|August 3, 2018|
There are more than 200 Apple Computer items in the American History section of the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Not all items are displayed at once. Along with all the other computer exhibited there are two iconic items are always displayed - the original Apple and the Macintosh.
Right behind the original Apple Computer is a blackboard that showcases several computers that were sold at the HomeBrew Club. This club is where people would go to learn about the latest computers and buy build-your-own computers.
One of the interesting things is the price of the Apple Computer - $666. At first, I thought this was a joke someone at the Smithsonian was playing. Turns out that it was the original price of the Apple Computer at the Homebrew club. The actual price was $666.66
Wozniak reportedly chose the price for two reasons: it was a markup of a third on the parts' cost and because he "liked repeating digits"
In 2018, that $666.66 computer would be worth $2,994.49. Today, a top of the line iMac computer - Retina 5K Display 3.8GHz Processor 2TB Storage cost $2,299.0
Today anyone having one of the original wood Apple Computers has a $195,433 computer - there were 200 models sold between July 1976 and September 1977.
The National Museum of American History is located on the National Mall, Constitution Avenue, N.W., between 12th and 14th Streets, Washington, D.C.
The Apple Computers are in the Transportation and Technology section on the 1st Floor, which is one floor down if you enter via the National Mall. The computers are in the "Lightning a Revolution" room.
|July 27, 2018|
Magnet is a cool utility that allows you to neatly organized all your application windows on your screen. This works great between multiple applications such as having Mail and Chrome open at the same time.
The application is a huge hit with MacOS users as it has a five-star rating with 12,517 reviews. Probably the highest rated app in the App Store.
The application is a bit tricky to work with multiple displays. There were times when I tried to align right and the window appears on the right screen.
You can exclude the functionality from working in any application via settings
The Keyboard shortcuts are tricky to remember, but they can be changed to whatever you want.
The screen activation point for 'Maximize' is a bit too sensitive as I have accidentally triggered it. It would be nice if there was a way to disable that trigger point.
I found the left/right alignment works great with testing websites in Chrome and Firefox.
The icons in the drop-down menu in the menu bar helps me figure out what command I am looking for.
Magnet cost $.99 and well worth the price. If you do any type of multitasking between applications, I think you'll find Magnet useful and worth the investment.
|July 20, 2018|
Earlier this year I blogged about how Smart Converter is a great application for converting media files. I finally decided to upgrade to the Professional version. So this post is all about the differences between the two versions and if it's really worth going for the upgrade.
With the Pro version you can:
Remember the output quality is only going to be as good as the original. Many clips that I was converting were encoded using RealMedia for low bandwidth connections. Remember dial-up?
Here's the results of one of the videos that I got converted - A video of Marshall "Do" Applewhite from Heaven's Gate from 1997 original format was rv10 (RV10 / 0x30315652), yuv420p, 160x112, 33 kb/s, 15 fps, 15 tbr, 1k tbn, 1k tbc:
It's not great, but it works and it was quick. Smart Converter Pro did a great job!
I believe it worth the upgrade if you have a lot of media files that you are looking to convert. The free version gives you a taste of what you can do and is a bit limited of the capabilities.
I like how I can customize the button row for things that are important to my typical conversion types.
|July 13, 2018|
On May 20, 2018, Cocoatech officially announced Path Finder 8. It's the first major update in 2 year!
In Path Finder 8, it's all about the Modules. Path Finder was written so that you can customize the Browser window how you want. You can now place various modules in positions that work best for you.
Modules functionality includes: ASL, Attributes, Cover Flow, Drop Stack, Git, Hex, Image Browser, Info, Open With, Permissions, Preview, Processes, Recent Documents, Recent Folders, Selection Path, Sidebar, Size Subversion, Tags and Rating, Terminal and Trash.
Simply drag and drop the modules where you would like to see it. It's great when you're doing certain tasks, such as disk cleaning where the Info Module may come in handy or when your working on a software project and Git and Subversion would be handy.
According to the Path Finder Blog, Modules is just one step of many exciting changes coming to Path Finder. Expect to see more features and enhancements.
Path Finder has an icon in the menu bar, which gives you quick access to various computer points - such as Active Applications, Open a new Terminal Window and a Quick way to launch any application via the Command - F8.
If you don't like using the Command-Space functionality, using Path Finder menu bar is yet another way to open up applications. The launch application functionality gives you a Browse and Search Application window to make open up your favorite App. This is useful when you may know about the app by its icon but not necessarily by the name.
You can add an 'Info' column to the browser grid which will give you some information about each object, for images you get the image dimensions. Which is extremely helpful when you're browsing around looking for a particular image. Videos objects will show the length.
Once you find the right image, You can right click, and select the 'Image Size' and now you have the image dimensions in your clipboard.
There's a lot more configuration in the Path Finder Browser than what's in the Finder. Path Finder gives you the ability to customize the Mac experience to your needs.
Basically if you want more power and configuration with the Mac OS Finder, Path Finder is certainly the way to go.
Remember Path Finder has been around since Mac OSX first came out. So they know a thing or two about what people need in a good file management application.
|July 6, 2018|
Video Slideshow Maker CofeShow is the quickest way to create professionally looking slideshows. Simply select the theme, add the photos, add music, and then build the slideshow. The final video can be uploaded to YouTube or added as a clip to iMovie or Filmora.
Current available designs: Mint, Bokeh, Summer Holiday, VintageSparks, Chalkboard, Watercolor, Roller, Blurry, Pan and Zoom, Baby, Corporate, Vanilla, Blue Denim, Black, Brown Wood, Birthday Party and Magic Tree.
You can preview the designs on cofeshow's website.
This is a quick video that I put together using Video Slideshow Maker CofeShow. I haven't purchased the license - yet. But I plan too in the near future.
There is a slideshow functionality in Apple Photo. However, there are only seven designs to pick from. The seven slideShow designs in Photos are Ken Burns, Origami, Reflections, Sliding Panels, Vintage Prints, Classic and Magazine.
Vintage Prints is the only design that I really like in Apple Photos. I haven't been able to find anyone else have a similar style.
|June 29, 2018|
There are a few Finder 'Go' keyboard shortcuts that everyone should be familiar with. These are the most common places that you will go when using the computer.
The one that I always get confused about is the Download folder. Why didn't Apple keep the same keyboard convention? Afterall Shift-Command-L doesn't do anything.
If you know of any other cool keyboard shortcut graphics, let me know in the comments below.
|June 22, 2018|
Gif Brewery is the easiest way to create GIF images from any type of videos, especially those taken with the iPhone. You can open up a video file, import one via URL (including YouTube), Stitch images and video, Record Screen actions or record video from the computer camera.
The nice thing about Gif Brewery is that you get a lot of flexibility to create animated GIFs. If I needed more flexibility I can use Wondershare Filmora and then import it to Gif Brewery.
It took a while to understand how to work the timeline settings - but once you play around with it for a bit it is fairly straightforward.
Gif Brewery is free and definitely worth downloading and adding to your collection.
Gas Prices in the Bay Area in 1999.
Train Arriving in Framingham
|June 15, 2018|
Photoshop Elements has lots of cool features, one of which is the ability to add various photo effect using a guided wizard. In the Photo Play category you can add Out of Bounds, Picture Stack, Pop Art, Puzzle Effect, Recompose, and Reflection.
If you open up Photoshop Elements and then select Photo Play and then Puzzle Effect. You can have a cool puzzle effect on your image:
You have a choice of puzzle effect: small, medium or large. (The best image appears to be the 16:9 format type.) Photoshop Elements allows a user to change the photo effect choice if you don't think the right type is selected.
After you select the effect type, you can then select the puzzle piece and then extract it from the image. You can then move the piece around wherever you want.
What's neat about Photoshop Elements is that you have a choice of what puzzle size is best for your design;
|June 8, 2018|
On the Macintosh, at the top right-hand side of the screen is where notifications are sent. You'll get notified if you have the new email or if someone slacked you a message. You'll also get notifications about upcoming meetings.
Every once and a while, it's nice to turn off the notifications. Especially if you're in a meeting and you're showing your computer to someone. You don't want to be distracted because someone sent you Spam about some financial stock tip .
Did you know that you can disable the notifications?
When you click on the notification icon, the top right icon in the toolbar, you'll see a history of notifications. If you scroll down you can see a lot of notifications.
If you scroll up, you'll see two options - above the "Today" category. Don't stop at 'Today' keep scrolling up. You should see this:
Now you can quickly disable the notifications and not get any alerts.
Night Shift will adjust the monitor colors for better viewing at night. This is ideal when you have the computer on and there are no other lights on in the room.
|June 1, 2018|
Posterino is a Macintosh application that makes very cool looking collages. Check out my previous blog post on creative things to do with the application. Basically it the fastest way to make trendy photo collages on a Macintosh.
One cool feature of Posterino is the ability to add Frames, Filters, and Decorations to any image. One of the image decorations is the Postmark Effect tool - it adds a cancel postage stamp on your image. It's unique because Posterino gives you the ability to edit the text in the stamp, something I haven't seen in other applications or cloud service.
What's neat is that you can apply the effect to a single image, then export to be used elsewhere.
Now your image will be on top of a transparent layer to be used in any application!
It's a lot of steps to get a simple effect, but sometimes having a postmark effect makes the image stand out a bit more.
If you know of another way to add a stamp/postmark effect and is configurable, let me know in the comments below!
|May 25, 2018|
This week I decided to download it to see what makes it unique among the other Photoshop alternatives.
Acorn uses the power of Apple's Metal 2, which means you fully utilize the computer graphic processing unit. You also get a lot of the common filters such as Blur, Color Adjustments, Distortion Effects, Gradient, Stylize and more.
There are 32 Tools that are available and all are easily accessible via the toolbar or using a keyboard hotkey. For example, to use the Paint tool simply type B.
There are three text tools, Text, Text Circle, and Text Path. The text circle is pretty cool, its a fast way to type text on a circular path. You simply define the size of the circle and then type your text. It's a lot easier than other applications.
There is a Shape Processor which creates a shape layer where you can do all sorts of things to shapes, which is useful for a background or object fill. It's a cool feature to play around with and discover different design ideas.
There isn't that many pre-defined shapes. However, you can make your own shape by drawing a selection and convert it to a shape.
Acorn supports Photoshop Brush file format. Simply drag-and-drop any '.abr' file to the Acorn icon in the dock. Then select the Brush tool, and then the imported brush.
The Layers filter dialog makes it really easy to see what filters have been applied to a layer and make adjustments. You can easily change the order of the layer filter - something that isn't available in other image editors. The filters are non-destructive, so you can change it up anytime you want.
Acorn doesn't support importing EPS files, but you can open SVG files.
You can create a new image from your camera - making it easy to touch up an Avatar.
Acorn Help has a lot of great tips and tricks for using Acorn. Many of the tips come from other users to show how to cool things in Acorn. There are Tutorials for Beginner, Intermediate and Advance users.
|May 18, 2018|
PhotoMill helps you convert a bulk of images into the most popular image formats, give your files meaningful names, watermark with text and image, adjust photos (brightness/saturation/exposure/grayscale/etc.), fit geometry (scale/crop/trim/etc.), remove private metadata, add your own copyrights etc.
Also, PhotoMill is a great batch metadata editor, image file renamer and photo browser.
Seems to be a good solution if you manage a lot of photos. For example, if you have a lot of old pictures that you want to convert to JPG from BMP or TIFF scans.
PhotoMill might be a good tool when creating an online photo gallery. (Quickly create thumbnails)
You can do multiple actions, such as add a Watermark Rectangle and then add a text above the rectangle. It is a cool effect that I haven't seen used in other applications.
You can get a side-by-side preview of the change you're about to apply, so you know what impact your changes will have on the image.
The Info Panel is a good way to get detailed information about images without actually having to open it.
There is a preset for "Prepare for Facebook" with the long edge being 2048 and the method is resized to fix long edges. Originally I thought that 2048 was too big for Facebook, as I thought 1200 was the standard size. However, Facebook own documents recommend using the 2048 width to have the best quality.
The search and sorting features was pretty impressive. I can easily drop a folder full of images and work on ones that meet certain criteria. For example, I can drop a large folder of pictures but only work on the pictures that had the wrong orientation.
This application would be very handy when viewing old DVD data. You can pick and choose which images are worth keeping and convert to today's format.
PhotoMill has a free 7-day trial with no limits. After that, the cost to purchase the application is $12. (There is a discount if you purchase the application after your trial)
You can download the trial application from their website.
|May 11, 2018|
On April 30th, Autodesk announced that SketchBook is now free for everybody, previously it was $25/yr. This includes both the Macintosh and Android editions.
The only thing that you will need to do is to signup for an Autodesk account - and that is also free.
Autodesk Sketchbook Pro drawing and painting software provide designers, architects, and concept artists the tools to sketch ideas quickly and create beautiful illustrations. Available for most platforms and devices.
Sketchbook 7 Features
Here's a few things that make Sketchbook a great companion to Affinity Designer:
Even if you don't need a drawing program, it's good to have to use and play around. It does take some time to understand the interface and how to navigate between brushes and colors. However, once you play around with it for a while you'll see that it's a pretty cool application.
If you have a Lynda.com account, you can take Veejay Gahir's Sketchbook Pro 7 Essential Training and learn how to use the software.
After you download Sketchbook, make sure to get the bonus Painting brushes.
|May 4, 2018|
There have been reported problems with how Spotlight search is working on the latest version of MacOS (High Sierra). For some people it isn't working or that it's slowing down their computer.
According to Apple, the best way to zero out the Spotlight Database is to put the drive in the Privacy section of Spotlight. When you do this, Spotlight will remove all information relevant to that location.
Once that is done, you remove the entry from Privacy and then Spotlight will reindex the data from scratch - like it didn't know it existed. I would recommend waiting a few minutes for the database to get cleared.
Obviously the index is going to take some time to work. The amount of time that it takes will depend on the size of your data and what you have set to Index in the Spotlight Control panel. Your better off letting this run overnight so that indexing process isn't flighting resources with other computer activity.
If Apple's official way doesn't work then try the mdutil way...
The mdutil command is at your service. The command manages the database used by Spotlight. If you're doing anything with Spotlight, you have to go through the mdutil command.
Some of these commands you need to be the computer root user. Which for most instances, the primary user that logs into the computer.
The mdutil -s command checks to see if Spotlight Index is on. That is will search inquiries return a search results.
mdutil -s /
Two Responses you can get:
Using the 'E' flag with running mdutil will Erase and Rebuild the Index. The same caveat as before, it will take some time for the index to get rebuild.
mdutil -E /
This is useful Spotlight indexing is taking too much of your computer resources.
mdutil -i off /
This is what you should see if the process was successful.
mdutil[96409:6557235] mdutil disabling Spotlight: / -> kMDConfigSearchLevelFSSearchOnly
If you're not going to use the computer for a while, why not turn on indexing. Remember you can always exclude documents and folders by using the Spotlight Control panel.
sudo mdutil -i on /
This is what you should see if the process was successful.
|April 27, 2018|
XMenu is a neat utility that put allows you to put up to six addition menu items in the menu bar.
There is the type of menus that you can add, each category has their own unique menu icon.
This menu item displays all the applications that you have in your Application Folder. This is an alternative approach to using the LaunchPad.
The downside is that if you have a lot of applications, it can take a while to find it. There's no searching and the applications are displayed by there name.
This menu item displays all the applications that you have in the Xcode Applications folder.
If your not a hardcore developer, you get Accessibility Inspector, Application Loader, FileMerger, and Instruments.
Tip: Probably not very useful menu item if your not a Developer.
All your Home Folders at your fingertips!
This is a great way to access common folders you use every day. Files in your Dropbox, Photos, Music, and Desktop can be accessed very easily.
This is just you user Document folder, which is located at ~/Documents
Most files that you save are kept in the Documents folder.
Create your own set of application/files that you want in the menu bar. This a very cool feature since you can put anything you want and it will be displayed in the drop-down menu.
Personally I think this is the best feature of xMenu.
This is a great way to declutter your System Dock, simply put "rarely" used applications in here. You'll still have quick access via the menu bar instead of the System Dock. You can create folders of like items so they might be easier to find.
Access common text snippets from the menu bar. However, with tools like LaunchBar and Keyboard Maestro, this doesn't really seem very useful. There's no scripting capability - you only display raw text.
This is neat to have feature, but for better productivity use Keyboard Maestro or TextExpander.
XMenu adds one or more global menus to the right side of the menu bar. They give you access to your preferred applications, folders, documents, files, and text snippets. Launch any application with a single menu choice or insert text snippets into your documents. XMenu is a real app, no hack, no extension. And it's free.
You can download XMenu from the Mac Apple Store. Devon Technologies has provided the software free of charge.