Magic Mice and Menu Bars

Finally caught a Magic Mouse which is as good as anticipated. I did not have a problem with the old [W:Apple Mighty Mouse] although a lot of people complained about them. I have a Logitech wireless mouse that I used with the old Mac but never got around to setting it up with the new Mac – the Mighty Mouse that came with it has done the job.

I did add Magic Prefs but have not really needed the extra pinches or swipes as yet – but will experiment with configuring it for flying X Plane. Magic Prefs added yet another icon to the ever leftward expansion across the menu bar so here is a quick check of what they are (admittedly some could be removed as they are never used and I have no idea why they are there πŸ˜‰ )….
menu bar

From the left….

    Magic Prefs – adds extra controls to the Magic Mouse
    Spam Sweep – Within minutes of launching the demo Spam vanished… purchased minutes later.
    Library Books – Monitirs your library account and reminds you when stuff is due back.
    Savvy Clipboard – expands the usefulness of the clipboard.
    BwanaDik – any software named after a Zappa song must be good.
    Scribblet – fuss-free aide-mémoires. Updated to Version 2 today.
    Weather Dock – Saves having to look out of the window πŸ˜‰
    Growl – pops up and tells you what you are listening to on Spotify, or when you have email, or when NetNewsWire has just refreshed etc. etc.
    Caffeine – Keeps your Mac awake.
    iStat Menus – Monitors the system if you enjoy watching that kind of thing. Who doesn’t? πŸ˜‰
    Universal access – some of the other stuff needs some of this stuff to be on so they can do their thing.
    AppleScripts – Tweak you Mac to do what you want, when you want, how you want it done.
    Bluetooth – Lets Magic Mice talk to Macs
    Spaces – multi desktops thingy
    Spell Catcher – monitors your typing and corrects your spilling milkshakes.
    Time Machine – auto back up and then some.
    AirPort – wifi monitor
    Date & Time – this is why you buy a Mac πŸ™‚
    User Account switch – what it says.
    SpotLight – search everything everywhere.

Spell catcher: At last the Snow Leopard update

Apple’s Snow Leopard update of Mac OS X was first announced on 9th June 2008. It was released on 28th August 2009. Some companies took a day or two to release an update to their own software so it was better integrated with the new OS. Some took a week or so. Rainmaker released an update to their excellent Spell Catcher X software on 13th January 2010. Is this a record?

All I need now, for a complete set, is FinderPop but I can wait for a full recovery first.

Snow Leopard

It is interesting to note the varied experiences with Snow Leopard. For what it is worth my installation time was 43 minutes. A single disc and a couple of clicks affair – if I had a five year old to hand I could have left them to do it without any problems.

Space saved
Space saved

I regained nearly 23GB of disc space. Perhaps I should delete some of my accumulated junk and gain even more disc space. The original Leopard screenshot was named “Picture 59” (59! Perhaps I should delete some of my accu… ) but the shiny new one is called “Screen shot 2009-08-29 at 13.41.54”

Although most things seem to work fine I am constantly lost without FinderPop but I suppose the Turly fellow has some kind of an excuse and we can wait a while longer. Meanwhile I dragged my FinderPop Items folder into the Dock so at least some familiar stuff can be quickly found amongst all the clutter. Perhaps I should delete some of my accu…

To make 1Password version 2 work you need to drop Safari down to 32 bit mode from it’s Info pane:

32 Bit option
32 Bit option

But the Snow Leopard friendly version 3 is currently being tested and should be with us soon.

Another trusty assistant is Spell Catcher which does seem a little tetchy at the moment but I shall follow their advice and see if I can make it a little happier.

The swanky Services looks like it will be quite useful once it is configured for the individual’s needs.

Services menu
Services menu

I have not noticed any real problems so far. Even my creaky old PhotoShop 8 (the first CS version) seems to work fine. Things certainly seem snappier. Scrolling through a long list of stuff (Perhaps I should delete some of my accu… ) in a Finder window is notably smooth and fast. Spotify takes a long time to connect but I am not sure if that is a Snow Leopard thing or a Spotify thing.

I did do a full bootable backup of the old Leopard disc before the update so it will be interesting to go back after awhile with Snow Leopard and see just how different it feels.

Itching to programme?

Someone asked yesterday how to make sprites move up and down when using Scratch. I have not done anything with Scratch for a while so I was inspired to download the latest version and give it a whirl.

Scratch logo
Scratch logo

Scratch was developed at the [W:MIT Media Lab] Lifelong Kindergarten (doesn’t that sound like a great place to work?) and it provides a simple drag & drop means of building a [W:Java applet]. These can uploaded to the Scratch website and shared with others.

If Scratch is too basic for your needs then I can commend Greenfoot which is a step closer to proper Java programming. Another option is the RunRev’s RevMedia which uses an English like language. All of these options are free.

Although there are a lot of examples with Scratch there still seems to be a need for an introduction to creating a simple game. So here it comes πŸ™‚

My infallible guide to Scratch page will answer some if not all of your questions.

Library Books software for Gloucestershire

Harold Chu’s Library Books software for Mac OS X tracks your borrowings and reminds you when they need returning/renewing. I had messed with an earlier version but never managed to get it to connect to the local library service. A new version was in today’s MacUpdate listing but as Gloucestershire was not included in the preset UK libraries I had another go at getting it to work. Success πŸ™‚

So if you live in [W:Gloucestershire], are a member of the library, have a Mac and a tendency to forget to return stuff this is what you need.

Install and run the Library Books software. It only appears as a star icon in the menu bar. Click on the star icon and select Preferences. Select the Logins section and click the + button to add a new library.
From the Library drop down menu select Generic Catalogue Systems – TalisPrism / Talis Catalogue System.

The Library Books Settings Pane
The Library Books Settings Pane

In the General settings add a Name and your Borrower numbet. PIN can be left blank.

In the Catalogue section add:
Catalogue host: http://www.searchourshelves.gloucestershire.gov.uk
Library Web Page: http://www.libraries.gloucestershire.gov.uk/
Date format: dd/mm/yyyy
Click the Save button.

That’s it!

Click on the Star icon and select Update and it will fetch a list of your borrowed items. The number of items are displayed next to the star. You can make the star change colour the day before an item is due to be returned and/or add the dates to iCal so that it will also remind you.

The software is free and no more late return charges πŸ˜‰

Update: The details were sent to Harold Chu the developer who says that they will added to the Preset list in future versions.

Final Cut Studio upgrade

It was quite fortuitous that the day I decided I would order an upgrade for my creaky old antiquated version 1 of Final Cut Studio was the very day Apple updated the software to the new version 3. It only took 4+ hours to install! Which was not quite as long as the 17 hours it was predicting.

17 Hour update!
17 Hour update!

So now I have a whole lot of new toys to play with and distract myself from actually finishing any of the numerous projects I have on the go πŸ˜‰

The Revolution Run Around – Guess the number

I have been messing around with the Revolution software which is generally pretty neat but occasionally deeply frustrating – which is not necessarily a bad thing. It is based on Apple’s old [W:Hypercard] so I had some inkling of how it would/should work but the documentation (as is often the way with such things) can leave you wandering around in a circle, so close and yet so far, but the support forums are very, erm, supportive so I did manage to put together (and finish!) a (very) simple guess the number game to see how it all fits together.

The Guess The Number game
The Guess The Number game

The Revolution software does generate versions of your creations for some other non-Mac computers but I do not know if they actually work (the alternate versions not the other computers πŸ˜‰ )

Download the Linux version or the Mac OS X Version or the Windows version.

Perhaps I need a separate page to document my explorations…