This week MacSparky is again sponsored by Dropzone, the Mac menubar app that makes opening and sorting files wicked easy. Simply drag a file onto the Dropzone menubar icon and a menu slides down with several landing targets. For example, I've got a folder I use as a clearing house for work related documents. Using Dropzone, I just drag the file up to the icon and drop them on the folder's link. Drop zone, then moves the file to that location lickity-split. I've also set up an application opening action so when I drag a PDF on PDFpen, it opens the file in the application. If you just need to hold a file temporarily, use the Drop Bar.
This week I'm welcoming a new sponsor to MacSparky.com, Dropzone 3. Dropzone is a productivity tool that enhances drag and drop on your Mac. Drag files onto the menu item and a beautifully designed and animated grid of all your actions opens. Share with services such as AirDrop, Imgur, FTP, Amazon S3, Facebook, Twitter and many others. Move and copy files, launch applications and even develop your own actions using the powerful Ruby based scripting API.
Dropzone 3 is a huge update to the app that takes Dropzone to a whole new level. You can now add actions to your grid faster thanks to the new quick add menu or by dropping folders or apps onto the 'Add to Grid' area. Quickly reorganise your actions using drag and drop and delete them by holding the option key. The new in-grid progress bars let you keep track of task progress. Also see how tasks are progressing at a glance in the new animated menu item.
Drop Bar is another great new feature - Drag files you know you'll need later onto the Drop Bar area of the grid to stash them tempororily. Drag stacks on top of each other to combine them. You can even drag a stack onto another Dropzone action.
In Dropzone 3, the developer API has undergone a major overhaul. You can now duplicate existing actions and tweak them to your liking. A new bundle system lets you distribute needed libraries or tools along with your action. Actions can now be auto-updated as they are improved. With a little Ruby knowledge you'll be thinking of your own uses in no time - check out the developer documentation here.
A major update for Dropzone 3 has just been released that brings full support for OS X Yosemite and adds new features such as the ability to activate Dropzone by dragging files directly to the top of the screen and the ability to upload videos to YouTube. There are also many bug fixes and improvements, such as completely rewritten and improved Amazon S3 uploading and an enhanced developer API.
I've been using Dropzone for awhile. I've got actions to move files to specified folders and AirDrop to my other devices. Also, as a frequent full-screen user on my laptop, I use the DropBar all the time. Since I'm already reliant on this application, when the developer contacted me about sponsoring the site, I jumped at it. Learn more here.
This week MacSparky is sponsored by MindNode. If mind mapping sounds like hippy-nonsense to you, you're wrong. Especially with these gorgeous displays in modern Macs and iThingies, mind mapping is a great way to visualize that stuff rattling around in your brain.
Moreover, MindNode is an excellent place to get started. It has a simple, clean interface and syncs over iCloud with zero hassles. Using MindNode, I can start a mind map on my iPad, polish it up on my Mac, and then add a few nodes over lunch on my phone all without any file management. I keep MindNode in my iPad dock and spend time in the app every day as I plan ideas and big projects. Because everything syncs so easily I can noodle on these projects at any time from any device. Jumping into MindNode for little bursts of brainstorming allow me to properly cook all these ideas and projects before I start digging in on them. I've written about MindNode before. MindNode is an essential tool for me and if you haven't got on the mind mapping bandwagon yet, go get yourself a copy and try it for yourself.
This week MacSparky is sponsored by Jeffrey Abbott's book, The Ultimate Unofficial Dropbox Guide. I am so glad Jeff wrote this book. We are all using Dropbox but very few of us are taking advantage of its power features. The Ultimate Unofficial Dropbox Guide was created to help make our digital lives more organized and efficient. The guide is a comprehensive look at power-using Dropbox, whether you’re just setting up your Dropbox account or already think you’re a pro.
The book covers a lot, including a comprehensive walk-throughs for photosharing, best practices for organizing your folders and documents, keeping your files secure, and automating tasks using IFTTT. There are also some bonus products including a handy keyboard-shortcut reference page, 15 Tips and Tricks for Families, and Photosharing Guides you can share with non-tech family members who still want to see photos of your kids. A book like this was overdue. I'm glad someone wrote it.
This week, MacSparky.com is sponsored by Sanebox. I've been using Sanebox for over a year now and I love it. Imagine having an assistant that reviews and pre-sorts your email for your everyday. This assistant figures out what of your email is really important, kind of important, and junk. Now imagine that assistant never sleeps. That's Sanebox.
There are so many great benefits to Sanebox. First and foremost is filtering. Sanebox looks at all of my incoming email and filters it for me to appropriate mailboxes. That way, the first thing in the morning I see are only those emails that are most important. However, Sanebox can do so much more with its Black Hole service that makes unwanted email go away, forever. There is also an ingenious reminder system where you can blind copy an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and the service will remind you if you don't get a response to the email within one week.
This week I am pleased to welcome Drafts as a sponsor of MacSparky.com. Drafts is one of the most innovative apps to show up on iOS. The idea is simple: make it dead simple for people to capture text on their iPhone or iPad and then make that text dance for them. Drafts executes on this, flawlessly. When you first open the application, there is a blank screen and a keyboard. There is no need to monkey with opening new files, Drafts does it for you. Indeed, you can set it so it does this happens every time you open the application.
Once you've put some text in Drafts, you can then send it somewhere else on your iOS device. There are simple built-in solutions like sending it to a new email message or an application, like OmniFocus but you can also customize it. For example, I've got a custom task that sends a text message to my wife and two daughters. The workflow is so simple. I open drafts, dictate a short message, and push a button and the message goes out to those three. Drafts' developer keeps adding new features like deep control over Dropbox, Evernote, and now coming iCloud. I reviewed Drafts awhile back. Learning to automate text with your mobile devices is a game changer and if you haven't tried Drafts yet, shame on you. Go check it out and let them know you heard about it here.
I'm pleased to welcome a new sponsor to the website this week, Sanebox. I've been using Sanebox for over a year now and it still saves my bacon every day. There are so many great benefits to Sanebox. First and foremost is filtering. Sanebox looks at all of my incoming email and filters it for me to appropriate mailboxes. That way, the first thing in the morning I see are only those emails that are most important. However, Sanebox can do so much more with its Black Hole service that makes unwanted email go away, forever. There is also an ingenious reminder system where you can blind copy an email to email@example.com and the service will remind you if you don't get a response to the email within one week.
This week MacSparky is sponsored by inShort (website) (Mac App Store) (iOS App Store). inShort is is an iPhone/iPad/Mac application that lets you plan projects and processes graphically. This brings a new paradigm to process and project planning and is absolutely worth checking out. One of the more clever features is the way it allows you to embed processes and drill down to the level of detail you need at the moment.
Just today inShort released its updated version for iOS 8, which adds a widget to the Today view, displaying the last activated object and has been adapted for the new iPhone 6 screens. Want to learn more, read the developer's PDF.
This week MacSparky is sponsored by inShort (website) (Mac App Store) (iOS App Store). inShort is is an iPhone/iPad/Mac application that lets you plan projects and processes graphically. One of the more clever features is the way it allows you to embed processes and drill down to the level of detail you need at the moment. This app was built around the Theory of Constraints and is worth checking out. Want to learn more, read the developer's PDF.
This week I’m pleased to welcome back Middle Davids Artisan Candles. Dan Catlin and his team at Middle Davids understand the use of rituals to help with productivity. We all like our good coffee (or tea!), our clicky keyboards, and our clean work surfaces, but what about scent?
I burn candles while I write and I always feel that the ritual of lighting the candle is a way to tell myself “it is on” and get to work. After I’ve worked a few hours, I blow out the candle and take a break. You’ll be surprised how well this works. My favorite this month is Carribean Teakwood.
Dan, the proprietor, is a candle geek and obsesses on candles like I do productivity apps. The candles are 100% botanical soy wax, not paraffin (which is a petrochemical) and the wicks are cotton woven (no metals).
MacSparky readers are already loving their Middle Davids Candles including graphic designer Cody Jones, who explained, “Making Light helps me to define a time to lock into my creative and productive zone. Lighting that candle is one of the best parts of my workday.”
Middle Davids has a subscription plan that gets you two candles a month with 40 hours of burn time. That’s two hours of focus a day. You also get a box of wooden matches, and a sample of the next month’s scent. Give it a try. You’ll surprise yourself. Use the code “MacSparky9” (or “macsparky9”) for 20% off.
Hoban Press is sponsoring MacSparky.com this week. I’ve heard from many readers that love their new Hoban Cards pressed out of Hoban’s 1902 letterpress machine. I sure love mine. Evan and the gang are expanding.
Hoban Press specializes in custom letterpress printed items like Business Cards and Stationery. This is the best choice if you need to use your own logo or artwork. They also provide design and layout services.
Hoban Cards specializes in in minimal calling cards. This is a less expensive way to get into letterpress printing. Pick from among 12 beautiful, typographic calling card templates. These are perfect for individuals or businesses looking for a unique and classy alternative to conventional, mass produced, soulless business cards.
There is no doubt I’m a geek but I have to admit I really love handing out letterpress cards … like a gentleman. Use ‘MacSparky’ during checkout to receive free shipping.
If you have a unique product or service you'd like to advertise at MacSparky, let me know.
This week MacSparky.com is sponsored by Rocket Matter, the premier cloud-based law practice management solution. The folks at Rocket Matter get how to run your business in the Internet age and Rocket Matter is the place to go when you've finally had it with the expense and pain of trying to do it yourself. The service now even integrates with Microsoft Outlook.
This week Rocket Matter is giving away a free ebook, The Telecommuters Guide to the Galaxy. This book is full of tips and advice on how to work remotely. If you are going on vacation or just sick of spending all your time in the office, go download the book. You won't regret it.
This week MacSparky is sponsored by Rocket Matter, makers of the finest cloud-based law practice management service in the galaxy? Most recently they've released an update that lets you integrate your RocketMatter account with Microsoft Outlook. Larry and the gang just keep pushing the envelope.
Rocket Matter also has a new ebook they are giving away to MacSparky readers, Rocket Matter Case Studies, where they demonstrate how several law firms have increased productivity with cloud-based data management. Frankly, this book is useful to anyone in the service business that wants to take advantage of the cloud. Go check it out.
This week MacSparky.com is sponsored by LIFX Smart Lightbulbs. LIFX is a smart lightbulb that gives you previously unheard of control of your lighting. Each bulb is Wi-Fi enabled, controllable from your smartphone and can produce millions of colors, they are also 4 times more energy efficient that traditional bulbs.
LIFX bulbs only consume 18 watts of power, yet produces the same level of brightness as your standard 75W bulb. Control the brightness, colour, and a range of cool effects is easy on your smartphone. Each LIFX bulb is rated for 27 years at 4 hours per day which is equivalent to 40,000 hours. You'll probably move house before you need to change the light bulb again.
The LIFX bulbs support both standard Edison screw and Bayonet connectors and will work at all standard voltages around the world. The LIFX bulbs have a developer-friendly development kit which means that if you can think of a great way to control them, you can go out and build it on whatever platform you like, right now!
LIFX bulbs are shipping right now worldwide. Buy from this link and use coupon code “MacSparky” for 15% off the total cost.
This week MacSparky is sponsored by Rocket X1, Internet marketing for professional services. The Internet is the future for all businesses but can be an intimidating place if you don't know your way around. Rocket X1 puts you ahead of your competition with a combination of top-notch web hosting and design, assstance with social media, search engine optimization and public relations.
Forget about vague concepts and ideas, Rocket X1 brings real world answers and quantifiable results. Look no further and put your professional service firm on the Internet with a elegant imagery and polished messaging. Maintain your sleek identity across the web, social media, stationary, and print materials.
This week, Rocket X1 is offering a free book, Internet Marketing for Professional Services. Go get your copy and check out Rocket X1.
This week MacSparky.com is sponsored by Rocket Matter, the premier cloud-based law practice management solution. The folks at Rocket Matter get how to run your business in the Internet age and Rocket Matter is the place to go when you've finally had it with the expense and pain of trying to do it yourself. This week Rocket Matter is giving away a free ebook, The Telecommuters Guide to the Galaxy. This book is full of tips and advice on how to work remotely. If you are going on vacation or just sick of spending all your time in the office, go download the book. You won't regret it.
This week MacSparky is sponsored by Mighty Deals. Mighty deals puts together deals on some of the best tools and resources available for your Mac. This week they are featuring an email template package that includes 11 professionally designed templates from ChocoTemplates. These include over 100 color variations and over 500 layered PSD files. They are highly customizable and work with all major email clients. The templates connect with MailChimp and Campaign Monitor so you'll be able to use the templates on your next email blast. The above example is just one of the eleven you'll get, all for just $12. If you have ever sent out campaign emails or ever think you may, you should go buy these templates now.
Hoban Press is sponsoring MacSparky.com this week. I’ve heard from many readers that love their new Hoban Cards pressed out of Hoban’s 1902 letterpress machine. I sure love mine.
Hoban Cards specializes in in minimal calling cards. This is a less expensive way to get into letterpress printing. Evan has been adding new designs and he is now up to 18 beautiful, typographic calling card templates. These are perfect for individuals or businesses looking for a unique and classy alternative to conventional, mass produced, soulless business cards. For a limited time, he has a nice discount on some of the new templates.
This week MacSparky.com is sponsored by Beloved Robot, a group of app developers that get it.
Got At Idea?
Do you have an idea that will take your business to the next level? Want enable your employees to be more productive and efficient? Solving these types of problems is their specialty. They can offer you the design and development that will solve problems, not create more.
Got An App?
Do you already have an app that needs a little love? Not happy with the look and feel? Let Beloved Robots developers take a look. They pride ourselves in creating beautiful apps that will stand out in a ever more crowded App Store.
The ever growing need for mobile solutions is not going away. Don’t stand aside and let the competition beat you to the punch. Engage your customers with a stunning mobile app and let the pros at Beloved Robot help you do that. They provide strategy, design and development services to clients that is a cut above the rest.
Beloved Robot has got you covered.
This week MacSparky.com is sponsored by Rocket Matter. Rocket Matter is a fantastic cloud-based solution for running a law practice. You set up an account and log in and get back to work. You don't need to buy your own server. You don't need to install local updates. You just work and let Rocket Matter do all that back-end stuff for you. Rocket Matter continues to grow with some great features like billing, document storage, calendaring, and more. They even have an iPhone app that lets you accesses and manipulate all of your data.
If you're looking for a more efficient way to practice law, it is time to get your own Rocket Matter, walk-through. They do live demonstrations every day. Jut go to Rocket Matter and and request your very own demo. Tell them you came from MacSparky.com.