Indie productivity app Alfred refuses to let Apple steal its thunder

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Well, there goes Alfred.

That’s the first thought I had when I saw the new Spotlight in OS X Yosemite. I feared Apple had basically made my favorite little app launcher obsolete (we nerds call it “sherlocked”).

I was wrong.

It’s six months later, and Alfred is doing just fine, thanks largely to a vibrant community built around its power features, or workflows. Spotlight may be able to quickly launch an app from anywhere, but Alfred can tell the weather, eject attached hard drives, and control your Nest thermostat.

And now, after five years on the Mac, Alfred is making the leap to iOS with a new companion app called Alfred Remote. Released today, it’s not going to be useful for most people, but serious Alfred users will love it. If anything, it’s evidence that you can still build a great app and community around core features offered by Apple.

3 super-easy ways to convert currency with your Mac

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Your Mac's calculator has some tricks up its sleeve. Photo: Rob LeFebvre
Your Mac's calculator has some tricks up its sleeve. Photo: Rob LeFebvre

As the world gets smaller and smaller thanks to the global marketplace called the internet, you may sometimes need to know exactly how much your dollar will get you in the wider world. Is that £15 widget really worth it? You’ll only know if you convert it to some form of currency that you understand better.

Your Mac has at least three ways to do this sort of calculation: with a Dashboard widget, the built-in Calculator app, and even with Spotlight. Here’s how to convert currencies into something that makes more sense, right from your handy Mac computer.

Yosemite’s Spotlight glitch could reveal your details to online spammers

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Spotlight Search could be so much better than it already is. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Spotlight Search could also shine a light on your personal details. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Apple is normally pretty hot on security, but a new glitch discovered in OS X Yosemite’s search threatens to expose the private details of Apple Mail users — including IP addresses, and more —  to online spammers and phishers.

The privacy risk occurs when people use Spotlight Search, which also indexes emails received with the Apple Mail email client. When performing searches on a Mac, Spotlight shows previews of emails and automatically loads external images in the HTML email.

So why is this dangerous?

5 basic OS X Yosemite tricks everyone needs to know

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OS X Yosemite is packed with new features. Unfortunately, not everybody knows every single trick to squeeze the latest, greatest functionality out of Apple’s new system software.

In today’s instructional Cult of Mac video, we share five basic OS X Yosemite tricks that everyone needs to know. We’ll show you how to make phone calls from your Mac, switch to Yosemite’s “dark mode,” use Spotlight like a pro, easily record video from your iOS device screen, and let other people control your Mac (and vice versa).

Subscribe to Cult of Mac TV for all our latest videos.

Keep OS X Yosemite from sending Spotlight data to Apple

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Spotlight is sending your searches back to Apple Photo: Apple
Spotlight is sending your search information back to Apple. Photo: Apple

OS X Yosemite has changed the way your Mac deals with your privacy. On the one hand, Apple has decided to enable hard drive encryption by default, despite the FBI requests not to.

On the other hand, every time you type in Spotlight, your location and local search terms are sent to Apple, and, according to developer Landon Fuller, other third parties like Microsoft.

Fuller’s created a website, Fix Mac OS X Yosemite, where he’s posted up a way to stop Yosemite from sending such private data out. He’s also been contributing to a developer project on GitHub to find out and fix other ways that OS X phones home.