Wednesday, May 13, 2009

AppTrap: Uninstall done right

Installing applications on the Mac is pretty easy. You either have an installer which does its work, or you drag the application from an image file into your applications folder, and you are done. The problem arises when you want to uninstall the application. You can take the application and drag it to trash, but that doesn't do the job completely. Usually the program in the course of its operation installs files: in the Preference folder and in the Application Support folder. It is painful to go around and search for the files it installs, the names are not very intuitive and it turns into a hit-and-miss operation. There are several solutions available for performing this task with more ease. Some of these are shareware: AppZapper, AppDelete, CleanApp 3, etc.. Others are freeware: AppCleaner, AppTrap.

I am going to cover AppTrap today.

Firstly, download the program from here. After the file has downloaded, double-click the file and the image will mount. Follow the instructions on the image, they are easy.


AppTrap is extremely simple, as you can see, the preferences are very limited. Just two clicks and you are done.


After the two clicks, this is what you are going to get.


You are done. Now you are ready to go.

To illustrate, I am going to take a application I love, AllSecure, and I am going to move it to Trash.


As soon as I do that, AppTrap is going to throw up a dialog box, asking me whether I want to move the files associated with AllSecure also to trash, or leave them alone?


If I was interested in getting rid of AllSecure from my hard drive I would click the Move Files option, and the application and its associated files would be moved to the Trash. Empty trash and they would all be gone from my hard drive. Simple, easy, and quick.

No, I didn't delete the application AllSecure from my hard drive, as I said, I love that program and will cover it in more detail in a coming blog-post.

AppTrap does a fantastic job, and best of all it is free (donations requested).

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

System Preference and Caffeine: No. You can't go to sleep.

How do I make my computer stay awake? You can go to the Energy Saver preference pane.

Drag the two sliders highlighted in the picture to the extreme right. This ensures that the computer and the display never go to sleep. Uncheck the "put hard disk(s) to sleep when possible" check-box. You are now ready to stay absolutely awake.

Does this sound like too much work?

You can always get Caffeine to do the job for you. Caffeine is a tiny program which sits in your menu bar. Click it to disable automatic sleep and click it again to get your system energy saving settings back. Caffeine gives you the ability to set up how long you want your Mac to be awake.
Caffeine also gives you a visual representation of when it is working. Normal sleep is an empty white coffee-cup and awake is the same coffee cup with coffee in it.

Usage Note: To quit, click on the menubar icon while holding down the Command key. You are going to get a drop-down menu and you can quit the program from there.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Shove it into ShoveBox


I am going to cover ShoveBox today. ShoveBox costs $24.95.

Every day you come across snippets of information which you know you want to check out but don't have the time to get to right now. Usually you just drag an URL to the desktop and very soon, your desktop is covered with files and you have no idea what any of them are or when you are really going to get to them. Maybe, you are a little more organized, you have a TextEdit file open in the background and you drag both text and URL's on to the TextEdit file. This is a tad better than the "use the desktop as the box" strategy but it still is not very efficient.

ShoveBox attempts to solve this problem. "ShoveBox catches all those little scraps of information that you can't act on now but would rather not forget. It sits up in your menubar, waiting for you to drag in text, images, URLs, and more." It does a good job of being an application which hides from you when you don't need it and coming to the fore and helping you when you need it. And it is a depository of all the information you want to get to later.

How do you get data into ShoveBox?
In this area ShoveBox really shines. It gives you a myriad of choices. You can drag and drop clippings and files onto the ShoveBox menubar icon and they are added to the Inbox.

You can invoke the Quick Jot panel and type and paste in your input.

or, you can create a new text note and type or paste in your input.

In addition, you can paste in your clipboard contents into ShoveBox.

A feature, which I quite enjoyed was that you could use your iSight camera to create image entries and add them to ShoveBox. I must say that although it is a cool feature, I do not know how useful it would be. The author posits that it is good for taking snaps of diagrams on notes on whiteboards.

In addition it provides a System-wide Services menu to Send to ShoveBox. It also provides a "Save PDF to ShoveBox" option in any Print Dialog. There is also a Browser Bookmarklet which lets you save any page you are on to ShoveBox, it is hidden in the Capturing Items section in the manual.

How do you get data out of ShoveBox?
That process is pretty simple, you can just drag the entries out of ShoveBox into a folder or into another program, or you can choose the export dialog box and it is pretty easy and intuitive a task.

Interesting usage pointers:
It's preferences are very well arranged and gives you the ability to drag in a bookmark as an URL or as a Web Archive, or you can set it to give you a choice every time you drag in an URL.
The interesting panel in the preferences is the Hot Keys assignment panel. This lets you assign a hot key to Open Organizer, Show QuickJot, New Text Note, or Paste to ShoveBox.

Rules: The problem with programs like this is you are half the way through to being organized. You are for all intents and purposes using the Inbox of the program as the depository of files instead of your desktop or any other folder where you have decided to dump your files. The organization is half done, you have to get into the programs Organizer and parse your documents and files into folders to achieve organizational nirvana. Rules are an attempt on the part of the program to automate this process. You can set up various organizational helpers through the Rules panel in the preferences of the program. It helps in the process of organizing.

Usage Notes:

This is a very competitive space. There are a ton of competitors in this market and ShoveBox has some very illustrious competition in the likes of Yojimbo, DevonNote, Together, and EagleFiler to name just a few. ShoveBox does less than each of the other programs in some very significant ways. For instance, it doesn't do tags. It does a few things and what it does it does well. If you are looking for a light organizational tool, this is a well-designed un-intrusive software which helps you get organized.

Friday, May 1, 2009

LaunchBar and iCal integration

LaunchBar 5.0 has been updated to release candidate 1. It is a really easy way to add events and To Do's to iCal without having to switch between applications.

In iCal make a new calendar. Give it an unique name: in my case I called the calendar icsh (short for ical schedule).
You can choose not to create a new calendar and use an existing calendar like Home or Work.

In LaunchBar preferences, go to Index>Show Index. Make sure Calendars is checked. Update all rules.


Invoke LaunchBar again and type in the name of the calendar you want to use. In my case, I wanted to use icsh. So, with the calendar selected I typed a space, and it was ready for my input of Events or To Do's.

Creating Events and To-do Items

Events are created by entering a description, followed by a date and time specification, separated by an @sign. For example:

To Do Items are created by entering a description, and an optional due due, separated by a right angle bracket (>). For example:

You can press the Tab key to insert the required @ sign more conveniently. And if you press the Tab key again, the @ turns into a >.
Press Return to create the new iCal item. Instead, you can press Command+Return to open the event in iCal and review and optionally amend the item.

You specify alarms with leading or trailing exclamation marks for example, !30m, !1.5h, 3d! or 2w!. If no alarm is specified, the default alarm setting of iCal is applied.
You set priority by appending 1-3 exclamation points.


  • Workplace Retreat @ Mar 16 creates an all day event.

  • Meeting with Sanjoy @ Apr 20 4-6pm creates an event with a start and end time.

  • Watch ManU vs. Liverpool @ next sun 14:45 creates a one hour event at the specified time.

  • Trip to New Orleans @ Sept 15 5d creates a multiday event that spans 5 days.

  • Call Joe @ tomorrow 3pm 15m! creates an event with an alarm 15 minutes before.

  • Buy Butter !! creates a To Do with medium priority.

  • Clean the garage > next sun creates a To Do with a due date.

  • Pay taxes > May 15 !7d creates a To Do with an alarm 7 days before due.

This makes interacting with iCal so much easier.