The Mac and your Windowing environment go hand in hand. That’s how the Mac evolved to become the Mac. Really, when thinking about it, it was the Mouse and the Windowing Environment that will fit perfectly in this discussion.
More than Ever
In this article I intend to talk about five apps that can be added that enhance the Mac and your windowing environment. However, to take a step back, the Mac’s windowing environment has never been so complete, comprehensive, intuitive and powerful as it is now. Yes, everyone would like this or that but that’s the beauty of the Mac’s windowing environment; we can enhance.
Mission control is a beautiful enhancement to the system but it evolved out of third party vendors adding this kind of functionality. I particularly saw this with Microsoft Windows. Regardless, Apple added some nice functionality in the form of Mission Control which works so that we can have, as an example, 6 virtual desktops. Totalspaces 2 just adds to this functionality by enhancing the system very nicely.
Agility on One Desktop through Many
I often start with 9 desktops although I don’t necessarily use that many. There just there … in case. However, I have four core Windows labeled with they key things I do. Using the Quickey shift-ctrl-g I can show all my desktops and move easily amongst them but more importantly I can move my data easily amongst them. My desktops my broken out to reveal everything and I might decide that a browser is better suited near my images app as I pull together those for an article. If so I move it just so.
Path Finder is a utility that, at first blush, is difficult to see why it can be useful. However, it can. It’s to be used in place of Finder. In fact, now that I’ve used it for a while I never think of using Finder.
I wanted to spend a good deal of time on Totalspaces 2 due to its capabilities. I’ll just touch on Path Finder but will say that although it looks a bit different than finder, it has functions that enhance those of Finder from the get go. It can have numerous, what are referred to as browsers, open at once. As you’re working with your file, it is easy to line these browsers to manager your file system. You can do whatever you do in Finder but in Path Finder each item has linked to it directly a window that gives you vital information about the file something which you can get in Finder but which you have tell finder to bring to you.
You could easily want a Path Finder Window alongside a Finder Window to manipulate files that don’t necessarily make sense without their meta data. Path Finder can give you access to a file’s info or the file you were working on in a location that in Finder you would have to remember a dig yourself too.
The power of this kind of flexibility, which I have only touched on, is worth its weight in gold especially in those situations you were working on something earlier; thought it was important and now knew. In the traditional environment, the way back could be onerous whereas pathfinder can make it very intuitive.
TotalWindows is an extremely useful enahancement to finder as opposed to being a replacement for it a is Path Finder. And, it’s a really nice enhancement. It can be used if you use Pathfinder as it is enhancing the Finder window .
TotalWindows automatically takes your finder windows and adds functionality to them. The Windows have a Chrome browser feel and I like them for that. You can have multiple windows in your window and slide them around putting them in different positions which might be more appropriate to getting the job done.
I won’t spend a lot of time on Totalwindows other than to say that my favourite piece of functionlity is above. I feel anything that enhances the users sense of control, yet that being logical control, to be very useful. These windows are intuitive, feel natural and they’re fast without taking much in the way of resources.
Moom and Zoom 2
I have to discuss Moom and Zoom 2 together as there is some kind of bond here but I don’t think it’s intentional. The results are powerful. In fact, the apps are so useful you might want to call them the the dynamite duo.
To be clear, in this article each of the apps, for the sake of brevity, are being highlighted as opposed to receiving a full fledged review of all the capabilities. However, looking at Moom and Zoom2 on their own and together provides good insight into the value add.
Moom has a number of interesting features but one of its most interesting is to line up an window or an application in a portion of the screen to be acted on. In this situation, the image can be lined up by size grid and location. There are times when you want something positioned reptitiously in the same fashion.
A sheet to write on is a perfect example. The writing page can be positioned with exacting precision time and again.
Zoom, on the other hand, is a very loose and flexible tool to take action on a Window. You can move the Window anywhere easily by holding the shift-cmd and left mouse key and then position your window. Finally, you can easily size the Window using the shift-opt-left mouse button.
These two tools can do a lot more than described but I thought I would start with those actions which I find valuable.
Tools A Plenty
These are some of the plethora of tools available for the Mac. I’ve outlined what stands out as some of the better ones; the gems if you like. This is by far a comprehensive list but it is a very good starting point. Not only are these tools very beneficial but they’re fun too.