Clifford's Recent Posts
The interface of version 11 might be less intimidating for a newbie but it is not as easy and intuitive to use as version 10 if you are familiar with Toasts features. I even prefer the interface of version 8 or 9 over the latest incarnation. Feature wise there is not much to complain. Version 11 burns CDs/DVDs just as reliably as any previous version and can pretty much burn any format under the sun like 'custom hybrid' CDs/DVDs, DVD-ROM (UDF), ISO 9660, Photo Disc, Super Video CD etc. In fact Toast has so many formats and options that it is understandable that there is a strong desire to make the interface as easy as possible but version 11 just doesn't feel like a mac app anymore. Hopefully the next version will hit the sweet spot.
TuneUp 3 is an update that I would approach with extreme caution. TuneUp Media has so many problems with version 3 that they announced the rerelease of version 2.4 on Nov 1st 2013 on their Facebook page. Use MacUpdate's RELATED LINKS to download the prior version of TuneUp if you dare to take a plunge.
'E.T. phone home' was my favorite movie line when I was little kid. With the first strains of grey hair appearing I feel a little less whimsical about the idea of phoning home - especially when it comes to computer software. With the number of software titles that phone home ever increasing Little Snitch has grown into a 'must have' application for me. What I like most about the software is that you can slowly build up a database by blocking or allowing certain apps without ever having to fiddle around inside the database itself. A simple 'yes' or 'no' answer is all that is required whenever a connection attempt is being made and a click on the small questions mark in the dialog will give you all the info needed to make a sound decision about each connection attempt. Even if you choose to share your life with the world you don't have to relinquish complete control of who is phoning home and who is not. And while I lost count of how many connection attempt by Adobe and Google I have denied it's always good to keep your options open for the day E.T. comes knocking on your door.
I was never a fan of MacKeeper aggressive advertising campaigns. To suggest that the spinning beach ball is a sign of a 'sick' computer that needs to be rescued is more than a little misleading. The spinning beach ball generally appears whenever one specific app needs a little extra time to compute and has very little to do with an ailing computer. Even if your computer has a major case of the digital flue you can always nurse it back to health with the proven home remedies that 'Disk Utility' provides or administer a small dose of alternative medicine with the free 'OnyX' utility. There is no reason to fall for MacKeeper's yearly drug subscription model when there is a chance that major side effects can do more harm than good and your computer can get all the help that is needed with free with alternatives.
As a long time user I don't find Rhyme Genie's activation as painful as Lord-Lighting. You only have to drag the activation code file to the desktop and start Rhyme Genie to automatically activate it. Updates have always been free and can be activated with the same code. Changing hard drives has no effect on Rhyme Genie in any way. Granted, you still have to get a new code if you buy a new computer but you get 3 activation codes with each serial number anyhow. Competing rhyming dictionaries like MasterWriter and ThoughtOffice are substantially more expensive, haven't been updated in years, do not run on iOS and more importantly cannot match the accuracy of Rhyme Genie's intelligent rhyme. Nor do they or any other online rhyming dictionary offer syllable matching synonyms, a dedicated songwriter dictionary, integrated song titles, word filters and all the features that the free sidekick 'TuneSmith' provides.
I bought my first Mac because of Logic Audio. Back in those early days of hard disk recording each major update of Logic was a truly exciting event. I fondly remember the first audio recording engine with time stretching, the first software based sampler instrument, the first customizable virtual mixer and the first integrated audio effects plug-ins. With Logic X that old feeling of excitement is back with a vengeance thanks to a brand new take on virtual drumming, flex pitch, a beautifully redesigned graphic interface and numerous improvements under the hood. This is one awesome feeling.
TuneSmith has grown into an invaluable songwriting partner for me especially with the integration of Rhyme Genie. However, the way chords symbols need to be added to the lyrics could be improved. It's certainly quick and easy to add chords in plain text format and have them converted into fully formatted song sheets with automatically added chord charts. In fact I haven't found a software that allows me to produce song sheets faster than TuneSmith but not having the option to edit the formatted chord symbols in preview mode falls just a tad short WYSIWYG editing. In all other aspects the app is a solid performer and I have relied on it on a daily basis to write my lyrics and keep track of song splits without any issues.
OnyX has been my go to maintenance application for years. It saved by royal behind twice by alerting me of major hard drive issues before it was too late. With hundreds of installed fonts I also benefit greatly from the option to clean the font cache frequently and OnyX maintenance scripts allowed me to stay clear from any major OS X issues since OS X 10.6. There are other tools out there that perform similar maintenance task and using the OS X Terminal is always an option but why make it complicated when OnyX makes it so easy and is offered completely free of charge. Thanks for all the years of reliable service!
I am not a big fan of the direction Adobe had taken with Photoshop CS6 nor CC. Just the other day I had to boot up my computer with an old backup version of OS 10.6 and there was the trusty Photoshop CS4 icon staring at me. I couldn't resist taking the older version for a ride and was amazed at the speed and ease-of-use. Somehow I must have missed how much slower Photoshop CS6 runs compared to CS4 while I had to get used to the new interface. If only OS X 10.8 would allow me to run CS4 I would downgrade in a heartbeat. Since I won't be updating to the creative cloud I am afraid I will be stuck with Photoshop CS6 until incompatibility with an even newer OS X will force me to look for a different photo editing app altogether. It's a real shame after all the money I have invested into Photoshop over the years.
Don't let the two dancing gremlins in front of a green iTunes icon fool you…this is a superb audio compression app. Thanks to the developer for maintaining and offering it completely free of charge.