Monthly Archives: February 2012

App of the Week: Singlemizer

As we create files and folders, we sometimes create duplicate files.  Sometimes we do it on purpose like backing up files or to show alternative versions, other times it happens by accident.  Either way, duplicates can take up unnecessarily space on your drive.  But rooting them out can take a while, but using an automated tools can accidentally remove files that aren’t duplicates.  When I was looking through apps to help me skim through the information on my Mac, Singlemizer did the job right.

Singlemizer’s sole purpose is to find duplicates in a folder, or series of folder, show where they are, what they are, and allow you to choose whether or not to delete them.  While Singlemizer has the ability to find files with the same name, creation date, etc. but it uses an algorithm instead to compare right down the raw data of the file, giving you astonishingly accurate results.  You start by selecting which folders your want it to scan, either by hitting the “+” button, or by dragging the folders into the window.  With multiple folders, you can order them as a hierarchy, letting Singlemizer be more accurate as to what is an original and is a clone.  You can also tweak even more settings, such as saying if a link to the file counts as a duplicate to you or not.  When it finds duplicates, Singlemizer presents an ordered list

Singlemizer's selection window

showing not only the name and type of the file, but also the folders each file was stored in.  Just from searching a few folders, every file it was a duplicate in some form, and it showed both the original and the clone.  How could I tell?  Ignoring any name similarities, Singlemizer has a quick look view that gave me allowed me to visually compare the files.  From there I could choose whether I wanted to deleted the selected duplicate file.  After that, just it the delete button, and Singlemizer moves those files into the trash can.  Going through my pictures, the app had no trouble finding duplicates not only in different folders, but even if the files were created on different days.

One issue with the app is that if you don’t arrange the folder hierarchy, what Singlemizer lists as the original, may not actually be the original.  Fortunately, Singlemizer will allow you to uncheck the listed clone, so that you can delete whichever copy you wish.  Some users are also reporting that the recent upgrade is causing errors, though I haven’t experienced any.

If you’re looking for a way to easily clear out duplicates from your hard drive, take a look at Singlemizer.  It is available in the Mac App Store for $9.99 and can run on Lion.  However it can also run on Snow Leopard and Leopard through previous versions that are free.  You can download the previous versions at find out more at http://singlemizerapp.com/.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  You can also check out my Google Plus Page.  Thanks!

OSX Mountain Lion Announced:

(Apple)

Today Apple announced the next update to OSX, dubbed Mountain Lion.  For the record, they already used this name as “Puma” in OS 10.1, but that is neither here or there.   Apple has announced many new features that bring Mac and iOS closer together.

REMINDERS, NOTES, AND NOTIFICATIONS:

Among the apps being brought to OSX are Reminders, Notes, and the Notification Center.  First, Reminders and Notes will have their own apps on the Mac and sync directly with your iDevice through those apps.  For Reminders, this means you will be able to directly create new reminders from your Mac that will sync to your iDevice, without having to always whip it out for that quick update to your grocery list.  Notes will also be leaving the Mail app on Mac to become their own app, a transfer that I believe makes a lot more sense.  The new Notes app will also support easy additions of Rich Text formatting, pictures, and allow you to pin notes to your desktop.  This may indicate that the Mac’s Sticky Notes App is getting replaced with this new Notes app.  Both of these apps look much like their iOS counterparts in terms of design and layout.

Mac users have routinely have used a notification system like Growl to keep track of everything from downloads, to their Twitter feeds.  But Apple is bringing the Notification Center from iOS 5 to Mountain

Notification Center in Mountain Lion (Apple)

Lion.  With a quick swipe to the left, and you’ll see the whole of Notification Center on the right side of the screen.  As more apps integrate with the Notification Center API (Apple apps already will have integrated), you’ll see pop ups in the top right hand corner of your screen as things change, like new Mail, reminders, etc.  This is very similar to Growl, but it hopefully means that every time I update an app, I won’t have to worry about breaking Growl (especially Mail).  I do wonder how this will affect side-swiping in Mission Control and the use of multiple desktops, but I’m sure Apple will have something for this.

GAME CENTER:

In iOS 4, Game Center was introduced as a central hub for players to keep track of all their achievements, compete with friends, and get more out of their gaming experience.  This is being brought to Mountain Lion.  Not only will Gaming Center keep track of all your achievements and friends lists from your iOS device, there seems to be rumblings that it can integrate with Mac games.  The ability to quickly have achievements and high scores in a unified place, whether it be Angry Birds, Sid Meier’s Civilization, or Call of Duty, will bring iOS and Mac closer together.  Not only that, but it may also help spur the growth of gaming on the Mac, much has Steam has done.

MESSAGES:

Messages Beta in Full Screen

On iOS, there was Messages.  On Mac, there was iChat.  iChat supported multiple chat protocols like GTalk, AIM, Facebook, and more.  Messages on iOS only did text messaging and with iOS 5 it gained iMessage.  It was only a matter of time, we believed, that iChat and Messages would finally merge with the advent of iMessage.  This comes true with Mountain Lion; Mountain Lion merges iChat on Mac with the iMessage features of iOS.  When launching the app, you sign in with your Apple ID to use iMessage, as well as your other chat groups like AIM and GTalk.  The interface is now a lot like the iPad version of Messages, with your recent conversations on the side, and the selected conversation on the right.  You can also easily share links, pictures, and video by dragging them into Messages.  Messages is currently in Beta, so you can download it here: https://www.apple.com/macosx/mountain-lion/messages-beta/.  Note that you will have to restart you Mac, and it replaces iChat on your Mac.  You will, however, still keep all the other features of iChat, including your other login information for other protocols.

AIRPLAY MIRRORING:

Apple has marketed Airplay as a great way to stream media from your iDevice or Mac to any other compatible device on your network.  Now Apple has taken a very logical step forward by allowing you to mirror your desktop to any TV connected to an Apple TV.  You can then view your desktop, watch movies, give presentations, and more all through your Apple TV.  Currently, I don’t know how well this technology works, but for people with small screens, who need a bigger screen for a project, or just to watch a video, this is a step in the right direction.  However, it also means to implement this feature, you’ll likely be drawn more into the Apple universe.

SOCIALIZING:

People like to share stuff, no doubt about that.  And with Mountain Lion, more social features have been added.

With iOS 5, Apple added Twitter integration into iOS, allowing you to quickly tweet photos, links, and more to the world.  Apple has added Twitter integration into Mountain Lion too.  Sign into Twitter on your Mac and you can easily tweet from your desktop, Safari, and more.  If Twitter integration on the Mac is anything like it is on the iPhone, you will likely need to have the official Twitter app installed from the Mac App Store.

Among other things added, Flickr and Vimeo accounts can be linked from the Mail, Contacts, and Calendars preference page.  This will allow your apps to quickly share pictures and video to more

Share Sheets in Safari (Apple)

sites.  Having this kind of integration could also mean you will not have to constantly log into said accounts in other apps like iPhoto and iMovie.  Having it all in one place could be a big time saver.

All of this comes together in what Apple calls Share Sheets.  When using Safari on an iDevice, there is the share arrow that allows you to quickly email, bookmarks, or tweet links and media from wherever your are.  Mountain Lion gets the same abilities in Safari, Photo Booth, and more.  Along with the new social media outlets, you can quickly share those links in Safari into Mail, Messages, Twitter, and more.  Photo Booth will also have more sharing options, so you can share those crazy pictures of yourself with the world.

GATEKEEPER:

This feature seems a little more controversial.  In lieu of the recent malware attacks, such as MacDefender, Mountain Lion will use a technology Apple is calling Gatekeeper.  Gatekeeper allows more control over your Mac by letting you control from what sources your Mac can install apps.  At the moment there are three settings: Anywhere, only the Mac App Store, and Mac App Store & Identified Developers.  The first one setting is what most Mac users are used to; installing apps from anywhere on the web, whether the apps are in or out of the Mac App Store.  The 2nd setting is similar to iOS, where you can only install apps from Apple’s Mac App Store, where they screen apps for quality and security.  The last setting means that Apple will be giving special ID’s to software developers outside of the Mac App Store in order make sure they are well-meaning developers (like Mozilla, Google, etc.) and are not malware developers.  While this certainly allows for more security, there is the risk of isolating software developers and limiting innovation on the Mac.  However the fact that there is a switch allowing you to easily change this option is something no one is complaining about.

CHINA:

Lastly, Chinese users are getting a major upgrade to their systems.  In the new social features, Apple will be adding popular Chinese site like Tadou video sharing, QQ chat, and Baidu search, among other things.  Also a welcome change for Chinese users is better support for Chinese characters, so that reading and writing in Pinyin & Mandarin will be easier, more accurate, and faster.

The Developer Preview is has just started and more features are likely to be added as time goes by.  I will be giving some of my opinions about some of these topics soon.  For now, what do you think?  Are you excited for the changes?  Angry at the iOS-ification of the Mac?  Feel free to share.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  You can also check out my Google Plus Page.  Thanks!

App of the Week: Low Battery Saver

Remember that time when you were playing a game online, and your battery suddenly died?  Or that movie was almost done and your battery was draining fast.  You may not always be near a power outlet when your battery gets low, or you may get so caught up in something on your Mac and not see the indicator light.  It’s nice that your Mac has the little warning that tells your when you’re running on “reserved battery power”, but it can sometimes be up to 20 minutes before your Mac actually reaches discharged status.  And when you’re so caught up playing Minecraft that you just click it away, there can certainly be problems.  Low Battery Power is a simple little solution to this problem.

Low Battery Saver doesn’t actually make your battery last any longer.  What it does do is give you a little more notice as you get closer to a dead battery. When your battery reaches a certain charge level, Low Batter Saver kicks in and puts your Mac to sleep.  You can adjust this to be as high or low as you want.  The app recommends that since older models may have calibration issues, it might be better to set the app a little higher than what you might initially want.  Plus if you set the time too low, Mac’s own hibernate function may just override the sleep command.  But what really helps out is that, unlike the Mac, the app gives you a bold countdown before it runs the sleep command.

Low Battery Saver's Preference Page

Low Battery Saver defaults to a 30 second countdown, though you can edit this to be a longer or shorter countdown.  The countdown is very hard to miss.  When the countdown begins, a large red block appears at the bottom of the screen and clearly states that the countdown has started and sleep will soon begin.  Since you set the timer and app yourself, you already know how close your battery really is to dying.  The app also can be set to warn you of a low battery at a certain charge percentage, which you may or may not find repetitive.  This app also has a check box that allows you to start the program on your Mac’s startup.

The preferences are very easy to setup; there are no confusing options, and the app runs flawlessly.  It gave me the pop-ups at the times I told it to, and the sleep command ran without a hitch.  The app also has a very minimal impact on your system resources, and is very quick to turn on when your Mac starts up.  These things certainly make it all the better.  However, the app does have a few quirks.  The most noticeable of these quirks is when selecting any of the time increments and settings.  I can move the time up or down by using the arrows on the size, but I cannot type in a number value.  In order to change the value, I have to manually hit the arrow up or down.  Unless you changes are dramatically different from the default setting, this probably won’t be an issue, but this seems like a simply glaring omission.

Besides this seeming flaw in the program, Low Battery Saver does what it says it will do, with a very simple to understand interface, and something that every Mac user should have, especially those that constantly are running on battery power.  Low Battery Saver is made by Space Inch and is available in the Mac App Store at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/low-battery/id480383312?mt=12.  It runs on Mac OS 10.6 and higher.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  You can also check out my Google Plus Page.  Thanks!

App of the Week: join.me

More and more, meetings are being held over the Internet as a cheaper and more efficient way to get projects done and share ideas.  Likewise, screen sharing is becoming a greater part of these meetings.  And while some apps have screen sharing built-in, such as Skype, they just don’t hold up as well as dedicated screen sharing apps, which tend to cost a bit of cash.  So when I need to teach a lesson with screen sharing, I use join.me.

Join.me is a free screen sharing solution made by LogMeIn, so the quality of the app is exceptional.  To share one’s screen, the presenter must use the free app.  Upon launching the app, you are presented with two large buttons: one says “Share” the other “Join”.  Hit the share button, and then you can share your screen with anyone by giving them a 9 digit code listed just above the settings.  The viewers (you can have up to 250 viewers at a time) can then enter the code on their own app, or go to the website and enter the code in there.  Likewise, the code is in the form of a link that you can email or post for anyone to click and view.  Note that you can only view from the website, all sharing must be done from the downloaded app.

The app keeps a very sturdy connection.  I’ve used it for many presentations with an active Skype video call, Preview, as well as Mail, and my Twitter client open at the same time with no crashes or lagging in the presentation.  The presentation is very clear, clear enough for people to read the text on my screen.  Join.me also allows you to pause the

join.me presenting my screen

presentation at anytime, as well as share files over the connection, use a text-based chat, switch the presentation between multiple monitors, and more.  By upgrading to the Pro version, you also get the ability to switch who’s presenting with one of your viewers, meaning that multiple people can share multiple plans from multiple places.  You also get access to international and conference lines, a scheduler, and more.

As for problems with the app, they are really minor.  The app does not fit the Mac style, but the look is very simple, and still looks great.  In this case, I’m glad for a less Mac-ish feel.  Plus, this helps it stick out from the other apps, helping to remind me that the app is running.  Of course, I can’t forget that it’s running because it sits on top of every window on every desktop on my Mac. While I don’t mind that I always know when it’s running, it doesn’t help that I have to move it if I want to access to a browser tab, a button, a setting, etc.  There’s really no way around this, expect maybe to make the window fade into more translucent state when not the selected app.  But as I said, this a minor grievance for an app that does its job very well.  I would say it needs VOiP capabilities, but those are currently in beta testing.

If you’re looking for a cheap yet effective screen sharing solution, give join.me a shot.  Join.me is a free app for Mac OS 10.5 and higher, as well as Windows XP and higher.  There is an app for iOS and Android, but it only functions as a viewer not as a presenter.  It is made by LogMeIn and is available for download at join.me.  If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about this or any other topic, leave a comment below or email me at easyosx@live.com  You can also check me out on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube by hitting the buttons on the top of your screen.  You can also check out my Google Plus Page  Thanks!

How to Update a Mac

Need to know how to update your Mac with the latest security patches, features, and updates? This video will show you how to do it.

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