mac os x
January 4, 2012
The last time we looked at Sparrow for the Mac, it was fresh off its original release and creating quite a bit of buzz on various blogs and social networks. It takes a lot of good design work to take email down to a Twitter sized client but the Sparrow team managed it well, creating an application that was as minimalist as possible whilst doing a lot of the things a full sized client such as Mail or Postbox could do.
Despite this, there were a few key features missing from Sparrow when it first launched, and the user interface had a tendency to be a little too simple at times. With this in mind, the Sparrow team has just updated the application to version 1.5 and there are a number of new features well worth checking out, so let’s get to it!Continue reading »
December 6, 2011
With so many sources of music available on the internet, it’s no surprise that iTunes libraries continue to grow and grow (and grow and grow), but despite all of this music in our libraries, there aren’t many programs out there that can provide you with lyrics to the song that you’re currently listening to.
MiniLyrix is a very small (0.5mb) application which is available from the Mac App Store, and it pulls all of the lyrics information from the id3 tags of the track which is currently playing. This means that if you have an unorganised mess of a music library, this isn’t an application that you’ll want to use. For the perfectionists among us who have perfectly tagged libraries, read on.Continue reading »
September 2, 2011
When it comes to virtualising Windows or Linux on your Mac, you have two main choices: Parallels or VMWare Fusion. I’ve always been more of a Parallels man myself in the past, so I was really excited to get hold of a copy of Parallels 6 to try out on the latest generation iMac, as I could really take it for a spin and test its capabilities when running more than one virtual machine at a time.
Last year, we took a look at Parallels 5 for Mac and I was left impressed at its tight Windows 7 integration when running in Coherence mode with OS X. With new features, and even a new operating system to play with, Parallels 6 is bound to set the bar that little bit higher, so let’s take a closer look!Continue reading »
August 28, 2011
Do you consider yourself a geek? A nerd? Do you live, breathe, sweat and bleed technology? Well if you do, then theres a fair chance you’ve spent hours tinkering. With any piece of tech, wanted or unwanted, to make it do something magical. Hardware-wise, you may have spent many an hour spent alone, tool in hand getting all dirty and sweaty over a few screws, and many of us crave that satisfactory feeling of a job well done with our software, too.
Linux, I’ve found, in its many forms is the ultimate platform to tinker and play with the UI and basically customise it to your own personal pleasure. Android, in the mobile arena, has adopted a very similar approach whilst iOS is pretty much restricted to what you see is what you get. Similarly, Mac OS X is pretty limited in terms of desktop enhancements. Sure, it has the basics: changing wallpapers, arranging icons, folders and what have you, but in terms of actual productive and attractive enhancements, it’s way, way behind Linux and though not as far, it lays in the wake of Windows thanks to a host of third parties creating their own tools for Microsoft’s OS-in-chief.
Enter GeekTool. An application for Mac OS X, predictably aimed almost exclusively at geeks, to aid in the customisation and personalisation of your Mac OS X desktop.Continue reading »
August 26, 2011
Not so long ago at Zath, we looked at CoverSutra, a minimalist iTunes interface that slaps some album artwork on your desktop and adds a host of convenient features for controlling your music. Well here we are again, but this time we’re looking at a rival application called TunesArt, which whilst largely based on the same principle, does have a few extra tricks up its sleeve.
It’s worth mentioning that when I bought the app, it was a great deal cheaper than CoverSutra on the App Store, costing me just 99-pence. However I believe that was a sale price, and it has now been restored to a slightly more thought provoking £4.99, and a few pounds more than Coversutra which is now on the App Store at a reasonable £2.99.Continue reading »
July 25, 2011
I’ve never been a massive fan of Mail in Mac OS X. If I wasn’t having a technical issue with it, I’d be yearning for more advanced features such as conversation view that I needed a program such as Postbox to access, and more often than not I’d revert back to Postbox every time I chose a mail client on my computer.
With Mail 5 in Lion, however, Apple has made some major strides with its e-mail client, tweaking the UI to better fit widescreen layouts, offering full screen support and adding a host of other new features which make it one of the best mail clients available. In fact, I’ve been using it for a few months now and I haven’t even installed Postbox in Lion…Continue reading »
July 23, 2011
Please allow me to paint a picture for you. You’re having a ludicrously productive day, a rare occurrence in anyone’s life, and have are a couple of things on the go, a few windows on your desktop that you have open in various Spaces and a number of projects floating around. All of a sudden, you see a tweet about a new software update that’s available for your computer. You just can’t resist clicking that little Apple button and checking for updates, only to see that the update in question requires a restart.
All of a sudden, your productivity has disappeared, your windows disappear as you restart your Mac, and when you’re back on the desktop with everything installed and up to date, you have no idea where to start. In Lion, Apple has introduced a feature called ‘Resume’ to stop just that situation from happening…Continue reading »
July 23, 2011
Apple only offering a digital download of Lion has been one of the main talking points throughout the build up to the release of the new OS, and it caused quite a stir among the traditionalist tech buffs who’d still rather install their new OS via physical methods rather than digitally. If that sounds like you, then dont worry, Apple’s got you covered.
Rumour has it, that come next month Apple will retail Lion in the stores, but not on the usual optical discs we’ve come to know and love, but rather on USB flash drives. Predictably, this will mean you have to dish out a little more dough to get your hands on the latest Mac OS, to the tune of £55 in total.Continue reading »
July 22, 2011
Gestures are a big part of Mac OS X Lion. In fact, they’re such a big part that you’re really missing out on a lot of features unless you have a Magic Trackpad for your desktop or a multitouch trackpad on your laptop.
With the introduction of the multitouch trackpad in Apple’s notebooks, more complex gestures were introduced with Leopard in 2007, but there are a whole host of new ones in Lion, so let’s check them out so that you’re well versed in using them!Continue reading »
July 21, 2011
If you’re creating a document to send to a lot of recipients, signing it can be a huge hassle. You could scan in a piece of paper with your signature written on it but that never works too well, leaving you with the option of signing each copy of the letter or signing one copy and then making a photocopy from the original.
Here’s a better idea: why don’t you take advantage of that FaceTime HD camera sitting comfortably at the top of that new Mac of yours? You can now use Preview in Lion to ‘scan’ in your signature from a piece of paper just by holding it over your webcam, and it works pretty well!Continue reading »
July 21, 2011
Many of the improvements that have come in the latest version of Mac OS X will be instantly recognisable to anyone who has used iOS in the past, particularly on an iPad. Launchpad is one such feature, and it comes straight from the home screen of every iOS device since first generation iPod Touch.
Launchpad is, put simply, a wall of application shortcuts, but it does a little bit more than just show you a collage of everything you have installed on your machine…Continue reading »
July 20, 2011
Apple’s latest version of Mac OS X, Lion, was released on the App Store today where you can buy it for £25. For most people, this is a really convenient way to buy an operating system, providing you have a fast enough internet connection, as it saves you a trip to the Apple store to buy the boxed version, which can sometimes be a pain if there isn’t one near and you have to wait for it to arrive at your home.
For power users though, being restricted to an application for an OS install is somewhat restricting, as it means that you can’t install it on to a new hard drive without first installing Snow Leopard. Don’t you think that’s a bit… backwards? I did, so instead of upgrading I chose to find a way to install it without the need for any application file. Care to know how it’s done? Let’s check it out!Continue reading »
July 20, 2011
You’ve waited for months and months, seen leaks and teasers from official developers already using it, and spent hours gazing at its product page, but Lion is finally here and ready for you to install. You’re most definitely ready for it, but is your Mac? Here are a few things that you may want to make sure you’ve got before you get too excited about installing that brand new OS of yours…Continue reading »
July 20, 2011
Lion’s finally here! Better late than never, right? I know you’re all dying to get straight in and check out all of the great features it has to offer, but you’re bound to miss some along the way, so that’s why we’ve created Lion in the Spotlight.
Over the next few days, we will be posting a series of articles which take a look at all of the best features that Apple’s latest version of Mac OS X has to offer, and we’ll be keeping this post updated as we do so.
To make sure you catch all of the features, be sure to bookmark this page to see when the content is updated at a glance!Continue reading »
July 18, 2011
Fonts are often overlooked on our computers. We accept what we have, we keep what we don’t like, and more often than not we use a horrific Comic Sans like font for most of our documents. This is not the way things should be.
With so many fonts available on the internet and a really easy font manager in Mac OS X, it couldn’t be easier to get your documents looking great. If you have a spare 15 or so minutes, then consider taking a bit of time out from your day and getting things in order. Here’s how you do it!Continue reading »
June 25, 2011
With the introduction of Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors and a Thunderbolt port for high-speed data transfers, the latest refresh of the Apple iMac ensures that all the latest technology is inside one of the world’s most popular all-in-one computers.
Just for you, we’ve managed to get hold of a 21.5” model which sports a 2.8GHz Core i7 processor, 8GB of DDR3 RAM and an AMD Radeon HD 6770M graphics. In addition to this, there is a FaceTime HD camera hiding out at the top of the screen ready to provide you with high-definition video calling in a heartbeat. Excited yet? Good, let’s check it out!Continue reading »
May 14, 2011
Sidefolders for Mac OS X is a simple utility that’s available from the Mac App Store – it positions a drawer-style pane on your desktop, in which you can store links to any files and/or folders you currently have on your Mac. The premise of the app is extremely good, offering quick access to those hard to reach places that you have to dive into fairly regularly.
You can decide whether you want Sidefolders docked on either the left or right of the desktop, which may depend on your preference regarding the OS X dock. Down the inner tab of the pane, you have a few controls. ‘+’ and ‘-’ are pretty self explanatory, in that they allow you to add or remove directories to your Sidefolders pane, and underneath that there’s a typical settings icon. Clicking it opens a simple context menu, which allows you to quickly hide or show the default directories, switch the position of the pane to the other side of the screen, check out what Sidefolders is about, or quit the app. You can also set it to open on startup, which is helpful as ever.Continue reading »
May 2, 2011
Almost every office in the world has a collection of computers, yet paper seems to be as stubborn as Windows XP: it just won’t disappear. The hunt for a truly paperless office is still ongoing, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to get there anytime soon. If you’re a Mac user, though, you may be able to take the first step with Paperless.
Paperless for Mac does exactly what it says on the tin: helps you to get rid of all those messy collections of paper and digitalise your life; it can take care of everything from receipts to the electricity bill. The developers of Paperless kindly gave us a review copy of the application, so let’s take a look at how it performs!Continue reading »
April 30, 2011
We’re slowly transitioning in to a more cloud orientated computing world, where our files are stored on Dropbox, our documents managed in Google Docs and our social lives managed on Facebook (or something along those lines). However, one very common scenario for me is the frustration of wanting to quickly share a file with someone over IM, only to find that their client doesn’t support the transfer protocol, or that they are using Facebook chat and can’t accept incoming files.
Sure, you could put a file in your shared Dropbox folder and copy the URL, but it isn’t very seamless. CloudApp takes a different, far simpler approach to file sharing on the net. You can simply take a file on your hard drive, drag it on to the icon in the menu bar, et voilà! The URL to the file is put in your clipboard ready to share. Simple huh?Continue reading »
April 29, 2011
Every Mac now ships with QuickTime X, which has been re-built for 64-bit compatibility, looks great and has a few nifty features thrown in for good measure. The only problem with QuickTime is that, well, it doesn’t exactly play a lot of formats. In fact apart from the odd .mov or .mp4 video file, it won’t play anything! At least not without some third-party from Perian.
On the flipside of that coin you’ll find VLC Media Player. It’s a powerhouse in terms of the formats that it can handle; throw anything at it from .mkv to .avi and beyond, and it will find a way to give you video playback. So what’s the problem then? For those that care about aesthetics VLC isn’t exactly up there with the best, especially compared to QT.Continue reading »