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(this post is dedicated to my friend Jeff, but usefull for any Mac user)
If you’re a Mac user, there are a few programs that really make your Mac an even greater joy. Here we go.
Quicksilver is just completely awesome and, as of yet, for free! It is kind of a command shell, but be not afraid: it’s a command shell for ‘normal’ people, not (just) for nerds. Quicksilver really is the application that’s missing in OS X. With this program, you almost just make happen what you think about. Of all the Mac apps in the world, this one could be the most important one you’ll ever use. Try it, give it half a day, and after that, you’ll really miss it on computers that don’t have it.
Writeroom is a very nice and simple text editor. There are a lot of text editors out there, but this one takes charge of your whole screen, so it looks like you’re typing into a text based OS. It’s interface is highly customizable so if you want to type pink Comic Sans letters on a turquoise half-transparent background, nobody will stop you. Distraction free writing, great for setting up plain text documents. It’s not completely free (click-away-pop-up) but fully functional anyways.
Neo Office really makes paying for a ‘professional’ text editor quite unnecessary. The functions seem to be much more logically placed and grouped than in Microsoft Word, where you never know where an option might be, unless you know the program though and through. Neo Office is the native Mac version of OpenOffice.org, that recently only was available through the emulator X11. Also works fine, but native feels more …. well, native. Free program.
Appzapper fixes bit of an incomplete in your OS X. When you delete a program from your applications folder on the Mac, usually many files remain on your disk. Appzapper makes sure all files are deleted. Five time use only, unfortunately. Tip: if you throw an application in your zap window, it displays all the files associated with the app. You can click the little magnifier button for each file and delete them by hand. Same result, but for free.
Adium is a replacement for MSN messenger. Why use a replacement? Well, you’ve got a few option that Messenger doesn’t offer, like the way you can customize your contact list (floating above everything, transparancy, colours, etcetera). Also, you can connect to most messenger servers other than MSN’s.
You probably know Google Earth and if you don’t: GET ACQUAINTED! Celestia is less known, but also a great app. What is it? Well, kind of like a Google Universe. It enables you to zoom out of our solar system, our galaxy, and very far into deep space and check out other galaxies in your lunch break.
Browser Firefox and bookmark site & plugin del.icio.us are a dream team. It takes a bit of time to understand why it’s so great, but once you realize the info-power it means, you’ll never go back. Also, check out the post ’3 digital highway speeding tips’ on this blog. It’s all about Firefox and Delicious.
Wanna get up to speed on the internet? Filter away all the stuff that you don’t wanna know? But don’t want to miss anything? Don’t want to rely on the ‘established’ media only? Wanna become a true web 2.0 surfer?
Well, there are off course innumerable ways of doing this. The options and interconnectivity of the internet are growing and getting more complex and structured simultaneously, much in the way fractals do. What you need is good, accessible and up-to-date information, and lots of it. And only about what you think is interesting. Here are a few tips that can change your surfing experience for good, and change your browser into a data synaps. And oh yes, it’s completely location independant: your stuff is where you have an internet connection and any computer can be set up this way.
If haven’t already, please get Firefox to replace Internet Explorer. When installing, chose ‘import bookmarks from Internet Explorer’.
01: Get a del.icio.us account and start tracking and tagging everything you find interesting. True, del.icio.us is not an interesting looking site, but don’t be fooled by appearances. Del.icio.us offers a way of storing all your bookmarks (or favorites, in Internet Exploder) online, in a smart, efficient and easily searchable way through tags and bundles.
02: Get the del.icio.us Bookmarks plugin for Firefox. This is a way to automatically bookmark to del.icio.us instead of the Firefox bookmarks list. It is a replacement for the Firefox bookmark system. Don’t worry: during the install, the plugin asks you if you want to import all the bookmarks you have acquired over time.
03: Start subscribing to RSS-feeds. If you see this icon in your Firefox when visiting a website, click it to bookmark ir and add some relevant tags to it. When visiting this site, you should see it in the right side of the address bar, or perhaps at the bottom. Make sure you set the del.icio.us link bar that was placed in Firefox after you installed the del.icio.us plugin to display the tag that you give your RSS-feeds. the tag ‘firefox:rss’ is recommended.
If you’ve done all the work above and succeeded, your browser is a really cool RSS-reader now: you only need to see the blog titles to see if it is of any interest. You only subscribe to RSS-feeds you find interesting. To get started, here is tek.no.lo.gics list of RSS-feeds. These are pretty much all the sources I use to blog.
Compare humans to cells. Compare highways to bloodvessels. Compare data-cables to a nervous system, and the internet to our collective memory. Try to imagine mankind organizing itself as one organism. This is not the Matrix, or even the future. This is real, right now.
Many people aren’t fully aware of this yet, but in the past year or two, the internet has changed dramatically, again. Data is now, through initiatives like del.icio.us and Digg clustering together in more organic ways. Information is shared more real-time and open than ever before, and faster than the established media will ever be able to compete with.
Let me show you an example of what the internet is becoming. I stumbled upon this today: ‘the Arc’, at Digg Labs. Now if you first look at it you might think: “so?”. Well, this is a direct view into the current interests of a very substantial part of people online, in real-time. This is one of the synapses that are currently evolving on the web, where data is processed organically, unmoderated. One person posts a story at Digg, another might Digg this story too, and another. In a matter of minutes, a certain popular site can become totally flooded with visitors. And there are three other visual data tools also, called Stack, Swarm and Bigspy. Check them out.
Don’t you adore the visual representation of this otherwise numeric/textual data? Initiatives like these really blow a soul into the internet, make it feel like a lively place, where things influence one another in dramatic, massive, and ever surprising ways. Sometimes I wonder if the ‘old world’ of hierarchy and order has even the faintest idea that the very concept of power and the ownership of intellectual property is changing for ever, and there is no way back.
However, as with all change, it is neither good or bad by definition. It’s just change.
Everything and everybody is growing together. We’re becoming more connected to the world and our IQ’s are going up, but we’re more naked than before, and our safety is threatened in ways nobody could have even imagined a few years back, and I’m not speaking of terrorism. Bad things are more organised, but so are the good initiatives. We are aware on a much larger scale. We become angry together, at dumb people starting dumb wars for dumb reasons, for all the world to see in broad daylight. We also appreciate more together, for instance art that is not recognized by the established art clique, because it’s not from an established artist. We see a work of creation and we like it or not. In a way, we’re becoming more shallow and general, but on the other hand we’re collectively becoming much more aware of what’s outside the box. We have more potential to grow, but also to suffocate. We share it all easily and freely, and very actively; together!
Don’t you love the world and time we live in?
Great things are coming our way.
Both good and bad.
Fasten your seatbelts.
It’s going to be rough…
A daring move by some Israeli nerds is G.ho.st. It’s a quite functional operating system that runs in your browser. These people have managed to create an application that looks and feels like a desktop environment, totally built in Flash. I tried it and it works, but it still needs quite bit of work.
I’m trying to think really hard about the advantages of this. OK, an advantage is that you can open any computer with a browser and open your desktop. Perhaps Flash isn’t the way to go with this. It’s very interesting nonetheless…
In this world that’s getting more complicated by the post, sometimes things are intentionally getting simpler, which is nice. It provides us with little moments of tranquility.
There’s this thing I really like about Windows. Notepad gives me 100% flat txt’s. That’s usefull for removing formatting, by copying, pasting in notepad and then copying from Notepad and then pasting again to the application I want to use the unformatted text in. I never really understood why Apple’s standard Textedit displays HTML WYSIWYG. I hate that. Don’t call it Textedit!
WriteRoom, a little Mac application, can create flat txt’s really easily, and what I personally find very nic(h)e, is the fact that you can use it 100% full screen with only text visible, like an old DOS screen. It’s still really easy to switch applications though.
Google’s great. Really it is. Whenever you’re looking for anything specific, your chances are very good with Google. If you’re wondering what that baker’s name is again, if you want to know what the park is called close to that church, if you want to know what your high schools’ website is, you’ll probably find it.
But what if you wouldn’t want to search specific but associative? Like … you want to see some nice art. Try Googlin’ that! It just doesn’t work. But if you type that in del.icio.us and click ‘popular’, you’ll be amazed about what you’ll find. What it basically is, is a really simple bookmark site. You can collect, maintain and share bookmarks. When you first open the site you might think: is this it?
Well, it’s a lot more than what your ever judging mind thinks it is. What really sets del.icio.us apart form Google, it’s driven by real people having real minds and tastes. That means the ‘system’ can’t be tricked, and popularity by amount of pointing on the web links don’t matter: it’s for the people by the people. No filtering required.
Then if you import your collected bookmarks from Firefox (you are using Firefox and not Microsoft Explorer, I couragiously presume?) you can from then on save new bookmarks from any computer to one place, which is great. Why is this great? Well, your computer might crash and die for good. Your bookmarks will be (like anything in life: relatively) safe.
Go get a del.icio.us account! It’s free, so I’m not trying to sell you anything!
If you install Delicious bookmark for Firefox, del.icio.us will be fully integrated with Firefox.