Category Archives: Mac Apps

Monolingual Frees Up Space On Your Mac By Removing Unnecessary Language Files

After lusting over a MacBook Air for more than a few months, I recently purchased the 13″ MacBook Air with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD. While there is no denying the fact that SSDs are the future, they are still pretty pricey.

While Apple originally aimed the MBA as a light laptop replacement for many, it has become a desktop replacement for many including me. The only problem is that the 120.47GB of space does not cut it for me. After installing all my needed apps, backups, pictures and movies, I am not left with sufficient space for day-to-day work. Also, since it is not recommended to fill a SSD more than 50% of its actual capacity, I need to make sure that I always have around 60GB or more free space on my Air.

After hunting through the Internet searching for tips to free up space on my MacBook Air, I came across an app called Monolingual. The app allows you to remove all the unneeded language files, architecture files and Input keyboard layouts from all the installed apps on your Mac. I freed up more than 3GB of space on my MBA by using Monolingual, and removing all the unneeded language and architecture files.

Do keep in mind that once you remove any particular language, or architecture from your OS X installation, the only way to install it back is to do a complete re-installation of OS X, so proceed with caution.

Monolingual can be downloaded for free from here, and works on Mountion Lion as well.

 

GeekTool Released for Free in the Mac App Store

For as long as I have been using computers, I have been obsessed with customization. I themed all my machines growing up, giving them looks that made my father crazy. I would turn my desktop into the control deck of a Sci-Fi space ship, or give it a pirate feel. When I first bought my Mac, I thought I would never be able to do anything like that again.

Boy was I wrong.

Quickly, I learned of a huge community of Mac customization fiends, and made myself one of them. I learned the tools of their trade, including BowTie and Photoshop. Then, I dove deeper into the scene and discovered GeekTool. Once I learned its secrets, I could make my Mac desktop much more personal than any Windows machine I had ever owned.

If you aren’t familiar with GeekTool, then you are probably missing out. It allows you to create simple bits of code or images that exist on your desktop. While that sounds a little boring, allow me to assure you that it isn’t. You can create working clocks, rolling tickers for stock information, and even constantly updating weather information. The possibilities are almost endless.

Now, I have some really good news for old and new GeekTool users. Tynsoe, the developer behind GeekTool, has released it into the Mac App Store. This means that you no longer have to hunt it down on the internet, install it manually, and then try to keep it updated by yourself. The Mac App Store will take care of all those messy parts for you, leaving you to play with your new customization toy. I know that many are wondering how to use GeekTool effectively, and I promise that I am working on a handful of posts on just that subject. Keep your eyes peeled and your tabs open to Techie Buzz to find out more. Until that happens, take a look at my GeekTooled desktop, featuring the great Sci-Fi series ‘Doctor Who’.

Apple Releases Lion Recovery Disk Assistant

It seems that Apple has finally heard the cries of users who were experiencing the worst side of OS X Lion. Many users, including some friends of mine, were having trouble using the web-based recovery tools built into Apple’s latest edition of Mac OS X. They have released Lion Recovery Disk Assistant, which is designed to let a user create a new Lion recovery partition on an external hard drive or USB drive.

The newly created disk will have all the same features as the built-in Lion recovery system. That includes reinstalling Lion, repairing the disk via Disk Utility, resorting from a Time Machine backup, and browsing the web using Safari. Unfortunately, in order to use this utility, you need an existing Recovery partition for Lion.

While it may seem like it, this does not invalidate the Lion disk making app that I covered last week. This tool from Apple will make it possible for you to restore a system already using Lion. Lion DiskMaker allows you to create a standalone Lion installation disk, which could be used to install Lion on a machine that is running Snow Leopard or an earlier version of OS X.

The Apple support document for Lion Recovery Disk Assistant lists a set of four simple steps to creating a recovery disk. Those steps are:

  1. Download the application
  2. Insert an external drive (or USB key)
  3. Launch the application
  4. Select the drive where you want to install
  5. Follow the instructions

The support document for the new utility does make a point to mention how the new disk will be usable. If it is created on a computer that shipped with Lion, it will only be usable on that machine. If it is made on a system upgraded to Lion from Snow Leopard, it can be used on any machine upgraded that way.

Microsoft Updating Office for Mac 2011 to Use Lion Features

No matter how you feel about Microsoft, Office 2011 is still the most popular office suite for Enterprise Mac users. It is simply a matter of compatibility with the rest of the business world. Unfortunately, the current version of Microsoft’s office suite does not currently support any of the new features introduced in OS X Lion.

For the uninitiated, the features I am talking about include Auto Save, Versions (which keeps a history of document changes), and full-screen mode. These are already integrated into Apple’s iWork suite, and they are very useful. It was only a matter of time until Microsoft saw the need to support them as well.

MacNN is reporting that Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit is already doing just that. However, don’t expect to get the new features in the next few days. Pat Fox, a member of the Microsoft Office team, says that the update wait should be “measured in months.” This is a little disappointing, but completely understandable.

Microsoft also made a point of noting that Office for Mac 2004 will never be supported on Lion. This is due to the program being written for PowerPC-based Macs. Lion dropped all Rosetta code, which allowed for PowerPC applications to run on the newer Intel-based machines.

While there was no word on distribution of the upgraded program, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect Microsoft to bring the application to the Mac App Store. The only thing that may stop them is the face that Apple takes a cut of all sales through its digital distribution markets. However, we won’t know either way until the upgrade shows its pretty face.

Xcode 4.1 is Free for Lion Users

If you are a developer on the Mac, then you are aware of what Xcode is. If you aren’t a Mac/iOS/Safari Dev, then you may not have even heard of Xcode. That’s to be expected, as it used to be only  available  to those with developer  licenses.

However, when the Mac App Store launched, Apple released Xcode for a mere 5 dollars. I, like many others, picked it up for personal reasons. I wanted it to enable the beta versions of the multi-touch gestures for my iPad.

Now, Apple has decided to give Xcode away for free, given that you have purchased a copy of OS X Lion. This is huge news, because it will save casual developers a hundred bucks a year. If you need an application to write the  occasional  piece  of code, or even just a simple script now and then, you should check out Xcode.

Xcode is constantly rated as one of the best sets of tools for development on the Mac. It sports some of the best formatting and color coding I have ever come across. While I don’t write code for a living, I have done some basic web development, and Xcode makes my life easier when I do.

If you are interested in Xcode, and you have already upgraded to Lion, then I suggest you pick it up. While the price may stick, it wouldn’t surprise me if Apple changed the price with an update in the future. Jump on this deal while its  available.

Persona Wants to Revolutionize Email on your Mac [Preview]

As a professional working on the internet, I get a lot of email. As such, I have taken steps to make my life a little easier when it comes to email. I first moved everything over to Google App or Gmail. Then, I set up various mail clients on my old PC laptop, and was never satisfied. After moving to the Mac, I have been stuck with Mail, and I’m still not satisfied.

I discovered an upcoming mail client coming for the Mac, and it’s name is Persona. Persona is looking to change the way that Mac users work with their email. They have promised a number of great features, including 3 conversation views, a more visual interface, and a focus on the user. You can take a look at it in the video here.

I think what makes me most excited about Persona is that it is so different from its competition. The interface is similar to Mail, but the new views make it really different. It takes a Gmail style approach by using conversations, but gives it that polish that Mac users expect from their apps. They will also group your emails by sender and attachment, which is really new and different.

Persona will also connect with social media They will link to your Facebook, LinkedIn, or other accounts an add those people you your address book. For me, this is a killer feature. I use Facebook as my phonebook on my Android phone. I don’t know people’s email addresses, and this would help me keep track of them all.

I can see myself getting this app as soon as it is available. I am now following their Twitter account, and I will be on top of the release when the time comes. You can check out Persona by heading to their site. If you want the latest news, follow them on Twitter, and keep an eye on Techie Buzz.

Moom: Make OS X’s Green Plus Button More Useful [Review]

As a recent convert from Windows to Mac, there are some aspects of OS X that seem counter intuitive. Some of them I love, like the simple application installation process. Others I down right hate. Specifically, I hate the native function of the Green Plus button on windows.

For my Windows readers, I will give you an idea of what I mean. In Windows, you have the ability to maximize a window using a simple mouse click. Then, if you decide that you don’t want that window to be so big anymore, you can click again and it shrinks back down. In OS X, the Green Plus button serves a similar function. It will make a window big enough to fit all its contents.

My issues with the Green Plus are pretty simple. First, I want the ability to take some apps full screen. Second, I would really like the be able to undo the size change as I see fit. It serves neither of these purposes. I have a solution however, and its an app called Moom.

Moom is aan  extremely  powerful app that extends the functionality of the Green Plus without taking away is original purpose. Moom solves most of my problems with window sizing in OS X, and gives me another feature I missed from Windows 7: Window Snapping.

If you use Windows 7, then you probably know by now that you can snap a window to an edge of your screen, and it will resize to take up exactly half. As a student, I used that feature all the time when writing papers. OS X contains no such feature, but Moom does.

To access any of Moom’s features, you simply hover your mouse pointer over the Green Plus. As you can see, there are pictures to help you understand what functions are available. To fit the window to the contents (original Green Plus), simply click the button itself.  Moom also gives you a full set of keyboard controls, and even a grid mode. You can select any or all of the features you want through the application preferences.

As far as I am concerned, Moom is the best 5 dollars I have spent on my Mac. It gives me features that I wished OS X had built in, and it does it in a non-obtrusive way. I recommend that you head over to the Mac App Store and buy it right now.

App Name: Moom by Many Tricks
Price: $4.99 in the Mac App Store
Score: 5/5, Techie Buzz Approved

 

Skype releases Version 5.2 for Mac

The ever popular text and video chatting service Skype has released an update for their OS X client. Version 5.2 brings a few new features to the main silent that have been part of the beta version since 5.0. These include group screen sharing as well as group video calling. Unfortunately, in order to take advantage of either, you will need to be a Skype Premium subscriber.

OS X Skype Client Screen Sharing

For the non-premium users, there are a few improvements that make the upgrade from 5.1 seem like a good idea. For instinct, the new client seems to have fewer bugs than its predecessor. There are also small changes to the UI, like the ability to hide the sidebar to focus on your conversation. You also have the ability to pop-out the cider controls for video calls.

The changes in version 5.2 should appeal to power-users, especially the Premium users who use Skype for video conferencing. The new screen-sharing options (which are Mac exclusive for the time being) will make the Skype a better productivity tool. It is good to see that, in the wake of Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype, the other platforms aren’t being totally ignored.

The downside to 5.2 is that the UI that Skype introduced in 5.0 is largely unchanged. The popular opinion is that it is too bulky of an app. A simple Google search will result in a downloadable copy of Skype 2.8, that last “good” version of Skype for the Mac. If you aren’t a premium user, then the upgrade isn’t really worth your time. However, the new feature sonly require one premium user to activate, you may want to pick up 5.2 incase a request comes your way.

 

 

Reeder Is A Fantastic RSS Reader For Mac OS X [Review]

As a Blogger, I am constantly trying new ways to read blogs and news. I have gone through all the typical solutions. I tired reading every blog individually, and that was obviously a poor choice. I tried to use various forms of RSS feeds, and while it was more convent, it wasn’t elegant. I think I have found the solution I have been searching for.

Reeder, the incredibly popular feed reader for iOS, has been released for Mac OS X. While the idea of porting an app from iOS to the Mac may sound like a terrible idea, this one really works. The feature set of Reeder is fantastic, the interface is beautiful, and the whole experience is worth the price. Let’s take a deeper look at Reeder.

Reeder’s Beautiful UI

Reeder Mac OS X RSS ReaderAs RSS readers go, Reeder has to be the most beautiful one I have ever used. In the past, I have used RSS readers that tried to be more function than form, and it didn’t make me want to keep using that program. Reeder has achieved something special with their balance between art and usability.

One really good example of the form and function balance in Reeder is the dock icon. NetNewsWire, the RSS reader I was using before Reeder, had a less than pleasing system for handling unread story notifications. When you had stories to read, NNW would give you an iOS style icon notification. Reeder, on the other hand, does a much better job of blending the notification with the icon.

Reeder’s Features Make It Great

Another aspect of Reeder that separates it from its competition are the additional features that it offers. At the top of the Reeder window, there is a row of icons that will allow you to interact with the current story in various ways. You can link your Twitter account and share stories, you can add them to Pinboard, or you can send them to ReadItLater or Instapaper.

Reeder Readability On Off

At the bottom of the window is the toggle button for one of my favorite Reeder features. As many of us are aware, there are certain websites that only give partial RSS feeds. While I understand why they may do that, it interrupts my workflow. Reeder offers a “Readability” button that will give you the full story within the app. The screenshot above will show you more of what I mean.

Reeder Gestures OS XAnother great set of features that Reeder comes with is its use of the multi-touch ability of MacBooks and Magic Trackpads. There are various features and things you can access using the gestures. My favorite are the ‘pinch’ gestures. An outward pinch will switch a story to Readability mode, and an inward pinch will disable Readability again.

Reeder: The Best of The Best

As you can see, Reeder is one of the best looking and feature rich RSS readers available today. After spending a few days with it, I have decided that i will be getting it for all my devices. Some may say that $9.99 is expensive for an RSS reader. When you consider all that Reeder does, as well as the great interface, its actually quite a steal.

Score: 5/5 – Techie Buzz Approved
Price: $9.99 in the Mac App Store

Apple Posts Final Cut Pro X FAQ

Final Cut Pro X FAQ

Last week, Apple released a new version of Final Cut Pro, and since then they have received lots of criticism for the lack of features. Today, Apple has posted a FAQ in response to the criticism and questions from customers.

Final Cut Pro X is a breakthrough in nonlinear video editing. The application has impressed many pro editors, and it has also generated a lot of discussion in the pro video community. We know people have questions about the new features in Final Cut Pro X and how it compares with previous versions of Final Cut Pro. Here are the answers to the most common questions we’ve heard.

It seems that the FAQ addresses many of the concerns David Pogue mentioned in his article which  included  responses from Apple product managers.

One of major complaints about Final Cut Pro X, is the lack of ability to import old projects from Final Cut Pro 7. Apple responded by saying that due to the many changes there was no way to “translate” old projects without losing or changing data.  In addition, Apple promises that Final Cut Pro X will support  Multicam editing. Apple says that this feature will be added in the “”next major release”.

The rest of the FAQ provides additional  details that may be of interest to Final Cut Pro X users.

GitHub Releases a Desktop Client for Mac

Social Coding Platform GitHub's LogoThe popular social programming platform,  GitHub, released a Mac version of their desktop application today. For the unaware, GitHub is a website aimed at giving programmers the ability to share code and changes across the internet. It is immensely popular among open source programmers, as well as being used by major companies like Facebook.

The Mac client is one of the best executions that I have seen of GitHub. On top of being very functional, with the ability to pull in both local and internet based repositories, it is very beautiful. Once you download the file and install the app, you can start it up. You will be asked to log into your GitHub account, and from there, you can connect to any repositories that you are a part of.

Unfortunately, I am not really a computer programmer. I have dabbled in some Java and C, but I am not an active user of GitHub. As such, I cannot give a full hearted review of the application or the service. According to the coders I have spoken to about it, GitHub has become an industry standard.

I know that I make use of GitHub to monitor the progress of my Android ROM of choice, CyanogenMod. I check out the commits, comment on the added features, and even directly interact with the coders. I look forward to digging into the features of this desktop client to see how it pertains to my use of GitHub.

I feel like nothing but good can come from having a desktop version of this. The ability to focus more on your work and less on Facebook has to be a good thing. I know that I work better when I write my articles from a desktop client instead of doing it in the browser window.

If you want to see what the GitHub client looks like on Mac, then check out the screen shots below. You can download it by heading over to GitHub.

GitHub Mac Client

Apple Releases Final Cut Pro X, Cuts Express Version

Apple released the newest version of their video editing suite, Final Cut Pro, this morning. The newest edition, which is number 10, includes a host of new features and updates that will make any Final Cut fan happy.

Apple Final Cut Pro X

Some of the most talked about features in the newest version of Final Cut Pro include native 64-bit support, meaning that the award-winning video editing platform can take full advantage of all the ram available in 64-bit versions of OS X. This means support for more than 4 GB of RAM.

The fans of Final Cut are also excited about the new editing system that Apple calls ‘Magnetic Timeline.’ This trackless system of editing, which resembles the system used by Adobe in their Premier software, makes the process of creating high quality edited video much simpler for the user.

While the new additions are part of the draw of upgrading to Final Cut Pro X, another major reason is to get the updated software. As with every software update release, Apple has included many bug fixes and patches with Final Cut Pro X. However, there is a rather glaring omission from Apple’s newest Final Cut release.

The major complaint from Mac users regarding the release of Final Cut Pro X is around the fact that Apple will not be releasing an Express version of the software. In the past, the steep price tag of the Final Cut suite has kept many users away from the full version, instead opting for the more reasonably priced Express version.

Apple justifies its decision by offering the Pro version of Final Cut for only $299. They say that this price is much more accessible to the average users of Final Cut. The suite can be completed by purchasing the Motion and Compression apps for $49 each. All three applications are available in the Mac App Store.

[via AppleInsider]

 

Top 5 Favorite RSS Readers for Mac

RSS (most commonly expanded as Really Simple Syndication) is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated works. It allows you to easily stay informed by retrieving the latest content from the sites you are interested in. You save time by not needing to visit each site individually.

Where there is RSS feed, there are RSS readers. While the way in which RSS feeds work as a medium remains the same, RSS readers differ a lot in working and features. There are many RSS readers which are available for Mac. I must admit that I haven’t tried all available RSS readers. There might be equally good or better ones available.

Below are my top 5 RSS readers available for Mac, in no particular order.

1. NetNewsWire

NetNewsWire is one of the oldest RSS reader available for any platform. Its three-paned interface is familier and simple-similar to Apple Mail. The normal version requires a Google Reader account and it can easily fetch thousands of feeds in few moments. NetNewsWire features a variety of views, easy to use keyboard shortcuts, detects microformats allowing you to quickly add data to iCal or Address Book, and has a built in tabbed browser. It sync with Newsgator service, which means that all your Macs and iPhone will have same unread count.

> NetNewsWire (Free)

NetNewsWire-RSS Reader for Mac

2. Reeder for Mac

Reeder is another good RSS reader. It was initially created for iPad/iPhone and made its leap to Mac. It uses Google Reader and can therefore keep articles in sync whether you use it on desktop or iOS, Google Reader’s web interface, or other feed readers like NetNewsWire. It supports a variety of swipe gestures and keyboard shortcuts. Whereas NetNewsWire lets you open different articles in tabs, Reeder instead focuses on a one-at-a-time approach. One click configurable sharing support is available for various services like Twitter, Instapaper, Delicious, Pinboard. All this add to Reeder’s usefulness.

> Reeder for Mac (9.99$)

Reeder for Mac

3. Pulp

Pulp is different from other RSS readers mentioned here in the sense that it offers a tradition newspaper format. Pulp takes your feeds and turns them into a digital newspaper, providing you with text previews and images instead of just headlines. Pretty much everything is customizable, from the newspaper categories to what’s inside of them. There is a feature called the Shelf which allows you to easily Drag-n-Drop articles to it in order to read them later. It supports various swipe gestures and social sharing option. Another great feature of Pulp is the Magic reader which can grab full article, when only excerpt is available and provides full article in easily digestable format.

> Pulp (9.99$)

Pulp-Rss News Aggregator

4. NewsFire

NewsFire is an RSS reader designed with beauty and simplicity in mind. This makes NewsFire attractive, easy to use and highly functional. I should mention that NewsFire does not support an easy import or syncing from Google Reader. If you are a Google Reader fan then you may want to look elsewhere. Official site  describes  it as iChat-like RSS aggregator and we agree with the description. NewsFire keeps feeds simple and clean.

> NewsFire (4.99$)

NewsFire-RSS reader for Mac

5. Vienna

Vienna is a freeware, open source RSS/Atom newsreader for the Mac. It provides features comparable to commercial newsreaders. Its main feature includes simple and intuitive user interface, smart folders, difference reading layout, blogging integration, fell AppleScript support. It offers pretty much all standard features with few advance ones. For a free app it works great.

> Vienna (Free)

Vienna-Rss reader for mac

Final thoughts:

There’s a whole variety of RSS readers to choose from. RSS readers offer many features and makes reading simpler. If you’re still using Mail or Safari RSS, it’s time to try something more robust.

Be sure to comment below and tell us about your favorite RSS readers :)

Side Tip: Some websites offer only partial content in RSS feed and you need to visit the site to get full content. Use tip mentioned  here to get full RSS feed.

 

Nokia Betalabs releases Nokia Software Updater for Mac

Up until now Nokia provided software update tool only for Windows Platform. Nokia has now released a Beta version of Nokia Software Updater for Mac via Nokia Beta Labs.

nsu-mac

Although most of the current Smartphones released by Nokia have the facility to receive an update Over-The-Air (OTA), yet many find it easy to update via Nokia Software Updater. The first version of NSU for Mac by Nokia Beta Labs does not offer much features besides updating the firmware. The software also cannot be used to install or update apps on your Smartphone like you can do it on the Windows counterpart.

Once you connect your device to the Mac and start Nokia Software Updater for Mac, it quickly connects the handset to PC Suite mode but fails to automatically detect whether a new version of firmware is available for the handset connected. Users need to manually check whether the firmware is available or not. Since it’s still a Release Candidate, Nokia expects the software may even not function properly so use the software at your own risk.

If you still want to give it a try head over to Nokia Beta labs to download Nokia Software Updater for Mac (You need to login to download).

Chrome for Mac Gets Extension and Sync Support on Dev Channel

About a month or so ago, Google had released Chrome Beta versions for Mac and Linux. However, Chrome for Mac did not have support for , well at-least officially. Mac Beta users could use extensions on through a small hack.

However, TechCrunch is reporting that the dev channel of Chrome for Mac (v4.0.288.1) has now officially got support for both extensions and Bookmark Sync.

To start using the Bookmark sync and extensions on Mac, you will have to switch to the dev channel, more information about that can be found here.

To download Chrome extensions you will have to visit this page.