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Showing posts from May, 2011

Three iChat Features You Should Know About

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As I wrote up my last blog post on Skype alternatives I started seriously looking at iChat again. Since I had been using Skype for my video chats and Adium for my IM communications, iChat never seemed to have that little blue orb beneath it in the dock bar to indicate it was running.

When I first switched to Mac over three years ago I played with iChat and relatively quickly dismissed it as a cute toy. The cartoon bubble discussion was cute but not compact enough for my relatively heavy IM usage. The video chatting was cool but after playing with the effects button and carrying on a video chat while riding a moving roller coaster I quickly concluded that this was a fluffy consumer novelty and moved on to other applications for my business needs.

Researching alternatives to Skype changed all that.

The more I played around with iChat, the more I learned about some interesting features, especially if the people I was communicating with also had iChat available to them. More and more of m…

Skype Alternatives for Mac Users

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Microsoft has agreed to acquire Skype for $8.5 billion in cash. As a long term Skype user I've had Skype loaded on my Macs for years now. It serves for video chats with my family and business associates and also as my desk-bound IP telephony device. This model has worked well for me. By combing a couple of cool AppleScripts with Launchbar I can call people without my fingers leaving the keyboard. So if everything works so well, why would I need an alternative?

Skype's Mac Client
I was more than a little concerned when Skype released their last Mac client and it was, well, not very good. Skype's never really been a company that embraces the Mac user interface well, though version 2.8 is serviceable from a user experience standpoint. With the announced acquisition my confidence in Skype putting any money into "embracing and extending" the Mac client in a way that makes dedicated Mac users happy is... well... compromised.

Microsoft
My confidence in Microsoft's abi…

The Mac applications I run all day, every day

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When I bought my new MacBook Pro I used the applications I had running on my previous MacBook Pro to help me determine what I would need in terms of horsepower. It was an interesting exercise, mainly because it gave me a good sense for all of the things I need my Mac to handle throughout the day.

I'm a software developer and do some of the development for SharedStatus, so my needs are a little biased towards that. I've broken down what's running on my Mac into two sections, Basics and Development. To give some perspective on how many apps I have loaded up as I write this, here's a snapshot of my current Spaces window zoomed out:


I've always been fascinated by these types of lists because it helps give people exposure to some apps they may not know about. Here are the ones I nearly always have running:

BasicsSafariI love the speed of Safari and this remains my default browser. Nice and fast, Safari does have a tendency to crash on me if it's been running for a lo…

Finding a protective shell for a MacBook Pro

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When I packaged up my old MacBook Pro for my daughter I did a quick wipe down of the machine and found that though it was three years old it had very little visible wear and tear. The keyboard and palm rest areas were in perfect shape and there were no dents in the aluminum case. Though the white power supply and cords were a bit dirty a quick wipe down with a damp cloth had them looking like new.

About the only thing that made the machine look used was the outside of the case. As I had slipped it into my bag or carried it in my hand, objects like my watch band had rubbed against it and put a series of small scratches all over the outer shell. They were purely cosmetic but annoying nonetheless.

I’m determined to treat this new MacBook Pro with a little more care and as a result started searching around for a protective shell case for it. I rationalized that this would help maintain the resale value of my Mac in the unlikely event I decided to sell it or—more likely—it would look like …