Monday, August 21, 2006

Autostitching with Calico

A panorama constructed with Autostitcher, an extraordinary innovation from a mad scientist's lab in Canada:

This version of Autostitcher is part of Calico, a very well designed and affordable piece of Mac software. I'll be taking it for more extensive test drives, but for the moment I can comfortably say that it requires far less time and trouble than Photoshop's native Photomerge feature; it's also more versatile and accommodates a larger photoset. Highly recommended.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Egg-timer of the Gods

Minuteur est un . . . minuteur est un chronom├Ętre.

So writes Philippe Galmel of Minuteur, his little contraption that does one thing very well: it's a chronometer, an egg-timer for busy moderns.

Why would a person need such a thing for his or her Mac ax? Well, I've used it in a few contexts: as a reminder that in half an hour I have to go somewhere or that something I want to watch or record is about to come on, but better, as a stopwatch for writing sprints meant to clear the cobwebs before setting about a project. Five minutes spent in mad-dash jotting and listmaking for an article, letter, book proposal, or planning process can get a good deal accomplished, I find, especially if you're racing against a literally ticking clock.

Minuteur is a most useful thing, inituitively designed for those who don't read French.

Et aussi, est gratis. Though it'd be good to float some francs to the creator, who has made something good for the world, even if it chains us to the clock.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Removing Dead Applications

I'm always surprised to discover perfectly obvious holes in perfectly wonderful operating systems. Mac OS X, for instance, uses the old drag-into-the-trash metaphor for uninstalling applications that have no built-in uninstaller, but the tactic requires the user to know where every last file is installed. Those files can be--and usually are--tucked away in every corner of the hard drive, with the result that most uninstall routines leave bits and pieces of the program behind, which can be a pain if, like me, you like to try out software and wind up frequently discarding programs that don't make the cut. (In all this grumbling, I hasten to add that at least Mac users don't have to deal with the dreaded Windows registry.)

Enter an elegant, entirely necessary gap-filler: AppZapper, a little utility that rounds up each and every file installed with a new application and, at the user's discretion, zaps them, complete with satisfying sound effects. One of the developers remarks that the AppZapper team wanted to put a smile on the user's face whenever the application was put into action, and it does--not least because, at US$12.95, the price is unusually right.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Google Earth for Mac

It's out. (See the preceding entry.) I haven't had a chance to play with it, but I'm expecting wonderful things.