Google Latitude as a desktop app – OS X Lion

Using nothing but OS X Lion’s built in ‘Automater’ you can create your very own desktop based ‘Web App’ for Google’s Latitude service (or any other URL for that matter)

The process is really simple, and only required 2 ‘Automater Methods’

  1. Launch Apple’s Automator application, from the applications folder
  2. Chose Application from the document type menu
  3. Add the ‘Get Specified URLs’ action from the actions list
  4. Add the address “” (or any of your choosing) to the ‘Specified URLs’ action
  5. Add the ‘Website Popup’ action from the actions list
  6. Specify the screen size and user agent you prefer – you may be best adjusting these settings and running the Automator script a few times to see which works best.
Once you are happy with your settings, and URL specified then you can save this as an Application, now when you want to launch the new desktop web app all you have to do is double click on your new Automator Application!
Simple really!

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Full screen Applications – OS X Lion

One of OS X Lion’s most raved about features is the ability to switch (certain) applications into their very own ‘virtual desktop’ full screen environment. Even OS X Lion’s terminal application contains the required arrows in the top tight hand corner. Hitting the arrows will switch the application or terminal in this case, into it’s own ‘full screen’ virtual desktop.

This enables complete, uninterrupted use of the application.


If however, the app you want to run in full screen does not sport the double ended arrow then you can download and use Maximizer this nifty little app uses SIMBL to force unsupported app’s into touch!

Not sure what you would use full screen for? Well how about… Full screening Safari, then hitting the ‘full screen’ button in your word press post editor for a truly uninterrupted typing experience!

To switch back to your other apps, you can either use ‘cmd’ & Tab or ‘ctrl’ & arrow keys.

To exit a full screen, either hit the double headed arrow again, or press ‘ctrl’ & ‘cmd’ & f in the full screen view. This will return your full screen app to it’s normal sized window version.

Do you use Full Screen for something else? Or do you hate it with a passion? Let me know in the comments below!


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Don’t just backup.. Clone!

One of the worst feelings in the world for any PC or Mac user is the dreaded error message on Boot-up stating your hard drive has failed. Putting your trust in hardware (despite its age) is foolish to say the least. We are all guilty of it, including myself.

OS X has a pretty impressive backup utility built in as standard TimeMachine which is even capable of doing offline backups. However, TimeMachine won’t help you if your entire OS fails to boot.

But don’t reach for your wallet just yet the boffins over at Bombich have been hard at work updating their flagship backup application Carbon Copy Cloner, which now fully supports OS X Lion. Which not only creates backups (full and incremental) of all of your data, but is also capable of creating recovery boot disks, containing your OS and all of your backed up files!

Carbon Copy Cloner has a long list of features, most of which wouldn’t look out of place in a commercial and expensive backup solution. Carbon Copy Cloner has been designed as shareware, but has not been crippled in anyway. The only thing you will notice on the ‘free’ version is the inclusion of a banner add, much like the one in the screenshot above. However they have been tastefully placed to ensure they don’t hinder your cloning experience. You can however get rid of the advertising banners simply by making a donation to it’s ongoing development.

I recommend using both TimeMachine and Carbon Copy Cloner to my fellow mac users, to ensure an issue free restoration should the need ever occur.

Once Carbon Copy Cloner has been configured to your liking you really can set it up and forget it, as it’s scheduled backups will incrementally keep your backup file up to date.

You can download Carbon Copy Cloner direct from Bombich’s website by clicking this direct link.

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CleanMyMac now Supports OS X Lion

Two days ago (21st July 2011) MacPaw released an update to the massively popular Mac maintenance application CleanMyMac

The latest release of CleanMyMac (v1.9.6) now boasts full OS X Lion compatibility. Although the previous version ran without issue on OS X Lion, it was not officially supported.

CleanMyMac is a routine maintenance tool which is used to keep your Mac in tip top condition.

I have been using CleanMyMac for more then 12 months now and I always recommend it when asked what maintenance software to use.

Some of CleanMyMac’s 50+ features are:

  1. Cache Cleaner – Heavily used machines rapidly build up large ‘fragmented’ cache’s, and with cache’s being used in the majority of OS X native applications, cache maintenance can be complicated. CleanMyMac does all the hard work, so you don’t have to.
  2. Log’s Cleaner – CleanMyMac also boasts the ability of keeping application log files on a short lead. Unless you are trying to diagnose issues with Apps, log files tend to just eat up valuable storage.
  3. Language Cleaner – Many OS X native applications are compiled with large number of language files to enable their usage across the world. These are of course not needed if you only plan to use the app in your native language, CleanMyMac strips out all unneeded language files, thus slimming down your apps.
…… Plus many more besides.. For a full list check out the features list.
Only days after installing OS X Lion on my Mac and running CleanMyMac I have managed to recover over 100GB’s of used disk space! I run the app at least once a month, why don’t you add it to your regular maintenance plans..

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Offline TimeMachine Backups

One of OS X Lion’s new features around it’s fantastic TimeMachine backup facility is also perhaps one of the least known. TimeMachine is a built in backup system which you can set up and forget about, each time it detects your backup device it will automatically start backing up. (If you last one was missed/delayed)

However, if you are a ‘road warrior’ and spend more time disconnected from your backup device then connected, you no longer have to worry about your important files not being backed up. OS X Lion actually back’s up your files in a local cache whilst your normal backup device is unavailable. Then, when you plug in/come in range of your normal backup device, TimeMachine will then move the cached files over to your other drive!

Despite the fact the market is full of third party backup applications, including some very powerful free ones, I personally have no need to use anything but TimeMachine. In my opinion it’s almost perfect!!

Time Machine works with your Mac and an external hard drive or Time Capsule. Connect the drive, assign it to Time Machine, and start enjoying some peace of mind. Time Machine automatically backs up your entire Mac, including system files, applications, accounts, preferences, music, photos, movies, and documents. But what makes Time Machine different from other backup applications is that it not only keeps a spare copy of every file, it remembers how your system looked on any given day — so you can revisit your Mac as it appeared in the past.


TimeMachine makes finding previously backed up files as easy as navigating normal finder views:

click to enlarge

…Restore files is as simple as ‘Right Click > Restore’. I have actually been known to use TimeMachine as a built in source code revision system. Bringing back files prior to code changes – all whilst being out on the road and not near my TimeCapsule.

If you use something else for your backups, let me know by using the comments system below.


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