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100 Tips #48: How To Zoom In On Images In QuickLook



Back in Tip #27, we showed you how to use QuickLook, an extremely handy way of previewing all sorts of different files on your Mac.

QuickLook is particularly handy for checking out image files, especially when you have a folder’s worth, all with identical generic icons rather than thumbnail icons, and you’re not sure exactly which one you want.

It also has a hidden secret feature: you can zoom in to images while in QuickLook mode. Here’s how.

Simple Utility To Set Up Spotify Control Keys



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.

Tip: Use Your FTP Client As A File Browser



Here’s a great tip that’s doing the rounds today. Chris Bowler uses his copy of Transmit as a file browser, because it has two viewing panes built-in, and lets you browse local files in each.

Anyone who has got tired of constantly having to open two adjacent Finder windows to transfer files from one place to another will see why this is a great idea.

Transmit comes with a handful of shortcuts for quick access to your Home folder, Desktop, or Documents folder. It also has a favorites feature – just drag any folder to the starred icon at the far left of the breadcrumb trail at the top of each pane. It also supports the Finder’s four different viewing modes (thumbnails, list, columns and CoverFlow). Great tip if you already have Transmit (or a similar two-pane FTP browser – anyone got any suggestions?) installed.

(Hat-tip to Minimal Mac for the link.)

New Apple Patent Describes Sophisticated Stylus For iOS Devices



When the iPhone first came out, Steve Jobs — quizzed why Apple had eschwed a stylus — famously quipped that in his opinion, “If you see a stylus, they blew it.”

It’s a great quote, but in reality, it’s always been a little too dismissive of the benefits of styluses. In truth, there’s a lot of uses for a stylus on a touchscreen — for example, in creating digital art. Styluses are also of great people to people trying to use touchscreen devices who can’t keep their hand steady: my mother, for example, has a hard time typing on her iPod Touch without one because she has had tremors since a stroke a few years back.

It’s nice to see, then, that Apple is softening a little bit on their position against styluses… at least when it comes to filing patents.

100 Tips #44: How To Customize The Finder Sidebar



Waaaay back in Tip #9, I said we’d take a closer look at the Finder sidebar. Let’s do that right now.

A Finder window has the Toolbar at the top. (We looked at how to customize it in Tip #11.) This is where you have controls for what you’re doing with the Finder, as well as (optionally), shortcuts to specific things like files or applications.

Today we’re looking at the sidebar to the left. It’s the place for shortcuts to locations. Here, you can put folders, drives or volumes that you want swift access to from everywhere.

15 Of Our Favorite Mac OS X App Icons In 2010 [Year in Review]



When Apple updated the iTunes 10 icon earlier this year, it sparked huge controversy among Mac users everywhere — many branded the new icon ugly, lifeless, and unconventional. The debate showed that lots of Mac users like to see beautiful apps with beautiful icons.

Here are 15 of our favorite Mac OS X icons from 2010 that stand out for being beautifully designed, brilliantly colorful, and wonderfully unique. We’ve selected icons that make you want to find out more about an application, and that you’d proudly place in your dock for all to see.

We hope you like them. Check them out after the break. If you know better icons, please tell us about them in the comments. Free apps for the best ideas.

Tweetie-Like GMail Client Sparrow Gets A Major Update



A new update for Tweetie-esque GMail client Sparrow has just hit the Internet in time for the Holiday, adding some important new refinements including the addition of:

• Progress Bar
• Gmail shortcuts
• Quick labeling
• Quick Labeling and Archiving
• Smart recipient auto-complete
• ‘Download message on demand’ option
• Auto-restart on Menu Bar/Dock settings
• Quicklook in the compose window
• Horizontal scrollbar
• Plain text option

Sparrow’s developers also intend to bring the app to the Mac App Store, and so they’re now forking Sparrow into two different apps: one that is free and ad-supported, the other a paid version without ads.

I’m downloading it to give it a try — I’ve loved the idea about Sparrow, but the first betas were just too buggy and feature-poor to deal with. I can’t wait to see if my niggling issues have been fixed.