Monday, April 30, 2007

Coffee Revisited

Ages ago I blogged about Boca Java coffees. I must admit that I figured we’d tire of the coffee and by now would be back to buying stuff locally, somewhere other than the grocery store, most likely. I’m delighted to report that we’re still enjoying Boca Java selections. Thanks to their program that enables the selection of one free sampler with your “club” order I’ve found a couple additional blends that we really like. They change the free selection and if you really, truly want to try another blend they sell sample packets of most, perhaps all, that are currently available for roasting and shipping.

We are currently enjoying the last of a particularly tasty holiday blend that was originally offered around Halloween 2006. They continued to allow it to be ordered through February 2007 so I stocked up on the last order I could make for it. I’m hoping they will bring it back for Halloween 2007.

Monday, April 23, 2007


This is a nifty little collaborative clipboard app that enables you to share files painlessly across your network.

As it states on Porchdog Software’s website: “Spike requires no configuration. Just start Spike up and it finds all of the other shared Spike clipboards on your network. Simply click on a remote clipboard and visually inspect the clippings. Double click on a clipping to load it, then go to your favorite application and paste. Or drag the clipping from Spike to your application.”

I couldn’t think of a better way to state it, so quoting the developers seemed to fit the bill here. The app allows you to easily share files between Macs on your network or between Win 2k, XP or functioning cross platform as well between Mac and Windows machines.

You do have to be on the same network for it to find other clipboards. The thumbnail images are scalable so you can see some of what is in the clipboard. I find this is a bit hit and miss depending on the type of files you are looking at. Even so, it’s extremely useful for moving files around between my Macs and on a different network for sharing files between my Macs and a Windows machine.

It works as advertised and is a useful little app for the price, especially if you are getting more than 2 copies. I’m always happy to find developers who have multi-copy or family pack pricing. Porchdog has a “try before you buy” download available at their website.

Price: 1-2 $7 per copy, 2-4 $6 per copy, 5 or more $5 per copy



For the longest time I’ve been resistant to using any type of launcher for my applications. You may find, as I did, that you have to squint at an overloaded Dock if you don’t have a launcher solution. The “folder full of aliases” in the Dock method works well. Not elegant, not configurable, but workable.

I’ve just installed Trampoline and I’m amazed at how useful it has become in just 24 hours of use. I’m hooked. I’m currently using the default alt+spacebar hot keys to open the application on my MacBook Pro. Assigning hot keys appears to be quite flexible, which should allow you to avoid interfering with hot keys you may already have set. One suggestion in the fairly helpful PDF user guide is if you happen to have a three button mouse to set the third button to open it.

Trampoline opens right under your cursor, which is convenient, though can take a bit of getting used to. Where your cursor is on the screen determines how large the “wheel“ is when it opens. It can be a bit annoying when the cursor is close to the edge of the screen since the wheel opens at the smallest setting and sometimes off the edge of the screen. The developer knows about this but the UI functions a little inconsistently when attempting to move it into usable range. That issue aside, I’m getting a great deal of use out of it, having explored about 1/2 the setting options and keyboard commands to customize it. The initial default is set to grab all the apps from your Dock (docked and open) when the app is first opened. Once that’s accomplished you can clear out that overloaded Dock and keep adding more to Trampoline. You can put folders as well as applications in the items menu. When you click on a folder it will “bounce“ you to a new wheel with the contents of the folder displayed.

There are quite a few customizable features, it’s a snap to install and you’ll likely make immediate use of it, even just using default settings. The version as of this review is 2.0.3, requires Mac OS 10.4 and is a Universal binary. This is likely to be one of the keepers out of the myriad shareware I’ve been downloading and trying out recently and may just fill that app launcher niche for you as well.

Note: For a limited time a free version is available at when you register and complete Heist 6.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Readers, please help me figure this out — target="_blank" tag in iWeb

Okay, perhaps I’m already doing what can be done about this but, I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m missing something — or someone out there, somewhere, may have a better solution.

How can I *easily* get the target=“_blank” tag into my href tags when using iWeb and Google’s Blogger? Is going in after publishing and editing all the links (albeit with a global replace) the only way to do this?

I’m most interested in a fix for my iWeb pages than anything else. It’s not that much of a burden to edit the HTML on my blog after uploading from one of my journal apps. And yes, I’ve sent the “feature request” email to Apple numerous times. I know they don’t reply and I’ve no way to know if it’s ever gotten into a real feature improvement list anywhere within Apple.

I’m generally quite happy with the hardware and software that Apple makes available to the consumer but I’m really, really tired of having to go in and edit, post publishing it to .Mac, to keep readers from being whisked off my site due to an informational link I’ve included. <sigh>

Apple, is it really that hard to add a button to iWeb so that when we make a link we can choose target=“_blank” to keep people on our site?

I'm a Mac App Junkie!

So, I admit it, I’m a Mac App Junkie. I hope to review and ultimately be able to recommend a variety of software that provides real daily value and won’t necessarily break your budget. Some really, truly useful software won’t take a single dime of your budget since their developers are putting them out there as freeware!

I’ve had the pleasure of being re-introduced to shareware in a big way over the last few months. In my early days of computing (suffice it to say I’ve been using Mac’s since they were only 1 year old and I do have a Mac 128k still tucked away somewhere) we partook of freeware and shareware via the BBS’s we chatted away on. I’m not sure I would be that trusting again on the Windows platform.

I work at a university and students sometimes teach us a few things as we attempt to teach them. I received an invitation to participate in MacHeist back in early November 2006. Their goal, which I at least believe was admirably achieved, was to heighten user awareness about great, inexpensive Mac shareware.

I’m in a definite minority going into an “event” like this. First, I’m a woman — (ack! watch those sexist comments on those forums ;-). Then, heaven forbid, I’m over 40!!

But, I like a good puzzle as much as the next guy. MacHeist was fun, the forums (for the most part) are engaging and informative and I got a boat load of useful software along with a few I’ll probably never use much.

The user community on the MacHeist forums has put me onto quite a few additional apps and places to get them. We had MacAppADay* during December. Some folks weren’t too impressed by the offerings but there were a few here and there throughout the month that I hadn’t seen before or hadn’t gotten elsewhere. I’m still using a couple on a regular basis.

I learned of MacZot! quite a bit later than many of the MacHeister’s. Since then, though, I’ve definitely found apps that were worth grabbing at the discounts provided via that site. A group that participated in MacHeist started their own “solve it and earn software” site — theAmazongroup. I’ve enjoyed participating in their site as well. Nothing has come close to the pace of MacHeist and we’re still awaiting the 6th Heist (due this Wednesday, April 18) with hints that there will be a MacHeist II sometime in the future.

I’ve found some real gems that are enhancing my Mac computing on a daily basis. I’m looking forward to passing information about them that I hope others may find useful.

* an “Under New Management” posting is all that’s up on that page these days