Secrets For Adventurous Mac Fans

Secrets is a new project from the creator of Quicksilver. It tracks hidden preferences in many Mac applications and provides an interface to them through a unified Preference Pane.

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Some of these hidden preferences are no doubt hidden for a reason, but I’m sure there is few little things everyone would like to adjust. Take a look at a list of all of the documented preferences or download the software here. But be warned: not for the faint of heart.

Inquisitor Ads

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Inquisitor is a great little plugin for Safari that I found about a year ago, and have been loving ever since. I believe technically it is an “Input Manager”, but that doesn’t really pertain to the story. What Inquisitor does is add functionality to the built in search bar, making the experience of web search similar to that of using Spotlight. It updates the results as you type, which gives you the feeling that the entire web is right at your fingertips, and then presents you with about three possible hits, as well as a couple of related searches. I find that one of the suggested results is usually what I’m looking for, and if not I can just hit Return which takes me to the full Google search results page.

I highly recommend Inquisitor for anyone using a Mac, as it adds another level of functionality to Safari’s built in search, looks great doing it, and is completely free. Which brings me to the second part of this post, regarding the recent uproar over the fact that some of the results that Inquisitor provides are product links to Amazon and the Apple Store. The developer uses the revenue generated from the affiliate links to support the development of the software. I don’t see any problem with the developer, David Watanabe, finding a way to profit from his work, and I have never even noticed that some of the links were altered.

What I find ridiculous, is that not only are people so upset with this, but that they have been using this software for over a year with absolutely no complaints, then someone cries foul, and it is suddenly an outrage.

Watanabe’s response:

It’s been like this ever since Inquisitor 3 was released 16 months ago. This behavior is public knowledge, and after over a year of soak-time in the public with no complaints it should be a non-issue. So, imagine my surprise when I wake up to a mailbox containing words unfit for publication, blogs declaring me as the biggest asshole in the world, and demands that people sabotage and steal my work.

When I read that post yesterday, I was discouraged, but not enough so to write a response. But that changed today when I saw an article at The Apple Blog, with the tagline:

Sigh. One of my favorite add-ons for Safari, Inquisitor, has unfortunately been removed from my computer.

Seriously? You are removing some of your favorite software from your computer because the developer had the audacity to try to make a few bucks in such in unintrusive way that you hadn’t even noticed it, much less had to fork over a single dime? That does not make any sense to me.

Sigh. One of the mediocre blogs about Apple, The Apple Blog, has unfortunately been removed from my news reader.

NetNewsWire is Now Free

NetNewsWire, which seems to be the “best in breed” RSS feed reader for the Mac, is now a free download. I actually use NewsFire, but have only heard great things about NetNewsWire, and its developer, Brent Simmons.

If you are not using RSS feeds yet, I highly suggest it, and if you don’t know what RSS feeds are, then you should read this.

I will be giving NetNewsWire a try now that is free, to see how it stands up to NewsFire. I will post an update regarding my findings here.

Desky

Okay one more quick post for the night. I could go on, but I don’t want to use up all my good ideas…

Here is the first post in a series on all the cool apps I’ve found recently. I just got this one tonight, and I love it. Small, simple, free. In other words, perfect.

Desky is a little app that changes your desktop picture. Its beauty lies in the fact that you only have to drag a picture onto the icon and it opens up, changes the background, and quits all in a matter of seconds. And with OS X’s ubiquitous drag-and-drop capabilities, you can do cool things like drag an image right off of a webpage onto the icon in the dock, and “voila!”, instant desktop glory.

Finder gripes

MacUser has a good run through of ComputerWorld’s “15 Things Apple Should Change in Mac OS X”. The only one I really have an issue with is #7: Inconsistent User Interface. Thats where UNO comes into play. This great little utility changes all your windows to the “unified” look, which IMHO makes everything look much… awesomer.

I always thought brushed metal was kind of cheesy.

New iMacs

Today Apple released upgrades to its line of iMac computers, and unveiled a new member of the fam’, the 24” iMac. The entire line now sports the Core 2 Duo processors as well. Very nice. I hope my cute little 20” can’t tell I’ve been coveting other rigs.

The fastest iMac ever, the 24-inch iMac provides professional performance along with the convenience of an all-in-one design. Like its 17-inch and 20-inch siblings, it features the new 64-bit Intel Core 2 Duo processor with speeds ranging from 1.83GHz to 2.33GHz. The new processor delivers up to 50% more performance than the previous 20-inch iMac. It also doubles the amount of L2 cache, the twin cores sharing 4MB between them.

Go get one. [update: Impulsive Highlighters Unite! has a nice analysis of these new machines.]

Widgets on your desktop

Ask Dave Taylor has a very simple technique for getting your widgets out of Dashboard and onto your desktop. This is a cool little trick, but not terribly useful as the widgets float on top of all your windows. If they behaved like other windows, or just sat directly on the desktop, I would get much more use out of them.

Regardless, I think my little orange calculator has found a new home.