Archives For mac

Project phoenix

Twitterrific was the first Mac client for Twitter, and I’ve used it since almost the beginning—10 years ago! When the app developers, The Iconfactory, expanded to iOS, Twitterrific kept up with Twitter’s features on iOS, but not on the Mac. (That’s due to programming resources, but also a lot of dickish moves by Twitter to shut out developers for a while.)

And yet, I still use Twitterrific as my Twitter client on the Mac, even though it lacks a lot of modern Twitter features. I’ve tried others, and none of them stick.

Now, The Iconfactory is Kickstarting a push to revive Twitterrific on macOS with Project Phoenix. If they can raise $75,000, they’ll be able to finish development on a brand-new version of Twitterrific. If they go over that amount, that gives them the ability to add more features.

In general, I’m not a fan of established companies using Kickstarter to fund their products. I get PR emails from one company all the time advertising some new product that’s actually just a funding plea.

But I make exceptions for companies I respect and trust, and The Iconfactory is way up on that list. I’ve kicked a contribution to help this project get made. You can too.

A quick note: The annual WinterFest sale is on, with discounts on lots of great software and Take Control books—including mine! Nisus Writer Pro, Scrivener, TextExpander, PDFpen… all 25% off (or better) for a short time. Go get them here: WinterFest 2016.

In my latest Practical Mac column in the Seattle Times, I outline (in a more concise version than what I posted previously) why the perceived MacBook Pro limitations—RAM, price, etc.—didn’t stop me from ordering one to replace my aging 2010 MacBook Pro. I also offer a solution for stopping iCloud calendar spam and note Apple’s apparent abandonment of its AirPort line of wireless routers.

Read it here: MacBook Pro issues didn’t keep me away.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Mbp touchbar top

Following Apple’s media event last week where the company introduced the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, I wrote up the news and some initial impressions for my Seattle Times column: Apple’s latest Mac upgrade news is intriguing and perplexing.

There’s been a lot of kvetching and hand-wringing about this new update from Apple, reaching similar levels of paranoia as during the Dark Years of being an Apple fan. Does this mean Apple is abandoning the Mac? Has Apple forgotten about its professional customers? Is the Touch Bar just a gimmick? And what about the iMac, Mac mini, and Mac Pro?

I sound dismissive, but I’m not. There are some things about the event that are perplexing, such as the 16 GB memory limit in all MacBook Pro configurations, and the lack of any news about the other Macs. I don’t fall on the Apple-is-doomed spectrum (hell, we’ve been through enough of that), but this does seem like an unusual move for the company.

I’ll have more to say soon. In the meantime, read the article and leave your feedback!

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

My barber said, “I have too many clouds,” and I immediately sympathized. iCloud, Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive…I have files stashed in all of them. What surprised me when I set about to write this week’s column for the Seattle Times, is that I’ve so effortlessly moved so much of my work and personal data to cloud-based services.

iOS 10 and macOS Sierra, released last month, further entwine iCloud’s tendrils into everyday activities. In the column, I talk about how it enables me to control Philips Hue lights in my home from any remote location, unlock a Mac using my Apple Watch just by getting near it, and more.

Read the column here: Forecast: Increasing use of cloud services for just about everything.

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Tc photos v2Sometimes, it feels as if I’m a lone defender of Apple’s Photos app under macOS. Many people find it too different from iPhoto, or think it’s too basic (even though it’s actually quite sophisticated), or… I don’t know, they just don’t like change. Except for Aperture users who were abandoned by Apple—their discontent is understandable.

It’s not just because I wrote a book about Photos and Apple’s photo ecosystem. True, I use Lightroom as my primary photo library manager, but I also make extensive use of Photos and iCloud Photo Library.

And now macOS Sierra is out, with a new version of Photos that brings better searching, Memories, revamped people identification, and more!

Alas, when my publisher Peachpit Press all but vaporized early this year, the possibility to update my Photos book also went up in smoke. That’s too bad, because I really enjoyed writing it, and thought it turned out well.

However, I’m not the only Photos defender. My friend and colleague Jason Snell has just released the second edition of his highly regarded, and best-selling, Photos: A Take Control Crash Course. Jason has been immersed in Photos during the developer preview versions of macOS Sierra and knows it inside and out. The ebook is 74 pages of hard-won information, fully illustrated and written in Jason’s friendly, approachable style. And it’s only $10!

Photos is a key part of both macOS Sierra and iOS 10, so before you order Jason’s book using the link above, consider bundling it—at a discount—with Scholle McFarland’s Sierra: A Take Control Crash Course, Josh Centers’s iOS 10: A Take Control Crash Course, or both!

Buy the Photos, Sierra, and iOS 10 Crash Courses for $28
Buy the Photos and Sierra Crash Courses for $17.50
Buy the Photos and iOS 10 Crash Courses for $17.50

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

06b pixelmator truck edited after

Looking for an image editor on the Mac but don’t need the full power (or cost) of Adobe Photoshop? In Macworld, I just reviewed Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon, a great $30 alternative. This new version focuses on the application’s selection tools, adding a Quick Selection tool and a Magnetic Selection tool to make it easier to select and edit specific areas of an image.

It also adds a new Photos Editing Extension called Pixelmator Retouch, which gives you the ability to do retouching edits—like lightening or darkening specific areas, selective sharpening, and more—to images right in the Photos app, without exporting them to Pixelmator proper.

Read the review here: Pixelmator 3.5 Canyon review: Better selective editing and a new Apple Photos extension.

I edited the photo up above entirely in Pixelmator. Here’s the original version for comparison:

06a pixelmator truck edited before

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macworld_photos_glenn.png

Glenn Fleishman at Macworld does a great job running down the new features in the Photos app under the upcoming macOS Sierra and iOS 10 (both available in beta to developers and via public beta). Read it here: Hands on with the new Photos features in macOS Sierra and iOS 10.

In my latest Seattle Times column, I wrestle with keeping track of the various bits of digital data we need to store. Going paperless years ago was a relief, but the data I need to manage has increased since then. For a long time, I used Evernote, but found myself not turning to it in recent months. Apple’s Notes has, to my surprise, become a viable replacement for a couple of reasons I discuss in the article.

Read it here: Going paperless still requires bringing order to digital chaos

If you like the work I do, please consider signing up for my low-volume newsletter that I use to announce new projects, items, and giveaways that I think my readers would be interested in.

Seattle Skyline Dusk v2

The great folks at Macphun are currently including a short ebook I wrote for them with every Aurora HDR purchase: 10 Simple Steps to Make Amazing HDR Photos…but anyone can get it for free! It covers a few fundamentals, like tips for capturing good brackets in the first place, and points to features in Aurora HDR that give you more control over your HDR compositions.

If you already own my Aurora HDR Photoversity Guide, you likely know all the information in this new ebook (it also include several new photos by me)—but you could send it to a photo-loving friend who’s looking to bump up their HDR game. And if you don’t yet own the Photoversity guide, there’s a special offer at the end to get 40% off the guide.

To get it, go to the Aurora HDR Free Stuff page, enter your email address, and download the book (plus other goodies, too). Macphun designed the book to be read in the iBooks app on OS X or any iOS device. Take a look at some sample pages below: