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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

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Regain Preview Icons with Dropbox in OS X

[UBER Update: Dropbox now officially supports preview icons in OS X!]

[Update: Unfortunately, after a few days running this modification, I have random files getting the green checkbox again. I hope this may serve as a good starting point for others to figure out how to get around the issue though.]

I completely love Dropbox. It has literally changed how I work and manage my project files between my computers. There has been a thorn in the side of this system for a while though, at least in OS X. The icons Dropbox overlays on your file thumbnails to let you know which files are syncing, synced, and excluded from syncing are useful, but they rob the system of the ability to give you preview thumbnails. For instance, take the graphic below of a folder of JPEGs in Dropbox. Instead of a preview of each graphic, you get a blank document icon with a green checkbox. I’ve been making extensive use of “Quick Look” (one of my favorite features brought to the table by Leopard) and the Coverflow folder view to get around this. Unfortunately, it’s still added clicks and keystrokes that just add friction to my workflow. So I’d really like to get rid of these icons and get my previews back. Sure, you lose the ability to see which individual files are syncing, but you can still watch the menu bar icon for Dropbox to see when things are done syncing. If you have Growl notifications enabled, that will be another indication. I think it’s very possible to live without the status icons on each file. Continue Reading

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MultiClutch for your Macbook

If you’ve got a multi-touch gesture enabled Apple notebook computer, you should take a look at the MultiClutch preference pane from Will Henderson. This preference pane lets you assign multitouch gestures (like Swipe Left/Right, pinch, rotate) to keyboard shortcuts on a per-application basis. You can also assign these gestures to global system-wide keyboard shortcuts. This lets you take gestures that normally only work in Apple applications, like swipe left/right for forward/back in Safari, and use them in other applications like Firefox. In the screenshot to the right, I’ve taken swipe up/down and set it to switch between tabs in my iChat chat window.

This feels like the type of thing that should be built into the system, but until it is, Will Henderson has provided an excellent (and free!) tool.

Developers Get Access to iCal Database

iCal iconArs Technica is reporting on (what I think is) a pretty exciting event for OS X software development. Apple has provided software developers with access to the Calendar Store, the system that manages the database of events, todos, and alarms in OS X. This type of access has been possible for the Address Book since 10.2. For instance, you can associate a screen name in Adium with an Address Book entry, and information is populated automatically. Now that same type of interaction can happen between third-party applications and the Calendar database.

I am going to guess that this is going to have an immediately HUGE effect on GTD type applications. The Mac has already seen this market of software grow very quickly. Now these systems will be able to tie into the same database, a database that is also integrated into first-party Apple apps like iCal and Mail.

The area I’m very excited about is calendar synchronization. There are a few tools out already that synchronize online calendars with iCal. Spanning Sync and Plaxo will both sync Google Calendar to iCal, however these require periodic updates and dealing with duplicates can get messy and scary if you make the wrong move in resolving a conflict. Now, I hope we will see instant two-way synchronization that works completely behind the scenes. The Calendar Store access allows applications listen for changes in the Calendar database, and act on them immediately, so I believe that duplicates and other issues related to periodic syncing can be minimized, or in an app to app situation, completely eliminated.

One of the primary reasons I switched my day-to-day computer from Windows to Mac was for the cleanly integrated PIM applications, and I’m ecstatic to see continued and increasing support to make things work together even better.

Via: Ars Technica

Rhino Under Development for OS X

Rhino LogoOne of my most used and favorite 3D modeling programs, Rhino, has been a Windows only deal, so I run a Windows machine next to my iMac, or have to use Bootcamp or Parallels.

Today Ashley showed me (thanks!) that Rhino is under development for Mac OS X! It is currently in private beta, and will become a public beta at some point in the next year. The retail release is over a year away. I’m excited to have such a powerful and widely-used 2D/3D CAD package become native on the Mac. You can get much more information, as well as sign up for the beta, at www.irhino3d.com.

I really try not to be a ‘fanboy’. I use many operating systems and appreciate each for what they do well… but the more work I can do on a single platform, the happier I am.