One of the better Yuletide traditions is the venerable holiday Advent Calendar, in which each day of December leading up to Christmas is marked off on a special calendar by opening its corresponding door to find a small gift, toy or chocolate squirreled away inside.
This year, we here at Cult of Mac decided we wanted to give our readers their very own Apple-themed advent calendar, filled with the year’s best apps, gadgets, stories and other curios. So each day in December, we’re going to lovingly peel back the door on the Cult of Mac 2012 Advent Calendar to reveal another delicious morsel, something really special that came out this year that we think every one of you should enjoy.
Day 20 is upon us as the end of the world draws near, and today we’re recognizing a handy menubar app for the Mac called Bartender.
Before the Display preferences were available in the menu bar in OS X, connecting my Mac to an LCD projector was a tedious thing. When it arrived a few OS X versions ago, I showed everyone I worked with how much easier it was to use this, instead of hopping into the System Preferences every time they hooked their Mac up to an external monitor or projector. Then OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion came along and replaced the Displays menubar item with an AirPlay focused one, and I’ve missed the original ever since.
The developers behind third-party app, Display Menu, thought the same thing and fixed things for us all.
Convergence. It’s all the rage, lately, and what better two items to converge than your Mac, running OS X, and your iPad (or iPhone, or iPod touch), running iOS? IT’s two great tastes that taste great together, to quote an old commercial that mostly no one has heard of any more.
With these five tips, you’ll amaze your friends with a Mac that looks more like your iPad than it does your Mac. So, read on, intrepid souls, and follow our steps to make that sweet Apple computer into something resembling the post-PC magical device we all love.
We’re taking this whole “Mac as iOS device” thing a bit far, perhaps, but it sure is fun. We found that we can make our Mac look a lot like our iPad screen with a little bit of Terminal command magic, a third party app, and some Finder tweaks. Here’s how to do just that.
Meanwhile, over in the Linuxverse, the next release of Ubuntu looks set to try something pretty radical – ditching the top-of-screen Menu bar in favour of a type-what-you-need HUD panel. Rather like Spotlight for menu items, mixed with some Alfred and some Siri.
If you use online streaming service Spotify, you’ll know that the client software required for controlling it is pretty good.
It’s simple to use, and not too cluttered with controls and extras. Since I started paying £5/month for Spotify’s advert-free Unlimited service, I’ve been listening to it for many hours on end, and found only one problem: I have to switch back to Spotify to control it.
Now it’s true that Spotify can be controlled with your Mac’s existing dedicated iTunes buttons – F7 for previous track, F8 for play/pause, and F9 for next track. But this only works well if iTunes isn’t running at the same time. If both apps are open, they both respond to these commands, and audio chaos ensues.
Spotify Menubar is a simple free utility that solves this problem by allowing you to set up your own system-wide keyboard shortcuts for Spotify, so you can avoid the conflict with iTunes and still have easy keyboard access to your favorite songs.
It would be nice if Spotify Menubar had some clickable controls of its own, which would better justify its position on the Menu Bar in the first place. But for those of us who spend hours a day with our heads inside Spotify playlists, it’s a useful little widget to have around nonetheless.