Put Time on Your Side — We could definitely use a gift of free time, but in the meantime Fred Miller <[email protected]> suggests using MultiTimer Pro to track the time you’re currently using. "For people wanting or needing to keep track of time spent on any project, from school papers to household computer tasks to client tracking, this is an easy to use valuable shareware program that is worth the $30."
Backup Backup Backup — Phil Lefebvre <[email protected]> shares our beliefs about maintaining a good backup system. "Retrospect ($150) or Retrospect Express ($50) from Dantz Development is one of those things that everyone should buy when they first get a computer, but usually only buy after a painful lesson. Save them the lesson." Read our series or articles on backup if you need more convincing.
First Aid Anywhere — Bob Williams <[email protected]> suggests buying a gift that can also turn out to be a gift to yourself. "If you help friends or family when they have Mac problems, get them Netopia’s HouseCall. Buy them the Patient, then whenever there are problems, you can work on them from the comfort of your own home or office using the Doctor (which is free). As I prepare to move to the other side of the country, buying several copies for folks was one the first things I did to prepare." Jeff Carlson reviewed HouseCall for us in TidBITS-493.
Type in Your Style — David Huston <[email protected]> recommends Strider Software’s TypeStyler for the amateur art director on your list. "I am a big fan of TypeStyler, which has been revived from its former Apple IIgs days of glory. It allows you to create almost all the special type effects the pros use for printing and Web use easily and instantly. It will save your files in practically every known format. If you want to add immediate eye appeal to your documents or Web sites, with a minimal learning curve (a couple hours at most), then this is an ideal application."
Like, Colors, Wow — For artists or anyone looking for a legal hallucinogen, Peter Miller <[email protected]> writes, "I highly recommend Eric Wenger’s ArtMatic, a very cool (and very inspirational) complex image generator. Graphic artists and animators could probably even get productive with it!"
Mac Macro Might — Fredrik Jonsson <[email protected]> writes, "I would like to recommend the macro program KeyQuencer, by Alessandro Levi Montalcini. A good macro program is very important factor for my productivity. With it I can adjust my Mac to a great extent, and adapt it to me instead of the opposite." For more about KeyQuencer, see Matt Neuburg’s "KeyQuencer – QuicKeys Quencher?" in TidBITS-351.
A Second Look at OneClick — Christian Heurich <[email protected]> writes, "Whether you used OneClick in the past and despaired at version 1.x’s incompatibility with Mac OS 8.5 and higher – or if you’ve never used OneClick at all – I would like to recommend OneClick 2.0. OneClick is a scriptable macro utility that’s compatible with current versions of the Mac OS, and there are many authors contributing their add-ons and utilities to WestCode Software’s efforts. The constantly growing source of useful component additions is one of the stellar aspects of OneClick. It offers additional ease of use, utility, flexibility, and extensibility to a great tool – the Macs you use. Hey, it works." For a review of OneClick and more thoughts about macro programs in general, see our article series "Mac Macros."
Tip for Taps — Allan Moult <[email protected]> writes, "Here’s a lifesaver gift for anyone using a PowerBook with a trackpad: TapGuard ($5 shareware). Although I love using the PowerBook G3, there’s one frustrating aspect – it’s too easy to tap the trackpad accidentally with your thumb or shirt sleeve and select a swath of data that gets deleted with the next keystroke. TapGuard makes your computer ignore the trackpad clicks if you’ve pressed a key in the last one-sixth of a second. This is typically plenty of time to trap any unwanted clicks. When TapGuard ignores a click, the menu bar flashes."
Looking Down from Above — The SETI@home project uses computer processing time to search for life in outer space, but Ed Holloman <[email protected]> suggests a method for peering at the goings-on at home. "I found a cool screen saver called Planet Earth from Lunar Software, which displays a three dimensional model of the earth with real-time night shadows and clouds. It can be set to display a pop-up when you pass the cursor over a city, displaying the name and local time (the longitude and latitude are also available). Planet Earth comes with a database of cities, and you can add your own locations – I added the North Pole so I’ll know when Santa is about to leave and whether he’ll be delayed due to cloud cover." Planet Earth is $30 shareware.
No. More. Staggered. Speech? Bob Williams <[email protected]> writes, "Two words: voice dictation. IBM’s new ViaVoice would make a wonderful gift for anyone who does a lot of text entry, or suffers from RSI symptoms. It also includes an active noise-cancelling headset/microphone." Although it’s a brand new product without a track record, there’s no denying the appeal of continuous speech recognition on the Mac!
Tight Genes — David G. Kanter <[email protected]> writes: "I’ll endorse Leister Production’s $90 Reunion 6 for the Mac for any Mac user who is either already bitten by the genealogy bug or considering jumping into the genealogy fray. Reunion 6 remains a brilliant, made-for-the-Mac product that help you organize family information and produce a wide-range of charts and reports that you can tailor to your needs. Although Reunion is easy to use and its default settings serve most users, the program is also extremely flexible. Even genealogy veterans using another program should look at Reunion – it can import and export data using the GEDCOM format, so sharing data with others is usually an easy process."