Archive for the 'Productivity GTD' Category

Superior Value in Mac Tutorials Don’t Miss These

One of the best values on the internet today, if you’re a Mac user is Screen Casts Online. These video screencasts are recorded in the UK by Don McAllister, former IT guy turned Entrepreneur. Don puts together a new tutorial each weak on a great piece of Mac software and in some cases hardware. These 20 to 30 minute videos will give you the concepts behind the software and provide a basis for any purchasing decisions. (Hint) He also offers discount codes on some software titles.

Don is in his third year producing this program which can be downloaded directly from his site or you may also subscribe through iTunes. A feature that has been quite successful is Don’s “Extra Member” subscription offer which gives you access to additional shows that are available in High Def.  The extra membership is quite reasonable for a sixth month subscription and the back catalog is also available on DVD for re-watching shows or picking up on something you missed.

You really should check it out at ScreenCastsOnline! I find I always learn something even if I am not using that particular piece of software myself.

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Mac & Stuff ~ Picks of 2007

There’s an old saying “the more things change the more they stay the same” and when it comes to technology where the “next big thing” seems to defy that saying, it comes down to a few basic principals. For years we have heard a steady stream of rhetoric regarding the “endless possibilities ” of our technologies. In fact though, we only need them to do what is required to get our work done. It is true that the possibilities are endless but that can be part of the problem because most people don’t explore those endless possibilities, it’s a little daunting and possibly not fruitful, so people want stuff that works.

I’ve bookmarked an awful lot of those simplify your life, unclutter your life kind of sites this past year and with good reason, beyond the fact that I have a big family. Clutter invades every area of our life and that includes our Computers, Cell Phones, and other electronic gadgets. While we have access to so many good pieces of hardware and software, we simply don’t need all of it. In fact we don’t need most of it. CUT TO THE CHASE: there are too many options and we need a way to simplify our digital life to the essential tools necessary to get work done. To do this we must develop a plan to deal with all the other “infinitely possible and totally cool stuff” that comes our way via ads, email and the web. Before you download it, clip it, snip it or buy it plan how you will use, read or otherwise benefit from it. This of course leads to the larger plan of how you spend your time, energy, money, and so on.

Not the complete list but here are a few picks from 2007 that you might find useful; of course your milage may vary. There are exceptions to every rule and if you are a Macgyver with a geek factor of ten you may well assemble your own kit of parts that will melt silicon for a half mile radius but for us mere mortals my recommendations are in the safe zone.

Apple Inc. – Although not without it’s problems, the company and it’s hardware and software continue to provide the best user experience via OSX 10.4.xx and beyond. Pound for pound they put more points on the board than any other system out there, in my opinion of course.

Cameras – Lots of fine makers of digital cameras but you will be hard pressed to go wrong with Canon or Nikon. I own both and use both; if I take a bad shot it’s usually because I flubbed the shot.

Photo EditingPhotoshop CS3 and Elements again are both solid and the ones that most people refer to when the subject of photo editing comes up. I’ve tried other editors but they all have their own quirks and tutorials are not as plentiful as with PS. CS3 is expensive but you can get much of the same functionality with PS Elements for about a hundred dollars. If you are looking for tips, how-to’s and training, hop on over to Photoshopusertv.com and that will link you into many good resources for both photography and Photoshop.

Photo ManagementAperture [Apple] or Lightroom [Adobe]. Aperture is a complete suite of tools for managing your photos with an eye mostly to the professional photographer. Lightroom is faster and geared more to the Photo Enthusiast and since it comes from Adobe plays nice with Photoshop for any round trip editing.

Text Editing – There are many good ones and you may find one that suits your style better than another one, however I use Textmate and is apt for just about anything you want to throw at it, from blog posts to coding or websites Textmate is quite extensible and should meet your needs.

Wiki Creation – Creating a wiki in an easy straightforward manner I use Voodoo Pad; funny name but it does what it’s supposed to do, create a wiki. If you aren’t familiar with Wikis then click over to what else, wikipedia.com for all the details.

Google – It’s hard to imagine how much this company has grown and in the areas it has pursued. Beside being the No. 1 search engine the online giant hosts many other services including email all for the price of setting up an account. If you haven’t taken the full tour I suggest you take a closer look; features such as Google Docs and Gmail can be a great tool if you are on the go and not always with your computer.

Graphic Design – Lots of great sites of design nature out there, some broad and meandering and other highly specialized. My favorite, can count on every time to have great content presented in the most clear way is Chuck Green’s ideabook.com His books tips and tutorials reveal the process of design better than anyone I know of.

More Picks of 2007 to come; stay tuned!! Also look for my Macworld Keynote predictions in the next few days.

Free Online File Storage

Found on Web #4  Away from the computer, out of town or at Grandma’s? You can still get those work files or pictures of the grand kids thanks to a new service called Media Fire. Share files with coworkers and upload files as large as 100 megabytes; no special software simply sign-up and star using it. PC Magazine rates it as one of the Top 100 undiscovered Web Sites and Lifehacker calls it “really well made”. Take a look and see if it’s right for you. Mac and PC.

Found On Web

#2 —Get organized with OmniFocus from The Omni Group. Based on the popular Getting Things Done book by David Allen, OmniFocus is designed to help you manage your life better. Currently in a Pre Release state OmniFocus can be tried for free and if you sign up early you can get a early bird discount of 50 percent off.

Mac OSX Keyboard Shortcuts and New Interface

Back in the day there was no mouse and all the input was done with the keyboard. Then the Mac came along and changed all that; teaching us to mouse everywhere and now we’re back to using the keyboard again but I wonder for how long.

Before I trail off into Mac speculations here’s the “tip”. The keyboard can be quite useful and many times we don’t want to jump to the mouse for selecting something. The one I want to focus on has to do with editing text in OS-X [Tiger]. Let’s say you notice a spelling or grammatical error and you’ve moved back to that position and corrected it and now you are ready to jump to the end of the sentence. Hit command, right arrow and that will take you to the end of line. If that is not the end of the sentence you can hit option right arrow and that will jump a whole word at a time. Here are a few more but I suggest you experiment with these. It make some time to get used to using them.

Right click or Control Click will bring up spelling suggestions.

Shift plus right or left arrow keys will highlight one letter at a time.

Shift plus the up and down arrow keys will select whole lines at a time.

Control plus the left and right arrow keys will jump to the beginning or ending of a line.

For the whole big list of shortcuts go here

While I am quite sure these will work and may even be useful if you do lots of typing on your mac; I am less sure about what it will mean down the road. If Apple decides to roll out some new way for us interact with our computers then we’ll be blogging about the new interface features. To quote Mr. Jobs “who needs a stylus, no body wants a stylus…”

5000 Links, Right under your nose… Made for Mac

As we type I am sitting at around 5000 links in my browser. The truth is neither I or nor anyone else remembers what all those links are for… it seemed like a good idea at the time. With all of that I still have to find stuff and I am always amazed when I find something lurking right under my nose.

If you are looking for software; all those nifty little freeware and shareware apps that we have to have look no further than the “mother ship” as some refer to it. I am talking about Apple.com. Right below the tabs bar on their site is a row of options that changes depending on which tab you have selected. In the default condition when you first open the site one of the options on the second row is made4mac. Click it. What you will find is a nice little database grouped by category and searchable. While not exhaustive it will contain many of the commonly sought after applications mentioned on this blog and others around the web. Enjoy!

made4mac.jpg

Free Video Tutorials

If you’re a visual learner as I am, you know the power of watching someone run through the steps to do something on your Mac. One of my favorite places to do this is a site called ScreencastsOnline. This is the work of Don McAllister and if you haven’t checked out his work you should do yourself a favor and have a look for yourself. Great Content! Don also has one of the best subscription models on the web. You get a ton of content at high resolution for a very reasonable cost; this is in addition to the free content you can download from his site or subscribe on iTunes.  Enjoy!