March 2012 – Tip of the Month

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Tip of the Month

We thought we might try something different this month so read on below to hear our productivity application recommendations.

Alfred app launcher.
Alfred, a free keyboard-driven productivity application from the App Store, allows you to launch apps and search your computer and the web with great speed.
Through the use of a quick shortcut, Alfred is able to:

  • Launch any application living on your mac. Alfred will also learn which apps you use the most and prioritise them when you search.
  • Quickly find and open files, bookmarks, contacts, music and more. Never again will you be stuck wondering where you saved that all important missing file.
  • Search or launch your favourite websites
  • Control your mac’s basic functions, such as empty the trash, start the Screen Saver, restart, shut down, and more.

I’m a prolific Spotlight user and much like Spotlight, Alfreds default shortcut is “Option + Spacebar” which brings up a search query on the desktop. My most used example is searching ‘maps (suburb)’ which then opens a browser or tab in an already open browser and takes me straight to the search results within Google Maps. Very quick and useful.

Alfred is currently at version 1.1 and requires Mac OS X 10.6 or later and is available either through the App Store or the AlfredApp website.

App Store link


Optimal Layout. 

Optimal Layout is a powerful window manager available from the App Store. It allows you to access the best tools to manage your window applications, and ultimately, helps make you more productive.

Optimal Layout’s keyboard commands allow you to:

  • Position certain windows using keyboard shortcuts
  • Move and resize windows from your keyboard and they snap into alignment
  • Layout your windows to fill your screen. Say goodbye to annoying, overlapping windows.
  • List all your open app windows with a visual preview. This also applies for windows which are minimised or in another space.
  • Stick windows together for when you want to deal with them at a later time.


Optimal Layout is highly customisable to the way you want to work, and with regular updates and enhancements, Optimal Layout is designed for people who like to keep their hands on the keyboard.


In order to see how it works, you can watch the screencast at:

xType 4. 

Save keystrokes and time with xType.

If you ever find yourself typing out the same, repetitive text out then the Application aType 4 may be for you.

xType is a text expander which means with the use of a predefined text abbreviation you can produce website links, addresses, email signatures or what ever text you define. For example I’m using the abbreviation “sig” to produce my Email signature, images and all.

Actually typing ‘sig’ in this article produced my email signature until I made the shortcut exclusive to the Mail application, an easy enough change in the applications settings page

It is very customisable, very straight forward and you wont find yourself getting lost in something that should help you save time in the end.

It’s free and definitely worth checking out.

Check it out here or in the App Store.

We welcome a new tech to Mac Aid, Sean Yuen!

Read more here.

The new iPad and Mountain Lion

Apple late last week presented the new iPad to the world at their always well anticipated keynote presentation. Apple also announced Mountain Lion the week earlier, though we’re not likely to see it for quite some time.
Read more here.