Pocket City – A great little city builder for Mac

I was a huge fan of Simcity 2000. I thought Simcity 3 was quite enjoyable. Then the music stopped and I skipped all the subsequent versions. But with Pocket City on the scene, I can now experience the same joy of city building.

Pocket City is a new game I just picked up over the weekend. And once I got started, I invested several hours into the venture. It has all the game play elements that made Simcity great. You set up residential, commercial and industrial zones. You need to play fire and police stations. To keep citizens healthy, hospitals need to be placed. To keep it all feed and watered, power stations and water towers need to go in. And things keep building from there.

I love the style of the game. The UI is easy to understand. There are the advisors to help you build and plan. If you miss the old days of Simcity, Pocket City needs to be added to your collection. And for $3.99, it’s a steal!!

pocket-city

Pocket City for Mac

pocket-city-tornado

A whirlwind of doom and gloom comes for my little city

pocket-city-volcano

Well, didn’t see this one coming

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A shortcut to your applications with Fiplab Shortcut Bar

A pattern is emerging that I am a fan of Fiplab and the tools they make. That is true. They make several productivity tools that I find very beneficial. Another in that list is the Fiplab Shortcut Bar.

I have no shortage of apps installed, but there are a handful I use everyday. And I want to get to them quickly. Enter Shortcut Bar.

It’s a small menu bar applet that is configured to display whatever list of applications you build. Or, jump to a set of folder that you use frequently. This keeps the Dock from being overrun with icons.

In my case I have Katalon, the App Store, Coderunner, LibreOffice, MWeb, SQL Studio Pro and a few others in my dropdown list. These are the tools I go to each day.

But it’s not just for apps. It can be folders as well. It could be a training folder, a folder for test plans, or even a specific document you need to load, such as a template.

It only takes a few minutes to build the list or add folders. Once complete, it will be a quick change to click on the menu bar rather than Lanchpad to start your most common apps.

There are similar tools out there, but I have found Shortcut Bar to be very reliable. I’ve had it at work and at home for about a year. I make changes every now and again as apps get replaced or fall to the wayside. But it’s a clean list of my common tools and I like the way it works.

Shortcut Bar – Favorites at your fingertips

fiplab-shortcut-bar

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Putting windows where they belong with Fiplab Window Manager

It’s not really a complaint, but in some respects I find the Mac window management to be a little strange at times. I’m fine with the close and minimize, but I don’t want maximize to be full screen and double-clicking the window title doesn’t always full the screen the way I like.

Additionally, I like to have windows side by side when working with code and a tutorial or moving files and folders between directories. Luckily, there is a very simple solution.

I actually have two tools that work in almost the exact same way. I originally got Fiplab Window Manager and it works wonders. It comes prebuilt with dozens of screen sizes and snap positions. Windows can be half-size to the left, half-size to the right, half at the top, half at the bottom and lots of other choices. It’s great for lining up windows with a single key combination. I use it all the time to position windows across my multiple screens and to quickly maximize the window.

As an example, I have Slack, iMessage and Quicktime set as 1/3 the screen size on a vertical monitor. At home, Slack and iMessage are half screen left and right of each other. I also use it for Finder to move files, for Scrivener to copy and paste and 2Do with Pagico so I can compare the tasks and projects.

There is another tool called Magnet which is almost identical. The reason I didn’t get this one first is because the update period was more than a year. It felt like maybe the development cycle had come to an end, even though the tool probably didn’t need much enhancement.

However, Magnet has received an update, so the choice is yours. From what I can tell, the main difference is price. Magnet is the cheaper of the two, but I have both and they are great.

Either way, this is an extremely useful tool, and I would say, almost a necessity. For those from Windows, this would be akin to DisplayFusion.

So, if you need window snapping and the ability to quickly line up windows, Magnet and Window Manager will take care of the job.

Fiplab Window Manager

Magnet by CrowdCafe

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Cleaning up the system with Fiplab Smart Folder Cleaner

On my work machine as well as home machine, I have a lot of “work” directories that gather a ton of files that I never go back and delete. This can be screenshots that I’ve already attached to tickets, or documents I’ve already stored in DevonThink, DMG files I forgot to delete, or temp documents I don’t need to keep long term.

I’ve now added Fiplab Smart Folder Cleaner to monitor several folders on my machine, and over time, delete out files that aren’t being used anymore. In my case, this monitors my Download directory and my SnagIt directory. It could monitor anything I want, but this is where a ton of stuff accumulates.

Obviously Downloads is where everything from the Internet collects. Over time, that becomes a massive pile of steaming @#$%. But with Folder Cleaner, if something hasn’t been touched in 30 days, it gets deleted. That gives me plenty of time to work with files, store what I need and delete them when I’m done. But, when I let things linger, Folder Cleaner will come along and get rid of the rest.

And to be honest, using the Download folder is not a way to organize file. So this instills order and gets me in the habit of keeping what I need and tossing what I don’t.

As noted, I use this for SnagIt, since I accumulate a lot of screenshots over time. But I clearly don’t need to keep them all. Some are for before and after comparisons. Some are to show an issue. But after a few days they should either be attached to a ticket or removed.

My SnagIt directory had hundreds of old screenshots going back many months. I didn’t need to keep all that. There are better ways to archive that info if it’s important. Otherwise it’s just wasting space.

Folder Cleaner only takes a few seconds to set up, you can add as many folders as you like, you can exclude folders, set different time periods, then let it work in the background.

I have saved a lot of hard drive space and been more diligent in my organization since I added it to my list of tools.

Smart Folder Cleaner – Keep Folders Tidy & Organized by Automatically Removing Unused Files

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Notetaking across my Macs with Fiplab Mini Note

Since I now have a collection of Macs, taking notes on one machine, but then using them on another is something that needs to be considered. While Dropbox is the way to transfer big items, it’s not the best for getting meeting notes from the laptop to the desktop. However, using Mini Note by Fiplab makes this very easy.

The usual scenario goes like this, I take meeting notes on my MacBook, but then need those on my main machine. Or I find something at home and want it available at work. This is very easy with Mini Note. I can create notes in a new section, put in links or text, then using the built in sync service, the notes are available to all my other machines that have Mini Note installed. It’s automatic and near instantaneous.

There is no shortage of note taking tools for the Mac, but I really like Mini Note because it’s lightweight and extremely focused. It’s not for storing documents, or writing proposals, or making tasks, or keeping a journal. It’s to write down information as quickly as possible in a very convenient way. It stays out of the way until needed, then disappears into the background.

I’m able to grab article links, snippets of code, write down questions, or paste something useful and make it available everywhere. I honestly use it dozens of times per day across several machines.

I will also say that if a note stays in Mini Note for too long, I consider it to be a keeper and it gets added to DevonThink Office. For me, Mini Note is for quick ideas, notes from a meeting, notes from a class, links and other snippets. And for that it’s excellent.

MiniNote – Notes on your Mac – Done Right with Cross Platform Syncing!

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