IgorFreiberger's Recent Posts
Creative Cloud and Creative Cloud desktop app are different things. This is an update to the desktop app, a small utility to install Adobe apps, access Behance, use the CC virtual disk and enable TypeKit fonts. In its initial releases, CC app was a nightmare, but Adobe solved all the issues and now it is working quite well. In other hand, for me Creative Cloud rent is much cheaper than perpetual licenses as Adobe unified prices for Americas. After a dubious start, Adobe keeped the word and released several updates during the first year –especially for Photoshop, InDesign and Muse. Integration was improved and corrections were usually quick. Behance pro account, TypeKit, BC hosting and the CC disk are nice additions, although not decisive. TypeKit is surely the weaker point of the bundle. The fonts are limited in a number of ways for both desktop and web usage. If one need to rely on a certain font, it still better to fully license it. BC hosting offers five sites, but with the more basic plan. It would be better to have a choice on this –say, one full hosting with e-coomerce or five baic ones.
The app generates files quickly and the OCR is fair, but the PDF convertion is far from good. ePubs and docs just work if your PDF file is very plain. If they have headers, footers and footnotes, these are messed with the main text. Complex PDFs, with images and illustrations, are converted to unusable files. As the options are extremely limited, there is no way to avoid these problems. I do not recommend it. Better to try PDF Clerk or PDF Nomad, Or just rely on Acrobat.
Since I switched, about 1,5 year ago, I found necessary to have a Finder replacement. Path Finder was one of my first app purchases and I never came back to Finder since them. It offers deep customization, complete control of folders and files, a number of excellent features and a nice UI. The rename tool and the comprehensive adjust of permissions are wonderful. Split window, smart ordering and custom shortcuts are essential resources not available on Finder. Search tool goes far beyond Spotlight and you can keep saved searches. And, if needed, you can also use Path Finder as image viewer or FTP client. Localization to Brazilian Portuguese is almost perfect, much above the average localizations we see in non-Apple apps. Points to improve are help and knowledge documentation, the possibility to reorder lateral panel groups and more control to rename tool. Although a bit expensive, this app deserves every cent Cocoatech asks for it. I am really glad to had chosen PF as a Finder replacement since the beggining of my Mac experience.
InDesign is by far the best DTP available. It still misses some long-text tools, as endnotes, and needs improvements on features like cross-references, variables and vertical alignment. Since version CS5 Adobe included several tools to eBook production, but the way they chose is somewhat bloated and confuse. There are several panels and some learning curve on this. Finally, the huge amount of panels (aka as palettes) must be reduced, with better management of design room. Anyway, the app is still great, with wonderful typographic controls, wide range of printing and color adjusts and nice drawing tools. InDesign works great with Photoshop and Illustrator and is very stable.
To learn using flashcards was quite a simple and far-from-exciting experience for me. Not more. Mental Case impressed me since the very first time I ran it. This app put the flashcards in a whole new level. It combines a beautiful, well-polished interface with a number of excellent features. Firstly, you do not need to leave Mental Case to download card sets (stacks) from the thousands available for free on Quizlet and FlashcardExpress. Stacks can be grouped in cases and freely ordered. In second place, you are not limited to the traditional two-sided cards. Mental Case 2.x can create and handle cards with multiple facets, a convenient resource to complex matters. Card editing allow user to change fonts and colors, insert images and audio and even apply stack-wide format using templates. For each stack you can define a number of controls regarding the way Mental Case will exhibit the cards. A very nice feature is the Learning Schedule option, what lets user to choose between five patterns. Mental Case will keep track of your studies and can handle the card exhibition considering a target deadline or a spaced repetition (the "long-term learning", based on an algorithm). The cards you gave wrong answers or did mark with "wrong" will be showed again after a while until you get it correctly. As small pluses Mental Case groups the recently studied and added cards, the recent wrong answers, the cards not linked to any stack or the ones due to study. Although expensive for a flashcard tool, Mental Case offers much more than any other app I tried. It can be improved in some points, as quicker card edition or more controls when searching though the stacks available on the web. Anyway, the app is quite impressive right now and a real pleasure to use.
When I begun to use a Mac, some months ago, I tested several window managers. SizeUp was my choice: it is a simple, well designed and stable app that do what promises. SizeUp does not bloat the system and you can even hide its menu bar icon. This app lets you define how the screen would be divided. For me, a nice setup is to use 100-0% of vertical space and 75-25% of horizontal. With this, I can use shortcuts to distribute bigger windows to left (as Safari or Together) and small ones to right (as Dictionary or Text Edit). When an application must use all screen room (as Photoshop or InDesign), there is also a shortcut to this. The only improvement I can see is to have two options regarding the center window command: one to just center the window, without any resizing, and other to resize it to a given measure. Today, SizeUp offers this two possibilities, but you chose one or other. To have both would be a good addition.
An useful and stable plug-in, but quite expensive. Its value would be better if InFlow had some additional controls. For example: 1. An option to control vertical alignment of last text frame. This is useful when using vertically justified text frames, where the last one almost surely will be a top aligned one. 2. To enable/disable InFlow for each story. In complex publications, you may want to auto-flow a text and keep manual flow for another. This could be even better with a keyboard shortcut associated. 3. Flow is made accordingly to margins and columns, which is the normal procedure. But it would be even better with an option to keep text frames limited to given guidelines, a possible scenario in newspapers or magazines.
The idea behind Habits is excellent and the app is quite simple. You just install and begin to use as there is no learning curve, the app is completely intuitive. Habits simple approach also helps its own use. To keep a daily control of habits is a habit itself and need to be achieved. An app bloated with features would make harder to develop such a control, but Habits avoids this with its straightforward interface. The app offers integration with Facebook, an ubiquous feature these days. I consider much more adequate to have a kind of alert option using native OS X notification or Growl integration. Habits interface could be improved in two aspects. It may do a better room distribution to show more habits in the list. To reduce a bit the size of icons and text would produce this. And the calendars could advance in weekley basis instead of the usual monthly view. Weeks are more relevant to habit development and to jump between months will hide the yes/no marks from the past month. Another point to improve is the habit entry. You can only use 20 characters to name your habit and there is no way to edit this name. A welcome feature would be a way to save and restore habits history for cases when the user switch to a new computer or need to do a complete system reinstall. Habits initial release has a critical problem regarding the font embedded into the app. To design its nice chalkboard UI, developers used a typeface called Pencil Pete trial, a free font with just the basic A-z characters. Hence you can write just in plain English as letters like á, è, ü, ç, ẞ, œ or ñ are not available. The use of Pencil Pete may also be improper as it is a trial font. Its author says the embedable version is available for sale in his site, what makes uncertain if one is allowed to include it in a commercial product. With some small improvements and an adequate font, Habits would be one of these great 'small' apps which help you to get a better life quality. By now, these issues seriously limit how good it can be.
Together is very useful, easy to use and may improve a number of workflows. This app is helping me in more than one way: 1. Organiztion. I organize dozens of PDF and RTF files within theme groups. Many times, a given file belongs to more than one theme. As Together lets you work with links instead of actual files, you can add itens to more than one group and keep all information well organized. 2. Keep track of studies. I mark with colors the items I did read, what I am reading now or how urgent are the documentos still unread. I also evaluate them with the rating attribute. 3. Take notes. It is easy and handy to create notes companion to a PDF book or article you are reading. As Together supports rich text formating, you can make your notes fully compatible with the format used in text editors (in my case, NeoOffice). 4. PDFs are shwn where you let them. This is a wonderful small feature. I stop to read a PDF in a certain page and when I come back to it the same page is open. No need to bookmark or use any remembering resource. 5. Collect information. I add tons of pages from web to my Together library to read later. You can also convert them to PDF prior to adding and keep track of URL sources. Anyway, some improvements could be made in Together: favorites should be treated as library items instead of be listed just in library tab. The same about quick notes. Library may be opened/changed more easily. And text styles could receive a keyboard shortcut to faster use. Finally, I find the app a bit expensive. Note: I begun to use Together with version 2.6 and did not faced the problems other users reported here. It seems all of them were solved.
The app is not only full of feaures, but it is also extremely fast and very stable. The GUI is brilliant and performes perfectly on Retina screen. I switched from Windows recently and find no need to use the full Acrobat or other edit/imposing tools. Everything I need is possible to achieve with native Preview and PDFClerk Pro. A faster, simpler, and uncluttered solution –not to say a huge saving from Adobe prices.