Warp Quartz Composition

Warp 1.1 is a nice Quartz Composition of whirling stars from OurApples.com. It is another nice addition to your Quartz Screen Savers or Desktop.

Note: If you want to use any Quartz file as a Screen Saver, you can simply place the file in the Library/Screen Savers/ folder.

Quartz Files As Desktop

Do you have .QTZ files you want to use as your Desktop? There's a nifty little app that allows you to use any Quartz Composition files as your background in OS X. It is called Quartz Desktop. You can use any resident Quartz files, or download many others from other sources on the web. For example, "Quartz Compositions" is a good web-based source.

This version of Quartz Desktop is compiled as a universal binary.

Resize Multiple Pictures At Once

You can easily resize a batch of your image files in Preview. This is particularly useful when resizing the large files from the memory a digital camera. Here is the brief process:

1. Go to the folder containing all of your pics you want to resize.
2. Highlight all of the photos, and double-click to open in Preview, or right-click and choose Open With Preview.
3. Go to Edit and choose "Select All".
4. Go to Tools and choose "Adjust Size...".
5. Enter in your desired size for all the images.
6. Go to File and choose Save All.

Quick and easy!

Greater Volume Control

You know by now that you can use the F10, F11, F12 keys for volume controls. You know that the volume adjusts in squares. Sometimes when decreasing or increasing volume by keys, you will see that it either increases by too much volume, or not enough, in which case you end up adjusting the volume by another square, and that increases it way too much. So it can be quite difficult getting just the right levels at times, especially when using speakers.

There are two ways of adjusting the system volume within one square's worth:

Key Shortcut

You can use a shortcut by typing Option + Shift + F4 + F11 or F12. This will allow you to increase or decrease volume by only a quarter of a square to get that precise volume you desire.

System Preferences

Go to Sound. In this pane you can actually control the volume output by mouse or trackpad to get even more of a precise volume adjustment.

Schedule Startup and Shut Down

There are some benefits to to scheduling OS X to startup at a certain time: You can sleep-in while your computer is booting up and loading all your necessary apps to be ready for you when you finally get out of bed and look at your computer screen. You can also set it up to shut down at night to save electricity and also allow your machine to cool down, as well as give you a fresh and fast machine with more available RAM for use in the morning. So, if you have a pretty typical schedule for when you use the computer, this little scheduling tip would come in very handy.

You can set it up directly in OS X in System Preferences:

1: Go to Energy Saver

2: Click on "Schedule..."

3: Set the times for Wake Up, Shut Down, Restart, or Sleep. For example, you can even set it up to shut down and restart a particular day of the week, or to shut down and restart only on weekends.

Launch Application Shortcut in OS X

For a long time I have been trying to find a way to create a key shortcut natively in OS X to launch an application. It appears that there is a way to assign shortcuts to switch between already running applications, but nothing which allows you to assign a shortcut for a cold start of an app.

I think this is something which is very basic and Apple very much needs to hear your voice. You can leave a comment/suggestion on the official Apple OS X Feedback page.

Hopefully, aided with the help of people speaking up, we will see in the next version of OS X this very basic shortcut ability addressed.

Sync Address Book with Windows Mobile

I have been looking for ways to sync Safari Favorites, iCal, Address Book, etc. to a Windows Mobile PDA Wireless phone. I found a nice little app which does all of these things for free, but which also has a paid premium edition with optional syncing capabilities.

A free version of SyncMate allows you to sync your Contacts, iCal, Favorites, Address Book, Bookmarks, and Stickies on your Mac to Windows Mobile 5, 2005/2006 or higher. In addition, the app allows you choices of syncing over WIFI or USB.

The paid premium edition allows you to sync certain folders with your phone, as well as iTunes. Plus a few extra features.

Definitely a great application if you are looking for a free way to sync your basic Mac apps to your WM phone. You can download it here.

Show iTunes Artwork in other Apps

Sometimes when importing songs from your iTunes library into other audio players you will notice that all or some of the artwork is missing. Even after you have saved artwork in iTunes, and you still find that it does not load in the other application's artwork display.

You need to save all your ID3 tag information properly for your artwork to cross over into another application. You can save all of the artwork to every ID3 tag of every music file natively in iTunes, that way all the artwork will load as it should.

Here is how you do it:

1: If you do not already have artwork for a file, right-click the file in iTunes and choose Get Album Artwork. If it does not show up, you can find the artwork on the web and drag it over to import.

2: Now, once you have the desired artwork imported into one music file in iTunes, right-click the file and choose Get Info. Go to the Artwork pane and click on the artwork and type Command + C to copy.

3: Next, make sure you select all of the tracks of an album, ep, or single altogether. Then, right-click the group of highlighted files and choose Get Info. A window asking "Are you sure you want to edit information for multiple items?" will appear. Choose Yes. A window with the Info pane will pop up. Look for the Artwork square and click on it, then type Command + V to paste in the copied artwork. Then click OK to save to all files.

Once you have completed these steps with every one of your albums in iTunes, all of the artwork will be properly saved to every ID3 tag of every file allowing you to see the album artwork when you play the files in any other music player which features the ability to view album artwork.

Also, after you have used this method to add album art to every ID3 Tag of each file, you will be able to see the album artwork displayed as your file icons in Finder when viewing files as "Icons" or when viewing your file icons in "Cover Flow" in the Finder.

Gmail Dashboard Widgets

So far, there are several good Gmail Dashboard Widgets to choose from. I will list of these by my favorites in order of their usefulness. Hopefully we will see some updates in the near future for these releases.

1: Gmail
Google's own Dashboard Widget which allows you to see your Inbox on the fly in your Dashboard, and the ability to click on message to go directly to your account. This is probably the most efficient widget for Gmail I have used.

2: GMail Checker
This is a nice looking widget, much like Google's own Widget. It allows you to see your Inbox messages with brief summaries.

3: Gmail Inbox
Another preview Widget with a slightly different look, showing your Inbox in a nice looking albeit large window. I have encountered very few bugs with this one.

3: Gmail Counter 1.4
This Widget allows you to keep track of the storage on your Gmail accounts.

Upload iPhoto albums to Picasa

There's a new release of a plugin from Google allowing you to upload your photos straight from iPhoto's Export pane to Picassa.

You have options of uploading an entire album at once or selecting certain pictures. All your comments made in iPhoto will also be uploaded. You can set the quality of the picture to upload (rather than having to resize manually) or you can keep the original size.

The Google plugin can be downloaded here.

Spotlight Math

Let's do some Spotlight math!

For those of you who might not already know: there is the ability to input basic mathematical equations in Spotlight without loading up Calculator.app or any other application.

You can bring up Spotlight immediately by typing the default Command + Spacebar, or another shortcut you might have set in System Preferences.

Basic Math inputs include: + for addition, - for subtraction, / for division, * for multiplication, parentheses for formulas.

Example 1:

Example 2: