Mac Software

Quickly create alpha images from icons in Preview

Have you ever wondered how MacFixIt gets all those cool icons to start each of our articles? Even if you haven't, this is how you can do it, quick and easy. This tip is great for bloggers who write about applications and don't want to go searching online for an image of the icon from the app they are writing about.… Read more

Tether for free via PdaNet

Just because the Moscone Center in San Francisco hosts a veritable plethora of techie conventions, that doesn't mean it offers Wi-Fi. If your phone can pick up a 3G signal, you might not care--and you might not have to pay for it, either. Thanks to PdaNet's phone app and laptop drivers, and the unlimited data plan that you're already paying for, you can use many of the major smartphones as your Internet connection.

From the improbably-named software publisher June Fabrics, PdaNet is known for offering tethering solutions for PalmOS, but it also offers iPhone, Windows Mobile, and … Read more

Thunderbird beta 'Lanikai' released

Mozilla made public the first beta of Thunderbird 3.1 today. Code-named Lanikai and available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, the milestone makes few noticeable changes to the open-source and free desktop e-mail client. This is not surprising, though, as Mozilla Messaging announced that the goal of this release was to fix problems created by upgrading the Gecko engine that powers the program.

Lanikai is the first semi-stable release of Thunderbird to use Gecko 1.9.2, which is the same engine that Firefox 3.6 uses. The changes made from Thunderbird 3 to the 3.1 beta test version … Read more

Apple Releases Safari 4.0.5

Check Software Update! Apple has released Safari 4.0.5, which brings a number of performance enhancements and bug fixes to Apple's browser. According to the updater, the following has been addressed:

Performance improvements for Top Sites Stability improvements for 3rd-party plug-ins Stability improvements for websites with online forms and Scalable Vector Graphics Fixes an issue that prevented Safari from changing settings on some Linksys routers Fixes an issue that prevented some users from commenting on documents

The update is available for Windows and OS X, but on the Mac side the specific problems addressed are issues … Read more

Mozilla aggressively asks older Firefox users to update

By Mozilla's lights, Firefox 3.6 has been a runaway success. The publisher of the open-source browser says that more than 100 million users have downloaded Firefox 3.6 since its launch in the middle of January. However, not all Firefox users have upgraded from Firefox 3 or Firefox 3.5, and Mozilla wants to change that.

As of Thursday, users of older Firefox versions will start seeing a pop-up encouraging them to upgrade. The window will come with three choices: Ask Later, No Thanks, or Get the New Version. The pop-up will appear after 60 seconds of keyboard … Read more

Issues with restoring a Mac from a Time Machine backup made on a different machine

If you are faced with a situation that requires you to restore your Mac (Mac OS X 10.6.x Snow Leopard) with a Time Machine backup that was made with a different Mac, you may experience some issues. There are, however, some steps to take to avoid those problems.… Read more

FileMaker 11 delivers charting, 'on-the-fly' reporting

Apple-owned FileMaker on Tuesday unveiled the next major version of its database product, FileMaker Pro 11.

In a recent study, the company found that 80 percent of the people who look at FileMaker already have a task in mind. With this type of feedback, FileMaker set out to make the new version faster and more productive for new users.

"It's very much a back to basics release for us," Ryan Rosenberg, vice president of marketing and services at FileMaker, told CNET. "We think ease of use is the core proposition in a database."

To help … Read more

How to save and share ridiculously large files

A few years ago it was a big deal to find a place that would let you share 1 gigabyte files.

Things change, though. Bandwidth keeps growing, and the cost of Web storage keeps shrinking. That's good news for people looking to share increasingly large files, be it an HD video recording or an archive of several files that tops out at over a gig.

There are now a handful of free and paid services that make it easy to host these gigantic files and send them to a friend, family member, or business associate.

The key thing to point out here is the individual file size limit. Many storage services will throw gigabytes at you without any real strings attached except for the fact that you cannot upload files larger than a gig. This really isn't a big deal, that is until that first time you need to do it. Below are a handful of sites, both free and paid, that are up to the task.

The free ones

There's no such thing as a free lunch, but the same cannot be said about storage. You can, with little effort, dump large files in a number of places. The usual caveat there is that there tends to be a lot of on-site advertising and your files may not be saved for very long in case you want to come back to re-download or share them later on.

ADrive (2GB): ADrive is more of a personal file storage service, but files can be shared via a direct link, or via e-mail. The service gives users 50GB of total storage and uploads at up to 2GB a pop. It has both a Web-based uploader and a desktop software version. There's also a paid version of the service that adds more space and FTP access.

File Xpressit (2GB): File Xpressit actually tops out at 300MB a file but will go up to 2GB if you register with the service. It is free, it just requires clicking an activation link in an e-mail. The uploader does not require Flash or Java, which is nice if you're trying to use it on a computer without it installed. The service can also give you an e-mail notification when the file has been downloaded by your recipient.

Worth noting is that to use FileXpressit, you'll need to have an e-mail address for the person you wish to send the file to. This won't actually send the gigantic file to their in-box, but it means you can't start the upload without typing it in first.

Humyo (10GB): Humyo has a free and a paid plan, but the free plan is very generous at 10GB of free storage. There are basically no set-in-stone file size limits, just a cautionary message that encourages files that are over 10GB to be split into smaller segments. We didn't actually test this with a 10GB file (and we doubt you will either), but it's nice to know you could if you wanted to.… Read more

Remote computer access and 2D car racing: iPhone apps of the week

The big news of the day is the announcement of when Apple's latest creation, the iPad, will be available. According to Apple, the "magical and revolutionary" product will be in stores April 3 starting at $499, but you can preorder the device as early as March 12. Only the Wi-Fi model will be available at first, with the Wi-Fi/3G capable iPad to come later in April.

There is already plenty of analysis all over the Web about who will buy the iPad and whether it's truly a viable alternative to laptops and Netbooks. Most reviewers … Read more