Tagged With osx applications

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The Coding Horror blog has written up "Computer Display Calibration 101".

"If you've invested in a quality monitor for your computer, you owe it to yourself-- and your eyes-- to spend 15 minutes setting it up properly for your viewing environment."

It also points out that Microsoft Media Center has a decent display calibration wizard built in. That I did not know.

Unfortunately since the DVI input on my monitor went south for no reason that I can discern, I'm back in VGA hell, but reading this post has given me a boot up the bum to actually get that fixed.

Computer Display Calibration 101

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Windows only: Clean up and organise your Windows Start menu with free, open source application SMOz (Start Menu Organizer). With SMOz you can arrange your Start menu content by category through a simple, Windows Explorer-like interface. If you're not sure where to get started, try using one of the automated templates, which will move recognised applications (like iTunes) into pre-defined categories (like Multimedia). Granted, fewer and fewer of us still rely on the Start menu since the proliferation of application launchers like Launchy, but if you still prefer the old point and click of the Start menu, SMOz is an excellent tool to clean up the mess. SMOz is a free application, Windows only.
SMOz

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Wanna limit the time you spend goofing off online? Ask MetaFilter user myrrh created a timer that counts down a certain number of minutes in your browser title bar (or background tab) and pops up a browser alert dialog when it's done. Run a timed work dash or limit your Facebook break without installing any extra software—the magic all happens in this page's Javascript. Hit the link to give the timer a try. Thanks, Iron!
Title bar timer

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You may not be a troublemaker, or someone who raises hell in the workplace. But sometimes trouble has a way of finding even the best employee. Workplace miscommunication and conflict can add stress to every day and make your life miserable. But there's an easy way to protect yourself from accusations, blame and disrespect at the office: by keeping great notes.

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One of the most common ways to guard yourself against credit card misuse is to sign the back of your card, so that merchants can check the signature on your card with that on your ID. Right? Well, maybe not. According to financial blog The Tao of Making Money, the best practice is not to sign it.

Here's our official advice on signing the strip on the back: Don't sign it. It's useless as a deterrent, as anyone who takes your card then has a sample of your signature which they can not only use on any charge slip, but on your cheques as well. However, do not leave the white strip blank. In that space, write: "Ask For Picture ID," and be prepared to back that up someday when you're in a hurry and the clerk wants to see a driver's licence as well as the card. It makes the charge transaction a little longer, but a lot safer. I've been doing this for years and while it's not a perfect solution, it certainly is better than nothing. Let's hear your thoughts on this: signing, or not signing? You know what to do.
Sign The Back Of Your Credit Cards - Useless Fraud Prevention Advice?

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Yesterday the Windows folks had their chance to show off their favourite system tray apps, so now it's the Mac users' turn. That means it's time to give us a closer look at your menu bar—the applications you regularly run on the top right of your Mac next to your clock and Spotlight. Hit the jump for more details and the detailed submission guidelines.

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You already know that you can auto-complete web site addresses in Firefox's location bar using keyboard shortcuts like Ctrl+Enter and Ctrl+Shift+Enter. (Oh, you didn't? Here's how to never type http://, www, .com or .org again.) The How-To Geek explains how to tweak Firefox's about:config settings to alter the behaviour of those keystrokes to your liking. So if you visit more .co.uk's more than .com's, Ctrl+Enter can fill in .co.uk instead. Just change the browser.fixup.alternate.suffix value to your desired suffix.
Change Ctrl+Enter Behavior in Firefox

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A self-made millionaire mum describes how she uses a digital timer to keep herself focused on getting work done during certain times of the day. As a "work"-from-home mum of a two-year-old, I find it necessary to structure my writing and blogging time according to her schedule and push to GET IT DONE. I write when she's sleeping in, napping, or enjoying one-on-one time with her daddy.

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US-centric: Find a local merchant fast with web application FastCall411, a tool that calls multiple businesses at one time and then connects you to the first business to pick up. FastCall411's goal is to put an end to the days of flipping through your Yellow Pages calling one business at a time until you finally get ahold of someone. Right now the app only supports limited areas and services (I can only quickly get ahold of a plumber in Los Angeles), but in time it should have a pretty robust list of service offerings. If you happen to see a merchant you like in the search, you can also tell FastCall411 to dial only that merchant. Right now FastCall411 has a little way to go, but in time it could be an interesting and useful service. Alternately—if you're feeling lonely—you could just use the demo on the front page to call up three of your friends and talk to the first one that answers.
FastCall411

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Wired magazine profiles productivity guru David Allen and offers a good summary of his Getting Things Done system, its history, and some great quotes from The David. First, for folks who say GTD is too complex:realises that his system can be difficult and that he's often accused of going overboard with elaborate schemes. He responds with a shrug. "Look, the workings of an automatic transmission are more complicated than a manual transmission," he says. "To simplify a complex event, you need a complex system." The people willing to take on that complex system? They're the ones who know they need help and are trying to improve.

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Personal growth blogger Peter says that before we get overly ambitious, we should apply some basic rules to our daily living. We can improve our outlook on life by defining our successes, having a positive attitude, and by getting a grasp on our health, wealth, and relationships. Here are a few of my favourite tidbits:An open mind: some of our beliefs and actions are so ingrained that we automatically disregard any evidence that we should think or act otherwise. Keep an open mind, and you may just come across a better way of seeing or doing things.

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The first national research project to study participants in Open Source in Australia has been launched.
The survey, called the Australian Open Source Industry and Community Census, is being conducted by Open Source consultancy Waugh Partners.
Pia Waugh blogged about the survey, and why they're keen to hear from as many companies - and individuals - as possible:

"It has an Australian focus specifically so that the final report (which will be freely available to download) will help educate and inform Australian Government, corporates and education about the realities rather than the perceptions of our industry and community locally. Hopefully it will reflect the strength, diversity and opportunities presented by the Australian Open Source industry and community, so everyone needs to stand up and be counted."

Australian Open Source Census taking off!

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ExtremeTech has published an overclocking guide for those who want to get every last drop of speed out of their computer. I liked the fact that the article talks you through how to work out which components in your PC are overclockable, and then goes on to explain how to do an 'overall overclocking' of all those components.

But I do have to giggle at an article which starts off saying: "Once upon a time, overclocking was considered a risky and dangerous thing to do... Now, it's almost insane not to." and then goes on to issue warnings like:

"When you overclock a PC, it's never truly stable. The PC was not designed to run with different things at different clock rates that aren't necessarily compatible with each other. What you gain in performance you lose in piece of mind: This thing could crash at any moment."

I guess it's horses for courses. I don't want an Top Gear car which might get insane speeds for a whole 60 seconds before turning into a cartwheeling fireball o'death.. nor does overclocking really appeal to me. I don't have high performance needs, and I don't want to sacrifice reliability. Your mileage may vary, of course. If you overclock I'd be interested to hear why, and how much it affects your system reliability.

ExtremeTech Overclocking Guide

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Mobile web start page Paged Mobile provides shorthand web navigation from their mobile start page. From its short URL (http://pa.gd/) to its web URL shorthand (which generally uses the first four letters of a URL followed by the last), most popular shortcuts on Paged only require four keystrokes. For example, you can navigate to Lifehacker by entering lifr, or Remember the Milk with remk. In addition, Paged Mobile employs YubNub web command line-like operators and shortcuts, so you can search Wikipedia by typing .wp Lifehacker (searches Wikipedia for Lifehacker). Granted, you've probably already got a lot of your favourites bookmarked in your mobile browser anyway, but Paged Mobile's simple shorthand makes it a very useful mobile start page.
Paged mobile

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YouTube will begin adding 30-second bumper ads to video clips starting in 2008, according to DirectTraffic. Guess we'll have to wait and see how intrusively it's implemented and if TubeStop can still block ads. UPDATE: As pointed out by our savvy tech gossip brothers at Valleywag, the source story is fishy at best (dated as 23/04/07... damn backwards dates!), so the report should be taken with a microscopic grain of salt at best.

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Web utility URL Split creates single URLs that direct users to up to seven different web sites. For example, clicking this link five times will direct you to five of my recent Hack Attack Features in the order I linked them (one, two, three, four, and five). The site is built on an interesting idea, but in practice it could use some work—in particular, one would expect to be able to continue following the link chain from each link location (through some sort of proxy hosting). As is you have to continue opening the same link in a new tab until you see that it repeats, which really just causes more ambiguity than it's worth. If it worked as I suggested, though, URL Split could be a nice tool for sharing simple link tours or step-by-steps.
URL Split

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Stop your headache before it starts by following MSNBC's eight daily reminders designed to help you nip any potential headaches in the bud, starting with:7 a.m.: Abide the alarm Snoozing in for more than an hour can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle, and anything that tinkers with your body's natural rhythms may prime you for pain.... Commit to waking up (and going to bed) at the same time every day -- yes, that includes weekends, too.The article also suggests sticking with your caffeine habit (though it will just perpetuate the problem), adjusting your posture, drinking lots of water and exercise—among other headache savers. Photo by powerbooktrance.
How to stop a headache before it starts

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The Age has written up a Vodafone offer giving a year of free GPS to new subscribers to its Vodafone Compass GPS service.
The service, only available on the Blackberry Curve 8310 handset, is free if you sign up before 1 December 2007. The normal charges are $2.50 per 24 hour pass, $8 per month or $79 per year.
Details of the Vodafone offer are here.
The Age article says Vodafone will offer the Compass service on more handsets by Christmas.
Telstra offers its Whereis navigation service for $15 a month on the Blackberry 8800.
I have to admit I'm a bit of a GPS novice. I've tried and liked the Tom Tom, but not used any mobile phone equivalents. I have to admit I like the idea of being able to use the phone GPS to avoid having to have a standalone GPS gadget, so I'd be interested to hear from users who've tried mobile phone GPS.