Cook Dinner for Your Honey with Connoisseur

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Date: Wednesday, February 14th, 2007, 10:18
Category: Software

I like to cook on Valentine’s Day. I’d rather not fight the the crowds and try to get a restaurant reservation, so my tradition is to cook dinner on Valentine’s day (usually my famous pesto sauce with something).

That being said, I’ve found a nice little application to catalog all my recipes. Connoisseur 2.1 (US$20) by The Little App Factory is convenient, easy to use and for US$20 you can’t beat it. After a recipe is entered it can easily be scaled for larger parties and you can even print or export a shopping list to your iPod or PDA (via SplashShopper or HandyShopper.)

Connoisseur also has a sweet “cooking view.” Those fortunate enough to have a Mac in the kitchen can use the cooking view to follow along and it even speaks the instructions to you, if you so desire. My only real criticism is that I wish it did a better job of importing recipes from popular cooking sites like AllRecipes and Epicurious. The services menu didn’t work and I had to cut and paste. It would be nice if the next version could parse a recipe URL or, even better, capture recipes without leaving the application.

Cook dinner for your honey tonight guys, just ask her to make the dessert.

Update: The Little App Factory is also the publisher of another piece of must-have software: NetFlix Freak, which I reviewed in July 2006.

Connoisseur makes managing your recipes as easy as iTunes makes managing your music. From the elegant and snappy interface to auto-completing ingredients, we have put in the hard yards so you can focus on what is important; entertaining your guests.

The Little App Factory :: Connoisseur 2.1

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Microsoft Releases Office 2004 11.3.4 Update

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Date: Tuesday, February 13th, 2007, 17:30
Category: Software

Microsoft has released Office 2004 for Mac 11.3.4 Update.
The update, a 12 megabyte download, patches program stability bugs, including openings wherein external malicious code can be inserted into the program (click here for a list of downloads or use the Microsoft AutoUpdate program to download and install the most current updates).
Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.3.4 requires that version 11.3.3 already be installed. In order to verify this, a user can find the Microsoft Component Plugin file in the Microsoft Office 2004/Office folder, locate the file and then click Get Info from the File menu at the top of the Finder screen to locate the version number.
Microsoft Office 2004 requires Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later and about 540 megabytes of disk space to run.
If you have any comments or positive or negative feedback about this update, let us know.


InsomniaX 0.4 Released for Apple Notebooks

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Date: Monday, February 12th, 2007, 08:57
Category: Software

Developer semaja2 has released version 0.4 of InsomniaX, a freeware utility which disables the sleep mode on Apple laptops (useful for tasks such as making an older iBook G4 into a more reliable server, etc.).
The new version adds Intel processor support, sound effects, an unload timer and key bindings for menu items. The program requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.
InsomniaX arrives with a few provisos cautioning against running a laptop with a closed lid in order to avoid heat buildup and damage from this. Other existing bugs include the power management unit forcing a shutdown after nine minutes and the screen’s blacklight remaining off when the screen is reopened (the current workaround to this is to open the screen, disable InsomniaX and putting the machine to sleep again via the Command + U and Command + Shift + S keystrokes).
InsomniaX 0.4 is a 1.2 megabyte download available courtesy of MacUpdate.
If you have any comments or feedback, let us know.


SubRosaSoft Introduces Free Das Boot Utility

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Date: Wednesday, February 7th, 2007, 13:25
Category: Software

On Wednesday, SubRosaSoft released Das Boot, a free utility capable of taking a bootable third party boot CD for the Mac and creating a bootable diagnostic device from a USB of Firewire device such as an iPod or large flash-based key drive to boot from. The advantage to this comes in the form of speed and while a third party CD may be useful, it tends to be slow to boot from.
The newly configured boot disk can then be adjusted at any time to include updates, system revisions, etc.
Das Boot is available as a free 9.4 megabyte download (courtesy of MacUpdate) and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run.
If you have any comments or feedback, let us know.


Skype 2.5 for Mac Released

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Date: Wednesday, January 31st, 2007, 13:28
Category: Software

On Wednesday, Skype announced that Skype for Mac 2.5 has gone gold according to an article on Macworld News.
The new version of the software is capable of sending Short Message Service (SMS) messages to mobile phones (i.e., “text messaging”), supports audio-based conference calls between as many as 10 people and supports one-on-one videoconferencing.
Skype’s features are generally available for free but charges a given fee for the ability to send calls to and receive calls from land lines and cell phones. The program requires an 800 MHz or faster G4, G5 or Intel-based processor, Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, 40 megabytes of disk space and 512 megabytes of RAM. The program can also function with a microphone and webcam.
The software is available for download here.


Rayner Software Releases iBatt 2.0

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Date: Wednesday, January 31st, 2007, 08:00
Category: Software

Rayner Software has releases version 2.0 of its battery analysis and diagnostic program. The new version, a 405 kilobyte download courtesy of MacUpdate features a rewritten back end, new interface and Universal Binary compatibility. The program takes available battery data and presents it as a series of gauges and line graphs displaying battery history.
The program also takes a more social aspect and shares available data with iBatt’s server in order to compare your battery data with that of others using the same model in order to see where your performance stands among your peers.
The program can also establish a Health Report, grading your battery from A+ to F with A+ representing a perfectly usable battery while F represents an essentially dead unit. The report card is generated through the program’s own internal tests as well as through comparing your battery performance to that of others via iBatt’s server.
Finally, the program can examine your battery’s deterioration provided it’s run in the background during most of your laptop’s use.
iBatt requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and can be used on iBooks, PowerBooks, MacBooks and MacBook Pro laptops. The software features a trial period and is available for a $19 shareware registration fee.


The Flying Toasters Live On Via ToasterClone

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Date: Friday, January 26th, 2007, 07:33
Category: Software

A staple of the 80’s lives on in Mac OS X through ToasterClone. The Flying Toasters screensaver is now available as a free open source download from
The screensaver comes in both classic (black and white) and modern (color with some 3D elements) forms and is available for free as part of an open source project for Mac OS X and Windows.
ToasterClone is a 455 kilobyte download and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.


Keynote v4 Previewed at MWSF07

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Date: Thursday, January 25th, 2007, 12:26
Category: Software

I give a lot of presentations and am a huge fan/advocate of Apple’s presentation application, Keynote. During his keynote address at Macworld Expo 2007 in San Francisco I noticed a few new effects that aren’t available in the shipping version of Keynote 3. So did the good folks at who have the juice on new features that are likely to come in version 4.

Many people noticed some unusual Keynote presentation effects in Job’s recent keynote at MacWorld (e.g. the small text exploding above). Now Brian Peat over at has gone through the keynote with a fine-toothed comb, identifying a bunch of new stuff, like path animations and lots of explosions that cannot be done with Keynote 3

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

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Japan far Ahead in Reinventing use of Cell Phones

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Date: Sunday, January 21st, 2007, 12:59
Category: iPhone

As stock markets swooned and techies buzzed over Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs’ long-awaited entry into the mobile-phone market, Japanese consumers could be excused for wondering: Why the fuss?

Many Japanese had a hard time buying Jobs’ hype about “reinventing” the phone. The revolution is well under way in Japan, where cell phones are used for everything from navigating home by GPS to buying movie tickets and remotely updating blogs.

Japanese cell phones also download music, surf the Internet and make phone calls.

They’ve been a natural extension of daily life the last few years, spurred by the Japanese decision to be the first country to upgrade to third-generation mobile-phone networks, or 3G, which increased broadband capabilities and allowed for greater, faster transmission of voice and data. Apple’s iPhone, by comparison, will operate on a 2G network.

Philadelphia Inquirer | 01/21/2007 | Japan far ahead in reinventing use of cell phones

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Missing From The iPhone: One More Thing

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Date: Thursday, January 18th, 2007, 11:00
Category: iPhone

Jason wrote his top 13 missing iPhone features in his ZDNet blog, The Apple Core, and he makes good points; the only ones I disagree on are more related to my own work style: I don’t need OTA downloads from iTMS because I shun DRM; I don’t use Office so I don’t need Office support, and I personally like the sealed battery if it cuts down on size (it does) and gives better clean lines (it does). But these are just me, and most people will find those important.
But the one thing Jason missed – the big missing functionality in my world – is handwriting recognition.
I’ve written on a handheld device for years; first it was a series of Palm OS devices, then a Sony Ericsson P800. (OK, fine, there were two Newtons before any of that.) It’s just so much more natural to write than to type with your thumbs on tiny keypads. I know the whole opposable thumbs thing is cool, but just because we have them doesn’t mean we must be reduced to them. Writing is natural, and hey – isn’t the iPhone UI all about natural gestures and movement?
OS X has had Inkwell in there for a couple of years, quietly lurking below the surface, and it still hasn’t been taken advantage of. If you read Lev Grossman’s article in Time about the origin of the iPhone, it’s easy to guess that Inkwell came about because Apple was thinking tablet (and Steve spake, saying unto them, “makest me handwriting recognition software, for lo, I may want to use it!”), but by the time they changed directions, Inkwell was done and released. So maybe now’s the perfect time: Inkwell on an iPhone? Killer.
I’m also holding out hope for the “next” iPhone. So soon, you ask? Well, remember the time in the way back, before the keynote last week? There were rumors going around about how there were going to be two iPhones, one consumer, one smartphone. The iPhone that Steve demo’d wowed everyone so well, and does things so much better than any smartphone does, that we all thought that was it… but what if it’s not? What if (are you sitting down?)… what if that was Apple’s idea of a consumer level phone? What if there’s a higher-end phone, a real smart phone, waiting in the wings?
A lot can happen between now and June. I’m holding out hope.
Contributed by: Steve Abrahamson