Classic Color Meter

As a designer you need to pick colors sometimes. In Mac OS X there is a free tool called "Digital Color meter" it's stored in  the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder. The problem with this tool is it's limited functionality, that's why I am using another tool called "Classic Color Meter" for a long time now. "Classic Color Meter" allows you to copy color values in many different formats and bit resolutions.

Here is a list of the built-in shortcuts. The function "Copy as HTML Hex Snippet" is very handy, because if your graphics software supports HEX values you don't need to copy and paste the three values for red, green and blue separately.

Function Keyboard Shortcut Result
Copy Color as Text
Shift + cmd + C 210 0 12 (in RGB, decimal, 8-bit)
Copy Color as Image
alt + cmd + C
Copy as NCColor Snippet
Shift + cmd + N [NSColor colorWithDeviceRed:(0xD2 / 255.0) green:(0x00 / 255.0) blue:(0x0C / 255.0) alpha:1.0]
Copy as UIColor Snippet
Shift + cmd + U [UIColor colorWithRed:(0xD2 / 255.0) green:(0x00 / 255.0) blue:(0x0C / 255.0) alpha:1.0]
Copy as HTML Hex Snippet
Shift + cmd + X #D2000C
Copy as CSS rgb() Snippet
Shift + cmd + R rgb(210, 0, 12)
Copy as CSS rgba() Snippet
Shift + cmd + A rgba(210, 0, 12, 1.0)

You can download Classic Color Meter in the Mac App Store for 3,49 €

Connecting an Android phone to Mac OS X with AirDroid

There is a new feature in iOS 8 called "Continuity" which connects an iPhone to an iPad or Mac. It allows the user to answer calls from their computer, to read and write SMS and more. With AirDroid you can have this features for your Android phone too.

Start screen of  AirDroid for Mac OSX

Start screen of  AirDroid for Mac OSX

Copying files is very simple. Just drag and drop a file on your AirDroid desktop client and it will be sent to all connected devices. I used to send emails to myself to do this.

You can copy files or text snippets from your computer to your smartphone and vice versa.

You can copy files or text snippets from your computer to your smartphone and vice versa.

You can read and send SMS. Deleting messages is unfortunately not supported by my Android version.

You can read and send SMS. Deleting messages is unfortunately not supported by my Android version.

If you don't want to install the desktop client or if you are using a public computer you can access your phone via the web interface web.airdroid.com. The web interface is even more powerful than the desktop client. You can install and delete apps on your device, change ringtones, take screenshots, manage your address book and much more. You can even take photos with your smartphone's front or rear camera with real time preview even if your phone is in standby mode!

The web interface offers full access to your phone's file system.

The web interface offers full access to your phone's file system.

To be able to use AirDroid you have to create an account first. Go on airdroid.com to register. You can download the Desktop client for Windows and Mac OSX there too. The Android app is available in Google Play.

AirDroid is for free, but file transfer is limited to 200 MB per month (I think). You can get an unlimited account with some extra features for 20 USD per month.

Compressing images "lossless" with JPEGmini

JPEGmini promises to reduce the file size of a JPEG image up to 5x, while keeping the source file's quality. I made a few tests with different JPEG compression levels to test if this is true. The source test file is a 16 Bit-TIFF in 3264x4928 px resolution with a file size of 96.5 MB.

The test image, resized to 1000x1510 px original quality 80, compressed with JPEGmini (344 KB)

The test image, resized to 1000x1510 px original quality 80, compressed with JPEGmini (344 KB)

I exported the test file from Adobe Lightroom 5.7 as a JPEG file with quality levels from 0 to 100:

lightroom_screenshot.png

I compressed the ten test JPEGs with JPEGmini:

Screenshot of JPEGmini for Mac

Screenshot of JPEGmini for Mac

Here is the result:

Source quality Source file size Compressed file size Reduced by Download test images
100 10.2 MB 2.5 MB 75% ZIP file (12.7 MB)
90 6.6 MB 2.4 MB 63% ZIP file (9 MB)
80 4.5 MB 2.4 MB 46% ZIP file (6.9 MB)
70 3.2 MB 2.1 MB 34% ZIP file (5.3MB)
60 1.8 MB 1.8 MB 0%
50 1.9 MB 1.7 MB 10% ZIP file (3.6 MB)
40 1.5 MB 1.5 MB 0%
30 1 MB 1 MB 0%
20 987 KB 987 KB 0%
10 735.8 KB 735.8 KB 0%
0 635.6 KB 635.6 KB 0%

Here is a comparison chart with a detail of the image in 1:1 resolution:

Click for image in original size (6.3 MB)

Click for image in original size (6.3 MB)

Conclusion

The test JPEG with quality level 100 was compressed by factor 4.1x in JPEGmini. Maybe it's possible to get even better results with different images. The quality is amazing, there is nearly no difference between the original file and the compressed file.

You can download JPEGmini Lite for free in the Mac App Store. The lite version is limited to 20 JPEGs per day. The full version costs 19,99 €.

You can also try JPEGmini online by uploading a picture to their website: http://www.jpegmini.com

Deleting apps residue-free with AppCleaner (OS X)

It's very easy to uninstall an app in Mac OS X: You just have to drag it from the Applications folder to the trash bin. But many applications also place hidden files in your home folder. These files can contain custom settings (preferences) or some other presets. AppCleaner makes sure that all these corresponding files of an application are deleted too.

You can drag and drop an app from the Applications folder and AppCleaner will search for all related files.

You can drag and drop an app from the Applications folder and AppCleaner will search for all related files.

AppCleaner can also show a list of all installed apps to chose from.

AppCleaner can also show a list of all installed apps to chose from.

AppCleaner has found some files in the Library folder that can be deleted too.

AppCleaner has found some files in the Library folder that can be deleted too.

You can download AppCleaner for Mac OS X by freemacsoft for free.

Enhanced "window management" on Mac OS X with BetterSnapTool

If you drag and drop a window in Windows 7 to the left or right edge of your screen it will resize automatically to 50% of your total screen width.

Resizing a window automatically

Resizing a window automatically

This can be very handy if you want to copy files from folder to another. Or if you are doing a research in your web browser and you need to take notes simultaneously.

Two Explorer windows side by side

Two Explorer windows side by side

BetterSnapTool brings this Windows functionality plus a lot more to your Mac. You can resize windows to 1/2, 1/3 or 1/4 of your screen, center them, send windows to another screen and much more.

bettersnaptool_general_settings

The most comfortable way to use BetterSnapTool is by using shortcuts. I defined these four custom keyboard shortcuts for myself:

  • Ctrl + Alt + Cmd + ← For left half
  • Ctrl + Alt + Cmd + → For right half
  • Ctrl + Alt + Cmd + ↑ For top half
  • Ctrl + Alt + Cmd + ↓ For bottom half
bettersnaptools_keyboard_shortcuts

BetterSnapTool is a very handy tool and I don't know how I could ever live without it. It is available in the Mac App Store for 3,49 €.