TimeNet — timekeeping, invoicing and business management for Mac!

My day job is to create business apps for Mac OS X. This is a seriously overlooked market. Many creative professionals use Macs to get work done. Graphic designers, web developers, musicians and audio engineers, video editors, photographers, and many more all use Macs to create amazing things.

Small business owners using Macs to get work done need good tools to keep their business healthy. You need to track your time, expenses, mileage, taxes, and much more. You need to be able to quickly invoice your clients so that you can get paid for your work. You need to have reports available to analyze all of the aspects of your business, and see the big picture. Find patterns, predict shortfalls in cash flow, and see which areas of your business are the most profitable, and the most time consuming. All of these things are critical to maintaining a strong, healthy business. Unfortunately, there aren’t many tools available for Mac that let you do all of this. There are a few, but most of them are clunky, counter-intuitive, and counter-productive. Some have stopped developing their apps and stopped supporting their users. Some of have started charging monthly fees that really start to add up after awhile.

This is why I created TimeNet.

TimeNet 4

TimeNet is easy to use, flexible and powerful, and will dramatically increase your productivity and billable hours, while reducing the time you spend billing your clients and managing your business.You can learn more about TimeNet and download a free demo at the TimeNet website: http://www.applesource.biz/software/timenet

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iTunes 11 First Impressions

If you make a change to the song playing in a smart playlist, and the change removes the song from the playlist, music playback completely stops. On iTunes 10, the song would simply be removed from the playlist and playback would continue to the next song.

Can’t scrub through a song from the mini player — I used that all the time on iTunes 10. Hrm.

No cover flow view? Maybe I just can’t find it. I never really used this feature, but still surprised they took it out.

Wow this is fast. Much faster than the old iTunes 10. App loads quickly, tiles fly by, much of the lull and lag of the old iTunes is gone.

I love the new interface. Album view is awesome. I love the way they recognize and use the colors. Very cool. Works for albums that aren’t in the iTunes Music Store as well. For example, here’s an album I wrote, recorded and released back in 2008:

Image

The use the album’s background color for the background, and even analyze the text font color for the text. Very, very slick.

Being able to play songs next without interrupting your flow is a godsend. Previously, when you would double-click a song to listen to it, you’d lose your playlist and wherever you were in it. Now you can resume back to your playlist at any time. This is great when shuffling, because songs that have already played won’t play again. Sifting through your songs and quickly adding them to the Up Next queue is wonderful. Re-arranging songs in the queue and removing songs you know you won’t want to hear is really nice too.

One small gripe: not sure if this is a bug, or intended behavior, but I want to mention it. When using the mini player, you cannot see the artist and song name if you have one of the playback buttons highlighted. I’ve setup my keyboard to let me tab through all controls (as many folks I’ve seen do). Whenever you switch to the mini player, the rewind button automatically gets the focus:

When the rewind button has the focus, the view will never switch to the artist/song name. I wondered why for an hour I could not view the name of the song that was playing in the mini player. It was driving me nuts! But now, I realize you have to tab four times over to the Up Next button in order to see the text. This is kind of annoying and should be fixed. I’ll be submitting this feedback to Apple.

I will be updating this post with more thoughts throughout the day.

Which Menu Was It…?

While we’re talking about tips, here’s another one I use frequently to save time.

When I can’t remember which menu (and sometimes submenu) a particular command is hidden in, or if I just want to save a few seconds, I type it in. Hit Command+Shift+/ and up pops the app’s Help menu. Begin typing the menu item, and it shows you right where to find the command. Use the arrow key to move down to the option you want and hit Return. Bam – you just found that hidden menu item and executed it in about 2 seconds.

Quickly Access Recent Documents

Many apps on OS X keep track of recently opened documents. These can be accessed through the File menu:

That’s a simple tip that most people know. I’m amazed at how many people don’t know about this one, though: this list can also be accessed from the app’s Dock icon. This is a shortcut I use every day to save time. It even works if the app isn’t open. Just right-click on the app’s Dock icon and quickly select the document you want to open:

The Return of Save As…

Getting rid of Save As… in Lion and adding the Duplicate command was, in my opinion, a mistake. Fortunately, Mountain Lion makes it easy enough to get our old friend Save As… back with the Option key.

Even better, TJ Luoma over at TUAW has a great tip:

If you add two shortcuts to your Keyboard preference pane, you can get Save As… back as the default, and only show Duplicate when holding down Option. Here is how to configure this:

And here is the File menu after making the change:

UPDATE

Keep in mind this will also change the “Duplicate” shortcut of all apps to Command+Option+Shift+S. So for example, in your IDE or image editor of choice, Duplicate will no longer be accessible via Command+D. You can get around this by setting shortcuts for each individual app, but that seems like a pain to manage. For now I’ll stick with Save As… back. It really depends on which feature you will use more: Duplicate or Save As.