tiger, Amnesty was built around an engine allowing it run widgets independently of Dashboard, and thus could give additional capabilities to widgets including adjustable desktop level and opacity. The engine also allowed users of OS X Panther to run Dashboard widgets.
Amnesty was released to many positive reviews, including a sidebar mention in David Pogue's Missing Manual for Tiger, but as the interest in widgets waned in the past few years, its popularity and sales began to decline.
Developer Danny Espinoza, who had recently stopped releasing updates for his products sold under the name Mesa Dynamics, felt it was best to release all his software products, including Amnesty (and Amnesty Singles, a widget-to-application converter), as open source as part of their official discontinuation.
Amnesty 1.6 is free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 and later. The application and its source code are available at mesadynamics.com.
[crarko adds: Consider this a public service announcement and a thank you. I used this program back in the day and liked it a lot. I support the notion of developers taking discontinued software and making it open source instead of letting it collect dust (whenever it's practical to do so).]