Connected drives are the lifeblood of my workflow. No matter how much internal storage I have in my machine, I still keep an arsenal of external drives around for backups, music, videos, and anything else I don’t want bogging down my day-to-day.
Once they’re plugged in, though, I tend to forget about them, to the point where I often pull them out without properly ejecting. StorageStatus’ (Mac App Store link) active menu bar icon didn’t just alleviate my absent-mindedness, it taught me to identify each drive’s cycles so to better maximize efficiency.
Leaving your MacBook plugged in all the time—for example, in order to use it with an external monitor while its lid’s shut—can be bad for the battery’s longevity. The Battery Project’s FruitJuice (Mac App Store link) aims to help you keep your battery healthy by telling you when and for how long you’ll need to unplug each day.
There’s no sophisticated voodoo behind this process. FruitJuice is simply tracking your previous week’s battery behavior, then recommending you stay unplugged for 20 percent of the time you typically use your laptop. You can configure a small but legible menubar icon to show you how many minutes of unplugged time remain. You can remain unplugged as long as you like, but FruitJuice will send you reasonably unobtrusive notifications when you’re free to plug in again.
iOS has changed the way we write. The ultra-minimal, file-free workspaces we use on our iPhones and iPads have gradually made their way to our Macs, making formatting toolbars and nested folders all but obsolete. Leafnote (Mac App Store link) isn’t quite as stark as other text editors, but it takes plenty of cues from iOS, resulting in a simple, speedy, and organized writing experience.
The writing area itself is as plain as you’d expect from a modern word processor, with a clean, white canvas. As is the norm with minimal text editors, there’s a distinct lack of options—aside from some rudimentary formatting (bold, italics, and underline), you won’t be able to do much of anything to your text. Even the default font and size are fixed, but the inclusion of an emoji menu is a nice touch.
The bigger hard drives get, the more room they provide for unwanted files to clutter up your disk and steal space you could otherwise put to better use. Rocky Sand Studio’s Disk Diag (Mac App Store link) hunts down and eliminates these megabyte-hogging miscreants, while keeping you fully informed and in control of the process.
On startup, a simple but beautifully-animated speedometer-style dial snappily shows you the ratio of empty to occupied space on your drive. Click the Start button, and in a few more seconds you’ll see how much space Disk Diag thinks it can free up for you. The program breaks this chunk of disk space into multiple categories, including your caches, your log files, and your Downloads folder. You can turn each on or off individually, and by clicking icons that appear when you mouse over each category, you can open a Finder window with the files in question, or get a plain-English explanation of what the files do and why you might want to delete them.
For creative professionals—especially those with work that involves a social media or online content component—FilePane (Mac App Store link) can be a true timesaver thanks to its quick access to various helpful actions via a handy and inventive drag-and-drop approach. It’s an app that works not only with files on your desktop or within Finder windows, but also images and text on websites and in documents.
Clicking and dragging any file on your Mac, along with any image or text, prompts a Drop Here button to appear nearby on the screen. Dropping the selected file or item atop that image pulls up a tiny command box with a handful of icons that correspond with actions. You’ll be able to quickly resize an image (and maintain proportions), print a file, create an archive or PDF file, send a file via email or AirDrop, or even post something to Twitter or Facebook—and there are a few other small tasks available from that box.
Maybe you’re going out of town for a while; maybe you live in a rough neighborhood; maybe you just wonder what your pets are up to all day. No matter the reason, the $50 Periscope Pro (Mac App Store link) from ZipZapMac can help you keep an eye on your domicile.
Periscope Pro’s a surveillance app that regularly takes video from your Mac’s camera, a connected webcam, or a third party IP-enabled camera—which doesn’t even have to be within your home. What triggers the recording is up to you: Periscope Pro can record continuously, or only when motion, sound, or some combination of both is detected. The video, in a frame rate and resolution of your choice, is stored on your computer’s drive, and it’s watchable either via the app itself, or simply by opening up the folder you choose.
If you’re a longtime user of OS X, you’re probably familiar with Apple’s Digital Color Meter (found in Applications > Utilities), a simple utility that magnifies the contents of the screen under the mouse pointer and lets you copy the RGB color components of the resulting pixel.
ColorSnapper (Mac App Store link) takes the concept a little further, providing a convenient way to instantly capture a specific color from your screen in a variety of formats. Once installed, the app becomes available in your menu bar, from where it can be invoked either via a mouse click or by using a global shortcut (the app defaults to Command-Control-C, which may interfere with the functionality provided by other apps, but you can change the shortcut).