Monday, December 22, 2008

Sync iCal and Google! (and other cool Mac tools)

So now that I have my new macbook (oh yeah, btw, I have a new macbook and I love it!) I am spending part of my time trying to find some cool little tips and tricks to make my mac as cool and as efficient as possible. Some of the things I have come across are just plan fun, like when my brother showed me command+option+control+8, which inverts your display colors to have a negative-like effect. Hit the key combo again to turn it off. However, some of the tools are quite handy indeed.

Here's a little list of tools I have found really beneficial to have:

1) CalDav: a little tool that will sync your iCal and Google calendars. The refresh rate is very fast. Once I add an event in iCal, by the time I load my Google calendar page, it is there.

2) MenuMeter: this little tool Kurt pointed me to. You can display graphs and meters for your CPUs and network traffic (as well as memory and disk usage) in your menu bar.

3) KeyCue: displays a floating window of keyboard shortscuts whenever you press and hold the command key. It will tailor the shortcuts to whatever application you are working in. The professional version costs money, but the unregistered version works very well and just displays the registration screen every once in a wh
ile when you hit command instead of the shortcut menu (it will go away after a second). As a mac newbie, this tools has been great for me!

4) Caffeine: this tool prevents your mac from dimming the display or going into sleep mode. This is essential if you watch Netflix on your mac. It simply puts a little icon in your menu bar, and you click it once to turn it on and once more to turn it off.

5) Zoom: zoom can be found under Universal Access in your System Preferences. Turning this on allows you to zoom into and out of your screen using command+option and the + or - keys. This is great for zooming in programs and on web pages that do not normally support the zoom feature.

6) Flip4Mac: this plug-in feature allows Quicktime to playback Windows Media files (wma, wmv).

7) DivX: this tool includes a trial version of their media player (it expires after 180 days), but more importantly adds DivX functionality to Quicktime (which does not expire).

8) VLC: this is a separate media player from Quicktime, but can play a lot of videos that Quicktime cannot (such as ogg files).

Here is one more that is not necessarily beneficial per se (at least not to the average user), but sure is cool as heck:

9) Seismac: this tool will turn your Sudden Motion Sensor (SMS) equipped mac (any newer mac model, and some of the older powerbooks and ibooks) into a real-time three-axis accelerometer!

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