Monday Mac Tweak #2

Without certain applications and utilities, life on my Mac would not be the same. Here are a few of my favorites:

Konfabulator is a little hard to describe. It bills itself as “anything you want it to be” and that description is not far from the truth. Konfabulator itself is simply a “shell” program into which you can download and install what are called widgets. There are hundreds to choose from. The widgets display on your desktop and each offers a different degree of functionality.

For instance, you can download a widget that gives you the weather. Another can search Google, Amazon or even eBay right from your desktop. Another still will give you a live update of your available system memory. There are clocks, picture frames, RSS news readers and much much more. Because these are developed by a large and active community of independent developers, the possibilities of what these widgets can do seem endless.

LaunchBar by Objective Development is, in my opinion, the fastest way to launch items on your Mac. The way it does this is amazingly simple. LaunchBar runs as an application is triggered by typing Command-Space.You simply type the name or abbreviation (MSW for Microsoft Word for example) for the application, document, file or website you want and, once found in LaunchBar’s super fast list, hit Return to open that item. What’s more is that LaunchBar learns from you so the item that matches what you typed always comes up first.

WindowShade X gives you back a long missed feature of the Classic Mac OS – The ability to reduce any window to just its title bar. The Windowshade feature is handy if you want to get a quick look at something underneath a window without having to move or resize it.

Windowshade X does even more than it’s predecessor though. It also offers a nifty “Minnimize-in-Place”; feature that shrinks windows down to icon size. It’s your choice. Windowshade, Minimize in place or both at the same time.

Steveism: The Missing Manual

OK, so you go out and buy yourself a new, refurbished or used Macintosh Computer. You get your shiny new toy all packed up neatly in that beautifully, well thought out packaging that Apple is so famous for.

As a matter of fact, the way a product is packaged is as important to Apple as the product itself. Steve Jobs has always believed that the Macintosh computer experience should be an elegant, smart and beautiful one. That even extends to the box it comes in. I like to call this a “Steveism”;. It is one of those things that is so much a part of Steve’;s (and thus Apple’s) core philosophy that it speaks on many other levels of life beyond computers. It is one of those things that separates Apple from everyone else.

Another “Steveism”; is one I do not necessarily agree with. You see, Steve Jobs believes that Macs are so simple, they do not need a manual. A general user should just be able to plug it in and use it. As a matter of fact, it is said that he believes that if you included a manual with the product it would scare the “average”; user into thinking that the Mac was too technical. This is the reason that when you open that shinny new toy you will find, at most, a few disks, warranty sheet and a quick set up guide which basically only tells you how to plug the Mac in.

So, where can you get a manual for your shinny new toy? Well from Apple of course! Apple does write manuals for their products. They just don’t include them in the box. You can find manuals for any of Apple’s products here. You can download them in PDF format:

http://www.info.apple.com/support/manuals.html

Of course, once you get the manual the next thing you should do is read it or, at the very least, browse thorough it. I am as guilty as anyone for not reading the manual but I find that when I do, it often answers questions or gives fixes to problems that come up. That in turn, will save you time and money in the long run.

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