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Pointers: how and why to use aliases in iTunes (OS X)

10/09, 8:27am

The forgotten handy tool in OS X

Depending on your age, when you hear the word "alias," you either think of J.J. Abrams and Jennifer Garner, or you think of Hannibal Hayes and Kid Curry. Somewhere between those two, though, there came Apple's version of aliases, which weirdly became better known on PCs when Microsoft took the idea, and made "shortcuts" (so innovative!). Microsoft made the better, clearer name, but when they took the concept they didn't read to the end. OS X aliases do everything shortcuts do, and a significant amount more, to help you manage files on your Mac. It's a shame that more of us don't use them.


Pointers: Understanding the Sidebar (OS X)

06/08, 7:50am

The handy, powerful but confusing Finder feature

For 12 years we've had the sidebar: a list of folders at the left of every Finder window we open; you would think we'd understand it by now. Yet, new Mac users think all their music and movies are in every window, and get confused when they try to drag it to a backup. Old hands instinctively realize it's more like a menu, but still we wonder why we sometimes get a new window open that doesn't have the sidebar at all.


Hands On: Folder Color 2.1.0 (OS X)

05/23, 1:03pm

Convenient color coding for visual thinkers

Naturally, you have not filled your Mac's desktop with folders. You've done it with files. But from time to time, when you can't see anything any more, you make some temporary folders and move everything into there. Job done. Until you now have millions of folders and unlike files, folders all look identical. Not any more. Not if you buy Folder Color.


Pointers: work smarter with Smart Folders, Albums, Playlists

05/13, 6:33pm

Apple's database of your inventory allows for quick, easy custom views

In the classes I often teach on OS X and iOS devices and how to utilize them, a great deal of confusion comes up about the concept of Smart Folders -- or, as they are known in iPhoto and Photos (and elsewhere) Smart Albums; or as they are known in Mail, Smart Mailboxes; or as they are known in iTunes, Smart Playlists. They certainly sound smart, so what does that say about us that we often can't figure them out? How are they different from regular folders, albums, mailboxes, and playlists? Read this edition of Pointers to find out.


Hands On: Hazel 3.3.5 (OS X)

04/24, 4:24pm

Power file sorting tool that should be on every Mac

You don't hear enough about Hazel from Noodlesoft. Its simplest description is that it automatically does things for you to do with files and folders, it moves and renames and sorts them. Unfortunately, one reason you don't hear enough about it is that once you've set it up, you never have to think about it again. It just keeps right on doing its stuff. That's admirable, and it's also a shame for Noodlesoft, which should be lauded more. It's also a shame for you, because you genuinely forget that it's there when you could be using it for more and more.


Pointers: Use Dropbox to Share Files (OS X)

03/06, 8:15am

Working together is quicker than ever with Dropbox

Dropbox is so handy and so universally-used that it's probably the case that either you already use it to share files, or you haven't yet had a need to. Dropbox has changed over the years, though, and the current ways of sharing large files and whole folders are better. They're easier. They're also faster, in that you can do much more sharing directly from the Finder on your Mac, and only rarely going to to do anything.


Hands On: Big Mean Folder Machine 2 (OS X)

01/11, 4:09am

Fast, thorough utility for organizing thousands of files, folders

Let's start with the summary: even if you only use the Big Mean Folder Machine 2 once a year: you'll still think it's worth every cent. The reasons for this is because BMFM is built to do the kind of drudge work that makes us wish we didn't work with computers, that we were more organized, or that at least we had an assistant. There is no Mac or PC user in the world who does not, right now, have thousands of files on their computer -- and there are perhaps three of us who know where everything is. BMFM takes any folders you throw at it, and sorts the lot out into something manageable, something you can work with -- and something you can very easily archive.


Box aquires Folders, plans to integrate into own iOS cloud storage app

05/24, 2:39am

Developer joins Box iOS app team to add document viewing technology

Enterprise-oriented cloud storage firm Box has acquired Folders, an iOS app used to manage files from cloud storage services. The purchase, for an undisclosed amount, will see the technology behind the app rolled into Box's own iOS app, with Folders developer Martin Destagnol being drafted in to help with its integration.


Changes: sync text-based data, folders

02/19, 11:15am

Changes text sync app

Skorpiostech today unveiled Changes 1.0, an application designed to perform directory comparison and file differencing functions. Changes allows coders to ensure synchronicity between files and folders, designed to replace Apple's FileMerge utility. Changes features a CLI utility, a TextMate bundle, BBEdit and Text Wrangler menu scripts, Xcode integration, and F-Script support. Skorpiostech is selling Changes for $40 from its website, and requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.



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