If you deal with lots of files (and who doesn’t?), there are surely times when you have to rename a whole bunch of them at the same time. (A classic example: a bunch of image files with less-than-helpful names such as IMG_0001.jpg, IMG_0002.jpg, IMG_0003.jpg, and so on.) Plenty of Mac utilities exist that’ll help you rename files in batches—for example, we reviewed A Better Finder Rename a little while ago. But we haven’t looked at one of our favorites, Name Mangler from Many Tricks, since version 2 back in 2008. Name Mangler is now up to version 3.3, and it’s changed quite a bit.
What hasn’t changed: Name Mangler still lets you select a batch of files and rename them in a variety of ways. The current roster of renaming modes include Find and Replace (which can take advantage of regular expressions); Sequence (attaching numbers or letters in order); Add Prefix or Add Suffix (which can now take advantage of over 150 types of file metadata); Insert (ditto with the metadata); Remove (take out a certain number of characters, starting at a specified position in the current name); Change Case (to lower case, upper case, and so on); and Advanced. The last one lets you create new filenames using a kind of scripting language that supports constants and functions, including logical connectors such as if, and, not, and or.
Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area. More by Christopher Breen
You can file doubleTwist’s $10 AirPlay Recorder under Controversial. The tool, originally developed for Android and now available for OS X (10.7.3 and later), was designed for one purpose only: capturing iTunes audio streams for later playback.
You mean like tracks from your iTunes library?
Not really. After all, you already have copies of those tracks, so why make new recordings of them?
Serenity has been writing and talking and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, writes, acts, sings, and wears an assortment of hats. More by Serenity Caldwell
With all the NSA hooplah this past year, and mounting concerns over user security, it’s not surprising that you might want to shield certain of your files from prying eyes. You can use any of a number of overly complicated solutions, including Terminal commands and expensive consultants, but software developer MacPaw wants to make it a bit easier for the average person with Hider 2 (Mac App Store link). Hider 2's normal price is $20, but MacPaw is currently offering the app for an introductory price of $10.
The app is a major update to the company’s older MacHider, which let you hide files from public view by making them invisible. Hider 2 builds on that simple utility by adding a Mavericks-refined interface; a systemwide menu; AES-256 encryption for both files and folders; and support for notes, tags, and external drives.
Roman has covered technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser, and he's worked for MacAddict, Mac|Life, TechTV, PC/Computing, and Windows NT Systems. More by Roman Loyola
As someone who has a regular schedule of weekly meetings and appointments—work meetings, after-school sports for my kids, and so on—it’s always helpful when someone who wants to schedule a meeting with me mentions the day along with the proposed date and time. For example, when I’m asked if I’m available on May 6 at 3 p.m., I have to look at my calendar; but if I know that May 6 is a Tuesday, I can immediately reply that I can’t do meetings after 3 p.m.
Which brings me to my biggest gripe about OS X’s Date & Time menu-bar display (enabled in the Date & Time pane of System Preferences): It shows you only the current date and time. There’s no option to display, say, a monthly calendar when you click in the menu bar. Sometimes I’m on the phone or writing an email to set up a meeting, and I’d like to know what day of the week a proposed date falls on—since I’m no calendar savant, I need to look it up.
Jason Snell Senior VP, Editorial Director, Macworld
Jason is the former editorial director of Macworld, and has reviewed every major Apple product of the last few years, including the original iPhone and iPad as well as every major version of Mac OS X. Check out Sixcolors.com for his latest Apple coverage. More by Jason Snell
You know the maxim, “Give a man to fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime”? A similar adage applies to anyone who spends a lot of time working with text on their Mac: Learn how to use regular expressions—sequences of characters and variables that you can use to perform powerful searches—and you’ll benefit greatly, for a very long time.
I’ve saved hours or days—maybe even weeks—of time over the past decade or so by using pattern-matching search-and-replace actions on text. Regular expressions (also called regex or grep) form the common language that most programs use for these actions. Specifically, I’ve been using grep in BBEdit, crafting complex patterns and then pressing the Find button and hoping that my pattern is right. But it isn’t always—learning regex takes practice and involves lots of trial and error.
Nikolai Krill’s $3 Patterns (Mac App Store link) simplifies the act of creating regex search patterns, and it provides a live view of the results of those patterns.
Seven or so years since the introduction of iOS, getting stuff from your iPhone or iPad to your Mac—and vice versa—is still a pain.
Sure, there are plenty of ways to sync or share files. You can sync data using iTunes or (for some apps) Dropbox. You can send files via email. You can sync Safari bookmarks, Reading List URLs, and open tabs over iCloud. You can share photos via PhotoStream. You can even share clipboard contents using utilities such as Command-C. But these are all piecemeal solutions that each work for one particular type of data, but not others. (Alas, Apple’s AirDrop feature handles many kinds of data, but it currently works only for sharing files from Mac to Mac, or from one iOS device to another—it doesn’t work between OS X and iOS.)
That’s the problem that DeskConnect seeks to solve, and by and large, it does a good job. Once you install the free DeskConnect apps for Mac (Mac App Store link) and iOS (App Store link) on your various devices, and set up a free account, you can share photos, webpages, document files, and clipboard contents between the two platforms using DeskConnect clients for OS X and iOS.
Dan has been writing about all things Apple since 2006, when he first started contributing to the MacUser blog. Since then he's covered most of the company's major product releases and reviewed every major revision of iOS. In his "copious" free time, he's usually grinding away on a novel or two. More by Dan Moren
Everyone has their favorite (or least favorite, depending on how you look at it) beefs with Apple’s iCloud service. But one of my biggest frustrations is that many of iCloud’s most-convenient features require you to use Apple’s apps—those features simply don’t work with third-party programs.
Take iCloud Tabs, the feature that automatically syncs any open Safari tabs across all your OS X and iOS devices. The key word here is Safari—iCloud Tabs doesn’t support other browsers. But this is where third-party developers step in to help. Like previous Gem MyPhotostream, Josh Parnham’s free CloudyTabs is a simple OS X app that lets you liberate a little bit of iCloud—in this case, that bit is iCloud Tabs.
CloudyTabs, which requires OS X 10.8.2 or later, provides a simple systemwide menu that, at a click, displays all your iCloud Tabs, organized by the device hosting each tab. Each open-tab entry displays the tab’s webpage title and favicon. Choosing any item in the menu opens that tab—and here’s the kicker for non-Safari users—in your default browser, whichever browser that may be. (It’s a little strange that CloudyTabs displays your current Mac’s tabs, though I suppose that’s one easy way to shuttle tabs between, say, Safari and Chrome on the same machine.)