I'm a writer and computer sciences student from Belgium. You can always do me a favor with a good article idea, book recommendation, or recipe idea. You'll also find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.
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Simon's Latest Posts
Before personal computers were invented, even before they made their appearance in science-fiction literature, the Qwerty keyboard layout was designed for use on typewriters. While the design considerations were solid, Qwerty wasn’t created for efficiency. We don’t use typewriters anymore (well, most of us don’t). And yet most of you will still be using Qwerty, the most popular keyboard layout in the world. It’s time for change; for a keyboard layout that’s fit for modern keyboards and modern computing. It’s time for the Workman Layout.
While there are a huge number of good FTP clients out there, sometimes you can get by without installing any third-party software at all. An FTP client like those mentioned above makes sense if you’re an avid user, but you can avoid cluttering your system with another piece of software if you only need FTP access every now and then. Specialised FTP clients are stronger and more versatile, but the standard file browser on each of the three main operating systems can connect to FTP servers as well!
FTP is the most common method of transferring files from one device to another over a network. If you host your own website, you simply can’t get around without a decent FTP client. FTP is not only for developers. It’s one of the easiest ways to communicate between two computers on a local network as well. You can even mount the entire volume of a remote computer and use it almost as if it were plugged in yours. There are a number of good FTP clients available for Mac OS X, but Transmit might just be top dog.
Hosting your own PHP server has two main advantages. First of all you can host it locally so you don’t need to bother with transferring your files and only need to refresh the page in your browser to see the latest changes. Second, you can keep your product-to-be private until it’s ready to be released to the world wide web. This way you can present a finished (or at least beta) product to your users from day one. Zend Server is a PHP server for Mac that allows you to develop locally with minimum hassle.
Part of making professional presentations comes from focusing on key points and avoiding overuse of effects. Another part comes from using the right tool for the job. PowerPoint is an amazing piece of software, but it gives you twenty degrees of freedom. Fifteen of those lead to disaster. Slid.es is a free online PowerPoint alternative to make great presentations. Simply beautiful and beautifully simple.
The biggest problem with an eReader like the Amazon’s Kindle is that it requires unreasonable effort to move books between different devices. Before Kindle, I fell in love with Calibre. A bit on the heavy side, but this eBook management suite is incredibly powerful and always easy to use. Whether you’re just installing Calibre for the first time, or it’s already filled with incompatible EPUB files (like mine was), below are some tips to optimise Calibre for use with your Kindle.
AirPlay is Apple’s way of wirelessly streaming audio and video to supported devices on your local network. If you have one of Apple’s more recent Airport base stations, an Apple TV or a Boxee box at home, you should already be able to stream music from your computer to your entertainment system, wirelessly. Apple has made it notably more difficult to use AirPlay with third-party apps like Spotify or Rdio instead of iTunes. For that, you’ll need something like Airfoil.
Reading websites can be bliss, but it isn’t always comfortable. Noisy webpages assail your eyes and after a while, the almighty LCD takes its toll. With bleary eyes, it’s time to call it a day. If you’re hungry to read (as I am), there are ways to get rid (or at least partly circumvent) these impracticalities. Other tips and tools also help to make reading more comfortable. With these in your toolbox, you’re able to make reading about reading again.
Finder, the official Mac OS X file browser, is likely one of the most used applications on your computer. That’s really not surprising. What is surprising, is how outdated the this part of Mac OS X really is. Apple plans to bridge the gap with Mac OS X Mavericks, but you’ll get more bang for your buck by replacing Finder with software like TotalFinder or XtraFinder. Perhaps, in five more years, this is what Finder will look like. You’re welcome to wait, but we definitely won’t.
Apple products are notoriously closed-off to tinkering – you can either jailbreak your device, or you can use it as intended: carefully polished, one app at a time. To accomodate people with special needs; decreased vision, hearing, physical or motor skills; some leeway is given to make Apple devices accessible in a wide variety of usage scenarios. Accessibility settings are built right into the iPhone, just like on Mac OS X. It’s the place to look if you have difficulty using your device with factory settings, but also if you’re just looking for increased flexibility.
Mac OS X Mavericks isn’t anything like the big reboot we’re seeing in iOS 7, but this update brings a lot of long overdue features to the Mac, like tabs in Finder, better multiple monitor support and an iCloud password manager. With that tasty list of upcoming features out of the bag, it sure is annoying having to wait several months for Mavericks to arrive. Luckily, we don’t have to wait and can add the best features from Mac OS X Mavericks to the current OS using third-party software!
SSH is a great way to gain remote access to your computer. When you open the ports on your router (port 22 to be exact) you can not only access your SSH server from within your local network, but from anywhere in the world. However, you don’t want to risk using a weak password for authentication. Luckily, it’s very easy to set up your global SSH server in a very secure manner by using key-based authentication and disabling password authentication on your server altogether.
Just like Windows, prolonged use of a Mac slows down the operating system. When you’ve been hoarding data and applications for over a year, the difference in performance starts to show. It just doesn’t run as smoothly as it once did. A lot of users are hesitant to reinstall their entire operating system. There are plenty of advantages to a fresh install, especially performance-wise, but it’s a much bigger undertaking to start over from scratch. In this article we will run through the process from start to finish.
Most people spend ninety percent of their time on a computer in the web browser. Office and productivity suites might tempt you enough for the occasional trip to the desktop, but even there a shift to the browser is evident with tools like Google Docs. With the capabilities of modern browsers growing ever more, there’s a convergence of web and traditional application technologies. But however evident, I never expected games to make the leap as eloquently as they did.
Paperwork doesn’t have to be a chore, if it can be handled swiftly and efficiently. In the case of signing documents, it usually isn’t. It’s a hopelessly convoluted process, all for getting a single squiggly on a single document. It’s time for document signing to enter the digital age and with electronic signatures, it has.