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Indispensable Mac OS X Software : Window Management Utilities

July 12, 2011 Leave a comment

I find myself setting up my home and office’s Macs perhaps a little more often than I would like and when I do, I find, more often than not that I install the following software.

In the first installment of this short series, I will mention a trio of window management utilities.

Note that this is not a list, just software that I am intimately familiar with and have used practically every day for over a year.

I’m running a 27″ iMac with the Awesome IBM T221 3840 x 2400 (yes, that’s right) monitor for photo editing. As such, I really need a bevy of good screen and window management software to keep the huge real estate in order.

Sizeup

$13  /  OS X 10.5+

by Irradiated Software

http://irradiatedsoftware.com/

Used on my smaller iMacs, this allows for a window to be sized automatically by user defined shortcuts into full-screen, top / bottom / left / right halves and quadrants. Has some fine tuning functions, too. For example, to adjust the balance between left and right and top and bottom, such as a 60:40 split or 70:30 split or to enable the screens to avoid edges and the dock, etc.

Simple to set up and effortless to use.

Useful rating: ☀☀☀☀☀

Cinch

$7 / OS X 10.5+

by Irradiated Software

http://irradiatedsoftware.com/

Made by the same company that made Sizeup. Best new UI feature stolen from Vista, drag a window to the top of the screen and watch it maximise. Drag it to the left or right edge and have it neatly resized to half the screen width! The only reason it doesn’t get a rating of five is that cinch doesn’t integrate with the custom left/right settings of Sizeup, and as such screens cinched to the sides tend to interfere with screens manipulated using Sizeup.

Takes 10 seconds to install and get working. Simplicity itself.

Useful rating: ☀☀☀☀

Divvy

$14 / Mac OS X 10.5+

by Mizage

http://mizage.com/

I consider this the king of window management software. You can divide your screen into a user defined grid and assign shortcut keys to resize windows to an arbitrary shape and size for the ultimate flexibility. Alternatively, if you need a custom size window, you can press a hotkey and rapidly assign a window to anywhere on the grid using the mouse!

As with most powerful utilities, the trade off is time required to set up the software in a personal and meaningful way. Still, if you’re willing to invest a little time in it, the payoff is increased productivity and more efficient screen use.

Useful rating: ☀☀☀☀☀

Isolator

Free / Mac OS X 10.5+

by Willmore

http://willmore.eu/software/

A little different to the others here, Isolator allows you to focus on just one task or window and thus reducing distractions on the average, cluttered desktop by darkening or blurring the other windows out with a simple definable keystroke or a click of the mouse on the menubar.

Elegant and simple.

Useful rating: ☀☀☀

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Difficulties installing Boot Camp 2.1

September 17, 2008 2 comments

I have an iMac 24″ running Vista under the Boot Camp that came with Leopard (v 2.0)

The next software update after installing Vista advised me that Boot Camp 2.1 was available, so I downloaded it but I couldn’t install it because an error appeared:

Error applying transforms. 
Verify that the specified transform paths are valid

The problem in my case was that I was using a localised version of Vista.

The Boot Camp software is stupidly American only. It expects to find a key in the (Windows) registry with the value 1033 (American English).

Instead, it found 1041 (Japanese) and the installer stalled!

The solution is simple:

<Now for the patronising bit>

First. Back up your Windows Registry.

Read through this post entirely before starting. If any of the terms are unfamiliar, write a comment asking for assistance.

If you don’t know how to backup your Windows Registry, or don’t know what a Registry is… or heaven forbid, what a backup is, you should stop reading this post right now, do a bit of googling and come back.

<OK, end of disclaimery patronising bittage>

  • To open the Registry editor click the start button and type regedit into the search field.
  • Select Edit and Find from the regedit menu and type “Boot Camp Services” then press enter.

Note that Services may be localised to the language of your system. In my case, it was

Boot Camp サービス

since I’m using Japanese Windows. You can search just for Boot Camp” if you’re not sure, but it may throw up lots of hits.

Edit the Language D-Word entry and change it to 409 in hexadecimal (should be 1033 decimal)
Re-run the installer.
Now you should be able to successfully installthe Boot Camp update.