OS X Tips: Taking Charge of the Color Picker

Spinning Color Wheel

The infamous color picker is present among many of the built-in OS X (s aapl) applications and is quite a powerful tool once you dig into it. With the ability to store your favorite colors in “wells” and use them between applications, the color picker can quickly become an indispensable tool in your daily workflow. Here’s some tips and plugins to supercharge the color picker.

Color Picker Basics

Not all applications support the OS X color picker, but to see if one does, look in Format, View, or Window menus for an entry called “Show Colors.” The color picker is not just limited to the Apple-developed applications, as third-party apps such as Coda, Billings, Daylite and others also include support.
The color picker features “tabs” across the top dividing it into the standard color wheel, color sliders (allowing to you fine tune a color by RGB, HSB, CMYK, or Grayscale sliders), color palettes, image palettes and crayons.
You can pick custom colors by tweaking them in the color picker, or by using the magnifying glass to “pluck” a color from anywhere in the system.
To apply a color, simply highlight text and click the color you want. Or drag the color onto an object.
As mentioned earlier, you can organize your favorite colors by dragging them into one of the wells at the bottom of the picker. If the default amount is not enough, simply click the dot and drag down to allow for a total of 250 places to store your color swatches. Read More about OS X Tips: Taking Charge of the Color Picker

Terminal Tips: Using the Command Line With Style

terminal_icon

As great and as easy as the OS X user interface is, sometimes it is quicker or necessary to jump into the deep dark bowels of your system on the command line. OS X ships with the very competent Terminal.app that allows easy access to this, but the default view into your machine is dull and boring. It doesn’t have to be. Here are a few tips to style things up a bit.

Visor

Visor has been mentioned in the past here at TheAppleBlog, and for good reason. It works as an add-on to Terminal to give you a ‘quake-style’ drop down HUD interface. You press the hotkey and a terminal drops down from out of nowhere in a fast, convenient, out-of-the-way manner — complete with tab support.
If you search for Visor on the web, you’ll most likely end up at its Google Code page, where it seems that the most up-to-date version is 1.5a1 from November 2007. Fear not, for Visor is still being developed and the latest version is actually 1.81, released on March 5 of this year.
To download it you need to go its GitHub page and click the link to the pre-compiled binary. Follow the instructions to install it. 1.81 adds more options to play with, but most importantly for me, is that it enables full custom key-stroke support — so any keys defined in Terminal are usable in Visor. Read More about Terminal Tips: Using the Command Line With Style

Mobile tech makes my father’s weekend

51fp1bcrnbl_ss260_Every time my father comes over, he makes a comment about the outdoor fire-pit that we have on our deck. He yearns for this fire-pit like it’s the best thing since Mac OS X on a touchscreen UMPC. Seriously. I was at his home over the weekend with nary a fire-pit in sight and still he makes a comment about wanting to get one. What’s a good son to do? Offer to hit Target’s website and order the darn thing, of course. Only one problem: Dad’s computer isn’t hooked up so he canceled his lowly dial-up service. Don’t worry: we’re working on the PC and getting him FiOS on my next visit. One problem at a time for those stuck in the “Analog Age” …All I had with me was my iPhone because I had planned this to be an “unplugged” weekend: no computers or web work as Barb and I had a free weekend without the kids and we need get cracking on the details for our wedding. So I pulled out my iPhone and told my Dad that we’ll get the fire-pit ordered. He couldn’t believe that I could navigate to Target, create a new account, enter credit card info, and order the fire-pit from a phone as quickly as I did. (Wait until he sees he can track the package progress via the UPS link I just sent him!) Now most of you won’t be surprised by what I did, but I always find it enlightening when those new to mobile tech have an “a-ha!” or “OMG!” moment in situations like this. Got a recent experience where your mobile tech wowed someone for the first time? Share it in the comments so my Dad doesn’t feel like he’s the only one left living under a rock.

Beginning Mac: Color Labels

There are many different ways to organize files. From the classic folder structure to the more “experimental” metadata/tagging format. There’s no right or wrong way to do it…just what works best for you.

As a new Mac users it’s easy to get caught up in the “old” way of doing things (ie. how you organized items in Windows). I encourage you to step outside that box for a bit to give something else a try.

Finder Color Labels

The OS X Finder has a “Label” feature where you can color code your files with 7 different colors. Color coding your files and folders does not change anything about them. It’s simply a tool for organization.

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3 Online Resources for Color Creativity

color wheelIt used to be only graphic designers and fine artists played with color professionally. Now everyone with a website gets to choose color themes and schemes. But where do you find help and inspiration? Here are three resources you might want to check out if you need to get creative with colors online.

Adobe Kuler color theme creation and sharing tool. From Adobe Labs, this Flash-based tool lets you create color schemes, tag them, share them, and download them. When you create a scheme, you can choose from rules like Analogous (close together on the color wheel) and Complementary (opposite each other) or make a completely custom scheme.

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Apple Drops LCD Prices

Excellent! And why not a shiny new Apple LCD to go with that 8 core beast?

Apple dropped their prices across the board on their beautiful (allbeit overpriced) LCD line. The breakdown:

30″ Cinema HD Display dropped to $1799 ($200 price cut).
23″ Cinema HD Display dropped to $899 ($100 price cut).
20″ Cinema HD Display dropped to $599 ($100 price cut).

Might also point out that the Special Deals section has 30″ Displays for $1499 and 20″ Displays for $499. They’re still a bit more expensive than the rest of the industry, but that’s Apple, right?

Finally, a Broadband IPO

Motive raised $50 million in an intial public offering. The filing fell short of expected $55-to-$60 million the company had planned to raise. Ticker, MOTV. JPMorgan was the book-runner; Thomas Weisel Partners, Friedman Billings Ramsey, Needham & Company, Inc., and America’s Growth Capital were the co-leads. Here is what I said previously on GigaOM about Motive. According to Austin Business Journal, Motive is the third Austin-based company to IPO in the last year. SigmaTel Inc. (Nasdaq: SGTL) and Staktek Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: STAK) were the previous two companies.