How To Manage Email From The Mac’s Menubar

More than 20 years after the internet became public we’re still using the original killer app the same way. Email is an evil scourge, the result of technology gone wild. My email inbox gets 500 to 600 messages a day, and only a few dozen are legitimate messages. If you want to manage email spam, get SpamSieve. If you want to become a more efficient email user, get MailBar.

What you get is more control over email by putting it in its place. Email becomes a drop down menu in the Mac’s Menubar; easily accessible from within any Mac app, easier to use than Mail, therefore, you become a more efficient and productive email user.

Click the Menubar and Voila! Email.

MailBar for Mac

MailBar’s Menubar icon displays the number of new messages in your inbox so there’s no need to switch to Mail to check on email. Think of MailBar as mini-Mail. You can monitor and manage up to four different email accounts, search messages, read email, mark messages as read, reply to and send messages (even with photo attachments).

MailBar lets you preview attachments, view Calendar events, integrate signatures from Mail, and use keyboard shortcuts to speed up the process. Though I have many more than four email accounts, most messages come to four accounts, and MailBar makes it faster and more efficient to manage email as it arrives, or when I want to check it, all without switching back and forth between apps.

Just think of MailBar as a mini-Mail app that’s easier to use, faster, and more focused. That reduces the time you devote to email messages; always a plus. But MailBar isn’t a Mail substitute. SpamSieve is still needed to capture and isolate spam messages, and MailBar doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, including mail management options, stationery, and so on.

It’s just a faster way to manage email.

5 Cars To Buy, 5 Cars To Avoid

From Collin Woodard:

Some people buy cars and only need them to perform specific tasks, but for a lot of people, cars need to be good all-around vehicles. We can nitpick its opinions on specific models, but it’s hard to argue that Consumer Reports doesn’t provide the best information on how well-rounded cars are. Since it buys the cars it tests outright, its opinions are about as unbiased as car reviews come. For most shoppers, that kind of information is an important part of the car-buying process.

Top 5 car brands to Buy:

  • Subaru
  • Audi
  • Toyota
  • Mazda
  • Lexus

Top 5 car brands to avoid

  • Ford
  • Dodge
  • Mini
  • Jeep
  • Fiat

Jetpacks Are Real

Stunning video on SB Nation of two men using jetpacks to fly over the Dubai skyline at 120-mph. They look more like small airplanes attached to the pilots than jetpacks.

Pros Speak Out On Deflategate

Ryan Parker gathers quotes from former NFL’ers on the NFL’s punishment for the so-called deflategate scandal.

John Elway:

I think the integrity of the game is No. 1. So the commissioner obviously felt that was compromised and did what he believed he had to do… so I support the commissioner 100%.

Brett Favre:

I don’t think by any stretch, in my opinion, that Tom was cheating,” Favre said. “I don’t know if Tom can honestly say he has completed more passes because of it. I think more than anything, it helped with the grip based on conditions. And would other players do it? Sure, I have no reason to think otherwise.

Isn’t holding, pass interference, and being offsides also ‘cheating?’

What Every Mac User Really Wants In OS X’s Menubar

Where I live the weather doesn’t change much day to day or season to season. The average weather forecast is always ‘partly sunny, chance for showers, daytime high in the 80s and overnight low in the 70s‘ about 330 days per year. Why bother with a weather forecast app at all?

Inquiring minds want to know. For those afflicted with need-to-know disease, there’s Forecast Bar for the Mac, a handy Menubar app with weather and forecasts only a click away. Other than taking up residence in an already overcrowded Mac Menubar, Forecast Bar is exactly what anyone who wants to know about the weather needs.

Most Mac, iPhone, and iPad weather applications get their weather data from the same range of sources, so there’s little variance in the details, but a huge difference in how the weather is presented. That’s what makes Forecast Bar weather worthy.

No only can you view current conditions and temperature in the Menubar, one-click brings you even more detailed weather data.

Forecast Bar for Mac

Forecast Bar takes a cue from Yahoo!’s weather app for iPhone and injects a background image photo which reflects current weather conditions with details below. Current conditions and temperature, feels like temperature, the high and low for the day, cloud conditions and humidity.

Also visible with a click is the weather description, animated charts for temperature and rain, including rain intensity. Forecasts go out five days, and there’s the all important Notification Center option for severe weather alerts (but only in the U.S.).

Click on the current conditions and more detail pops up, including wind conditions, a compass, dew point, pressure indicator, visibility, and more. For OS X Yosemite users there are two modes– light and dark. Forecast Bar is just nicely done, handy, accurate, and with enough eye candy to be attractive and enough actual weather data to be useful.

Lots of four and five star reviews for this app on the Mac App Store. Caveats? Yes. The developer has opted not to have a trial version, so you’re required to cough up the money first, and if you don’t like Forecast Bar, well, tough cookies. Chances are good you’ll like it, despite the less-than-tender price tag.

United Airlines Sued For $5-million

What do you do when your airline in-flight entertainment system doesn’t work? Cary David did what many would like to do– an exercise in futility.

Cary David was on a flight from Puerto Rico to Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey when she shelled out $7.99 to watch live television using the airlines DirecTV entertainment system. However, the service was shoddy, and David claims that she was only able to watch TV for the last 10 minutes of the four-hour flight.

Why didn’t she get a refund?

No More $100 Oil

Remember when oil was priced at almost $150 a barrel? Now it’s down to about $60 and OPEC says it’s not likely to hit $100 again for 10 years. Akin Ohyedele on an inside report:

The report, seen by The Wall Street Journal, predicts that oil prices will be about $76 a barrel in 2025 in its most optimistic scenario, a reflection of OPEC worries that American competitors will be able to cope with low prices and keep pumping out supplies. It also contemplates situations where crude oil costs below $40 a barrel in 2025

It’s funny how oil prices are so low but gasoline prices are not. And, if I had a nickel for every prediction made about what something will cost in the future…

The Rock’s Diet

Ayanna Julien on Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s diet:

It’s official, The Rock is superhuman. Just ask the guy who attempted Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s diet for a day. One thing is for sure, he walked away with a lot more respect for the actor. he former WWE champion apparently eats up to 10 lbs of food a day, that’s 5,165 calories, if you’re counting.

What happens when an average person tries to eat 5,000 calories a day? Sean Evans’ experience? He couldn’t finish one day of 10 pounds of food.

I respect The Rock. What if you had the money that he has and the success that he has, right? Like, would you be waking up at four o’clock in the morning and just shredding legs and just eating this meathead food around the clock, every two hours? Respect the hell out of it, man. Respect the hell out of Dwayne Johnson.

My Favorite Text App Does Too Much To Cost So Little

My Mac is home to far too many specialized utility apps, one-trick pony tools, and applications that are necessary, but seldom used. Every now and again I run into a mashup utility; a Mac app that brings together multiple functions that are mostly standalone, yet somehow work well together. That’s the case with Favorite Text for the Mac.

Text is part of the equation, but Favorite Text has more than meets the eye, and remains remarkably affordable at 99-cents.

First, Favorite Text captures and saves text. It also captures and saves Mac clipboard contents. Both can be retrieved from the Menubar and inserted into documents from within any Mac app you’re using at the moment. In a relatively straightforward interface, Favorite Text lets you organize text snippets or notes and view clipboard history.

Favorite Text

Wait. There’s more.

Favorite Text has a built-in login ID and password system, too. And, using 256-bit AES encryption, the app can store all your snippets, clipboard history, passwords, and notes in a single password protected location (also good to store bank information, credit card numbers, and more).

There’s also a built-in password generator, text editor, and options to search clipboard or notes history, and drag and drop clipboard items to other snippets, notes, or documents in other Mac apps.

More Favorite Text

The clipboard manager stores formatted text with media files and history items can be exported as RTFD, RTF, DOC, DOCX, TXT, HTML, ODT, XML files. Restart your Mac and the clipboard history is saved.

Every component of Favorite Text has standalone apps which do more, but not much more, and they’re well integrated here. I use four or five different apps to accomplish much the same thing and this app costs only 99-cents.

The only negative is that there’s not an iPhone and iPad version with iCloud or Dropbox sync. Otherwise, perfectly usable, great value.

On Nail Salons, Vietnamese, And Tina

Hawaii is home to many nail salons run by Vietnamese with technicians named Tina. Why? Celeste Hoang has the details:

Most Americans recognize Tippi Hedren for her starring role in Alfred Hitchcock’s horror film The Birds—but among the Vietnamese American community, her reputation is for something a little more serious: being a cornerstone of the immigrant community’s economy.

What does this have to do with Vietnamese and nail salons?

The Hollywood actor traveled to Hope Village, a Vietnamese refugee camp near Sacramento, California, to meet with a group of women who had recently fled the takeover of South Vietnam by the armed forces of Communist leader Ho Chi Minh. Hedren was aware of the difficulties the refugees had faced and had been trying before her visit to think of a skill or trade she could help the women learn so they could support themselves in their adopted country. When she met with the group, she was surprised to find they were enamored with her manicure.

You know where this is going now, right?

Hedren flew in her own beautician and enlisted a local beauty school to teach 20 of the women how to execute the perfect manicure. Many of these women later settled in Southern California, where they soon were offering manicure services at a lower price than the existing competition. This quickly and dramatically changed the face of the industry in the region. Manicures and pedicures that cost upwards of $50 in luxury salons can cost 30 to 50 percent less at a Vietnamese American–owned salon, according to trade publication Nails. Today, the nail industry is worth $8 billion, and 80 percent of nail technicians in Southern California are Vietnamese (51 percent across the U.S.). Many of them are direct descendants of the 20 women Hedren met with that fateful day in Sacramento.

Fascinating.

The 1,000-HP Ford GTX1

It looks like a Ferrari from the side and a Corvair from the front, and if you’ve got an extra $350,000 lying around, a 1,000-HP car from Ford can be yours. Zach Doell:

The numbers vary slightly, but over 30 Ford GTX1s are claimed to have been built over the years, each forgoing the roof-cutaway doors and donning a pair of sleek, well-incorporated headrest fairings… This one is however a bit more special than the rest. Peel back the rear lid and you’ll find oodles of chrome and a pair of turbochargers in place of the GT’s standard blower, hence the ‘TT’ denotation. The dual boosted Ford GT now muscles up over 1,000 horsepower, surely capable of rocketing driver and co-pilot to the 200 mph mark… with the top down.

Ouch.

Ford GTX1

See? Ferrari.

America’s Fastest Selling Car

Volkswagen is doing great. But not in the U.S. So, how is it that the fastest selling car in the country is a Volkswagen (and a station wagon)? James Derek Spaienza with the setup:

Despite being poised to overtake Toyota as the world’s largest automaker, the company is suffering from below-average profit margins worldwide, and it sits stalled as the 14th best-selling automaker in the U.S., the world’s second largest auto market.

And the real news as it pertains to the highly coveted U.S. market:

Volkswagen’s Golf SportWagen sits on a dealer lot for just nine days before finding a buyer, making it the fastest-moving new model on sale today. In contrast, the BMW 650i XDrive convertible is America’s slowest-selling car, moldering on dealer lots an average of 180 days before finding a taker. With gas prices still relatively low, 18 of the 23 cars on the list were SUVS or crossovers, making the Volkswagen’s position atop the list that much more surprising.

Ah, lies, damned lies, and statistics. It’s all in the definition of ‘fastest selling car.’

A Few Words On Rental Software

The world is changing. There once was a time when computer software came with a physical manual, physical disks for installation, and a hefty price tag. Software publishers made their money by obtaining revenue from new customers, and revenue from existing customers through product upgrades. That part hasn’t changed, but the methodology has.

Apple killed the app upgrade pricing model with the advent of the iTunes App Store for iPhone and iPad, and the Mac App Store. Updates are free, but upgrades come with a new version and a price tag– the same one whether you’re an existing customer or a new customer.

Software rentals have been around awhile but have become mainstream thanks to Adobe’s popular Creative Suite, and Microsoft’s Office 365, both of which are subscription based. In essence, those major application suites require that a computer user rent software by the month. Businesses like it because it is easier to budget. Average users, not so much.

Here’s a good example. I’ve used Adobe’s Fireworks web graphic design app since back in the last century (when Fireworks was owned by Macromedia, later purchased by Adobe). Few applications were so suited to web graphic design. But the world is changing. Adobe’s new tools do not include upgrades to Fireworks, so the application is end-of-life, though there is not an exact replacement available.

Photoshop can do much of what Fireworks does, but is more cumbersome to use for the same type of graphics where Fireworks excels (it’s all about workflow, and file sizes). The monthly rental fee for Photoshop can go as low as $10 per month (includes Lightroom). Forever. The original Fireworks, back in 1998, cost me about $400. Subsequent upgrades occurred every two to three years, for about $99 to $199 each. Adobe’s rental subscription fee is $120 per year. Forever. That may be easy to budget, but it’s also twice the price of using Fireworks for an application that is less suited to the task.

When Adobe announced that Fireworks was end-of-life I began looking earnestly at alternatives. While many Mac vector-based graphic tools are quite competent and often cost far less than Adobe’s offerings; where they fail is exporting to the smallest possible file size– a critical component for publishing web graphics.

The search for a Fireworks alternative continues, as does the trend toward monthly rentals, or subscriptions. iTunes Match puts your entire music collection on all your devices. iCloud Drive stores and places all your photos on all your devices. For a monthly fee. Word on the streets is that Apple has big plans for streaming music– all the music you could possibly listen to. For a monthly fee. The math becomes an ominous indicator of the future. Buy a Mac, rent an iPhone by the month, pay Apple by the month for iTunes Match, streaming music, online photo storage. Pay Adobe and Microsoft by the month to use Creative Suite and Office.

Where will it end? It won’t. For better or worse, and with few differences, we live in a capitalist world where everyone is out to get your money.

Jay Leno’s Top 21 Cars

Few people, celebrities or billionaires, have a car collection to match form Tonight Show star Jay Leno. Odometer has the Top 21.

Jay Leno's Ariel Atom

And, the inevitable spoiler alert.

  • The Ariel Atom (above)
  • 2014 McLaren P1
  • 2001 Blastolene Special
  • McLaren F1
  • LLC Rocket
  • 1986 Lamborghini Countach
  • 1970 Citroen SM
  • 1970 Mazda Cosmo 110S
  • 1969 Lamborghini Miura P400S
  • 1966 Yenko Stinger Corvair
  • 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car
  • 1963 Jaguar SKE Coupe
  • 1962 Volga GAZ-21
  • Jaguar XK120M Coupe
  • Bugatti Type 57 Atlantic SC
  • 1939 Lagonda V12
  • 1936 Cord 812 Sedan
  • 1931 Duesenberg Model J Town Car
  • 1930 Bentley G400
  • 1928 Bentley Speed 6
  • 1925 Doble E-20 Steam Car

R.I.P. Grace Lee Whitney

Trekkies will recognize the name. AP:

Grace Lee Whitney, who played Captain Kirk’s assistant on the original “Star Trek” series, has died. She was 85.

Whitney played Yeoman Janice Rand in the first eight episodes before being written out of the series. In her 1998 autobiography “The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy,” she wrote that her acting career largely came to an end and she became an alcoholic.

Leonard Nimoy, who starred as Spock, helped her return to the franchise in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” and “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.”

105-MPH Crash: On Video

Russian soccer star Andrey Yeshchenko crashed his Nissan GT-R going 105-MPH. The crash was caught on video. Alex Lloyd:

The man at the wheel was Russian soccer star Andrey Yeshchenko, and he was reportedly traveling at over 105 mph when he drilled a street lamp in the town of Krasnodar. Amazingly, the CCTV footage below shows Yeshchenko walking away from the wreckage just seconds after his destroyed GT-R comes to a rest.

Seat belts? Or, drunken luck?

Every Mac User Who Works With Color Needs Yet Another One Of These Tools

Whether we dabble in art, graphic design, website development, or application programming, we all have one thing in common. Color. The Mac comes with an obtuse color picker, and nearly every Mac graphics design app also has a color picker, so what do those of us involved in color have more of than anything else? Color pickers.

Here’s another color picker and it’s free.

Color pickers are much like word processors; they’re part religion, part utilitarian, and part the product of budget meets preference.

Skala Color is free, simple to setup and use for web development, app development, and graphic design. Whatever color is captured by the Mac’s clipboard can be recognized in Skala Color (as a swatch that can be pasted with a click). There’s also hue and opacity sliders, a random color generator, even support for Apple’s new programming language, Swift.

It’s easy on the eyes, too.

Skala Color

Most– but not all– color pickers do much the same thing. Pick and store and paste color values into applications. Skala Color lives in the Mac color app so it’s visible and accessible from within nearly an application.

It handles nearly every color option web developers, graphic designers, and app developers needs, including Hex, CSS RGBA, CSS HSLA, UIColor, NSColor and more.

Not bad for free. I just checked. My Mac has six standalone color pickers.

The Most Expensive Man-Made Object Ever Built

Take a guess. The answer comes from Investopedia:

As of April 2015, the International Space Station (ISS) is the most expensive man-made object ever built. The ISS project has cost approximately $160 billion as of 2015, with the United States contributing more than $100 billion and Europe, Russia, Japan and Canada combining to pay the rest.

That’s $100-billion.

A Ferrari LaFerrari Crash

This is what happens when expensive automobiles with nearly 1,000-horsepower are driven by idiots. John Coyle:

It’s hard to find an area not marred by the—undoubtedly high-speed—crash, and the crazy angle of the rear wheel indicates the pricey powertrain probably didn’t escape the encounter with the wall unscathed.

Good grief.

Crashed Ferrari

‘A Bun In The Oven’

Beth Greenfield with a video on how to tell someone you’re pregnant.

Grandmother-to-be Lynnda goes to put some food into her oven, where she finds a bun warming on the upper rack. “Who’s toasting bread?” she asks, pulling it out and dropping it on her counter. A voice of someone unseen then prompts, “Why would there be a bun in the oven, Lynnda?” Still not getting it, she responds, “Not the bun in the oven I want! I want my daughter to have a bun in the oven!” Then, in a flash, her face changes and she gets it, shrieking with joy and declaring, “Oh my God I peed my pants!” Wonder what would’ve happened if she’d found a pea in a pod?