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Afloat – the Various Features

April 25th, 2013 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Mac - (0 Comments)

In a previous article, I gave you all sort of an introduction to using Afloat. This article will be more detailed and will focus on the numerous aspects of this amazing app available for MAC users.

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How Does Afloat Help in Working with Several Windows?

You don’t need to flip through the several open windows, using Afloat; you can simply put the source window above others. While using Afloat, go to the source window and then hit this: “Command + Control + A”. This will make the window always floating above. If you wish the window to be transparent, you can use this: “Control + Command + 1″.

The transparency level can be controlled using this: “Command + Control + Page Up/Down”. You can even use “Command + Control + Two finger scroll on the multi touch trackpad”. If you wish the window to get back to non-transparent state, use this: “Command + Control + 0″.

That’s not all! There’s a command to overlay as well: from Window –> Adjust Effect menu or Command + Control + F.

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If the window you need is located in a different space from the window you are using currently, you can configure it through Afloat options as well. Hence, the tool eliminates the need of turning off spaces or moving the required window around Spaces.

You can quickly resize a window, by hitting this: Command + Control key, when you click & drag the right mouse button anywhere within the window. A quick drag can be performed using Command + Control and the left mouse button as well.

If you wish to know the location of a file, on which you are working on currently, Afloat can help even with that. Just hit this: “Command + Control + Up arrow”.

Afloat works because it has hosts of features that you’ll love to have in an app. I love it and I’ll like to hear what the other users have to say as well.

In recent times, if I think of an advantage of using MAC, I will probably think of AirPlay first. If you somehow have not heard of this as of yet, this allows you to stream video and audio between Apple devices which have AirPlay enabled. For an example, you can stream videos from the iPad YouTube app to the Apple TV.

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What is AirPlay?

This is a system designed by Apple which is used to stream content between various enabled devices. Thereby, using the same, you can stream audio from your laptop or desktop computer to the sound systems which are AirPlay enabled. This will work even for the regular sound systems which are complemented with an AirPlay enabled AirPort. Before the release of Mountain Lion, it was only possible to stream music from within iTunes with usage of AirPlay. However, now, thanks to this newly released operating system from Apple, all system audio should be compatible. You don’t need to buy any third party software, when you try to stream Spotify or YouTube audio to the AirPlay enabled audio systems.

Disadvantages of AirPlay

AirPlay is great, but, it’s not a perfect system. There are a couple of disadvantages that I can think of at this point of time and below are those explained:

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The AirPlay system of Apple is proprietary and that means, you can only use it in the Mac OS X and iOS devices. Hence, the numerous users of Windows-Apple crossover are out in the cold.

AirPlay mirroring is only available on the recent Apple hardware. This is way of streaming the content of your system display to an Apple TV. If you are using an old MAC, the AirPlay mirroring icon simply doesn’t appear in the menu bar of the MAC OS X. If you are looking for the complete list of supported computers, I’ll recommend you to go through the Apple support article at this link: www.support.apple.com/kb/HT5404.

I promised to come back with another part for discussing MPlayerX and here it is. I’ll straight go to the other features of the app now:

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Syncing Audio and Video

If the video and audio gets out of sync, you can manually fix this issue while playing the same through MPlayerX. Go to the “AVS” option on top of the screen and then click on either of the two options available: “Decrease Audio Delay” and “Increase Audio Delay.” You have to work along it manually to adjust things and make video sync with audio; however, the effort is worth it.

More on Preferences Option

Different kinds of playback options can be set up through the preferences menu. You can actually play each video in full screen right when you open the same; you can adjust options for streaming, subtitles, audio etc. as well.

You need to simply pinch and pull for expanding or shrinking the player window. Therefore, you can make adjustments pretty quickly and that too without breaking the momentum while you are watching a video. For full screen, you just need to do a double tap. Swiping up raises the volume and similarly, the app works for swiping down.

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For me, MPlayerX works big time, because, the app is free to use and more importantly, you can play videos of any possible format under the sun. The video player has a slick style associated with it and that kind of syncs it up with the overall look of a MAC. I am not saying that MPlayerX is the best video playing app for MAC users, but, if you are not happy with the current one that you are using, you should probably give it a try. Once you do, don’t forget to share your experience with me through the comments section.

Some Basic Advantages of MPlayerX

April 17th, 2013 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Mac - (0 Comments)

If you are a MAC user, there are plenty of options for you, when it comes to the video player. You have VLC, XBMC or even the QuickTime media player owned by Apple. I am not saying that these video players are bad, but, if you are ready to make the big change, I’ll suggest you to take a look at MPlayerX. It comes up with tons of features which you will find to be useful while watching your favorite videos.

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Videos in almost every format can be played through this app and that too with the best codecs available (The advantage is that you don’t need to download any additional plug-ins). Hence, rest assured, any video setting on your hard drive will be able to play videos with ease. There are many organization tools for your media as well, so in a few minutes, you can start enjoying the videos in a beautiful way.

First of all, you must select a video that you wish to watch from your computer. There is an option to play videos directly from the internet as well (You’ll find an option called “Open URL” from the file menu on the screen’s top side).

There are options for altering the look while the video is playing. Go to the Windows menu on the top of the screen and there, you will see options to change sound and color in the video. The menu is pretty similar to the one you see in your television. Therefore, you can fix issues with the picture that may be present in the particular file.

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MPlayerX can automatically detect and convert the encoding method of the subtitle file. There are plenty of languages supported by MPlayerX such as: all Latin based languages, Arabic, Eastern Asian, Hebrew etc.

It’s pretty hard to talk about all the features of MPlayerX in a single article. So, stay tuned for the next part!

While using the MAC, I keep a lot of tabs and windows open. I am sure the case is the same for most of the other MAC users as well. We are kind of used to opening numerous windows at a single time and it’s not really possible to imagine running a MAC with a single window open. Well, I generally need information of one tab in another and it requires my agility to switch back and forth between tabs and windows all the time.

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Well, there are some MAC shortcuts available to help you with this such as Alt + Tab (For switching between windows), Control + F3 (For showing all the opened windows within a single application) etc. You can even use Spaces for separating the entertainment windows from the working windows.

Today, I’ll be talking about a MAC app named as Afloat. The app has so many features that it may get tough to describe everything in a single article. But, anyway, let’s start over here:

Installing Afloat

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Well, the installation process is not similar to other MAC apps available. You don’t just need to drag and drop the app, rather Afloat requires SIMBL before you can put the same into action.

For using Afloat, you need to restart all the opened applications after installing it. The new menus will be added under Windows Menu of the application as sub menus. You will find options such as Keeping Afloat, Transparency, Turn Overlays Back to Normal, Adjust Effects, Show Window’s File in Finder etc.

Afloat is not programmed to work for Carbon apps such as iTunes and Finder. But, if you use Snow Leopard, chances are high that even for these apps, Afloat will work. Well, I’ll come back with a new article describing the advantages of Afloat soon. In the meantime, let me know what your initial thoughts are on Afloat.

Some of us like to read reviews and some like to write them. Well, certain people like to do both (I am one of them). If you have ever written an application review, you must have had a hard time to organize all the application screenshots! Well, some people upload the screenshots for easy sharing. However, manually uploading screenshots one by one can turn out to be a monotonous job. Not anymore though! With help of GrabBox, you can easily upload the screenshots to Dropbox, however; you need to be a MAC user for using the same.

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The application is a free to use desktop application and it is compatible with Mac OS X versions: 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8.

How to Use?

You can download the application from its official web page (grabbox.devsoft.no); it comes in a ZIP archive and is sized at around 1.5 MB. When you launch it for the first time, it will ask you to copy the link to your Public folder in the Dropbox drive on your system. Thereby, it links to your Dropbox account’s public folder. Now, whenever you take any screenshot in your system, the image file will automatically be copied to your Dropbox’s public folder. After uploading the same, it will be your decision that whether you want to keep a backup copy in your system or not.

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The Dropbox URLs to these screenshots are auto-shortened by this application and you can even tweet the same from your system. If you don’t like manually naming the screenshots, GrabBox will take care of that through automatic renaming.

GrabBox is fun to use, if you upload a lot of screenshots to Dropbox. The features are limited, but, the application perfectly serves what it claims to. I’ll give it thumbs up.

MAC is definitely one of the finest inventions of Apple. This hardware with an awesome operating system has single handedly put a hold on the huge business of Windows. Well, MAC surely is capable of doing a lot of jobs; however, it’s not invincible.

Well, there are signs to identify that your MAC has got some problem, but, we often are not aware of those. This article will help you to identify these problems and act:

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Freezing on Apple Logo

Sometimes, you will see the MAC to freeze while starting up. This generally means that the OSX installation is corrupt. In addition, if this happens, you will see the MAC having trouble in identifying the external or internal hardware. In such a scenario, you need to take help of the Safe Mode. If, even this doesn’t work, try to use the Archive and Install option.

Bizarre Start up Tones

While MAC loads, we usually hear a sexy chime. However, if you hear a different start-up tone, possibly your MAC has got bad RAM. You can even experience blinking of the sleep lights in such a scenario. To check this properly, you can remove the RAM DIMM and then try to restart.

Well, in this problem, not always RAM can be blamed. Even a bad power board, video card or logic board can cause the same weird sound. If you are not able to get to the root of the problem, it’s best to get in touch with the Apple’s technicians.

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Kernel Panics

Kernel panics are generally denoted by blank desktops or blue screens. A Bad RAM, hardware troubles, hard drive corruption or corrupt fonts can cause this. To deal with the same, you can use a secondary emergency account or try to boot the system in safe mode.

I hope this article will prove to be helpful for you. If you are facing any of the aforementioned problems or facing any other issue with your MAC, please feel free to comment below and share the same.

We all are busy and in this tech-savvy world, most of the times we use a computer for completing our work. In the process we end up our machine having a desktop with numerous icons, files, folders, launch signals etc. We have a general tendency of dumping everything in the system desktop and thereby, when we actually need a file, searching for it becomes hard and troublesome.

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So, is there any solution? Well, as long as you use Mac, you indeed have one. For a cleaner desktop on your Mac system, you can check out Desktop Tidy. This tool will automatically place the files in your desktop to a separate shadowed folder and this process is completed automatically. Thereby, the desktop clutter is removed. This app works automatically, so anything that’s need to be done from your end? You just need to configure the time when Desktop Tidy will run and move the clutter.

You can access the shadow folder of this app through hotkeys or from the menu bar as well. If you wish, you can set filters and also keep some files or folders in the ignore list, so that those are not put under the shadow folder. In case you need to work on a file that’s on the shadow folder, the restore process just takes a single click. In case some changes occur in the shadow folder, you are given a notification on the same as well.

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The app is highly configurable and comes with a small size of 0.8 MB only. The app is compatible with any Mac OS X version that’s 10.6.6 or higher. You can even set that how much of space should this app take to work as well. I liked it as it’s simple to use. My desktop is pretty clean already, so I probably won’t need it. Do any of my visitors have experience of using this app already?

Do you use an instant messaging client for your Mac? If not, try out Adium. This connects with most of the prominent instant messaging services and the interface provided is nice as well.


Where to download?

You won’t find Adium from the official Mac app store. However, it is available at Adium.im.

Chat clients supported

The list is pretty long:

  • Google Talk
  • LiveJournal Talk
  • Gizmo5
  • AOL Instant Messenger
  • ICQ
  • MySpaceIM
  • IBM Lotus Sametime
  • Facebook Chat
  • MobileMe
  • Gadu-Gadu

Adium does not support Facetime and Skype though. However, there is still a workaround if you wish to use Skype with Adium. You need to download the Skype extension for Adium and run Skype while using Adium.


User Interface

As soon as you launch it, you will see who are online right in the main window (Online users from all the different instant messaging clients that you have added to Adium). Click on any online user and then start chatting. If you wish, you can drag one entry to another to combine the duplicates (If the same contact is online in two different clients). You can even start a conversation right from the system tray. In this case, all the contacts are displayed under a drop down menu.


It’s possible to do further customization to Adium through AdiumXtras and some of the key changes that you can do are:

  • You can see the links to images as embedded images.
  • You can chat even when you are playing a game (You don’t need to leave the full screen menu of the game).

These are only two points that I mentioned above. You can browse through the AdiumXtras feature to find out what other changes you can bring.

If you a Mac user and chat with others, Adium is must for you. Try it out and I don’t see any reason for which you should complain. I’ll also request you to share your experience through the comments feature.

Evom – a Fast Mac Video Conversion App

November 26th, 2012 | Posted by Costea Lestoc in Mac - (0 Comments)

Video converting is something that all of us need to do on a regular basis. If you’re using Mac, you’ll get too many options to choose from. However, if you have a particular purpose of sending the newly converted files to iTunes and then sync those with your device, Evom fits in perfectly.


A bit on the app

Little App Factory is the producer of this app and you can basically drag-drop videos and then convert those through this app. The app works really fast and it takes full advantage of the multi-core processor of your Mac.

How to use?

You can download it for free from the official page: www.thelittleappfactory.com/evom. Now, after installation process is completed, you can open it and drag the specific video folder that you want to convert video from.  You can even select the iTunes option and in that case, converted videos will directly move to your iTunes folder.


After you drop a video file on this app, you’ll see a configuration box popping up. You can specify different details of the output file on that configuration box such as: video output folder, output video title, quality and output format. Different output formats supported by Evom are: FLV, HTML5, AVI, MPG, MOV, MP4 etc. If you wish, you can extract the audio from a video file as well and convert the same to different formats such as: MP3 and OCG. Additionally, you can convert videos directly to a format that’s supported by Apple TV.

After finalizing the options, you need to click on Convert button and the process will start.

Evom works pretty fine for me, but, if you are looking for other options, you can try out MacX Video Converter and Handbrake as well. If you have used all of these 3 video conversion apps for Mac, which did you find to be the best? Please share your thoughts through the comments section.

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