By Christian Zibreg on Dec 11, 2013
Chrome Apps may have debuted as simple website shortcuts, but Google has quickly expanded on the initial capabilities so these things now feel and behave much like rich, native apps, as opposed to your typical clunky and somewhat slow web app. Today’s Chrome Apps are packaged as native code, can work offline, access your computer’s local storage and more.
There are some really fine Chrome Apps out there that will make you question your preconceived notions of what a web app can do and now Google has created a home for them, right in your Mac’s Dock.
Introducing Chrome App Launcher which puts Chrome Apps for your desktop right in your Dock. Just click its icon and up pops a grid of all Chrome Apps that you’ve installed on your system. Read on for full details… Read More
By Cody Lee on Dec 7, 2013
Whether you’re planning on getting a new Mac for the holidays, or you’re just looking for some new apps to increase productivity on your current one, you’ll want to check out this big Mac software bundle from Stack Social.
The deal site is currently offering a suite of 10 Apple computer applications, which includes AfterShot Pro, Vitamin-R, skEdit and Compartments, at a steep discount. More details and a full rundown of the apps after the fold… Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 6, 2013
As someone who records podcasts and records videos, I constantly find myself switching between the various audio input and output devices on my Mac. You can do this by venturing into the System Preferences and clicking on the Sound option, but that can really slow down your workflow when you need to switch between audio devices many times each day.
I’ve found a tool that runs in the menu bar that makes switching between the different audio devices on the Mac a cinch; in fact, doing so is just a mere two clicks away. The utility is called Audio Switcher—a free tool available for anyone who wishes to switch between audio devices more efficiently. Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 6, 2013
Lots of people have asked me how I go about recording footage directly from the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The process is one that is simple and straightforward with the help of a couple of hardware and software tools.
From time to time I will record footage directly from an iOS device, while at other times, I like to record the screen using an external camera so that you can see my hands as I work with the device. Depending on the circumstances, I’ve been known to switch up my methods for doing so.
The bottom line is that there are times in which you should definitely go the direct feed route as opposed to recording the screen externally. As the saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat, but the method that I’ve been using has been working quite well for me. Have a look inside as I spill the details on what makes a successful iOS device recording setup. Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Dec 6, 2013
AgileBits’ 1Password is my favorite program to manage all of my secure notes, passwords, logins, credit card information and other sensitive data.
The developer in mid-October updated the 1Password for iPhone and iPad client with local Wi-Fi sync, improved iCloud support and other tweaks and today a major new version of 1Password for Mac is scheduled to go live in the Mac App Store.
1Password 4.1 for Mac, which has been in beta testing for weeks, includes a host of changes and improvements, like the all-new custom password fields which vastly expands the software’s usefulness, an improved search, an auto-save feature and lots more. Go past the fold for the full breakdown… Read More
By Cody Lee on Dec 5, 2013
It seems like it wasn’t too long ago that Bluetooth only existed to connect tacky headsets to cell phones. But these days, the wireless technology is used for connecting peripherals, data transfers, and nearly everything in between.
This week, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced the latest update to the Bluetooth specification, bringing it to version 4.1. The update features a number of enhancements, like improved data transfers and more… Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 5, 2013
Last night, I tweeted a picture of an error message I received while trying to download an app from the App Store. The error was: FATAL::Unable to process your request. Please try again.
I had never encountered that error message until then, and I chalked it up to the random iOS 7 problem. After rebooting my phone and logging out of my Apple ID account via Settings > iTunes & App Store, I was met with the same exact error message. Even when trying on another device the error message persisted. I decided to go to bed, hoping that everything would be okay in the morning.
Well, I just tried to download an app again, and was met with the same exact error message. I thought to myself, “Okay, perhaps this is an iOS 7 issue since I had only tried it on iOS 7 enabled devices up to that point.” Nope. After trying it on my iPod touch, which is still running iOS 6, I was met with the exact same FATAL error message. In fact, I was met with the same error on my Mac when attempting to download from the Mac App Store. So what gives? Apple’s System Status page is showing everything is okay, but that’s obviously not the case… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Dec 5, 2013
As per its annual survey of top consumer electronics that are planned for holiday purchases, Market research firm Parks Associates reported that Mac desktops for the first time have usurped Dell and other competitors such as Hewlett-Packard and Acer as the most sought-after desktop PCs this holiday shopping season.
Back in 2012, Apple was ranked second so this jump in popularity clearly indicates that a lot of people are now digging Apple’s latest desktop Mac hardware. Back in 2011, Apple was ranked third in the category.
Not only is the sweet victory a nice testament to Apple’s design and engineering prowess, it’s humiliating to Dell, the computer maker whose CEO fifteen years ago infamously advised leadership of the then-nearly bankrupt Apple to sell off the company and return the money to shareholders… Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 4, 2013
Have you ever tried to right-click on an image in order to save it, only to find that the option to save the image is no where to be found? From time to time you’ll likely run into such an issue, and in many cases it has to do with how a particular web page is designed (css, etc.).
There’s a particular Chrome extension that I use for the Google Chrome browser called Image Downloader. This extension makes it easy to quickly identify all images on a particular web page. You can then download those images in batch form or individually.
Image Downloader probably isn’t an extension that you’ll use on a day-to-day basis, but it’s been instrumental to me in those instances where I needed to quickly download a stubborn image. Have a look at our video walkthrough as I step through the entire image downloading process using this great extension. Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 4, 2013
I wouldn’t call myself a Nest Learning Thermostat early adopter, but I did acquire one fairly early in the game, and I haven’t looked back. The Nest, as you’re likely well aware of, is the new-aged thermostat from iPod designer Tony Fadell. The Nest allows users to control the thermostat from anywhere in the world using a web browser, or by using an iOS app for the iPad or iPhone.
Mac users have sort of been left out in the cold; pun intended. Desktop users have basically been relegated to using the web browser in order to control the Nest, as there is no official Nest app available for OS X. The good news is that developer Joseph Workman has taken the initiative to wrap the Nest’s web interface into a handy utility called Climate, and it runs in the Mac’s menu bar. This makes it so that you can quickly access the Nest’s temperature controls and other features from anywhere on your Mac.
We’ve taken the initiative to create a video walkthrough in order to showcase to you how Climate works, and why it’s so beneficial to Mac users. Jump past the break to see all the details. Read More
By Cody Lee on Dec 4, 2013
During its October iPad event, Apple confirmed that its redesigned Mac Pro would be available in December, but it wouldn’t get any more specific than that. The month has already started, so technically, we could see it any day now.
But according to German retailer Conrad Electronic, we still have about two weeks before we see the highly anticipated desktop. Conrad has begun taking pre-orders for the computer, and says it’s officially launching on December 16… Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 3, 2013
NoSleep is a handy menu bar utility that I use each and every day to keep my MacBook Air awake. It’s like speed for your Mac. Even with the lid on the MacBook closed, it stays awake.
The best thing about this utility is that it can be easily toggled on or off by means of a single click on its menu bar icon. NoSleep is a simple tool, yet it does feature a few options to customize the way it works. Have a look inside as I showcase NoSleep on video. Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 3, 2013
It’s an unfortunate eventuality that virtually every Mac user has to face: the dreaded problem of having way too many items in your menu bar. So many menu bar items clutter the top right hand corner of your screen, that they’re starting to flood into the app menu items on the left-hand side of the screen. That, folks, is the sign of a serious problem.
But don’t worry, we’ve all been there. For me, it got to the point where it was downright embarrassing when I would take screenshots and my menu bar would appear in the shot. I had a real problem keeping my menu bar organized, and many of you reading this probably do to.
I needed help, but I couldn’t fight this uphill battle without assistance. Thankfully, that helping-hand came in the form of an awesome little Mac utility called Bartender. Bartender is a utility that lets your organize and tidy up the contents of your menu bar with relative ease. It can turn an overweight and overstuffed menu bar into a svelte menu akin to a stock OS X installation. It’s the tool that you need if you’re like me and you sufferer from menu-bar-itis. Watch our full video walkthrough after the break, and you’ll see what I mean. Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 30, 2013
In episode 002 of Let’s Talk iOS we talked about Pinboard, and why it’s such a useful service for saving bookmarks. I won’t get too much into the specifics about Pinboard on this post, so I urge you to listen to that episode if you haven’t already. The episode does a good job of explaining the methodology behind Pinboard, pricing, etc.
What I do want to talk about is an awesome Pinboard utility called Shiori. A free download for OS X, Shiori is a Pinboard utility that allows you to quickly add new bookmarks to your Pinboard account and just as quickly search all of the contents of your account.
Shiori runs in the menu bar, and both its add and search functions can be accessed by a pair of useful keyboard shortcuts. Have a look inside as we go hands on with Shiori on video. If you’re at all interested in saving bookmarks for the longterm, then I’m positive you’ll find Shiori useful. Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 30, 2013
When you initially install OS X, there are a few items that are placed in your menu bar by default. There are a couple of ways to go about adding or removing stock OS items from your menu bar in an effort to keep it tidy and organized.
In this tutorial, we’ll cover some of the basic menu bar management tips for stock menu bar items. This includes basic tips on rearranging, removing, and adding items back to the menu bar. We’ve also got a handy video showcasing some of the basic concepts of stock menu bar item management. Have a look inside for more details. Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 29, 2013
Sometimes dragging and dropping items between multiple windows and full screen apps and folders can be challenging. But dragging and dropping doesn’t have to be a tedious or perplexing task. One of my favorite utilities for the Mac is called Yoink, and it allows you to simplify the process of dragging and dropping on OS X.
Its description in the Mac App Store states that Yoink simplifies drag and drop between windows, apps, spaces and fullscreen apps. As a long time user of the tool, I can vouch for developer Matthias Gansringler’s description. As you’ll see in the video walkthrough that follows, Yoink is one of those apps that you don’t realize you need until you see it in action. Have a look inside for the full walkthrough. Read More
By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 29, 2013
ScreenFlow is, in my opinion, the best screen recording software available for the Mac. It’s what I use each and every day to create a lot of the video content that you see on iDB. Its developer, Telestream Inc., has made the app available on both the Mac App Store and via direct download from its website.
Unfortunately, as with a lot of the apps that feature Mac App Store versions and direct download versions, the Mac App Store release lags behind. ScreenFlow is stuck at version 4.0.4 on the Mac App Store, while the direct download version recently got updated to version 4.5. For that reason, I recommend buying the direct download version, because that version gets updates much faster than the Mac App Store version.
It’s also a great time to buy the direct download version, because Telestream is having a 30% off sale. This means you can snag ScreenFlow 4.5 for under $70 bucks. That’s a steal for this type of powerful software, as it’s usually $100 bucks.
Version 4.5 of ScreenFlow is a huge update, which brings numerous new features, improvements and bug fixes to the table. Have a look inside to see what all has changed. Read More
By Cody Lee on Nov 27, 2013
Continuing on with our Black Friday coverage this week, popular online retailer MacMall has kicked off its big holiday sales event today. The deals, which will be good through midnight on November 29, include significant discounts on Macs, iPads and more.
Among the discounted products is the all-new iPad Air. MacMall is offering various deals on Apple’s latest tablet, starting at $41 off for the 16GB Wi-Fi model all the way up to $70 off the 128GB. And it’s taking $102 off all MacBook Airs and 13″ MacBook Pros…
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 27, 2013
Yours truly is a huge fan of Google Now so it goes without saying I’ve long been yearning for that kind of hands-free voice searching on my Mac desktops and notebooks. Available via Google’s free Search app for the iPhone and iPad since November 5, the cool feature dutifully listens to the ‘OK Google’ keyword which initiates a voice search. It’s severely crippled, too, as ‘OK Google’ only works if the Search app is running, as opposed to the always-on implementation on the Nexus 5 and Moto X.
Blame it on Apple’s strict policy that prohibits third-parties from listening to the microphone input in the background. Well, there are no such restrictions on Macs (yet) and Google has taken advantage of the fact and released a nice little extension for its browser allowing you to talk to Google (when you’re using Chrome) hands-free, no typing required… Read More
By Christian Zibreg on Nov 26, 2013
Ember, a digital scrapbook app from the Clear to-do app’s creator Realmac Software, arrived back in July as a rather pricey $49.99 Mac App Store download. Despite its punishing price tag, I wrote that Ember struck me as an Evernote replacement I’ve long been yearning for. The team has since added a few new features such as Smart Drawing, Colours and iCloud sync, while squashing dozens of bugs.
And now, they’ve confirmed that the iOS version will be available in December. This is great news as I can now introduce Ember into my daily workflow, hopefully being able to jot down notes, create journals and manage my notebooks on whatever device I happen to be using, be it a Mac, iPad, iPhone or iPod touch… Read More