Archive for the ‘MacOS Productivity’ Category

Track your hours with Kapow punch clock application

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Kapow

How busy are you? You know that you're pushing yourself to get as much done in as little time as possible. But how much time is that? If you're working by the hour, or if you're on a tight deadline, there are important numbers here to keep track of. And if you're splitting your time between multiple projects, it's even more important to know how much time you're allocating to each project.

Kapow is a punch clock tool to let you keep track of how you're spending your time. Click the Start button, do your work, and click the Stop button, and your time's all recorded. Forgot to clock out when you took a break, or didn't clock in until you'd already been at your desk for half an hour? Just go back and edit your numbers and you're back in business. Along with tracking individual sessions, Kapow also tracks total cumulative time, so you can see how much time you're spent in total on this project, as well as how long you've worked since the last time you billed your client.

Kapow is a cross-platform app. It's available for Linux (several packages are available for popular distros), Mac (OS X 10.4 "Tiger" or better), as well as Windows XP and later.

Download Kapow

Text Completion Software

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of Kissphrase

You're probably familiar with the KISS principle: Keep It Simple, Stupid. When computers are on their best behavior, they take complicated stuff and make it simple. And if you're really lucky, you can find applications that help make things even less complicated.

Kissphrase is a tool that can help simplify your life. It runs as a System Preferences pane and basically allows you to type in little shorthand mnemonics that will expand out to complete words or phrases, or more. Just type your keyword followed by a space, tab, or return, and no matter which program you're currently operating in, it will replace your typing with the text you've associated with that keyword. Whether it's the tricky spelling on a client's name, a chunk of stock text you use in your correspondence, or even entire boilerplate documents, once you give it a little push, Kissphrase takes over from there.

Kissphrase runs on your Mac, OS X version 10.5 (Leopard) and later.

Download Kissphrase

Simple tagging for Mac

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of Tagit

The good thing is that you can store tons and tons of information on your computer. The bad news is that it's not always easy to get that data back when you decide you'd like to look at it again. Descriptive filenames can help, as can clever directory trees. Until you have a document that contains two different pieces of data. Or you have a document that really belongs in two different categories. Now that file name and folder structure isn't going to save you.

Tagit is a tool that lets you tag your files, helping make it easier to find them when you need them. By adding appropriate tags, it's possible that the image file containing that photo you took when visiting the client recently will come up both when you search for Acme Co. as well as when you're looking more generally for pictures from your last road trip. No need to try to juggle multiple versions of files or to have to set up and maintain some complicated cross-reference system of your own.

Tagit is a Mac application. You'll need to be on at least Leopard (OS X 10.5) to use it.

Download Tagit

Organize your files with tags

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

runs on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Elyse

We're exposed to all kinds of different data and information in the course of our daily lives. The time we spend planted in front of the computer is certainly no exception to this. Trying to make sense of it all—taking a bunch of individual little bits and pieces of information and organizing it—can take up a lot of your time. Hierarchical structures, like the folders on your hard drive, are one way to handle this. Stick your photos in the Photos folder, stick your reports in the Reports folder. But what happens when you have a report and a photo that you want to associate with a particular client? Now you have to decide whether to stick those in in the Photos and Reports folders, or put both of them into the Acme folder.

Elyse is a tool that you can use to help organize your world. Rather than your needing to sort your files into arbitrary categories, it lets you assign tags to your files. Once you've done that, it doesn't really matter where you physically put those files, because you'll always be able to retrieve them via their tags instead. Got something that's both a photo and pertaining to Acme? A pair of tags applied, now you can find that file either way. As you get more used to working with tags, you can refine your organization structure and tweak your tags, making it even easier to find your stuff.

A free download, Elyse is available for both Mac and Windows machines.

Download Elyse

High powered note taking and outline tool

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of MindRaider

Everybody's always trying to make a better note-taking and organizing tool. After all, a lot of what we deal with in life is little bits and pieces of information. When the back of an envelope can't serve any more as your note-taking platform of choice, there is no end of little notepad apps and big deal outliners that are available for you to use.

MindRaider is a personal notebook and outliner. Instead of keeping several different lists of the stuff you need to take care of—including the inevitable list of the lists you are tracking—just stick it all in MindRaider. Enter your notes, important URLs, and more, with whatever annotations will help you to better remember and understand what you're talking about. Once entered, you can locate your information by drilling down through the outline structure or by using its robust search functionality. It supports several different views, which can help you to organize your data, as well as learn about relationships between different elements.

MindRaider is a free download. It's available for Linux and Windows, as well as a Java version, making it Mac-friendly as well.

Download MindRaider

Save your clipboard to the cloud

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of ClipCloud

We think it's pretty much agreed: the system clipboard is one of the greatest things since sliced bread. The ability to copy and paste text from one application to the next, or even within a document, is a real time saver. So what else might you do with the clipboard, if only you were able?

ClipCloud has an answer for that question. Once the client app is installed on your system, when you grab stuff for your clipboard, it's actually being stored in the cloud. That means, among other things, that text you grab on one machine is now available to you on another machine—an instant shared clipboard. It keeps track of the last 40 things you saved to the clipboard. You can go back and re-use your snippets of text from earlier by browsing through a list, or by using its search functionality. Copy text from Machine A to Machine B at work. Or save something at work and then grab it when you get home. What's better than better than sliced bread?

ClipCloud is available for free. It's a Mac application, although for the adventurous among Windows and Linux users there is an API available for you to roll your own application.

Download ClipCloud

Tincta text editor for Mac

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of Tincta

While high powered word processors are great for drafting a letter or writing a report, they're not so helpful when what you need to generate is a pile of plain text, like when you create a new web page or write a bit of code for your next software development project. For that, you're going to be much better served by a text editor.

Tincta is a text editor for your Mac. As you'd expect, it saves its files off as plain-old text files, perfect to use when coding a website or writing the next great desktop app. It features syntax coloring, which makes it easier to keep track of what's going on in front of you. Line numbering lets you keep an eye on where you are in the file, and is helpful in resolving errors. And it's got bunch of additional features built in, including the ability to change the case of your text, tweak end-of-line characters, search and replace, check spelling, and more.

A free download, Tincta is a Mac application. It runs under OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard). It includes a Green License, which asks that you do something about climate change or pollution in exchange for using the software.

Download Tincta

Put your display to work

Friday, July 15th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of CornerClick

While you may use different applications at different times, there are a handful of go-to apps that you use all the time. Finding those can be a pain in the neck if you're having to dig through layers and layers of folders or squinting at icons on the Dock. It might be handy to have an easier way to start up the important tools.

CornerClick tuns the corners of your display into great big buttons that you can use to launch applications. While there is built-in functionality in OS X that lets you use screen corners to launch your screensaver, for example, there is a very limited list of things you can do here. With CornerClick, if you assign the upper-left corner of your monitor to your go-to screen capture tool, you'll never have to dig around for an icon to click—and no matter how cluttered your desktop gets, you can always find the corner of the display. Open apps, close apps, go to a particular URL in your default browser—go nuts!

CornerClick is a free download for your Mac. In its current iteration, it runs under Snow Leopard (OS X 10.6), but they're still got the Leopard (10.5) version available as well.

Download CornerClick

Become your own cloud

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Tonido

Working collaboratively is all the rage. Whether it's sharing files, teleconferencing, or more, working with people across the country or around the world is becoming more and more common. Of course it's easier to share information and resources with somebody in the next room than in the next state, but there are an increasing number of tools and services that can manage the heavy lifting for this, letting you focus on the work rather than the nitty-gritty of how it all gets done.

Tonido is a tool that lets you share files and more, all from your own computer. Rather than having to upload your data to servers that somebody else controls, with Tonido you share files directly from your computer. Install their app on your machine and create an account, and you can start sharing your files. You get a unique URL that you can share with others, or access yourself from a remote location via your laptop or even your smart phone. Your data's encrypted while in transit, and if you want to just share files in your own home or just within your network, you never have to worry about your data out on the 'Net. And there are no arbitrary limits on storage capacity or bandwidth, because all of the data is on your machine.

Tonido is available for free. There are versions available for Linux, Mac, and Windows, as well as apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and more.

Download Tonido

Free shortcuts manager for Mac

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

runs on Mac
screenshot of Spark

Part of the promise of the computer, aside from the "paperless office" (which it doesn't seem we'll ever really get to) is to make things easier and faster. While that dream may be realized in some situations, there is always room for improvement in making your system faster and easier to use.

Spark is a shortcuts manager for your Mac. You can configure it so that typing a specified hotkey or two can do amazing things, like running an application, opening a document, triggering iTunes events, or even putting your system to sleep. Rather than having to dig through layers of folders to find an app or document, a simple keystroke makes it all happen. You can also configure it to type a snippet of text, insert a date, or type a series of keystrokes for you as well.

Spark is a free download. It's a Mac application and runs under OS X 10.4 (Tiger) and later.

Download Spark