Expanding Pastebot Sync

I have grown to like having a clipboard manager on my computer. It’s an application that lives in the background of your system, copying a history of whatever you copy into your clipboard, so you can go back and recall these items later. There are quite a few out, and while I’ve been using PTHPasteboard for a while, I recently started trying out ClipMenu (thanks for the tip Alan!) on my Mac.

Back in December, Tapbots released Pastebot for the iPhone, which does the exact same thing in the mobile space. Though, because you can’t “officially” run background processes on the iPhone, the application grabs whatever is in your clipboard when you launch the app. I’ve been using Pastebot on my iPhone for a little while now, and I love it. TUAW has a great writeup on what Pastebot is.

One of the killer reasons to use Pastebot is that it allows for two-way clipboard synchronization between your iPhone and your Mac when you install Pastebot Sync on your desktop system. When your phone and computer are active on the same network you can move items between your clipboards instantly. This is a GREAT way to move images and notes between systems.

However, I realized that I’m running a clipboard manager on my Mac, a clipboard manager on my iPhone, and a third tool to sync. I wonder if the developers behind Pastebot can turn Pastebot Sync into a full-fledged desktop clipboard history tool. I’d throw another $10 their way if they could deliver the complete solution: clipboard management for the desktop AND mobile phone while providing the integration to move data between the two. I basically have that functionality now, but I also feel like there’s some redundancy in the software I’m running.


iTunes 9 Mini Player is a Swipe Away

iTunes 9 Mini Player

iTunes has two modes, the full window mode where you get full functionality, and a “Mini Player” mode that shrinks the program down into a small rectangle that still serves basic controls. On the Mac, switching between these two modes was accomplished with the green (unless you use the graphite color scheme in OS X) + button next to close and minimize. For any other window in the system though, this button toggles the size of the window to go full or fit content. iTunes broke the UI conventions, but it was serving a pretty nice purpose so most everyone forgave it. Hitting the + button to toggle between the full and mini players certainly became second nature to me.

Installing iTunes 9 brought along a nasty surprise. Apple had changed the behavior of a standard click on the + button to resize the window, just like every other application window. Getting to the mini player required holding down the Option key while clicking the + button. Not a huge deal, but it certainly interrupted the established behaviors of users.

Multiclutch Preferences Pane

With the loss of a single click for the mini player, we gained a new shortcut combination: Command Shift M. (Thanks for the heads up @cesart) With the discovery of a shortcut I did what I do with any other shortcut I use frequently. I threw it into Multiclutch. I assigned Command Shift M to the up and down three-finger swipe gesture for iTunes. Now I can switch between full and mini player modes in iTunes with a quick swipe on the trackpad. It’s actually even better than clicking on the + button like we had to do before iTunes 9. This doesn’t help desktop users any, though, and I’m hoping a simple utility or command line hack will pop up letting users switch the + button’s behavior back to toggling the mini player.


Move your Boot Camp with Winclone

Winclone IconI recently replaced the 250gig HDD that came in my Macbook Pro with a new 500gig drive. I installed a fresh copy of OS X on the drive, and then restored all of my files from my Time Machine backup during the initial setup on the first boot. Everything went much smoother than I was expecting, but the process didn’t help me move my installation of Windows XP on my Boot Camp partition.

I plugged my old 250gig system drive into an external USB enclosure and tried manually copying the Boot Camp installation into a blank Boot Camp partition on my new hard drive. I wasn’t expecting it to work, and it lived up to my expectations when it didn’t. My assumption is that there are issues with things like the Master Book Record that can’t be solved with a simple file copy.

I did a web search and found a (free, donationware) utility called Winclone that was created for backing up Boot Camp partitions into image files, and then deploying those image files onto new machines. The application made an image file out of my original Boot Camp partition with no problem, even though it was living on an external HDD at the time. I then used OS X’s Boot Camp Assistant to make a new partition on my new hard drive a little bit larger than my old BC partition. (I tried making them the same size at first, but the new one always ended up being a little bit smaller and the restore operation would fail.) Once I had the new partition, Winclone restored my image file to it relatively quickly.

When Winclone makes the image file you can compress it so that the image is only as large as the actual used space of the partition. This means if you had a 32gig install of XP on a 60gig partition, your image file backup will only be 32gig instead of 60gig. I think Winclone will be a great tool for doing periodic image backups of my XP install that can then be dumped onto my external archive drive. Before, I didn’t have any backup solution for my XP install beyond Dropbox.

At any rate… if you find yourself needing to migrate a Boot Camp installation from one hard drive to another, or one Mac to another, give Winclone a serious look.

Winclone Homepage

Yip: Growl Notifications for Firefox

If you’re using a Mac, and you’re not using Growl, you should go grab that right now. I’ll wait until you come back to continue.

Great, now that you have Growl installed, I want to tell you about the Yip Firefox extension. Yip lets you get Growl notifications from websites that have  notifications enabled using the Prism and Fluid (those are apps that let you run websites as if they were desktop applications) APIs. I found out about the Yip plugin from the Meebo blog, and Meebo seems like one of the web apps to benefit most from Growl notifications.

So head over to the Yip homepage and install the plugin to see what sites are pushing notifications that you didn’t even know about.