Rdio have launched their (mostly-)native Mac client, and it’s grand. Not as nice as Spotify (playlist building is still clunky), but it does 99% of everything you want. I’ve been using it for a few weeks, and it was the sole reason I resubscribed.
The free game is not a lie! To encourage download of Steam, Valve is giving Portal away for free for the next two weeks. If you haven’t already played it, YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE NOT TO.
OS X Safari users: Install this! Blocks Flash until you click on the object in Safari (and other WebKit-based applications). A way to mitigate the risk of the Flash exploit without completely nuking Flash Player from your machine.
Tweetie has been my iPhone Twitter app of choice for some time. The new OS X version seems equally lovely. Not going to tear away folks with seven-column Tweetdeck setups, but it seems to be a good step-up from Twitterrific.
The latest version of Google Earth requires you install a mysterious new background process to your Mac before you can use it.
The words "fuck that shit" spring to mind. This is a dick move in the style of all those fucking annoying updates that keep getting installed in Windows system trays by douchebag invasive packages (Java, Adobe Acrobat, et al), wasting cycles.
I hit "Quit", and am waiting for someone to post a workaround before I'll consider playing with the new version of Google Earth.
(Updated to add: Apparently, I should be grateful they chose to prompt me before installing the process.)
Things has completely changed my life. My moleskine has laid dormant for months, no longer the recipient of a gajillion TODO lists. And, as Shaun Blanc points out, the interface is a near total delight. Dragging a TODO into the project section to split it up into subtasks is the kind of intuitive action that makes it ace. If only it had MobileMe syncing, instead of custom-over-wifi and Dropboxery.
Update your OS X Address Book with photos and birthdays from your friends’ Facebook pages (sadly, Facebook bars it from doing anything useful, like updating email addresses and phone numbers)
I will confess to having fallen somewhat head-over-heels in love with Things as a TODO list manager over the last couple of days. Requires some light symlinking-to-an-iDisk to “sync” across machines, but offers the right levels of “This is a task for today/soon/sometime” to help keep me organized. Next step: Play with the iPhone app.
In ye olde days, displaying PDF documents in the browser drove me nuts. You’d unwittingly click on a link, and your entire web browser would freeze up for 30 seconds while Adobe Reader started. But since PDF is baked so closely into the OS X system, this Firefox plugin is wicked fast, and thoroughly helpful.
Wine for OS X and Linux especially designed to play graphically-intensive Windows games. The Orange Box and its contents are supported, and Audio-Surf ran OK for me, with some minor resolution-based oddness. Not sure it’s worth $40, though, when I can just reboot to Boot Camp.
I bought a new laptop drive for my MacBookPro last week, and with SuperDuper, was able to copy my OS X partition and boot off it within hours. The Boot Camp Windows partition, however, stumped me. No amount of disk copying or dd’ing worked.
This tool did. It does all the magick required to successfully copy a Windows partition and tweak the partition table to make Windows boot again. Hurrah!
Got this as part of MacHeist recently, and dismissed it as “pointless eyecandy”. I couldn’t be more wrong — While it is graphically-lovely, it allows for keyboard control of iTunes (including tasks like rating tracks) and is a lower-memory last.fm client than the official last.fm client. Added to my Login Items!
The excellent TrueCrypt now runs on OS X, as well as Windows and Linux. I’ll definitely be shunting some of my files onto an encrypted thumbdrive later.
Cool prototype application by Tom Insam which monitors your foreground application in OS X, and tries to provide you some context by matching it to someone in your Address Book. It’s early days yet, but decidedly cool (and written in Python)
I’m giving Mac programming a go over the festive break — This seems to be a good (cheap) e-book to get me started with Objective C.
Cool looking little screencast app from TechSmith — An easy way to grab images or video from your desktop, and share them quickly. Works in OS X and Windows.
OS X screensaver which grabs your friends’ photos from Facebook. Playing with this, I was reminded that a) I have some incredibly hot friends and b) I have some incredibly strange friends.
If you don’t already own Parallels Desktop, the new VMWare beta is great — I far prefer “Unity” to “Coherence” for mixing Windows apps on the OS X desktop. Only $40 if you buy before the official release at the end of August.
Panic’s newest app is aimed squarely at web-devs, attempting to roll “all” the stuff you need to build a website into one app. Looks interesting — I’m definitely guilty of needing about 7 windows open to do web development (a couple of TextMates, Firefox, Safari, a terminal or two). It’ll be interesting to see if this can bring it all together for me.
Up-to-date list of the software I use on my Mac.
Tool to enable use of the Apple Remote in more apps than just Front Row on OS X. I hooked my old PowerPC Mac Mini up to a USB IR receiver, and can now control VLC with the Apple Remote that came with my MacBookPro. Hoorah! Well worth €10.
Bill Gates trolls the Apple fanboy. “Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine.” I had to double-check this wasn’t some “Fake Steve”-style spoof!
Impressive looking network backup software. Straightforward to set-up, you can either pay CrashPlan to backup to their servers, or use local or friends’ hard drives for free. Lots of nice touches, like using Bonjour to discover local backup destinations automatically. Once the Linux client is ready, I’ll be in heaven.
Open source Worms-a-like. Far too many of my student hours were taken up playing “Worms 2” against my flatmates. Admittedly, most of that time was taken up by giggling as we named our worms things like “Sean Is A Virgin” and “Jim’s Cock”, but I think the game was fun too.
The latest beta of Parallels Desktop for OS X allows you to seamlessly display windows from, erm, Windows on your OSX desktop. This is very cool stuff. Makes me wish I had an Intel Mac to try it out on.
Cory Doctorow’s spectacularly pant-pissy and, with hindsight, almost 100% inaccurate flameout about Apple including a TPM module. I wonder if he’s had the tattoo lasered-off yet.
Really interesting article on the TPM “Trusted Computing” chip inside some Intel Macs. Explains in detail that TPM != Microsoft’s evil Palladium scheme, and that the chip (which is not in newer Macs) can’t even be accessed without special device drivers.
Most of the Apple stuff announced today was fairly unexciting. Nice improvements, but not revolutionary. But this, their constantly rolling system backup looks brilliant. The UI, if it works as advertised, is genius too.
jwz’s awesome screensaver collection is now available for OSX. Windows users are still SOL. “There is no Windows version of xscreensaver, and there never will be. Please stop asking. Microsoft killed my company, and I hold a personal grudge.”
Mac laptop “anti-theft” app. Interesting feature set, although I’m cynical about how many times the “thief” turns on the laptop and connects to the internet, rather than the poor sap who buys it from them on Craigslist.
To be tried-out: Cross-platform app that creates VPNs between computers — even if they’re behind firewalls. Downside: Requires connecting to a centrally-run server to initiate connection, which will soon be charging $$$.
This is an archive of groovmother.com, the old blog run by Rod Begbie — A Scottish geek who lives in San Francisco, CA.