Dec 09 2013
A list of brilliant soft tools that makes your Mac more efficient
Quick as silver
Let’s launch into this selection of power utilities with a launcher application called Quicksilver (http://is.gd/0Yi9G1). This gives you the ability to perform everyday tasks rapidly and without delving in and out of menus. You get instant access applications, documents, contacts, music and much more. Quicksilver makes routine tasks like sending emails, using iTunes, looking for files, dragging and dropping content etc., far easier, more intuitive and thus faster. Reorienting your workstyle takes a bit of doing though. So don’t expect to get off to a flying start. The video demo and beginner’s guide on the site are very useful. And WTH, it’s a free tool after all!
You have seen how useful and easy to use that little cut-copy-paste etc. pop-up menu on your smartphone is each time you select text on your phone. How about endowing your Mac too with similar powers? Once you install this utility called PopClip (http://is.gd/b1QJYI), it appears when you select text on your Mac and gives you a tiny menu right next to the selection that allows you not just to instantly copy-paste text but also to access actions like search, spelling, and the dictionary.
In fact, you can beef up PopClip to add over 95 functions that include commands like capitalise/uppercase/lowercase, format with bold or italics etc, speak it out or translate it, or send it to a specific notes app like Evernote. It can even send the selected text to Facebook or popular Twitter apps or mail or a search engine or todo app of your choice. You needn’t clutter that menu with all these. Each of these actions is available as a separately downloadable plug-in extension. Try it out for free before forking out $4.99 for it.
Talking of copying reminds us of another very effective and impressive tool that can be a big time saver. Dubbed Jumpcut (http://is.gd/57mQPO) adds dynamism to your clipboard by enhancing it copy and paste multiple items. Jumpcut lets you see everything you've Command+C’ed throughout day, and allows you to page through the copied items until you've found the item you'd like to paste.
The boss is coming!
A few weeks ago we told you about Magic Boss Key (http://is.gd/gKtlk8) that hides all your open windows in a snap with one itsy-bitsy secret keystroke combination or mouse-click. MBK of course is for the Windows platform. For Mac users, a simple Cmd + H shortcut can rid them of whatever is showing on screen.
But if your boss belongs to the suspicious breed and will smell a rat when he/she sees an empty desktop with no work files open, grab a program called Show Desktop (http://is.gd/yipFiB).
Along with hiding all applications and minimising Finder windows for an unobstructed view of your desktop, Show Desktop has an exclusion list of programs that you can stay open when you hit the panic button. This when when the bossman creeps up, a mere click will hide everything except the applications on the exclusion list.
On the personal front, if you want to make a focused, distraction-free working e-workspace with an uncluttered desktop, install Houdini (http://is.gd/DMT9rL). This free menu bar utility that hides applications which have not been in use for a certain period of time.
Tweak and tune
All this is fine. But nothing is going to work efficiently unless your Mac is working in apple pie order. And one of the best utilities to tweak and tune your Mac is free tool called OnyX (http://is.gd/NPta0y). Apart from verifying the startup disk of your Mac and the structure of its system files, this app also performs miscellaneous system maintenance tasks, and allows you to configure certain hidden parameters of the Finder, Dock, QuickTime, Safari, Mail, iTunes, Spotlight, etc.
You can rejig application settings, clear caches, securely delete files in your trash, change the visibility of files, folders, and volumes, clean out old logs and other unwanted files, and more. On the down side, you need to familiarise yourself with OnyX before plunging into it just so that you know what you are doing. Newbies and and infrequent users will find it a tad hard to find their way around. Also, do read and heed the warning the pop up at various stages.
(The author is a
personal tech writer)