March 21, 2013, 11:00 am
Two and a half years ago, George posted a review of Pear Note, “a $40 Mac-only software application from Useful Fruit designed specifically for taking notes while watching a presentation.” Now, you could arguably do that with a text editor or even Word. So what makes Pear Note special is that it records the presentation’s audio while you’re typing notes, and afterwards you can click on a portion of your notes and hear the audio that was happening right as you typed those notes. So if you can’t quite figure out the context of what you’ve written down, you can suddenly hear it all again.
It’s recapturing this context that has made Pear Note pretty integral to my work. In my alt-ac position, I’m in a lot of meetings and I run a lot of meetings. Having Pear Note makes it a lot easier to write those post-meeting emails to the whole team or to review what everyone agreed to, three months …
December 10, 2012, 8:00 am
ProfHacker readers are unusually bright and well-organized people, obviously, so this probably only happens to me: You’re *certain* you saved a file, or at least saw it . . . but where? Did you save it to a local folder? Dropbox? Evernote? Maybe it was an attachment to a message in Gmail? Oh, wait–it was a Google Doc! Right?
As with Joey Tribbiani trying to open milk, there’s gotta be a better way!
Found is a free app for Macs that searches both local and cloud services to find your files. In addition to searching key folders on your local drive, it will also search Dropbox, Evernote, SkyDrive, Gmail, and Google Drive/Google Docs. There’s a video demo here.)
Found is preposterously fast, returning search results as you type. It lives in the menu bar, but the best way to invoke it is by double-tapping (cf. Zombieland) the CTRL key. The Found window appears on the left of…
November 12, 2012, 11:00 am
Yes, this is another post about Twitter. ProfHacker readers know how fond we are of the social media platform. That fondness perhaps explains why I’m writing an entire post to recommend the new Tweetbot for Mac, a Twitter client that runs a costly $20 on the Mac app store.
If you’re an occasional Twitter user, you probably don’t need such an expensive client for checking in on the service. If, however, Twitter has become central to your academic life, Tweetbot for Mac includes a number of features that might make it a worthwhile investment. My favorite features of Tweetbot are:
- Its beautiful design. Perhaps aesthetics might seem less important than functionality, but if you use your Twitter client frequently it certainly doesn’t hurt to use an attractive, responsive interface to do so. Tapbots (the designers) carried the design from Tweetbot for iOS—which I also recommend highly…
August 21, 2012, 11:00 am
As school begins I thought I would review the Mac desktop applications that I will most need during the semester. I hope my Mac-using ProfHacker colleagues will chime in with their own picks in the comments. Other posts for Windows and Linux apps will appear here in the coming weeks.
So, looking in order down my dock (which, for completeness’ sake, I will note that I organize vertically on the left side of my screen), we have:
- Things: I just reiterated my love for Things in a recent post about the to-do manager’s 2.0 update. I won’t gush more. It’s a great (though pricey and by no means the only great) OS X and iOS task manager. Mac app price: $49.99
- Postbox: another ProfHacker favorite. Amy reviewed Postbox, Mark discussed Postbox add-ons, and I recently announced a price-drop for the OS X Mail alternative. I love Postbox’s hotkeys for organizing mail and I love the social media …
May 1, 2012, 8:00 am
Last month I reviewed Divvy, an application for resizing, rearranging, and repositioning the windows on your Mac or Windows desktop. As I said then, Divvy is a great tool for quickly managing the different applications I have running on my desktop, and I find myself using it daily. It elicits “oohs” and “ahhs” when I’ve used it in during workshops. The only downside of Divvy (as I noted then) is that it costs $14. That might be more than you want to spend for what boils down to something you could accomplish by clicking and dragging.
I positioned the post about Divvy against George’s earlier review of BetterSnapTool. This $2, Mac-only app allows you to drag windows to the edges of the screen where they are automatically resized to take up a quarter, half, or whole of your screen. Pulling the window out of this location returns it to its original size. It performs perfectly well, …
March 13, 2012, 11:00 am
One of the great things about laptops is that you can have your work environment with you wherever you go. This portable environment is especially helpful if you’re making a presentation, as you will surely know if you’ve ever had to do a talk using another computer. Of course, using your own computer for a presentation comes with a price: other people will almost certainly get a glimpse of exactly how unorganized your desktop is.
I recently came across a great little tool in the Mac App Store for fixing this problem. Camouflage is a simple program that does more or less what it’s name implies: hides all the items on your desktop. Camouflage lives in the menu bar; simply by clicking on it and choosing “Hide Icons,” you too can have the sort of desktop that could impress the aesthetes over at Minimal Mac. If you’re a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you’ll be happy to know that you can…
March 8, 2012, 11:00 am
Since moving to a Mac about four years ago, I’ve often thought about the differences between the interface on it and a Windows machine. Perhaps the most telling difference was the way I viewed different applications. In Windows, I tended to maximize every application, viewing it on a full screen. On a Mac, however, it’s actually quite difficult to maximize a single window, leading to a proliferation of overlapping windows on a desktop. I don’t actually mind that, but what I do mind is the difficulty in arranging all of these windows to get them positioned optimally for me to do my work. (It’s not all that hard to do this in Windows 7 with its Snap feature.)
Last spring, George covered BetterSnapTool, a way for Mac users to manage their different windows. In a comment to George’s post, “bdesham” suggested another option for accomplishing the same thing: Divvy. As I read about…
February 14, 2012, 11:00 am
Our family switched from PC to Mac almost four years ago. On the whole, there haven’t been a lot of things that I missed about being a PC user. But one that immediately stood out to me was the lack of a good clipboard manager on the Mac. I’m constantly copying and pasting different things in my work, and it’s not uncommon for me to try to paste something only to discover that I’d already copied over it. So I would have to go back to the original thing, copy it, and then paste it again. That or—the horror!—I’d have to type it again.
I’d experimented with a few different pieces of software over the years to help me manage a clipboard, but none of them stuck until I discovered iClip a few months ago. Once installed and running in the background, iClip quietly records everything that I copy on its (predictably titled) “Recorder.” (more…)
January 27, 2012, 8:00 am
Anyone who’s spent some time working on a typewriter can tell you that one of the great things about a computer is how easy it is to type special characters. By “special characters,” I mean those symbols or accented letters that aren’t part of regular use in English but that come up plenty often in your scholarship. Instead of typing an “e” and then trying to position the paper so you can strike an apostrophe on top of it, you can just use a combination of keys to generate the perfect “é.” Much, much easier. Of course, the ease of creating these special characters is entirely dependent upon your ability to remember what the key combination is.
I recently discovered a handy widget for the Mac OS Dashboard that fixes this problem. CharacterPal, designed by tacowidgets.com, provides a small reference for typing the character you want. Once you download and install the widget, you…
October 25, 2011, 8:00 am
There are lots of tasks that can be handled quickly by using the command line. In his recent postings here at ProfHacker on the topic, Lincoln has covered the basics. Now it is just a matter of making the command line work for you.
One handy command to know if you work with a lot of long text lists is “sort” which sorts a list of items in a text file that has each item on a separate line. If you use a Mac OS X or Linux, save the text you wish to sort in a plain text file (on the Mac you can use the included TextEdit application for working with plain text files, and if you see “Make Plain Text” in the “Format” menu then you know it will be saved in rich text format instead of plain text). It will be easier to handle your file if you don’t put any spaces in the name. The instructions below assume you use a unix based operating system like Mac OS X or Linux which I’m familiar with (DOS …