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Dropbox Officially Supports Mac OSX Preview Icons

I’m a HUGE fan of Dropbox, the file syncing/sharing/versioning service that does an amazing job while completely getting out of the way. One annoyance, though, is that in order for Dropbox to put status icons on top of file thumbnails, the thumbnail previews in OS X were disabled. This made it frustrating to work on files stored inside of a Dropbox synced folder. A while ago, I wrote about some manual tweaks I had found that could get your icon previews back.

Today the official Dropbox Twitter account posted a tweet linking to this post on the Dropbox forums, announcing a new beta build that brings official support for Quicklook preview icons in OS X while retaining Dropbox status badges. I loaded it up and in the few seconds I’ve clicked around my Dropbox files everything seems to be working perfectly.

Old Dropbox with no preview icons

Dropbox with status badges and preview icons

This change makes it so much easier to work within my Dropbox synced folders, and I can’t express how happy I am that the Dropbox team pulled it off. If you haven’t checked out their service before, please head to their website and watch their video ASAP.

3

AutoCAD for OS X Survey

imac-autocad-mockupA couple days ago, Mac:Design (a new site by Develop3D) posted an article speculating about AutoDesk’s potential development of AutoCAD for the Mac OS X platform. Yesterday, Yanko Design followed up with a quick link to the AutoDesk survey about moving the software to the platform. You can also take the survey to contribute your opinion.

It seems like it’s certainly in the cards, especially following AutoDesk’s development of AliasStudio to the Mac platform. The AliasStudio move is huge for many product designers. Having AutoCAD for OS X would open up the platform for a number of other creative and technical professionals. With tools like SolidEdge, iRhino3D (in development) and AliasStudio, the platform is becoming more viable as a product development environment than it has been in the recent past.

[disclaimer: the image on this post is nothing official, I just threw it together for illustrative purposes.]

Via: Mac:Design and Yanko Design

Displaperture

In Mac OS 10.4 Tiger, Apple had a nice detail in the GUI, rounded corners on the screen. The rounds were small, but simulated the rounded corners of older CRT monitors on modern LCD displays. To me, though, the rounded corners meshed well with the precise radiuses that adorn the corners of Apple hardware. Apple got rid of this detail in Mac OS 10.5 Leopard and left a hard 90º corner with no artificial radius.

Displaperture

Tonight I came across a small application by Many Tricks (you may know them from their popular application launcher Butler) called Displaperture that adds radiused corners back to Leopard. An added bonus, you even get control over the size of the radius, and you can scale it from barely visible to impractically intrusive.

Considering that every Apple device sold today runs a LCD display, using this application may seem like a step backward. However, the effect looks GREAT on the new Macbook screen with it’s borderless black bezel. Setting a tight radius on the corners of the screen gives the bezel a consistant and polished look. Below you can see a picture of the effect on my Macbook Pro. It’s not for everyone, but it’s great to see such a simple free tool to set the effect.

Displaperture on my unibody Macbook Pro

1

AliasStudio Coming to Mac

Autodesk AliasStudio

Any product designers fond of the Mac OS X platform will appreciate how monumental this is. In their Manufacturing 2010 Products Webinar [you can access the full webinar here], Autodesk has announced that they will be bringing the AliasStudio line of surface modeling tools to the Mac platform. Core77 transcribes the announcement as follows:

According to product line manager Thomas Heermann, they’ve been building a Mac version for about a year and a half “when [Apple] started shipping really good hardware”, and expect to ship it along with the new Windows version in early April.

Now that Apple is running Mac hardware on the X86 architecture we’re seeing more developers port their previously unavailable software packages to the Mac platform. McNeel has been beta testing a Mac version of Rhino (my personal surface modeler of choice at the moment) for a while now, but it’s not ready for a full release yet. It will be interesting to see if the Mac version of AliasStudio really matches up to the concurrently released Windows version. There are a number of other 3D modeling packages available on the Mac platform already, and Core77 gives a decent summary of options on their site. As a product designer that prefers an OS X work flow, I’m excited to see so many industry standard software packages making their way to the platform.

Via: Core 77 + Autodesk

2

Netatalk for AFP on your iPhone/Touch (and toggle switch)

AFPd in ActionA year and a half ago I wrote a blog post about using AFPd on my hacked iPhone to get access to my phone’s file system through Finder using Apple’s AFP system. When firmware 2.0 came out I went legit with my phone and lost touch with jailbreak app updates. I recently re-jailbroke my iPhone and now I’m having to relearn how to accomplish the things I used to have set up. A lot has changed in a year and a half!

AFPd apparently broke with firmware 2.0, and Netatalk was developed to take its place. You’ll find Netatalk in Cydia. If it’s not showing up under default repositories, do a web search to find out where it’s living. Once installed, you’ll see your device as a shared computer in the left sidebar of Finder. When you select the device, you’ll need to hit “Connect As…” and log in as either root or mobile. If you haven’t changed the password for these accounts, it will be alpine, but you really should change this password. Until you do, anyone who knows anything about Mobile OSX defaults will be able to access your file system.

That point about security brings up another issue… anyone on a Mac on the same WiFi network as your device will see your name in their finder sidebar. It’s not a huge deal, I’m a pretty public person, but I’d still like better control over my name being thrown around in places like coffee shops and other public connections. This is where RupertGee’s Boss Prefs toggle comes in. With it installed, you can turn AFP on and off instantly, letting you control the broadcasting of your name as you roam around networks.

I really think having manual control over this service is a must-have. Instructions on installing the Boss Prefs toggle for AFP are located at RupertGee’s blog here: http://redwolfberry.com/rupertgee/iBlog/2008/11/08/netatalk-toggle-v100/