Mac fans have a world class user interface in OS X, but no matter how good it is it can never be perfect for everyone, which is why there are so many third party applications for tweaking and enhancing OS X and Apple native apps.
Iive stumbled on to two such apps that I think every Mac user will appreciate: First because they are so darn useful. Second, because they are absolutely free.
Iim surprised at how many people who write on Macs do so in Appleis free TextEdit. I know Iive tried many other word processors before and while many are absolutely fabulous, somehow I wind up back in TextEdit. It may be because of how simple and easy TextEdit is to use; no extra features, doodad, scripts, or macros to get in my way. It could be because TextEdit is so predictable; no surprises, you know exactly what the text will look like. Whatever it is, Iim drawn to TextEdit like a cop to Dunkin Donuts. (MMmmmmm! Chocolate frosted cake donuts!)
Though TextEdit is THE text editor in my little world there are still a few things I wish it could do. For instance, there are time when Bryan, my editor, limits the word count of my articles. I never understand why he does this, Iim not a chatty person by nature and I tend to include only what I really, really need to include in my articles and nothing more, though sometimes I do tend to talk about things that may not be directly related to the subject at hand. Like that time when I... maybe Bryan has a point.
Anyway, TextEdit has no word counting feature, nor is there such a feature included as a service, like the Dictionary, in OS X. There are plenty of applications that will give you document stats, but I donit want to have to call up another application and do any dragging and dropping just to check my word count. This is where WordService, fron Devon Technologies, comes in handy.
Just by clicking on the Service option and selecting Statistics, WordService will give you all the stats you need about any highlighted text in a Cocoa app, such as TextEdit. Whatis more, WordService gives you 31 other handy-dandy features like capitalizing the first character of every sentence or inserting a date and time stamp. Iill admit I may never use most of the other 31 apps, but the word count feature is enough to justify the cost in hard drive space - a paltry 109KB- or greenbacks, which is no cost, none, zip, nada.
The only thing I wish WordService would do is to somehow become a right-click option when I highlight text, like the Dictionary is. That would make this nice little app great.
There are times, not all the time, but often enough, when I like to listen to music while Iim working. A good jazz jam or rock riff can make any task go down easy when you are in the mood to listen. However, the wrong tune can quickly ruin my writing groove. Iill be chilling and typing with Sting, Bobby McFerrin, and Stanley Jordan when the Sugar Hill Gang will jump in the mix. So I need to hip, hip, hippity-hop and flat stop that boogie before I upchuck the boogie with a boogity beat. Worse, I got to call up iTunes to do it. Not cool.
You Software lets you minimize your irritation unfortunately timed tunes with a neat little app called You Control: Tunes. YC: Tunes puts a nice iTunes controller in your menu bar, and it will scroll the name of the current song in your menu bar as well.
You Control: Tunes offers you a big list of control options, from how the control buttons look to how much or little music information you want to show when a song plays. You can even have an overlay window appear briefly displaying tune info. (Iive turned that feature off, too distracting)
YC:Tunes keeps track and lists songs youive played before and lets you create a favorites list that you can get to quickly. You can also get to and play any of your iTunes playlists.
The controls work simply; if you use iAlbumi to select the current song playing, for instance, the next song will be from that album. Select a song from your favorites list and the next song will be from that list. You can toggle shuffle play, control volume, rate songs, and much more.
I only have one small gripe about YC: Tunes: I wish I didnit have to bring up iTunes to use it. YC: Tunes is an iTunes controller, not a replacement. Maybe thereis a way to run iTunes so that the only interface is YC: Tunes. I donit know if thatis even possible, but it would be nice.
So there you have it, two useful little apps thatis far more than the nothing youill pay. Give them a whirl. Youill be glad you did.