Category Archives: General

Helpful Free Mac Apps for Beginners and Essential Productivity Utilities for OS X

As a relatively new user of Apple Mac OS X, I thought it might be useful to share what I think are must have Mac apps that everybody should consider using.

For Mac beginners, you’ll be glad to know that OS X has a lot of really nice built in features. My personal favorite is Spotlight. I highly recommend you browse through the official Mac Basics guides if you haven’t already; you might find an even better feature that you weren’t aware of.

For seasoned Mac users, hopefully you’ll discover a new gem from my short list!

Unlike other lists online that have 20, 50 sometimes 100 Mac apps, many of which you must pay for, I’ve really boiled things down to apps that I think beginners and long time users can appreciate. Paid apps can be great but, my hope is that, like me, you find these free apps help you start to become more productive with OS X and let you enjoy using your Mac even more than before.

So, first off is RescueTime. It’s a free app with a free service tier that will enlighten you on how you use your Mac. It’s a great way to see how much time you spend reading, writing, watching, listening, playing games, etc. You can see breakdowns by app and app category (which you can customize). RescueTime isn’t just for tracking “work” although it’s really good for that too.

★★★★★

Next up, Cheatsheet. “If you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin'” ☺ You should know, “a keyboard shortcut is a combination of keys that, when pressed simultaneously, perform some task that ordinarily requires use of a mouse or other input device and may take longer to do”. With Cheatsheet, as their website says, “Just hold the ⌘-Key a bit longer to get a list of all active short cuts of the current application. It’s as simple as that.” Keyboard shortcuts can be big time savers but often there are so many to choose from and multiple menus to pick from; it can be difficult to find what you’re looking for. Just Cheat with Cheatsheet!

★★★★★

My next recommendation, Spectacle, takes advantage of keyboard shortcuts to make the apps on your screen fit neatly together side-by-side. So, if you like having 2 apps view-able at the same time, perhaps your browser and word processor, you can neatly organize them without needing to clumsily drag and stretch them across your screen. You can even go wild, maybe you want 4 separate apps open at the same time; heck maybe 9! Whatever works for you; that’s the point.

★★★★★

Finally, as much as we love using our Macs, sometimes we over-do it. We stay up too late on our Macs and mess up our sleep schedule. There’s nothing good about not getting proper sleep. Check out f.lux and have sweet dreams.

★★★★★

Again, I hope you found at least 1 gem here to make you Mac experience even better than it was before. Adios.

Simple Countdown Timer and Stopwatch with Laps for Bash

There are a lot of decent, small shell scripts for creating a simple timer or simple stopwatch. Yet, I needed a bit more than the ones I found on Google, so of course, I made some of my own.

My simple stopwatch for Bash lets you create laps, pause and gives you a total elapsed time. Keep in mind, it’s all presented in seconds.

stopwatch with laps for bash

My simple timer for Bash just countdowns the number of seconds you provide and then beeps. Like my stopwatch script, it’s all based on seconds so that there aren’t a bunch of command line arguments to deal with.

countdown timer for bash

Cordova Tip: Automatically Open Web Inspector for iOS Simulator

How many times have you painfully, manually opened Safari Web Inspector after starting the iOS Simulator with `cordova emulate`? Too often. Me too. No more.

I found a nifty osascript gist then tweaked it a little and put it inside a shell script `ios-sim-inspector`.

Then, I added a couple of new Cordova aliases to my bash profile (leveraging a couple of existing aliases)


## Existing Aliases ##

# Run iOS Simulator
alias corem="killall Simulator || echo && cordova emulate"

# Build and Run iOS Simulator
alias corbem="killall Simulator || echo && cordova build && cordova emulate"


## New Aliases with Web Inspector'ing ##

# Run iOS Simulator with Safari Web Inspector (for Debugging)
alias coremd="corem && ios-sim-inspector"

# Build and Run iOS Simulator with Safari Web Inspector (for Debugging)
alias corbemd="corbem && ios-sim-inspector"

Now you know how to painlessly open Safari Web Inspector after starting the iOS Simulator with Cordova emulate from the command line.

Free Gilt Invite

if you know what Gilt Groupe is and you’re just looking for a free gilt invite, enjoy.

if you’re unaware of Gilt Groupe, it’s basically an invitation only site with daily sales (up to 70% off retail) for a limited supply of luxury items.

you can’t explore the site without a membership, so feel free to use my gilt group invite and check it out.

Rapid Rewards Dining from Southwest

Southwest airlines is extending their Rapid Rewards program to dining. i think this is pretty cool and i expect the number of restarants and bars that join into the network to increase. if you dine out a lot, even if it’s just for lunch, they’re seems to already be a decent number of eligible establishments to take advantage of.

all you do is sign up with a valid email, address and debit/credit card. you don’t get issued any special card.. simply use the card that you always use to pay your tabs with. it doesn’t get any easier.

enjoy, i know i will.

Back in Black – blog upgrade

good things to come my friends… you’ll notice i finally completed a long overdue blog upgrade… and website upgrade for that matter. i cut out a lot of fat and modernized some things! i hope to turn blog commenting back on in the near future. also, you might notice some ads from time to time, i plan on keeping it extremely limited… i don’t think you’ll ever see ads (for revenue) on my blog homepage… only on archives and individual postings.

2007 Wraps Up – Bring on the 2008 Resolutions

i hope you all had a great Christmas, Hanukkah and holiday season! 2007 is almost in the history books, and i hope you had a great year… i did. in the past year i’ve decidely come up with some new year resolutions… and i’ve never really set any serious ones before… so you know i’m getting older (hopefully wiser).

so here are some things i hope to resolve in 08:

– Sleep Better (already working on this one, i’m in the process of testing out a Tempurpedic Mattress… i’ll blog with results in the near future)

– Update My Blog Software (spam fighting has gotten better in the last 2 years that i’ve had comments disabled, so i’m looking forward to bringing comments back)

– Vacation More (did you know in Europe it’s very common for the average worker to have 8 weeks of vacation per year… i’m soooo jealous)

– Refocus More Energy on My Business (don’t worry TicketCity, i’m still gung-ho and excited about my future there)

– Give More (i’m blessed and i absolutely need to give more… just not to the Federal Government i think i give enough there)

so there ya go… now you know where my head is at. if you’ve got any goals for the 2008 year i wish you the best and hope you overcome the challenges that you face along the way.

Have a Happy New Year!!

Motion Graphics Freelancer for Hire

my bro, out in la la land (los angeles), is doing well and enjoying himself since he’s been freelancing his motion graphics skills. he left Shilo Design in San Diego shortly after i visited him back in the summer. since then he’s gotten to work on a few cool projects.. he keeps learning and stretching his skills.. as well as wowing his clients. so if you stumbled upon my blog from searching for a motion graphics professional, or if you’re just insterested in seeing the latest demo reel he’s put together check it out >> reel 2007

Clean Water Action

so the other night this guy comes knocking on my door with a clip board… looking for my signature and a donation. i’m not one for handing over money just to get a solicitor off my porch, but the cause caught my interest… clean water. if you know anything about me you know i like my water. i like to bathe with it, drink it and use it for leisure activities (fishing & boating in particular). you like water right? it’s been a long time since i’ve had some tap water to drink and said ‘yummy’ so anyhow, i’m not saying this ‘Clean Water Action‘ organiztion is one that i completely recommend you make a financial donation to… however, it is an organization i hope you, like myself, will take a few minutes to research… especially if you’re a Texan… clean water in Texas would make me very happy.