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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.

Sync Facebook Pics to Address Book

AddressBookSyncSo the Palm Pre came out today, and I’m mainly jealous of one feature on the handset… Synergy. This is the system that takes in contact information from several sources (Google, Facebook, etc.) and merges it all into one comprehensive address book. The iPhone doesn’t handle contact information quite as gracefully, but today I set out to give myself some illusion of the functionality by finding a way to easily import Facebook profile pictures into my Address Book.

A quick Google search later I came across this DownloadSquad article pointing to the free application AddressBookSync. As DownloadSquad notes, there used to be an app called Facebook Sync that would import all information from Facebook contacts into the OS X Address Book, but it was pulled when Facebook cited Terms of Service violations. AddressBookSync doesn’t pull in much contact information, but it will import profile pictures, birthdays, and location from Facebook into matching names in your Address Book.

I installed the app and ran it and quickly synced 71 photos, birthdays, and locations to my Address Book, and subsequently, to my iPhone. I really love having images that my contacts personally picked to represent themselves pop up when I get a phone call from them. I hope that some day this type of functionality will be an over the air sync option inside of the iPhone itself. Until then, AddressBookSync is a fast manual way to make sure that Palm Pre users aren’t having ALL the fun.

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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.

Photorec: Digital Photo Recovery Tool

Back Entrance

Yesterday I was walking around Downtown Austin snapping some photos with my Canon XTi. I haven’t gotten out to take photos in a while, and I just moved to the area, so I was having a lot of fun. I framed a shot and pulled the trigger and nothing happened… I looked down at the screen and saw an error message about my CF card. Crap! I cycled the power, pulled the battery, pulled the card, all to no avail. I swapped CF cards and went on with my day, chalking the early shots up as lost.

When I got home I hit Google, looking for a free tool to recover data from a corrupt storage device. I knew that there were several apps available, but these few random shots weren’t worth the ~$50 price tag of most tools. I was also looking for a tool that I could use in OS X. Booting into Windows for a tool like Recuva was an option, but I was enjoying the challenge of finding something that would work in OS X as well. (Recuva may work great, was recommended to me by Kitch, but I never loaded it up.)

I came across a blog post by Jeffrey Friedl talking about his success with PhotoRec, a cross platform (and I mean, every platform you can think of) tool for recovering files from corrupt file systems, or recovering deleted files from anything. Jeffrey’s post outlined, step by step, how to recover photos from a corrupt memory card in OS X using Photorec.

If you’ve ever had a memory card go corrupt on you, give PhotoRec a try before you give up. I’ll be keeping a copy of this utility on my thumbdrive for all major operating systems from now on.

Jeffrey Friedl’s Blog – Recovering Photos from a Corrupt Memory Card with PhotoRec

PhotoRec Official Website

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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