Many of us here at Macworld are fans of Markdown, a nifty markup language that lets you write for the Web using plain text and a simple formatting syntax. We also frequently write in HTML. But one of the challenges in writing in these “languages,” if you will, is that it’s tough to see exactly how what you’re writing will look once it’s published on the Web.
A couple years back, I reviewed Marked, a fantastic utility that shows you a live preview of Markdown-, HTML-, and XML-formatted files. Even better, Marked can use custom CSS templates, so you can make those previews look almost exactly like your text will appear on your website or blog. Marked can even convert your code’s equivalent HTML for pasting into that blog or CMS, and it can export your preview to a number of document types, including PDF, RTF, and .doc.
I subsequently covered a big update to Marked that added additional preview styles, auto-scrolling your preview to the location of your latest edits, multi-file previews, custom file processors, and support for tables of contents, among other changes.
Do you have a lot of audio inputs and outputs on your Mac and quickly need to switch back and forth between them? Paul O’Neill’s AudioSwitcher (Mac App Store link is a great little menubar utility for doing just that. Although it doesn’t sport the same UI pizazz and polish as other apps you may own, AudioSwitcher is fantastically functional, especially if you’re switching between multiple microphones and speakers on a daily basis.
In addition, AudioSwitcher allows to set custom volume settings for each external speaker without altering the max volume on your computer—so if you switch to your TV’s speakers, you won’t accidentally blast your eardrums. You can even fiddle with sample rates for each speaker and microphone if so fills your fancy.
We rely on sequences of characters to tell us where our packages are and when they’re slated to arrive, but what do you do when you need to track the tracking numbers? Digging them up in email and frequently hitting the carriers’ websites is a pain—and that’s exactly the inconvenience that Parcel (Mac App Store link) attempts to solve. It provides a centralized location to keep tabs on your various tracking numbers with automatic updating, push notifications, and the ability to sync to the iOS version of the app.
Focused on doing one thing and doing it well, Parcel makes it very easy to input a tracking code from one of more than 230 carriers, including mainstays like USPS, FedEx, and UPS, along with numerous international options. In fact, copying a number to the clipboard from an email or website automatically fills it into the input field when adding a package within the app, and you can custom-name each listing (like “New iPhone”) so you know what’s what at a glance.
Ask any developer, and regular expressions are likely to appear near the top of the list of programming concepts he or she loves to hate. Used to describe complex queries that can be used to find and replace text, regular expressions can be extremely powerful, but also hard to grasp due to an obscure syntax and sometimes counterintuitive functionality.
RegExRX 1.8.1 (Mac App Store link) attempts to cut through some of the complexity by providing users with an environment in which they can build regular expressions and execute them against arbitrary blocks of text.
Grabbing and organizing pictures of computer screens is a huge part of my daily workflow. SnapNDrag Pro (Mac App Store link) simplifies both the screenshot and organization processes and as a bonus, tracks annotations you make to your images.
You have several options for capturing objects on your screen. First, SnapNDrag’s main window offers five buttons for the type of capture you want to create: Selection, Window, Screen, and Timed, all of which lets you select the interval at which you want the shot taken; and a More button that takes shots of your last selection, window, or the Dock. As is the case with most screen capture applications, you can assign a keyboard shortcut for any one of these buttons to invoke the app when you want to capture something on the screen.
Our lives are littered with links. Since we can’t possibly read everything we see, we’re constantly putting things in their place, whether it’s sending longreads to our Instapaper queue or squirreling away interesting blogs in designated Safari folders. Stache 1.0.1 (Mac App Store link) wants to change all that.
Bookmarking apps are hardly novel in this post-PC world, but Stache does it a little differently. Unlike the read-it-later services that focus on content and strip away the layout, Stache delivers a uniquely personal experience that doesn’t just store your links—it creates a corner of the Web with only the sites you care about.
One of OS X’s strengths has always been that it combines a great graphical user interface with the underlying power of UNIX—a power that extends to making dozens of scripting languages like PHP, Python, and Ruby available to all users.
App Factory 1.2 allows you to harness the power of these scripting languages and use them to create apps that can be launched directly from the Finder, without having to write a single line of OS X-specific code.