Turning your e-book into a real, printed one
As I write this, the paperback of my book The Blank Screen: Blogging is working its way through the final stages of publication via Amazon. It's a book about blogging for writers and authors, but more importantly it has been the subject of the Summer Project. Through countless software apps and services, we've followed the creation of a genuine book. Not some test thing, not an afternoon's casual typing, but a real book that was already being written.
Why haven't you got this already?
You've read the headline, Hands On: TextExpander 5, and for many people that would be enough to send them straight off to buy it. Here's TextExpander 5 on its official site. Without exception, though, those keen people will all be ones who've already used TextExpander 4. If that's not you, if you've barely heard of this thing that speeds up your typing, then wait a moment, read on a bit, and only then go buy it.
Deceptively minimalist yet power-house writing app
Woke up one morning -- dah da dah duh -- with an entire short play in my head. As you do. I would like to tell you that I picked up my iPad, opened Drafts 4 and wrote the whole thing in one go, because that is what I should have done. Instead, as much of a fan of Drafts on iOS as I am, I tried writing it in Final Draft instead.
Extend Apple's Spotlight features with this free utility
Those of us who have used Apple's built-in local search tool Spotlight through its early years to now often find they've outgrown it, and are now life-support-dependent upon Alfred 2. Yes, there was some notable improvement in Yosemite, but it was too little, too late. Now Flashlight could bring us back. It's a free application that extends Spotlight's searching facilities, and to give you quick access to different corners of your Mac. From the keyboard, you can search the web, start a phone call, email someone a file, or shut down your Mac.
Get more from Apple's deceptively powerful word processor
You probably own Apple's Pages, and you may even have opened it. If you did, what you think depends on what you're used to: new users just dive right in and start typing, while we've heard Word users complain that it simply isn't powerful enough for them. This is an odd one: they are actually right, but not in the ways they expect. Pages does lack some of the very heavy-lifting word processor functions that Word has, but few people use those. What Word fans think is missing from Pages is the more general day-to-day features that in fact it has, and has very well.
New version improves Snow Leopard support
Ergonis has launched an update to its text expansion software, Typinator 4. The application automates the insertion of whole blocks of text or commonly used phrases while auto-correcting typing errors. Typinator has thousands of predefined corrections for typical typing errors and misspellings, supporting U.S. and British English, German and French. It replaces a predetermined abbreviation with a whole phrase, graphic, URL, date or image. It also auto-corrects typing across all applications system wide.
ResizeMe 2.1 ($26) is a batch image and photo editor that can resize, scale, rotate and flip multiple images and photos at once. The application is capable of handling most of the common image formats including JPEG, PNG, TIFF, PDF, JP2, SGI and TGA. The update has added the ability to rename files with the search and replace function, and allows images to be imported by dragging them to the dock icon. Photos can also now be edited in place as opposed to copies being saved in other locations. [Download - 1.2MB]
iPrint 2.0 ($15) allows users to select data within an application that they would like to print. The selection of data can be done through the use of a keyboard shortcut or a popup Dock menu and allows users to print only the material they desire to print. A new Preferences window has been added which allows users to set a default option of always displaying both the Page Setup and Print dialog boxes, always bypassing both the Page Setup and Print dialog boxes, or displaying just the Print dialog box. The applications graphics have also been improved along with other small internal improvements. [Download - 1.5MB]
Typinator 3.4 ($27) is a tool that will type out repeating texts and pictures. Users can set up a list of commonly used words and images, and then set up fragments that can be used trigger each phrase or image. The new version adds a couple of user-requested features and includes a number of small improvements and fixes. Typinator can now be suspended temporarily and preserve the height of the set list when the window size changes. The update also allows the software to expand abbreviations in floating windows such as in Spotlight or the quick entry windows of OmniFocus and TaskPaper. [Download - 2.7MB]
Multiuser Pro, TypeIt4Me
Filemailer 2.0 ($15) is a utility that helps users share files between computers. The content can be dragged to the desired recipients name and the software will then automatically compress the file, enter its information in the subject line, insert the pre-composed message into the body, and send the file. The 2.0 update now features support for TLS authentication, and includes a new option to organize contacts into groups for sending to multiple recipients. [Download - 4.2MB]
KeyRight has introduced a keyboard that is designed to improve typing skills, the Look & Learn. The keys on the QWERTY keyboard have been color-coded to differentiate eight different "finger zones." Each color represents the keys that are used by a particular finger. For example, the set of red keys to the far left are colored red, which gives the user a visual reference for the proper keys for the left-hand pinky finger.
Keyboard Maestro 3.4
Stairways Software has announced Keyboard Maestro 3.4, the latest version of its 'productivity enhancer' for Mac OS X. This release includes a 'typed string' trigger, allowing the user to fire off macros when typing a matching string. Triggers can be created with easily remembered mnemonics. Appearance has been enhanced to look more like the default system program switcher. Import/export of the named clipboards has been improved for better sharing of macros.
PopChar X 3.4 update
Ergonis Software today unveiled PopChar X 3.4, an update to its special character finding and typing utility, offering several new features such as an enhanced search feature. The search function can now locate characters by name, Unicode number, or example. Users also have access to a new contextual menu which allows then to copy characters to the clipboard. Ergonis Software is currently selling PopChar X 3.4 for €30 (~$50)
iPhone haptic keyboard mod
In an effort to make typing on the iPhone more familiar, the University of Glasgow has unveiled a hack that provides vibration feedback when a virtual key is pressed, simulating the effect of typing on a real keyboard. The patch enables what the University calls haptic feedback, which researchers say can help improve typing speeds, while simultaneously reducing errors. The hack is available from the University's Google Code page, requiring a jailbroken 1.1.3 iPhone.
Multitouch device, methods
The US Patent and Trademark office today published five of Apple's patents, describing versatile multi-touch input device and control methods in a wide array of fields. The device appears to be an ergonomic multi-touch keyboard-style device that can accept a wide array of touch commands, including typing, resting, pointing, scrolling, 3D manipulation, and handwriting. The patents involve actions that are simple for the user to know and remember, while the system has little difficulty differentiating between the actions.
MacBook keyboard fix
Apple today unveiled a firmware fix for MacBook and MacBook Pro owners, remedying some long-standing keyboard issues. The update says it addresses a problem where the computer would ignore the first key pressed after a period of inactivity, also addressing "some other issues", according to the supplied literature. Some users were having similar issues, but related to typing in a text field, regardless of whether or not the computer had been sitting idle.
Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor
Anyone who uses a computer should learn to type, but not everyone has the time to learn. To teach typing, Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor offers a self-paced program that guides users from learning proper finger placement to measuring typing speed and accuracy. While designed for beginners, the program can also help intermediate typists improve their skills as well. Multiple users can create their own accounts and the program tracks the progress of each person. Ten Thumbs Typing tutor can even adapt to different keyboard layouts (such as the Dvorak layout), as well as foreign language keyboards.
Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor
Runtime Revolution has announced the release of version 4.7 of Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor, its keyboard learning program for Mac OS X. This major upgrade includes the following enhancements: separate single user and network user editions, printable reports at the end of lessons, collated reports for teacher/administrators in the network edition, a complete overhaul of the French language edition, improved Leopard compatibility, enhanced support for iTunes and numerous other minor enhancements