Good software delights

Redefining yourself is never easy. The same is true for your business. This is part of the reason I admire the folks at OmniGroup. When the iPad became available, they immediately set out to bring all of their apps to this new device (platform might be a better term). I respected this team before. My first exposure to their applications was OmniOutliner on OS X, a lovely tool. But my usage of various Omni-iOS apps has increased my respect tenfold. For they did not take their desktop applications and simply attempt to recreate them on a smaller screen. Rather, they…

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The (un)obviousness of iCloud

In 2011, I made the move to using iCloud full time. This change was due mostly to the fact that I no longer trusted Google with my data (or any service where the user is the currency, not the customer). And while the change was primarily focused on Mail, Contacts and Calendars, over time I've really come to appreciate the iCloud experience in unexpected ways. I say unexpected, because even though Apple gave a lot of PR attention to some of the iCloud features, they weren't important to me. Simply because I didn't use them before, or consider them as…

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Creating reminders with LaunchBar

LaunchBar enthusiasts may already be aware of this, but I stumbled upon the ability to add reminders to … Reminders (I now have visions of Austin Powers running through my head). It's quite slick. The key to remember is that the Reminders application from Apple uses lists. If you've never modified from the default, then your list is called Reminders, as shown in the image here. Simply type the name of your list into LaunchBar, then press enter to open the dialogue you see here. Add the description for your reminder, then a due date if desired. The due date comes…

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Using Hazel with folder contents

I've played with Hazel in years past, but never looked at it too seriously. It's definitely a powerful tool! But I found one aspect of the utility very unintuitive. For extra nerdy Mac nerds, this may be either underwhelming or very obvious. I was looking for an a solution for a coworker yesterday, who had a fairly simple issue. She has her pictures folder filled with subfolders. These sub-folders have more sub-folders or images (Picasa puts the folders there). She simply wanted her Pictures folder to be filled with images, no folders. She was hoping for some kind of automated…

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Out of focus

I find a strange dichotomy with the direction of iOS, and correspondingly, with OS X. The push for focus, for embracing the constraints of iOS, where you can only work in one application at a time, has been a welcome change for me. Having this direction partially come over to OS X has also been positive (I say partially because full screen mode doesn't stop me from swiping between spaces, but only slightly alters my perception of my work environment). The contradiction comes with the Notification Center. It's sole purpose is to distract, to disrupt the focus that the OS…

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The confusion of working with files in Mountain Lion

If there's one thing the last two versions of OS X, Lion and Mountain Lion, have shown us, it's that the iOS-ification of a desktop operating system comes with a few bumps along the road. Having worked on Mountain Lion for several weeks now, it's clear that working with files is an area of confusion. Something that Apple has largely removed from the mobile computing experience is still somewhat awkward in the desktop arena. I like Mountain Lion, I do. As I did Lion. Each had their issues at the time of launch, but overall, they both brought refinement to…

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A Time of transition

Josh Bryant posted a couple of pieces outlining his concerns about the problems presented by the new Retina Macbook Pro. His concerns are well founded, especially for interface designers. The main question that has to be answered, in Josh's words: So, how do you go about designing 1x resources on a 2x screen?He gives a few options, none of which he's happy with. The web community is still trying to find the best methods to deliver responsive images and assets that look good on 1x devices as well as 2x devices like the iPhone 4/4S and iPad 3.…

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A solid option

I've seen a lot of people talk about Alfred in the past year. I don't use it — apart from a quick download/launch/delete I have no experience at all with it. Not because it isn't a great tool, but simply because I already have a better option in my tool belt. But whenever I see someone writing or tweeting about it, I wonder why more folks don't give LaunchBar a try. So many of us started out with Quicksilver. But, until quite recently, it appeared to be abandonware. Apart from that, there is always a risk when using free…

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