Mavericks’s Finder tags feature offers a number of benefits over the older file and folder labels, but one of the drawbacks of tags is that items are no longer colored with your preferred tag (nee label) color—you see just a tiny, colored dot next to the file name. The reason for this is clear: While you could apply only a single label to a file or folder in OS X 10.8 and earlier, you can apply multiple tags to files, so OS X wouldn’t know which of those tags to use for the item color.
Still, I really miss the colored folders of old, as I used those colors as quick-glance “Hey, this is [important/finished/etc.]” indicators. I’ve been able to restore an approximation of this feature using Erica Sadun’s $3 Folderol, which makes it quick and easy to colorize the icon of any folder.
Launch Folderol, and its window offers a row of default folder colors; click one to chose that color, or click the swatch to the right to choose any custom color using the OS X color picker. Whichever you do, your chosen color appears in the large drag-and-drop area above. Drag one or more folders into that area, and Folderol instantly gives each folder the appropriate colored-folder icon.
Flexiglass (Mac App Store link) is a neat idea for window resizing from Mac development company Nulana: it uses keyboard shortcuts and multitouch gestures to help you quickly move your windows from place to place without dragging and dropping.
In addition, you can use several keyboard shortcuts to automatically resize windows to a certain portion of the screen—for instance, centering a window, or making it expand to fill the top half of the screen only.
Sometimes, the best utilities aren’t something you necessarily can’t live without, but a little tool that makes your overall computing experience better. Head for Facebook is a tiny little circle that lives on a corner of your screen and, when clicked, reveals the Facebook.com website in a Web view (mobile or desktop), blurring out the rest of your desktop. Another click, and the website disappears.
Given that Facebook has no desktop client, Head is a nice way to separate your social media interactions from your day-to-day Safari or Chrome use. I like it because, like my Twitter client, it’s an app I can check on regularly scheduled breaks, rather than having a tab on your browser distracting you from otherwise productive tasks. (And I don’t even use Facebook all that often—imagine how useful it could be if that’s your primary social networking service!)
As robust as the screen capture features in OS X are, there’s always room for improvement. Team Apollo’s Powershot 1.5 fills this role nicely, offering a lightweight, efficient utility that allows you to configure keystrokes for taking screenshots, target the areas of the screen that will be used in the screenshot, lets you specify what will be done with the image file, and allows quick line drawings, shapes and annotations to be added to the finished product.
Diagnosing a computer problem can be a daunting task even when you’re standing right in front of a Mac. When you’re doing it remotely—perhaps to help someone of less-than-stellar technical skill—gathering all the information required to figure out what’s not working can be a downright miserable experience for everyone involved.
EtreCheck attempts to alleviate this problem by automatically collecting a full set of statistics about the Mac on which it runs, from its hardware components, to installed apps and kernel extensions—going as far as quickly sampling your system to determine which programs are taking up the most RAM and CPU time.
Like Apple’s own app, Network Radar offers many common network tools, including ping, port scan, and whois. But it doesn’t stop there: The app can quickly scan your entire network and display a list of devices on it, along with their IP addresses, what services they offer, and more. If you need quick access via services like Telnet, SSH, or HTTP, you can access those for any device by right-clicking on its entry.
Contexts 1.4 supplements—and can even replace—OS X’s window management tools, and it does so in a way that is legitimately useful, especially if you rely on keyboard shortcuts to navigate your Mac.
On first glance, Contexts has a nearly nonexistent interface: The only sign that it’s running is a narrow window-picker sidebar that runs along the edge of your screen. But its real power lies in its keyboard shortcuts.