Ctrl Alt Delete: Quickly View Active Apps & Force Quit Them [Mac]

To force quit an app in OS X Lion, you can use the Command+Option+Escape shortcut and quickly bring up the active apps window with options to force quit them. Apps can also be forced to quit individually from the right-click menu of an app’s icon in the Dock. The shortcoming of all these options, however, is that only apps that are actively running in the Dock can be quit. There are many apps that run from the Menu Bar, and processes that run in the background, which you can’t stop using this approach. Ctrl Alt Delete is a free Mac app that extends the options you get and makes it easier to quit any app or process. It is mapped to work with the Control+Alt+Delete key combination, which is the Windows shortcut for bringing up system options including the Task Manager (the Windows equivalent to Activity Monitor). Since there is no Alt key in Mac, the combination you will use is Control+Option+Delete. The app not only quits apps, but can also hide them and force your system to log off, sleep, restart or shutdown. Read More

Manage Grooveshark Playback In Chrome From Mac Menu Bar

You would've undoubtedly heard or read about the million or so apps that allow you to control iTunes from the Mac Menu Bar, and the hundreds of apps that exist for services like Pandora and Spotify. Grooveshark Control Center is a free Mac app that lets you control Grooveshark from the Menu Bar. The app is meant to let you control the online music service if Chrome is your default browser, and you use Growl. Seeing as how Chrome just surpassed Internet Explorer to become the No.1 browser worldwide, it might just be an excellent time to install this app if you regularly use Grooveshark. The app negates the need to have a similar extension installed in your browser, and makes more sense, since Chrome isn’t the only application you use when working. Read More

10 Must-Have Free Preference Panes For Mac OS X

Apps undoubtedly dominate Apple's ecosystem when it comes to getting anything done, and Macs are no exception. However, they are function specific, and many apps that perform simple little functions or act as utilities can be skipped altogether if you know the right Terminal commands. Not to say you won’t ever need to install an app, but apps do what they do and noting more. If you ever decide you need to tweak the whole experience you get from your Mac system, a Preference Pane (or prefpane) will be one of your top choices. The really awesome thing about a third party preference pane is that it works system wide. You won't ever be bothered with a preference pane cluttering your Menu Bar or having to enable it at start up. The following is a list of 10 preference panes you need to have on your system. Read More

Windownaut For Mac OS X: Window Management via Keyboard Shortcuts

Window management in OS X is something that third-party developers have been trying to fix for quite a while. Assigning apps or windows to desktop spaces is the Apple way of doing it, but honestly, that is focused more on capitalizing on the full screen feature in Lion rather than to help utilize display real estate when working with wide screen monitors. Windownaut is yet another one of those remarkable window management apps for Mac, worth $4.99, which rely heavily on shortcut keys and allow you to define a shortcut for each region that you can move a window to. Understandably, it isn’t easy to remember so many shortcuts, which is why the app has the added feature of viewing the different layouts along a window’s title bar. Read More

Snip: Region Centric Screenshot Tool That Lets You Add Text & Shapes [Mac]

Screenshots tools aren’t uncommon, but with perhaps the one exception of Skitch, most of the good ones will cost you. A normally good screenshot app comes coupled with an online service, and even then, there are few that support image editing. Snip is a free Mac app that focuses on capturing a user defined region. Before the image is saved, the app allows you to add shapes like a square, rectangle, ellipse or draw free hand. There is also a text tool that allows you to enter text in any font size (font type is fixed). The app additionally copies the screenshot to your clipboard, so you can paste it anywhere. It runs in the Menu Bar, and can be activated using a customizable keyboard shortcut. Read More

Keep Apps Running When You Lock Or Put Your Mac To Sleep [Tip]

When a Mac goes to sleep of its own accord, or when you put it to sleep manually, although the apps continue to run, the screen doesn’t lock. There are several apps that let you lock your screen using simple shortcuts and/or icons in the Menu Bar, but the problem with most of these apps is that when you lock the screen, apps are suspended, too. This means if you have iTunes running, it will pause when the screen goes blank. To keep apps like this running but still be able to lock your screen, you need to turn to Mac’s screensaver and the built-in Hot Corner functionality. Read More

Simultaneously Convert Multiple Videos To Different Formats On Mac

Video converters are some of the most useful (and ridiculously common) type of apps you can find. Surprisingly, they don’t stop coming, and Video Converter Master is yet another video converter for Mac that is free, supports conversion to multiple formats and can convert files in batches. The app lets you choose a format for each file you add before beginning conversion. By default, Video Converter Master opens the output file after the process is complete, but the app has the additional ability to put your system to sleep or shut it down once conversion is done. Since converting large videos can take a significant amount of time, it might be a task that you leave for the end of the day, and that’s where it might be extremely convenient to have the app turn your system off when finished. Video Converter Master also comes with a player that will play any and all supported formats, but is ad supported. It also allows you to take snapshots of a video when it is playing. More after the break. Read More

Accent: Quickly Insert Accented Characters, Copy URL Escape Codes On Mac

Inserting accented characters in Mac isn’t really difficult, as we explained in a tip just last week; all you need to do is hold down a particular character key, and the letter will appear. The one caveat of this tip is that you must have disabled repeating a letter, and that can lead to some inconvenience when typing. There is still the option to use the Option key, but that is obviously the long way that most might want to avoid. For just these unique situations, there is Accent, a Mac app worth $0.99 in the Mac App Store that lets you view all accented characters and some basic symbols that are normally difficult to insert. The app lists them in a large, tiled layout, and you can copy a character for pasting anywhere by just clicking it. Additionally, the app lets you copy URL escape codes for any of the characters. Read More

[Giveaway] Mailsum: Mac Email Client That Tells You How Well You Handle Your Mail

If you’re someone who operates more than one email ID, and most people usually juggle a work and personal ID, you know that it isn’t always easy to manage the two side by side. Additionally, email is one of those things that just eat away at your time; if you don’t read/answer email, your work gets hampered, but if you set to answering every single email, you might just end up neglecting other important tasks. It’s one of the double-edged swords of modern day. Mailsum is a Mac app worth $4.99 that might help you manage your email better; the app gives you insight into how you handle email on your Mac. It gives a detailed account of how often you send and reply to emails, how much time you take to respond to an email, how many go unanswered and much more. Read More

Add A File To An Existing Archive & Password Protect It On Mac [Tip]

Compressing files and creating archives in Mac is easily accomplished through the default utility, Archive, which compresses to a whole host of formats. Files can be compressed in command line as well via the Terminal, but having to compress files or folders through the command line is much more complicated and inconvenient, which is why it’s best to use the tool provided. If you aren’t a fan of the native utility for some reason, there are plenty of other apps that you can use instead. and if nothing else works for you, the Terminal really isn’t going anywhere. One advantage that Terminal holds in this regard, is that, in addition to being able to create archives, you can add a file to an existing one through a few simple commands. This can save you a lot of clutter; you can add files to a single archive as per your need, and not have a mess of archives in a folder or on your desktop. Read More

How To Set Default Apps For Files & Actions On Mac OS X [Tip]

If you’re new to Mac or have just recently discovered that your Mac runs smoother if you use third-party apps as opposed to the default ones, you might be exploring how to set an app as the default one for its relevant file types. Unfortunately, this isn’t very easy to do. Many rightly go to the Open with… options of a file and set defaults there but either that doesn't always work, or the changes are reverted for no apparent reason. What you need is a more permanent way to change default apps. In what follows, we will tell you how you can set an app as the default for one or several formats. Read More

Amoneon: Add Neon Brush Strokes, Shapes & Text To Images [Mac]

Slightly complicated but worth figuring out nonetheless, Amoneon is a free Mac app that lets you edit your pictures. The major feature that the apps boasts of, is its neon brush that you can use to paint over an image. It has a whole host of additional great features other than the neon brush; you can add shapes, solid color and gradient overlays, resize, crop, manage the hue, saturation, contrast and brightness of an image, and add text. The effects are brilliant, and in addition to the neon light brush, Amoneon also lets you add neon spirographs to an image. The dimensions of shapes that you add to an image can be customized, as well as the color and opacity. If used the right way, the app and it’s gradient overlay effects act as an excellent way of adding colorized effects to photos. The images bear no watermark; however, the app saves to its own format that you have to append an image format extension to. Read More

AirServer: Comprehensive Mac & PC AirPlay Suite With Screen Mirroring

I’ve never tried to hide my preference for iOS over Android, and for multiple reasons. While both platforms have a healthy share of strengths and weaknesses, iOS offers certain features (natively) that tip the scale, at least for me, in its favor, one of them being AirPlay. The formerly-labeled-AirTunes protocol received a feature and nomenclature overhaul back in 2010, whence it included not just audio, but any kind of media to be streamed to any AirPlay compatible device. Then, with iOS 5, Apple pooled in AirPlay mirroring, allowing you to replicate your supportive iPhone, iPod touch or iPad’s entire screen on the likes of compatible HDTVs, laptops, Macs etc. Speaking of Windows PCs and Macs in this regard, there’s perhaps no shortage of AirPlay apps for both platforms, paid or free, that offer pretty reasonable functionality. That’s why I was not too enthusiastic about AirServer, an AirPlay server application for Mac and Windows that claims to be way ahead of all its peers. Turns out, my skepticism was ill-warranted, as the app clearly blows away all the competition. Read More

Tag Folders: Add Tags & Spotlight Comments To Folders For Better Search [Mac]

Mac OS X lets you add Spotlight comments to any file or folder you want. These comments help you find files later on; when you type a filename or a search query in Spotlight, the comments are also indexed and displayed with the results, helping you identify files. A much simpler approach to finding files would be to tag them, which, unfortunately, isn’t supported. Tag Folders is a free, open-source Mac app that adds this very feature. The app lets you add tags to all files and folders on your system,  allowing you to create a special folder anywhere on your Mac. All sub-folders subsequently added to this folder are tags, and files added to them are associated with these tags. The tags are searchable in Spotlight in the standard comma- or space-separated formats. Read More

How To Disable Elastic Scrolling In Mac OS X Lion [Tip]

iOS devices have a very neat little trick to their scrolling, known as ‘elastic scrolling’, that is, if you continue to scroll past the end of a page or try to scroll upwards more than you can, there is a limit to which you can do that before the page or app snaps back to the bottom or top of the window. The utility behind this isn’t exactly clear (we believe it to be purely aesthetic), but it has been mimicked in OS X Lion. If you aren’t fond of trying to see just how low you can drag the page before it snaps back, you can disable this feature with a simple Terminal command. Read on for details. Read More

SlideMode Makes It Easier To Select Text With The Trackpad [Mac]

The brilliant gesture support in OS X Lion is best complemented through the usage of Apple's Magic Trackpad, or vice versa, should you prefer it that way. If you’re on a MacBook, you get a trackpad anyway. The gestures are all excellent, highly convenient and make you, well, feel like a ninja when you use them. But, as they say, all good things come at a cost, and there is one thing that is slightly difficult to manage with the trackpad - text selection. SlideMode is a free Mac app that makes this easier and adds two other simple tweaks for users who don’t have a trackpad. What the app basically does is make selecting text easier for you, whether you’re using a mouse or trackpad. Read More

Easy Video Converter Supports 80 Media File Formats And Drag & Drop [Mac]

Among all the genres of apps that we have covered, a large chunk probably consists of video converters. Being as abundant as they are, most of the free offerings are fairly functional and feature-rich. Easy Video Converter, as the name implies, is a free Mac app that converts video formats. What the name doesn’t imply is that it’s a media file converter that can convert files into 80 different formats. The app was previously worth $9.99 in the Mac App Store, and has now gone free. In addition to the large number of output formats that it supports, the app also lets you resize videos, and change frame and bit rates. You may manage these variables for audio and video files separately. Read More

Mashduo: Compare iTunes Libraries & Export List Of Missing Songs [Mac]

Creating a good music library takes a lot of time and effort. One scenario, the more common one, is where you just keep adding music files randomly to iTunes, but an organized library requires more than that. If you’re out to create the best music library ever, or just a reasonably good one that you can brag about, it might be a good idea to take a look at what you friends listen to and start off with the songs they have. Mashduo is a free Mac app that will help you do just that. The app compares iTunes library XML files. You can, at any given time, view the differences between two XML files, both graphically and in a list. You may then export the complete list of songs that aren't common between the two. Read More

[Giveaway] EdgeCase Prevents Unintentionally Moving Mouse Cursor Between Displays [Mac]

If you work with multiple monitors, you must have noticed that your mouse doesn't always understand that you didn’t mean for it to move to the next display, even though you continued to move it to the left or right of the screen. The mouse is meant to act like that, and it only makes sense that you would be able to move the mouse comfortably between two displays. There are, nevertheless, usage scenarios where the second display attached to you system is really meant to monitor a feed or an app or any other system activity. You don’t necessarily need it for performing your ‘work’, and that’s when your cursor jumping between monitors gets irritating. EdgeCase is a Mac app worth $4.99 in the Mac App Store that prevents the mouse from accidentally jumping between displays. Read More