Archive for the ‘My Usage’ Category

When Your Applications Overflow

2009-06-11

overflow-logoIf you’re like me, you’ve got many applications on your Mac.

Over the past two years, I have tried many applications to help me with the sheer number of applications I use.

The one that I use the most often is Mac OS X’s own SpotLight.

Sometimes, though, I feel a bit more like launching an app the visual way. That’s when I use Overflow, the only third-party application I have really grown to like:

Overflow

If it wasn’t of Overflow, I might just end up using the Applications Stack, which, even with the upcoming OS X 10.6’s new scroll bar, wouldn’t cut it at all:

overflow-many-applications

As you can see, I really need something like Overflow; and that’s why I wanted to write this review, as a big thank you to Stunt Software.

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The #1 Best Place to Read

2008-08-31

It’s hard to cover the Web Information Collection news as good as CloudNotes does.  Be sure to check this blog out!  I just skimmed it and subscribed.  It’s already, in two months, something like 15 out of its 33 posts that I shared in Google Reader; that’s a very good signal-to-noise ratio.

Apple Mighty Mouse: Pros & Cons

2008-06-18

Here’s yet another post about the UnMighty Mouse.  I thought Apple needed me to spell it out loud and clear, short and sweet.  I’m often verbose, but this time, I ain’t gonna be.

Here’s my personal list of pros and cons after 6 months of full-time usage of the Mighty Mouse:

Pros

  1. I am addicted to its scroll ball, and
  2. it looks and feels great (glossy, light).

Cons

  1. But it sometimes right-click when I left-clicked, or the reverse, and it’s getting worse over time;
  2. I sometimes need to clean the scroll ball, and
  3. we cannot simultaneously click both left and right buttons, and
  4. right clicks are not 100% accurate, and
  5. right clicks cannot be done fast enough for action games, and
  6. the optical sensor makes the mouse cursor sometimes jump, while my non-Apple mouse never fails on the same surface, and
  7. generally, its optical sensor works much less well than my Logitech’s laser sensor.

I’ve cross-posted this list to the product reviews in Apple Store.

Oh, yeah: kudos to Logitech and Microsoft for their great mice.

A Review of the Mighty Mouse, pt. 2

2008-06-12

Update: My final list of pros & cons of this Rotten Rodent.

My wife and I stopped using Apple’s Mighty Mouse because we are unremeditably annoyed by two frequent problems it has.  First, the mouse cursor often jumps for no good reason.  Second, the mouse started a few months ago to make occasional errors of registering right clicks instead of left clicks.  What a chiefly annoyance!  Bye bye, UnMighty Mouse!  We’ll only miss your scroll ball

MenuCalendarClock: Ugly Name, Great App

2008-04-18

Update (2009): It’s been at least a few months since I stopped using this. Maybe I’m no more busy enough. And I was a bit hassled by the fact this app doesn’t feel that much native to OS X. It needs a bit of interaction tweaking.

MenuCalendarClock for iCalUntil yesterday, it’s been a few times I resisted trying MenuCalendarClock.  Its name is ugly and its web site isn’t much better at selling it.  But it’s almost exactly what I was longing for.  I was tired of bringing up the whole iCal interface, or firing up the Dashboard, just to see my daily appointments.  I wanted something more streamlined into my workflow, more accessible but still capable, yet not distracting.  Thanks to MacUpdate’s Parallels Bundle and Chris Pirillo, I found the answer to my need in MenuCalendarClock.

It’s as slick as it looks in this screenshot and it’s even better.  The search box works wonders to bring up anything that’s been on your calendar but you don’t remember when, and it’s just where it’s needed.  Double-clicking on something either brings up iCal or a window to edit a task’s details.  In short, it rocks.

Of course, it could be even better.  I’d like to be able to specify the date format of the events view.  Repeating the year and month for each one of the three days shown looks silly to me.  I’d much rather see the name of the day completely spelled out, like “vendredi le 18“, “samedi le 19“, and “lundi le 21“.  (Yes, French is my native language.)

MenuCalendarClock comes at the price of 20$, for either iCal or Entourage.  If you’re quick enough, you could also get it like me in the great deal that is the Parallels Bundle.  Finally, if you just want the slick calendar view without the events and tasks view, the basic version of the application will come free to you.

Uninstallers: AppZapper vs Hazel

2008-02-12

trash.png

Update 2 (2008-12): MacApper posted a review of CleanApp 3, which has been released a month ago, and it looks even much more interesting than it did before. I’m yet to try it, though.

Update 1 (2008-04): Someone else compared many uninstallers, reaching similar conclusions.  Hinted at CleanApp possibly being the perfect solution.  Reviews on MacUpdate are fairly positive.  Cleanapp’s rating would be almost perfect if it wasn’t of some performance bugs that might get fixed when version 3 is released.

In the past few months, Hazel, an application that’s useful to automate your organization of files and folders, started lending a hand when you want to uninstall software from your Mac.

This move from the author is a really wise one, as it widens Hazel’s target market into the uninstaller utilities category of applications.  And indeed, that’s what convinced me to buy it, because first, I needed a good uninstaller, and second, I might someday want to build myself an automated workflow for my files and folders organization.

Now, the main question is:

How good is Hazel at uninstalling applications,
compared to the leader of this category, namely AppZapper?

I started my tests a month ago with the hypothesis that neither one would be really sufficient as a uninstaller, because unless I’m wrong, they both solely rely on Spotlight to find which files should be trashed when you uninstall something.

To verify this hypothesis and find an answer to the main question, each time I needed to uninstall an application, I would both use AppZapper and Hazel to see which one fares better.  It’s easy to do.  First, drag your doomed application to AppZapper.  Then, drag it to the trash.  You will end up with both AppZapper’s and Hazel’s suggestions as to what should be deleted along the application package.

The Short Answer

Neither one is that much better.  Neither one is sufficient.  Use both.

The Long Answer

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A Review of the Mighty Mouse

2008-02-11

mighty-mouse.gif

Update (2008-06): I now hate the Mighty Mouse.

Switching from a regular PC to a Mac also means, in most cases, switching keyboards and mice.  When I started using my brand-new iMac, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the Mighty Mouse, but I wanted to give it a chance, so I decided I would use it exclusively for at least two weeks.

My first impression was that I’d miss my back and forward buttons.  And let me tell you I do.  Next, I found it’s hard to use the side buttons, and up to this day, this hasn’t changed.  I was also really surprised to learn that the side buttons are in fact together only one button.

After a few days, I was hooked at its scroll wheel.  Er, sorry, I meant scroll ball.  It’s addictive.  It’s wonderful.  It’s even ergonomic.  Scroll wheels hurt.  Scroll balls don’t.  Scroll wheels wouldn’t if they were designed as small as this ball.  And I say that with some experience with carpal tunnel problems.

What’s funny is that after two weeks, I still hadn’t understood how to succeed at right-clicking every time I tried it.  Most of the time, the mouse would register a left click instead.  It would drive me nuts.  And it’s even funnier that my wife picked it up fine starting on day one.  But we weren’t able to find what it was I wasn’t doing well.

Seeing something was (ironically) wrong with me, I decided I wouldn’t revert to my Logitech mouse until I had solved this problem for myself and tried the mouse in this new glorified way for at least one more week.  And then, a few days later, I found out you have to make sure no finger remains on the left side of the mouse when you push on its right side.  That’s so counter-intuitive.  I mean, why should I need to lift my left finger before right-clicking?  My wife, on the other side of the fence, always did this with any mouse.  How (un)lucky she is!

The most annoying problem of the Mighty Mouse is that its cursor sometimes jumps from one place in the screen to another one when we’re moving the mouse, instead of following our movement.  At first, I thought I was facing some kind of bug in OS X.  Now, I believe it’s because this mouse’s optical system has some problems recognizing the surface of my desk.  When I try my Logitech mouse, I never face this problem.  Let me tell you it’s a really annoying bug, and no, I don’t want to use any kind of mouse pad.  That would ruin the careful looks of my workplace, wouldn’t it?

So, after 4 months using the Mighty Mouse, how do I feel?  Well, I think it’s time to buy a new desk.

Seriously, I hope Apple will make a better device soon.  I would gladly encourage them to continue producing half-crap devices by buying their next mouse instead of switching back to my previous mouse.  Until then, I’m going to rock (argh…) and roll (yay!) with my Mighty Mouse because I’m hooked at the Mighty Scroll Ball.

8 Web Information Collectors Reviewed

2008-01-31

Update 3 (2008-05): I reviewed Evernote’s and Together’s recent updates.  While reading this post with its slightly outdated results chart, remember to use the one that’s besides this paragraph to get the updated results.

Update 2 (2008-03): Evernote is the new wolf that’s coming in the pack, and it already redefines most of what’s best.  Read this review to know how.

Update 1 (2008-03): EagleFiler’s new version 1.3 makes it fare much better.  Read this review to know what changes regarding the following comparative review, as I haven’t updated this post in any other way than this mention.

Although computers are great to work with information, in the last 10 years using a Windows PC, I never found any software solution that would work well for my information collecting and management needs, although OneNote and EverNote came close to it.  But now that I use a Mac, I wanted to see if I’d be able to find something really great.

Our Problem

I believe what makes it hard to find the good application for our needs is that we all have our own very personal ways of dealing with the information that comes before our eyes every day; but most importantly, I believe we still haven’t seen our software in general become mature. Software still behaves like a baby who won’t share his toys. Software will grow someday, but Software just isn’t there yet. Say, Software, what will you do when you’ll have grown up?

Our Need

Until Software becomes an adult, there’s many applications available, and some of them might solve most of our information collecting needs. How would we define the best proposition?

I believe what we need in any application is that it:

  • supports the features needed,
  • interacts comfortably with us, and
  • keeps doing the previous two criteria in a consistent manner.

This definition is most probably critical in the case of information collection software. When I speak of consistency for information collection purposes, I mean, for example, that whatever the web browser I use and the method I use to collect something, it will always produce the same kind of rich text entry, accompanied by its link.

The Contenders

Now, since this is all about reviewing different applications to see which one of them is closing the most towards maturity, here’s what I tested:

DEVONthink PersonalEagleFilerJournlerNoteBook

ScrivenerSOHO NotesTogetherYojimbo

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