How To Free Up Some Dock Space On Your Mac With A Little Help From GhostTile

If you’ve been around the Mac for more than a few years and you’ve begun to collect a few apps, then we have one thing in common. A Dock that’s stuffed with Mac apps. Love it or hate it, the Dock is utilitarian, easy to understand and use, but suffers from a common compression disorder. The more apps in the Dock, the smaller the Dock icons for each app. Here’s a way to get a little more Dock space but keep the applications nearby.

Enter GhostTile, a simple Mac utility which hides applications from the Dock.

Think about the benefits. A much less cluttered Dock of applications, but with app availability. GhostTile even hides the app when you switch from one app to another when using Command-Tab.

GhostTile lets you hide running apps from the Dock three different ways.

GhostTile Screenshot

First, just drag and drop onto GhostTile any app you want to hide from the Dock. Or, select the app from the Mac’s Application folder. Or, click on the app’s icon while it’s visible in the Dock.

Configuration is straightforward, too. Settings let you configure GhostTile on a per app basis. Plus, there are keyboard shortcuts to bring an app to the front. Switching back to a visible Dock app is equally simple. Click on the Menubar shortcut, use the Quick Switch window, or setup an alias folder on the Dock (my favorite).

The OS X Dock has been around as long as the Finder and has received about as much love from Apple. Yes, it works, but could do much more, including an option to view multiple docks with a click. GhostTile frees up a little Dock space but acts like a utility launcher, too.

Yelper Shamed

As is the case with nearly everything on social media where members can comment, take what is written or posted with a skeptical grain of salt. Here’s a perfect example of Yelper who gave a one star review on a restaurant where he didn’t even bother to eat. Andrew Dalton:

According to Yelper Dan W., the staff of the small family-run restaurant refused to seat his party of one on a busy recent Wednesday night, leaving him with practically no choice but to leave a smug review of a place he apparently didn’t even bother to eat. Unfortunately for Yelper Dan’s budding career as a casual restaurant reviewer, the restaurant’s own footage from their Dropcam appears to disprove his story flat-out.

As the video displays clearly, Yelper Dan W. lied about his dining experience.

2016 Jaguar XF

The cars look and perform better than any Jaguars ever, but the company struggles to make a profit. Here’s the latest to bear the name. From Autos:

The big Jaguar sedan that competes against the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, BMW 5-Series and Audi A6 has been overshadowed in recent years by the British luxury brand’s more sporting models. Jaguar hopes to change that with a 2016 version of the XF that’s up to 265 lbs. lighter than the outgoing version thanks to an all-aluminum chassis. Power will come from a 3-liter supercharged V-6, tuned to either 340 hp or 380 hp, with modern luxury effects in the interior like a 10.2-inch dashboard touchscreen.

That’s bigger than iPad size.

NFL’s Top 5 Most Loyal Fans

No, not individual fans, but the base of fans. This is what happens during the break between NFL and MLB (basketball isn’t a real sport). Matt Reavy:

Forbes recently did some digging into the NFL, and came up with some interesting ways to measure for all the types of NFL fandom, from stadium attendance over the last three years to merch sales to, yes, Facebook and Twitter fandom, as well as how many local people actually watched the games. It was a pretty comprehensive effort, and it serves as the bedrock of this list of the five best fan bases in the National Football League. Does your team make the cut?

No. But here’s the Spoiler Alert:

  • Baltimore Ravens
  • New England Patriots
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Denver Broncos
  • Green Bay Packers

It should not be a surprise that fans love perennial playoff teams

How To Password Protect A Zip Archive On A Mac

Unfortunately, I’ve been a Mac user longer than most, and though I don’t create many AppleScript utilities to automate processes here and there, I’ve collected more than my fair share of scripts that do what OS X or various apps do not.

Here’s a perfect example of AppleScript in action and it’s free.

How do you create a .zip archive? It’s easy. How do you add a password? Not so easy. Select a file, files, or folders of files in the Finder, right click, and select Compress from the contextual menu.

That creates a nicely zipped up archive suitable for storage, backup, or sending and sharing with others. But what if you want to add a password to the archive? That’s easier said than done, but it’s actually easy.

One of my favorite Mac utilities is ZipperSnapper which zips up files and adds protection from the Mac’s Menubar, but it comes with a nominal price tag.

OS X Daily has a good tutorial on how you can user the Mac’s built-in Terminal.app to zip up files and add a password. It’s free but not for the faint of heart unless you’re comfortable around OS X’s command line interface.

If you’re still interested in free but have no interest in using Terminal.app to do the deed, there’s EncryptZip, a simple AppleScript utility that does what the command line does, but easier and faster.

Drag a file, files, or folder of files onto EncryptZip, then enter a file name for the archive, and a password.

EncryptZip

It doesn’t get much better than free and easy.

Illegal TV Shows And Movies Chase Legal TV Shows And Movies

You’ve heard of Netflix but have you heard about Popcorn Time? Jacob Siegal:

If you’ve been keeping track of streaming services over the past year, Popcorn Time has undoubtedly been on your radar. This questionably legal app allows users to stream movies and TV shows directly from torrent files online through a slick user interface, avoiding the bothersome downloads and the unsavory advertisements that accompany most torrent sites.

Hmmm. Sounds like competition for Netflix.

And Netflix CEO Reed Hastings is well aware of the competition. As Wired reminds us, Hastings referred to Popcorn Time by name after stating that “piracy continues to be one of our biggest competitors” in a note to investors earlier this year.

I suspect that most people don’t understand that downloading and viewing TV shows and movies via any of the Popcorn versions is just as illegal as Netflix is legal.

America’s Most Reliable Cars Come From 2 Car Makers

This is one of those lists that everyone can argue against, even if you own a car made by one of the two most reliable car makers. Benjamin Zhang outlines the rules.

To find out, J.D. Power sought the responses of 34,000 original owners of 2012 model cars, asking them what it’s been like to own their three-year old cars over the last 12 months. The results of these questions have been assembled for the 2015 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study.

So, the cars were three years old and owners were surveyed for reliability. Who won? Toyota and General Motors (which says more about GM than Toyota).

Best Bikes For Less Than $5,000

Not all of Jasan Avant’s list are crotch rockets.

Something I’ve learned as a noob – you don’t need a whole lot of money to get into motorcycling. And while many experienced riders will tell you that your first bike should be a used beater, there’s a lot to be said for the benefits of new technology and engineering – and a warranty. If you’re looking to buy your first bike – or maybe you just want to add a cheap model to your stable – here’s our list of this year’s best bikes for under $5,000.

Noobs go for bikes under $5,000. Here’s the official Spoiler Alert!

  • 2015 Honda CBR300R – $4,899
  • 2015 Yamaha TW200 – $4,590
  • 2015 KTM 390 Duke – $4,999
  • 2015 Yamaha YZF-R3 – $4,990
  • 2015 Honda CRF250L – $4,999

What? No Harley’s?

How To Unlock Your Mac With Your Finger

This is one of those items that could easily be filed under the category of ‘Interesting But Not Really That Useful.’ It’s an iPhone app which lets you use your iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor to unlock your Mac.

You’ll need MacID for iOS, a Mac that supports Bluetooth LE, OS X Yosemite (most newer Macs), and an iPhone with Touch ID (iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus (haven’t tried it out yet with iPad Air 2 which also has Touch ID).

There’s more to meet the eye with MacID for iOS than you think. As you get near your Mac, MacID knows you are nearby so when you sit down to unlock your Mac, just press Touch ID on the iPhone and the Mac unlocks automatically.

Here’s the basic list:

  • MacID works with multiple Macs at once.
  • Unlock your Mac using Touch ID or your device passcode.
  • Interactive notifications – you don’t even have to unlock your iOS device.
  • Control your Mac’s audio; works with iTunes & Spotify!
  • Manually lock your Mac remotely.
  • Auto-lock when you’re away from your Mac.
  • Proximity waking when returning to your Mac.
  • Notification Center widget; unlock your Mac from anywhere on your iOS device.
  • Share clipboard text between your Mac and iOS device.
  • Choose between MacID’s standard colours or a more high-contrast UI.
  • Full iPad support with split-screen display.
  • Authorize with Touch ID for tasks like moving protected files to the Trash on your Mac.

You read correctly. MacID lets you control iTunes on your Mac from your iPhone, and auto locks your Mac when you walk away (carrying your iPhone, obviously).

MacID for iOS

To clarify, MacID for iOS unlocks your Mac using Bluetooth and proximity sensing, plus Touch ID on the iPhone, but you’ll also need the MacID for OS X companion app. The latter is free, but the iOS version is $3.99 (though it may be free on the iTunes App Store for a day).

Does Touch ID provide more security and less hassle to unlock a Mac than simply using a password entered from the keyboard. Not much, if at all. There’s less effort using Touch ID but you still need your iPhone nearby, so this may be more of a solution looking for a problem.

Google To Firefox Users: ‘Stop Using Yahoo!’

Rob Price on Google’s problem with browser users using a search engine other than Google.

Google suffered a noticeable defeat in November. Mozilla, the company behind the web browser Firefox, decided not to renew its relationship with the search giant, instead signing a five-year deal to make Yahoo the default search engine on the browser.

Since then, Yahoo’s share of the search market has grown healthily, from 8.6% in November to 10.6% today. And Google’s has correspondingly declined: In February, its market share dropped below 75% for the first time since 2008.

If only Apple would dump Google, a trend would continue.

‘But I Thought Aspirin Was Good For You’

From Men’s Journal:

Millions of Americans pop a daily aspirin to help stave off a stroke or heart attack. This is a proven, doctor-recommended way to protect against a major cardiovascular event in people who already have heart disease or are at high risk.

What about everyone else?

According to a new study, 12 percent of people taking daily aspirin for heart protection are using the drug unnecessarily and therefore putting themselves at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding and brain bleeds, which, ironically, are a type of stroke.

In other words, if you don’t need it, don’t take it.

Obama On UFOs: ‘I Can’t Reveal Anything’

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, President Obama spilled the beans on UFOs to Jimmy Kimmel:

Kimmel opening statement to Obama on March 12 interview:

If I was the president… I would immediately race to wherever they have the files about Area 51 and UFOs, and I’d go through everything to find out what happened. DID YOU DO THAT?

Obama’s response:

That’s why you will not be president, because that’s the first thing that you would do.

The aliens won’t let it happen. You’d reveal all their secrets, and they exercise strict control over us. I can’t reveal anything.

When Kimmel pressed Obama, telling him how Clinton claimed to have looked into government files on UFOs and found nothing, Obama replied, “Well, you know, that’s what we’re instructed to say.”

Funny. But the truth is still out there.

Average Vehicles, Awful Gas Mileage

Jason Notte:

The Environmental Protection Agency found that cars and light trucks built during the 2013 model year got an average of 24.1 miles to the gallon. That’s still less than halfway to the EPA and Department of Transportation’s goal set back in 2012, but it beats the roughly 19 miles per gallon that the Department of Transportation measured for the same pool of vehicles in 1995. It’s also closing in on double the average mileage of the light-duty vehicles on U.S. roads in 1980.

The least efficient average cars in the good old U.S. of A?

  • Nissan Xterra – 19 mpg
  • Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat – 17.5 mpg
  • Ford Expedition EL 4WD – 16 mpg
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 4WD – 16 mpg
  • Ram 1500 Sport 4WD – 15 mpg
  • Toyota Tundra 4WD – 15 mpg
  • Toyota Sequoia – 15 mpg
  • Chevy Camaro ZL1 – 15 mpg
  • Nissan Armada 4WD – 14.5 mpg
  • Nissan Titan Pr-4X – 14.5 mpg

Not as bad as the Bentley Mulsanne (13), Ferrari FF (13) or the multi-million dollar Bugatti Veyron (10), but bad enough.

What Apple Needs To Fix In The New 12-inch MacBook

I’ve been in the market for a new Mac notebook for a couple of years. Over the past 12 years I’ve owned only two Mac notebooks. An original 17-inch Mac PowerBook running a PowerPC CPU, and the original 13-inch aluminum MacBook (not Air or Pro) that still runs OS X Yosemite. The latter has had a facelift; the original hard disk drive swapped out for an SSD (a great way to extend a Mac’s life), and RAM upped to 8GB. It runs Yosemite but it’s not a speedy Mac.

So, I want a new Mac notebook and held out for a year or longer based on rumors of an Intel Broadwell CPU, a Retina display, and, of course, thinner, lighter, faster, etc.

What Apple has delivered is an entirely new Mac notebook model but with somewhat traditional specifications. It’s not an Air or a Pro but is priced between the two. It’s simply MacBook. 2 pounds. 13.1 mm thick. Retina display. Intel’s new Core M CPU. 8GB RAM. 256GB SSD. 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Bluetooth 4.0. Stereo speakers. Dual microphones. Three colors (Silver, Space Gray, Gold; just like iPhone and iPad).

Sounds good, right?

Apple even dropped in an entirely new keyboard, and a trackpad with Force Touch that recognizes how much pressure you apply. The price tag starts at $1,299 which is just slightly above a similarly equipped 11-inch MacBook Air.

Now the problems begin.

To get the MacBook down to the 13.1 mm size, Apple had to get rid of traditional ports. No USB. No Thunderbolt. No MagSafe power connector. All that’s left from the past is the headphone jack. Connectivity is limited to a new reversible USB-C connector which handles everything from power to external display to USB connectivity to HDMI out. Think Lightning but with more capability. But there’s only one USB-C port per MacBook.

Clearly, Apple expects most MacBook owners to be purely wireless users who have a disdain for dongles, wires, and cables, oh my! In what can only be considered an oversight or a smug disdain for customers, Apple’s built-in FaceTime camera is not HD, not 1080p, and not even 21st century. It’s a 480p video camera more at home in the 1990s than 2015.

The new Core M CPU is a power sipper; not particularly powerful, but enough for a thin and light MacBook, and enough to keep battery life at MacBook Air levels.

Here I am with a need and money and Apple disappoints by shortchanging what the company refers to as ‘reinventing the notebook.’ Reinvent? No. It’s a few steps forward at best, but with a step backwards, too. MacBook may be the future of the notebook, but there’s plenty of the past inside, too.

Dear Apple,

Please upgrade the MacBook’s camera to 1080p HD, add another USB-C connector (there’s enough room), and give it a more powerful CPU with the same battery life (Windows PC makers have already done that).

Then I’m a buyer.

Why Apple Watch Always Shows 10:09

If you’ve seen Apple’s Watch commercials or online advertising and promos, you’ve seen 10:09 as the default time on each watch face. Why? Steven Tweedie knows:

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the Apple Watch during an Apple event in San Francisco, California March 9, 2015. If you see an advertisement for a watch, chances are you’ll see the watch’s time set to 10:10.

Watchmakers have traditionally chosen 10:10 as their display time because it ensures that the watchmaker’s logo, which is usually engraved beneath the 12, isn’t obscured by the watch hands. On top of that, having the hands at 10:10 is symmetrical.

Apple, however, chooses to display a slightly different time on all of its Apple Watch promotions, setting the time one minute ahead to 10:09 rather than 10:10.

Apple is a rather deliberate company which pays attention to details that others ignore.

Apple Watch

So, what’s with 10:09?

Apple wants the Apple Watch’s time to be ahead of even Timex, and displays a specific time of 10:09:00 or 10:09:30, both of which allow Apple to consider itself “ahead of the times” with the Apple Watch.

That’s just so much bull. At 10:09, Apple is actually behind the times of other watchmakers, not ahead. I say it’s because 10:09 is perfect symmetry, while 10:10 is not.

What Every U.S. State Is Best At

I love these lists. Easy to read, easy to argue for and against. Kate Peregrina:

Each of the 50 states is special in its own way. But much like a class of pampered elementary school students, everyone gets an award for something. Here’s what’s written on the certificate sure to be hanging from each state’s fridge.

Those I find interesting:

  • California: Most breastfed babies
  • Hawaii: Least likely to collide with a deer
  • Lousiana: Most residents born in state
  • Missouri: Best trails
  • Nebraska: Most homes with indoor plumbing (probably per capita)
  • Pennsylvania: Most revenue from casinos (hard to believe)

The 8 Best Job Interview Questions To Ask

These are questions for the interviewee to ask the interviewer. From Jacquelyn Smith:

The hiring manager asks the applicant questions to figure out if they’re the ideal candidate, while the interviewee asks the employer questions to figure out if they’re the right fit.

But even when the hiring manager is the one in the hot seat, they’re still evaluating you as a potential employee. So it’s imperative that you ask good, smart questions — ones that will impress the interviewer.

Good list. Among my favorites:

  • What’s the most frustrating part of working here?
  • How did you get your start?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What concerns/reservations do you have about me for this position?

Use A Mac To Turn A Photograph Into A Fine Gallery Style Portrait Painting

There is no shortage of photo enhancement apps for Mac, iPhone, or iPad. The iOS App Store alone has hundreds and hundreds of apps which add filters and effects to digital photos. Mac users have fewer choices, but choices have improved in recent years (as attested by the few dozen new and inexpensive photo effects apps cluttering my Mac).

Many of these Mac photo apps are one-trick pony tools that don’t cost much and deliver a few simple effects. Portrait Painter is a new one which does what many others do not. It takes your photo and turns it into a gallery style painting.

Take a look at a few sample photos which have been converted to digital paintings.

Portrait Painter Sample

Even ordinary, plain, uninspired photos can take on a new life when converted to a more artistic painting.

The most mundane photo can become a masterpiece worth printing and sharing. Portrait Painter’s controls are remarkably simple to master, though trial and error is the attitude you need at first.

Drag and drop a photo onto Portrait Painter, select a preset with a click, then adjust settings using the handy slider controls.

Portrait Painter Sample

Click any of the images above for a larger, pop up, closeup gallery view.

Portrait Painter has to paint styles. The classic color palette, and a brighter color palette. The presets are numerous and make it simple to create a photo painting with a click.

Other features include the smooth skin tool which smooths away freckles and wrinkles. Because the end result emulates a painting, the tools have controls for brush strokes, brush length, bristle strength, and canvas.

For on-the-go paintings there’s both an iPad and iPhone version, though the Mac version costs more than both combined. I have to admit that this is a fun way to add color and life to even the most plain digital photos

Tesla Model S vs. Ferrari F12

Nicole Wakelin:

Two very different and very powerful cars have at it on the track to see which is the fastest in a flat out drag race. The Tesla Model S P85D has 691 horsepower, while the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta has a much higher 730 horsepower. The Tesla is also a heavier car, which stacks the deck against it even further, but the Tesla isn’t completely out of the race.

Who wins? Check out the video to see. It’s not really close.

The Hottest Hot Rod

Rick Osentoski has a list of the hottest of the country’s hot rods (over 40 pages of clicks and ads but some great cars).

Last weekend in Detroit, the top hot rod builders in the country gathered for the 63rd annual Autorama show and the annual competition for the Don Ridler Memorial Trophy, given each year to the most impressive custom car. While the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster title goes only to older cars, the Ridler is open to anything — and this year’s winner demonstrates the skill needed to blend old and new engineering into something unique.

My favorite? A 1959 Rambler American Wagon.

1959 Rambler American Wagon