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September 02, 2002
Riding the Jaguar

Quite a lot of my activity in the last few days has been on screen. With the introduction of the new MacOS 10.2 it was really time to switch, and so I finally moved to MacOS X. (I have been trying to befriend all versions of osX so far, starting with the Beta, but came out with scratches every time.)
I had to say good-bye to my favorite little application, which had followed me around since 1990. The name of this little gem is “Capture” and the creator is Yves Lempereur. My Apple-“,” key combination would allow me to create a screen-grab of any portion of the screen at any time in any situation. Capture was a really important little piece of software for me. (I know this sounds really nerdy, but it really was.) It was programmed so well, it worked equally well under System 6.0.7 as under MacOS 9.2.2. Hmm. I really wondered if Yves was about to write a Jaguar version. I found him via Google, of course, since he wrote the original application before the invention of html, or browsers or the WWW. He responded very nicely and even sent me an upgrade for the software, (written in 1996) but he had no plans on ever writing a simple screen-capture application for MacOSX… So it looks like I will have to use Snapz Pro from now on? I think I will need to write to the Ambrosia guys about capture. The beauty of Capture was that it just did not get in my way whenever I wanted to make a screen-grab. It just sat there in the background, waiting for my key combination. And when I typed the key combination, my cursor would just turn into a little cross. I could then make my selection, and then paste the grab into Photoshop. No menu to look at, unless I wanted to change some settings. Otherwise, OsX is just quite excellent. I am feeling a bit like in the early days when it was so important to adjust all the little settings in all the little control-panels and change the look of things to create an ideal working environment.
I upgraded all of my Adobe applications to run in X, and they still have their own little secret screens, like back in the days, at least Photoshop and Illustrator do.
The next step was to find the right little hacks and apps to adjust the macOSX user interface. First thing to add was TinkerTool. It fixes some tiny little things about the dock as well as about scrollbars, among other things. Next thing that needed a fix badly was the upper right corner of the screen. There used to be an Application switcher menu there since the very first Macintosh operating system, but somebody must have decided that the new Dock could replace it. Well not quite for me, and thus there is the very useful ASM (Application Switcher Menu). It brings the full functionality back. Very nice. In the other corner of the screen used to be the Apple menu. It used to contain some of the stuff that somehow belonged there, the Calculator, the Control Panels, the recently used applications. It was now replaced by some strange promotional item (“Get OSX software”), but not for long. Under my Apple is now FruitMenu, a little helper application that brings back the old functionality and even some of the stuff we liked in FinderPop. Next stop on the interface improvement journey was the Dock itself. It somehow began to become cluttered with all the little helpers and friendly utilities which wanted to be there, so they could be easily accessed, but really did not need to be in my face all the time. The helper here became Dock Extender, a nice little application that allows up to 10 (in the paid version) menus that sit in the dock. They look like any application or any icon you can find on IconFactory, but are in fact popup manus which can contain anything the user desires. Way to go. While in the dock, let’s take a look at the home icon and the trash… They might need some help, you think? Try CandyBar, a beautiful little piece of software by Iconfactory and Panix. Candybar can turn any of the original OSX system icons into one of those (yeah, you like them, and yes, I know that I am repeating myself here).
So what is left to adjust after all this? Well, the fonts in some of the older applications just did not look quite as smooth as what I now really liked about the new Quarz look. And there is help in shape of Silk it smoothes all fonts in applications that do not do it correctly themselves. It makes the system feel pretty nice.
Oh, one more little friendly app. It is called WeatherPop and puts, when it works, a little weather station into your menu bar. I like it very much. I hope the glu.com people fix it, as promised by September 3rd. I actually bought this little friend. Yes, I am one of the guys who pays for their Shareware at some point. Can you imagine?
Have a wonderful labor day. All the best.


Not having gotten my hands on Jaguar yet (soon! soon!), take what I say with a grain of salt.

Isn't there a built-in keyboard command that achieves the same effect as "Capture"? In OS 9, it was Command-Shift-4, I think. It gave you a crosshair cursor that you could click and drag to take a specific screen shot. I believe it is the same key-combo in OS X. Check if it is still there in Jaguar.

CandyBar is a great little tool. Too bad there are so few really nice icon sets for replacing the system icons. I hope this app will spur creative minds to get to work.

Personally, I have shied away from all the apps and utilities that recreate OS 9 features in OS X and instead tried to bend my habits to the new interface. Now, when I find myself on a Windows or OS 9 box, I catch myself swinging the cursor to the left side of the monitor and expecting my Dock to pop up.

Posted by: Todd on September 2, 2002 11:05 PM

Yes, indeed, you are right about the capture. It works! Seems that I was so obsessed with the little app, that I missed the development within the OS itself.
About the little extensions that make the system more like os9. Well, in OS6.0.7 I would delete icons of applications and place just the names on the bottom of my screen. Then came OS7 and I could do this with aliases. Then came hoverbar and dragstrip and these guys, and now we have the dock. I used to work on a paintbox before and oddly enough it used to have these menues that would only appear when you waved the stylus (it had a wacom tablet) out of the screen, and that was 1989. I agree that it is very important to bend our minds around things to keep our brains alive. I just somehow like to have tiny pieces of interfaces that make my friendly mac “my own”... somehow...
: )
And to be quite honest... this weekend was filled with procrastination. ; )

Posted by: witold on September 2, 2002 11:58 PM

Ahh, he beat me to it! Yes, the old Command+Shift+4 lets you capture any little window you want! Have fun!

Posted by: Pat on September 3, 2002 02:25 PM

see, I should just ask you guys first.
: )

Posted by: witold on September 3, 2002 06:36 PM
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