Copying and transfering files between a Mac and a Windows PC can be frustrating. Especially when your file size exceeds 4GB, which means USB-Sticks and hard drives formattetd in MS-DOS FAT32 won’t work. But there’s a solution called ExFat (Wikipedia link). Your Mac can read and write on ExFat formatted drives (starting with Snow Leopard) and so can a Windows machine. The single file size is as good as unlimited. Just pop your drive or stick in to your Mac and open Disk Utility to format it in ExFat. You now have the perfect solution for swapping data between the two worlds – OS X and Windows.
Category Archives: Mac OS
Ladies & Gentlemen… here comes another awesome tool to convert video and audio files into different formats. What’s the point you ask? Usability! Adapter is self explanatory and comes with many useful presets for Apple devices, tablets et cetera. If you feel you need more advanced options over codecs and stuff go for Handbrake or MPEG streamclip. All of these 3 great media converters for (Mac) OS X are free!
A growing number of decent games are coming to the Mac. Fans of the classic strategy and simulation SimCity will be glad to hear that they can start building modern cities in polished graphics by February 2013. Meanwhile a trip to the past playing SimCity 2000 (and other old school games) might fill the void.
There are other time killers too. Head over to steam if you are up for the latest game titles running on your Mac such as Call of Duty: Black OPS.
Apple’s App Store (for OS X not iOS) has an expanding selection of quality games on display too. Many titles are originating from the iPhone, but you’ll find classics like Civilization V as well.
In order to use AirPlay Mirroring – the new screen streaming feature Apple built into Apple TV and Mountain Lion – you need a Mac bought in 2011 or later. So if you have a Mac from 2010 or before you’re busted, you won’t be able to mirror your Mac’s desktop to your Apple TV even if you have Mountain Lion installed. Apparently the reason is the lack of graphics power, says Cult of Mac. The on-GPU H.264 encoding (if you really need to know). Someone else told me it’s because of content licence problems. But don’t give up, this is where AirParrot comes in. For a reasonable $10 you can enable AirPlay Mirroring on your pre-2011 Mac. Simple as that!
Using a Mac mini as a media center connected to your TV is a great thing. There’s just one tiny hiccup: the missing AirPlay feature from Apple TV. Wouldn’t it be cool to wirelessly connect your iPhone or iPad to your TV for easy photo and video streaming or to play games? Plus with Mountain Lion you can also stream the screen of a Mac to your tube via Apple TV – it’s called “AirPlay Mirroring.” Well, AirServer solves that problem. Just install the $15-tool on your Mac mini and you’re set – no need to buy Apple TV. Works pretty well with iOS 6 and Mountain Lion.
If you want to secure an external drive (USB/Firewire/Thunderbolt hard drive, SD-Card or USB-Stick), there’s an easy way to do this in Finder. Make a right-click on the volume of your choice (either in the Finder Sidebar or on your Desktop) and select -> Encrypt *nameofyourdrive* You get to choose the password and OS X will encrypt the disk. Be patient it takes quite a while and there’s now progress indicator. Thanks for the tip osxdaily!
The autocomplete feature (e-mail address completion) of Apple Mail is great, but if you’ve ever entered a wrong e-mail address, it haunts you forever. Here is how to set things straight: In Mail –> menu bar (at the top) select “Window” and go for “Previous Recipients.” A window will pop up which lets you search and delete or edit wrong e-mail addresses.
If you are into home networking and ultimate file access using your iPhone or iPad, check out Files Connect! It connects to your Mac or PC and network shares like AFP, WebDav, SMB, SFTP, DropBox or Google Docs. If you have a hard drive attached to your Airport Extreme you can set up your own Internet cloud. How cool is that! Of course you may also browse your local network or connect to a Mac via the Internet. The configuration is straight forward. The file exchange could be improved …but works. You can upload and download all sorts of files. All this connectivity costs you $4.99.
Dropbox offers a simple way to exchange files between Macs, PCs and iPhones/iPads, store files in the cloud or back things up. BoxCryptor adds one great feature by offering you a secure, i.e. encrypted folder (well, volume actually) in your Dropbox. There’s a limited free application for Mac, PC and iOS if you use the service for private purposes only. BoxCryptor helps you to create a volume in your Dropbox (looks like a regular folder), set a password and then secures your files with an AES-256 encryption. That way only you can access the volume. This might be handy for storing private documents like a copy of your passport and other travel documents while circling the globe.
Fonts are a powerful design tool and finding the right one isn’t always easy. A great resource for (free) fonts is Font Squirrel. The site offers “hand-selected typefaces, licensed for commercial work.” You can search by style or popularity, OpenType and TrueType. What else can you ask for!
Many applications for OS X are available in different languages. You can change your system language, including all program languages via System Preferences –> Language & Text (requires a user log-out). Language Switcher, however, can change the language of any single application of your choice (if the software comes in different languages, of course). Simply select the program and choose from the available languages. Language Switcher will restart the app in the desired language and lets you specify a default setting too.
The GNU Image Manipulation Program (Gimp 2.8) is a free alternative to the likes of Photoshop and GraphicConverter. Finally Mac users can run this full-fledged photo editor as a NATIVE application under OS X. No need for the annoying X11 Window System anymore. Thx guys! Need more details? Dig right in!
Users of Apple’s Wireless Keyboard, Magic Mouse or Trackpad might find this free piece of code useful for monitoring the battery level of said devices via a Dashboard widget. Mighty Monitor does just that – and does it well! Hitting the Dashboard key on your keyboard is much faster than going through System Preferences –> Mouse etc. only to check the battery life of your Apple bluetooth devices, right?
Haven’t heard of Dropbox? It’s a free online storage. Something like Apple’s iCloud. The cool thing – apart from that lots of people use it already and it’s easy to set up – you can also use it to exchange files between your Mac and iOS device quickly. Just get the app for you iPhone (or iPad) and install the thing on your Mac too. The rest is simple drag-and-drop business and it goes both ways of course.
It’s simple, really. But you need to know where to look: Open the Finder window and hit “cmd & F” to bring up the search bar. Now select “Kind” and “Other…” and look for “File size”. By ticking the little box you can add it to the standard selection. What is left now, is to choose “is greater than,” enter a file size of your choice and there you have it! Just for choice: You could also go with this tool.
Just in case you have been thinking about cultivating your DJ skills – Mixxx (not, it’s not porn) might be the right tool
for the right price. The (free) DJ software offers pretty much everything to start with: iTunes integration, BPM detection and syncing, support for various audio formats (MP3, M4A/AAC, OGG, FLAC), plus Mixx plays nice with more than 30 DJ controllers.
Interested in transferring your DVD collection to a Mac for easier access and nicer presentation? The open source project – Plex – is the place too start. The free software effortlessly manages your movie library and streams your flicks not only on your home network to other Macs, but to the iPhone and iPad too (there’s an app for that, you know). You can also set up secure film streaming via the Internet. One way to move all your DVDs to your Mac while ensuring flawless streaming and picture quality is MakeMKV. There are many options for ripping and encoding DVDs, however, Plex, the MKV video format (and a Mac Mini) make a great team as a media center!
Those ZIP-archives (and others) are surely useless, once unpacked. So why they aren’t moved to the bin by default, I do not know. However, here’s how to set things right: Just click on “Go” in the menu bar, then “Go to Folder…” and type in System/Library/CoreServices. Now open the Archive Utility and check out the preference settings of the app in question. In the settings you can opt for: After expanding: move archive to Trash. That’s it, one less thing to take care of on your Mac.
If you have numerous audio devices plugged in to your Mac, there’s a pretty easy way to change input and output settings quickly. Just hold down the alt key (option key) and click on the little speaker symbol in the menu bar. There you go! No need to take the detour via system preferences.
Always dreamed of being able to touch type? Tipp10 is a free software for Mac OS X to help you get your typing skills going. It is pretty straight forward and comes with lots of exercises and training sessions. Just download the damn thing and get to work!
If you want to hide unused system preferences or re-arrange them alphabetically and not by categories, Lion will let you do that. Open “System Preferences” and click on “View” in the menu bar – there you go. Finally you can hide “MobileMe” and other Icons you don’t need. And don’t worry, you can always bring them back!
Pretty and pricey! The Libratone Lounge speaker (picture) and the smaller Libratone Live combine design, Apple’s AirPlay technology and punch. Both speakers come with a 150 Watt total. Which translates to 1x50W bass, 2x25W tweeter and 2x25W midrange. You can stream your music from iTunes, your iPhone or iPad sans cables to up to six speakers (depending on your WiFi). All this luxury doesn’t come cheap though. The Libratone Live sells for $699.95 and its bigger Lounge brother for $1,299.95.
The guys over at Automatic Duck are giving away their Import- and Export-Tools for Avid, Final Cut and Adobe After Effects for free! Pro Import AE imports timelines from Avid, FCP 7 into After Effects. Pro Export FCP exports AFF files from Final Cut Pro 7 and FCP X to Avid. Pro Import FCP on the other hand imports OMF and AFFcompositions from Avid to Final Cut Pro 7. Well, check it out the details for yourself… Automatic Duck will stop supporting the tools, that’s why you can download them for free now.
Dude, whatever you download is your own business, but the best software to get the job done on a Mac is
probably Transmission. It’s a neat tool using little resources (CPU & memory), offering remote (web) access and full encryption. This BitTorrent client is an open source project and comes with most features you might need.
Did you know Mozilla offers 3 different Firefox versions? Release candidates, beta versions and a developer builds, called Aurora. If you’re not the adventurous type and frequent updates are a nuisance to you, download the release candidate. If you have the urge to try the latest, go with the beta channel. Aurora is for people who want to join the rocky developer front. You can check your Firefox version via “About Firefox” from the menu bar.
Owners of the Apple LED Cinema Display 24-inch (introduced in 2008) may experience problems when connecting the display to a Thunderbolt port: An “intermittent flicker.” The 24 Inch LED Cinema Display randomly goes black for a second. Don’t worry Apple has a fix for this – quietly hiding in the support section. (It does not show up via your regular software update). So just download the Firmware update yourself, follow instructions and you’re good to go.
…may be symptoms after upgrading to a new Mac OS. It is usually related to Spotlight indexing your Mac and may take several hours (the older your Mac, the longer it takes). If you’re getting nervous, open Activity Monitor (in the Utilities folder) and check the CPU load (select all processes). If “mds” and “mdworker” are the ones causing the work load everything is fine. Let them be! If not, follow this hint.
Not every Mac user loves the iPhone. If you happen to be the Adroid-kind-of-guy check out Winamp for Mac OS X. It imports all your iTunes contents and syncs them with many Android phones. It supports wireless syncing, SHOUTcast Radio and other things. There’s a paid version available without ads, FLAC support and other goodies.
Apple introduced simplified file sharing with Mac OS X Lion, calling the feature AirDrop. However, if you’re not into Lion or your Mac isn’t supported and you don’t want to fiddle around to activate it anyway, get DropCopy! It does more or less the same thing as AirDrop offering even more transfer options and settings. There’s a free version for up to 3 Macs on a local network and a paid version ($25) if you want to connect more machines.
Sometimes iTunes doesn’t get iPhone or iPad software downloads right and you are stuck trying to update to the latest iOS. In this case you can turn to Apple’s manual download page and get things going again. Also useful if for some reason you want to downgrade your iOS.
If you want to find out which applications are compatible with Mac OS X Lion and which ones are not, head over to Roaring Apps. The site offers a list of apps and their compatibility with Apple’s new operating system Mac OS 10.7. The user reports will let you know: “Works okay”, “some problems”, “not tested”, “does not work properly”. Thanks guys!