We decorate fast! Used the camera in remote mode and shot a frame every 5 seconds. Then put this little thing together :)
Have you ever had a big chunk of files that you needed to rename? Tedious, right? There’s some paid-for utilities out there (such as Better Rename, USD$19.99 in the AppStore) but today I bring you a free one. I’ve used Better Rename (actually it was named Better Finder Rename) for years but this one comes on par, if you ask me. Especially because it’s free.
NameChanger is where it’s at.
It’ll modify or completely rename your files, including sequential numbers and dating them. Check out a video of it in action as well. Good stuff!
BibDesk is a free, opensource bibliography manager. Use BibDesk to edit and manage your bibliography. It will keep track of both the bibliographic information and the associated files or web links for you. BibDesk’s services will simplify using your bibliography in other applications and are particularly well suited for LATEX users.
With it you can keep track of publications, files, web links and more and it will help you put it all into a neat bibliography. Check it out!
It’s been awhile since I’ve given you some sweet free apps to go grab. So, I’ll give you two this week. However, there’s a theme: media playback.
Have you ever downloaded something that QuickTime just couldn’t play? Wish it could? Or maybe you just wanted to use something other than QuickTime?
VLC (aka VideoLan Client) is the swiss army knife of playing video formats. It’s totally free (and open source) and has been around for a decade now. Tried and true, this. I’ve never had a video format thrown at it that it can’t handle. Also, if you need to transcode videos, this is a great solution too (though it’s a bit complicated and you need a good understanding of streams and containers).
Perian is similar to VLC in that it’s a swiss army knife for playing videos, however it’s not actually an application. It’s a set of plugins that gives QuickTime the ability to play the majority of formats that QuickTime doesn’t handle. I think it’s a nice compromise because you can keep the same app but just give it more function. I also like the way QuickTime works from a UI perspective so it’s nice to be able to keep that. Also, because iTunes utilizes QuickTime for playback, it should let you play a bunch of stuff in iTunes that you couldn’t before. (Though, that doesn’t mean that your iOS device is going to be able to.)
They’re both free so have at it!
SweetAppSunday - Time Lapse Assembler
It’s pretty simple, but it does the trick. If you’ve got a series of photos you want to turn into a time lapse movie, this is your app. It’s free and spits out an H.264 (e.g. iPhone/iPad/iPod friendly) movie when it’s done. I’m using it to put together a time lapse of the christmas tree getting decorated.
I’ve gotten some questions recently about image editors for the Mac and my standard answer as been, “Photoshop if you’re a pro, Photoshop essentials if you’re a home user, The Gimp if you’re poor.”
It’s done me pretty well, but the “if you’re poor” answer is getting a new entry:
Seashore is an open-source image editor for OS X that uses the Cocoa framework. Just what the heck does that mean?! Well, simply it’s free to use/own/modify and because it uses Cocoa (OS X’s native language) it looks and feels like a Mac application.
Check out some screenshots here. There are some limitations/warnings… This is a pre-1.0 release. What’s that mean?! Well, it’s still beta - not ready for primetime according to the developers. Now, don’t let that make you cringe so much. You know GMail? “Beta” for 5 years. VLC, one of the best media players around was pre-1.0 only up until recently. So, grain of salt. It’s really up to the developer to say “it’s ready” and some developers are perfectionists and are very stingy with calling something “release” quality.
Anyway… limitations? The biggest that I found was that it will only do a maximum resolution of 300dpi when creating a file (you can later modify it larger). Its CMYK handling also appears to be a bit clunky. So, it’s certainly not going to be used for production work (see my statement about “Pro” above)
That being said, the bulk of the Photoshop-like mainstays are there. Layers, brushes, textures, masks etc.
For free, it’s absolutely worth giving a look.
In this week’s SweetAppSunday I bring you something you may not even know you have already: Automator. What is Automator? Simply, it automates things on your Mac. Perhaps that’s hard to abstractly think about, so I’ll give you an example.
I’m pondering turning my filing cabinet into a digital archive. Most of the stuff in there I do actually need to keep though most of the time will never need to look at. It’s one of those things that’s rather important but takes up loads of room.
“Why not utilize technology?” I thought. I’m a smart guy, I’ve got a scanner with an automatic document feeder… let’s figure this thing out. So, I turned to the thing that would likely be the most time consuming and difficult to put together: Bank statements. I’ve got loads of them. They’re also double-sided and on average are probably 8 to 10 sheets of paper (double-sided remember) each month.
So, the auto document feeder (ADF) is very handy for this. However, my ADF doesn’t have a duplexing unit to scan both sides of the page in one fell swoop. So, I’ll need to scan even pages and then odd pages and somehow then combine them together.
In steps Automator. I’ve got my process for scanning the statements down to a pretty quick clip. I’ve got my settings tweaked and everything. So, now I’ve got two PDFs to combine. Let’s open Automator and get going
It’s actually only a 4-step process. I’ve dragged from the left-hand side the Finder action “Ask for Finder items” and tweaked the settings. I’ve set it up so it’s asking for the odd and then even page sets of PDFs. Next, I use the Preview action “Combine PDF pages” and specify that I want to shuffle them. It’s going to take page 1 from the first PDF, then put in page 1 from the second PDF (odd then even remember) and then move on to page 2 of each. When it’s all wrapped up, it’ll take the output of the Combine PDF Pages task and do the Finder action “Open Finder Items” and open it in Preview. This is because I’ve created a new PDF from these two. I can then save it out from Preview.
The final step in creating my Automator task is to save this out as an application. This gives you a double-clickable action instead of having to open up Automator to run this process (though you’re going to want to save this workflow also so you can modify it later if you want).
Here’s how it looks in action:
I double-click on the application I made. I simply put it on the desktop.
I’m asked for the odd page PDF document so I select it and click Choose.
I’m asked for the even page PDF document so I select it and click Choose.
At this point, automator does its thing and you’ll see a little gear wizzing away in your Menubar. When that’s done, Preview pops up and I can peruse my newly combined PDF. (I’m not showing you my bank info! :p ) Then I can save it and be on my way.
I’m sure there’s some mundane task you’ve been meaning to make easier. Go figure it out!
Automator World (a little old, but a good beginner’s resource)
Automator.us downloads (more third party actions)
Ok ok, I know I said I’d have one for you yesterday. Life got in the way. :) So, better late than never, I bring you fseventer by fernLightning. Before we get rolling, let’s say it all together, “eff ess eventer” Literally, “file system eventer.”
So just what the heck does it do? This:
(I’ve redacted a few things there.)
fseventer lets you see, in realtime, what’s going on in your file system as files are read, written, created and deleted. If you hover over a file, it will give you a brief description of what happened. In the case above, it’s saying the krb5.keytab file was modified 32 seconds ago by DirectoryService.
If you look at the inspector, it will give you a little more information:
There’s also options to insert flags, a list view instead of this branched view and to filter by file path. It’s a simple utility but it’s an awesome one. Go get it!
Have you been looking for a chat client that can work on all of your various chat services, all at once? Look no further. Adium is what you should be using. It’s easily the best chat client on OS X.
Adium has been around since the very first version of OS X and has only gotten better with each release.
Do you have Gmail, AIM, Facebook, ICQ, Yahoo, and MSN? Run them all (and more) from Adium all at once. Check it out:
(old screenshot from Adium, but trust me, Facebook support is there in the latest versions. Adium is even working on Twitter support in their current beta version)
Adium also has a great interface
Don’t worry, it’s fully customizable.
Adium also has integration with the notification system Growl for great looking popups.
I’m a huge fan of Growl.
If you’re not yet convinced, go look here.
If you’re ready to go, go here.
If you run into a jam, Adium’s even got some screencasts to help you out.