If you’re anything like me when you’re at your computer, you’re easily distracted by pretty much anything. Create as many Desktops or Spaces as you want, a rogue bouncing icon will kill that nice flow that you’re in.
Enter my favorite hidden feature of OS X: Single Application Mode.
Enabling Single Application Mode causes all of the other apps that are running, to hide from your screen when you click the icon of the app you want to isolate. Everything disappears (but doesn’t quit) but your desired application. In the case of the photo above, it’s iA Writer.
Single Application Mode is phenomenal for minimizing distractions and it can be easily ignored by launching other applications via Spotlight, Alfred, Quicksilver or by bringing something else up that’s currently running with Command + Tab.
In 1999, when Steve Jobs was demoing OS X, everything ran in single application mode, just like your iPhone or iPad does now. Switching apps would cause others to hide, minimizing clutter and distractions.
Obviously things have changed on OS X since then but this feature is still hidden in there and can be enabled by copying and pasting the following code into your Terminal.
First: defaults write com.apple.dock single-app -bool true
Then: killall Dock
If you ever want to disable Single Application Mode, just change the “true” in the first line of code to false, do killall Dock again and you’ll be back in multi-application mode.
If you enjoyed this post, I’d be humbled if you’d follow me on Twitter.
(I originally found out about Single Application Mode over on tidbits.com)
I started using Rdio almost 13 months ago, according to my account statistics. I was working at Next Big Sound, everyone around me was raving about Rdio and Spotify had yet to launch in the US. I gave Rdio a casual spin, dropping $5 on a monthly subscription and using it occasionally in addition to the limited iTunes library on my MacBook Air.
Somewhere around April or May, I noticed my Rdio usage ramping up. I was continually sharing music and finding new things to listen to in the activity stream. The friction to discover a new, unknown album was practically zero. I’d try a new album every morning as I biked to work, occasionally stopping to change albums because my morning experiment had gone so horribly awry.
Then Spotify launched in July in the US. So I gave it a try for a few days. I didn’t really like it and went back to Rdio, without thinking much of it.
You don’t even have to pay attention to music, startups or their intersection to realize that Rdio is incredibly quiet compared to Spotify. Spotify is everywhere you look. You hear about it; people talk about it; it’s plastered all over Facebook in that CNN-like ticker on the side.
I think Spotify initially felt so sexy to everyone who used it because they couldn’t have it for so long. It’s like everyone had one or two friends in Europe with a legal version of Napster for the 21st century and everyone in the US felt left out. When Spotify opened the gates in July, we couldn’t get enough.
You always want what you can’t have.
The funny thing is, Rdio is a better product. Far and away better. It almost feels like a secret to those of us who use it.
But when I look at both products side-by-side, Rdio has soul. It’s got color. There are album covers and user avatars everywhere that attach a human side to the music. Albums that you know nothing about sit there waiting, inviting you to listen with their album covers and recommendations from friends.
Rdio feels human. Spotify feels sterile. It’s the same feeling I remember having right after I got my first computer from Apple (a PowerBook G4). The Dell I had before it was cold, gray and bulky. My Mac was sleek, silver and somehow just felt more personal.
The one feature that I think Spotify does much better is the music inbox. The fact that I can send someone a song, directly to them, without email, Twitter or Facebook, is fantastic. Plus, Spotify is everywhere. They have an incredible marketing department that makes sure Spotify is in your face, all the time. When you think music subscription service, you think Spotify, not Rdio.
Just playing the odds of my audience here, I’m guessing you’re reading this post on some Apple device. And you know that thought that goes through your head when you see a person that you really like using a Windows machine, How can they actually stand that thing? That’s what I think when I see people using Spotify.
Give Rdio a try. You won’t look back.
Photos are a funny thing. On one hand, they’re how we remember our lives. No one wants a photo-less life to look back on. On the other hand, we’re terrible at saving our photos when we sync our phones with our computers.
Let’s say you just restored your iPhone but forgot to pull the photos off and put them neatly into iPhoto before you restored, you just did it on an impulse.
Before you restored, iTunes made a backup of every file on your iPhone. That’s good. Now how do we crack it?
- First, download the iPhone/iPod Touch Backup Extractor for your Mac.
- Next, open the Backup Extractor and click the Read Backups button. This will create a new window that lays over the previous window with a list of iPhone backup files that are living on your harddrive.
- Find the date of the most recent backup that you want to pull photos from. Select the backup and click Choose.
- Next, scroll all the way to the bottom of the list of items and select iOS Files. That’s where all of your photos are. Click Extract and choose the folder that you want to save a new folder to, also called “iOS Files.”
- Find the new iOS Files folder that you just extracted, open it and click the folder called “media.” Open the folder called DCIM and the subsequent folder inside.
Bingo! You’ve unlocked your photos from your backup. Select the ones you want to save, drag them into iPhone or upload them to Flickr or Facebook and you’ve just saved some of your precious memories.
Google recently officially unveiled their new Chrome logo. It’s an improvement but still not great. The new Chrome icon looks less like a villain from the Halo series, which is good, I guess.
Designer Mario Bieh on Dribbble took the new Chrome icon and threw some of his own flavor on top, which I really like:
Bieh linked to his icon files so you too can have this shiny new icon in your Mac’s Dock. Here’s how to install the new icon in place of your existing one:
- Download Bieh’s new Chrome icon files here.
- Unzip the downloaded file and open the folder called NewChromeIcon.
- Click on the .icns file and press Command + i. Leave that open for a second.
- Go to your Macintosh HD and click Applications. Find Chrome, click it and hit Command + i to inspect that file as well.
- You should now have two long, skinny inspector windows open, one for Chrome and one for the new icon.
- Click the inspector window for the new icon and click the icon specifically, like so:
- Press Command + C or copy your selection.
- Click the Chrome inspector window with the old icon and select the old, ugly icon.
- Press Command + V or paste the new icon over the old one. You should see the changed icon reflected immediately in the inspector window.
- Close all windows, restart Chrome once or twice and you should be good to go, the new icon will appear in your dock, in your folders and in your heart.
That should do it. Enjoy!
Page 1 of 3