Dan Counsell on life at Realmac Software


Dan Counsell is the founder and ‘Big Chief’ of Realmac Software; an independent software company based in Brighton, UK. Dan has built his team up for over a decade now, and has seen it grow into a company known for creating some of the best Mac and iPhone apps currently available; including the fantastic Clear, Analog and newly released Ember. Dan was kind enough to give us some time to question him about life at Realmac Software and what goes into creating their wonderful products.

Great interview by Toby Seers over at Mactuts+ with Dan Counsell, founder of Realmac Software.

Dealing with iCloud spam

I don’t know about you but I’ve found iCloud’s spam filtering to be far less effective and more annoying. It’s not even cleverly worded or written spam, it’s obvious spam that wouldn’t get through most other filters.

MacWorld has a great tip when it comes to dealing with the garbage that iCloud’s spam filter lets through and you can forward spam messages to Apple, something I wasn’t aware of, so they can (hopefully) improve spam filtering more.

Apple adds 24/7 live chat for support

9to5Mac reports on a number of changes to Apple’s support portal which (finally) includes live chat support:

On the topic of live chat support, we’re told that 24/7 chat support has begun rolling out. Initially, the support was limited to certain hardware and software, but now Apple is supporting both Mac and iOS Device support at every hour of the day and night.

Whilst Apple may provide some of the best customer support in the world, you still had to call Apple or visit either an Apple Store or authorised repair centre (AASP). Chat support now means you no longer have to spend lengthy amounts of time on hold or book a Genius appointment 3 months in advance just to talk to somebody.

Supercharge your Mac’s peripherals with USB Overdrive


Apple undoubtedly make some of the best keyboards, mice and trackpads that money can buy. Their Magic Trackpad is perhaps more a work of art than it is an input device. For those of us who, for one reason or another, prefer to use devices from companies other than Apple then you may find your options limited due to poor driver support or lack of customisation.

USB Overdrive has been around since the days of Mac OS X Jaguar, over ten years ago, and provides a whole suite of controls for customising your input devices. I spend some time with the app to see just how much we can tame our USB input devices.

I review USB Overdrive for Mac.AppStorm, a utility to customise almost any type of USB input device.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months

Press release from Microsoft:

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 23, 2013 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer has decided to retire as CEO within the next 12 months, upon the completion of a process to choose his successor. In the meantime, Ballmer will continue as CEO and will lead Microsoft through the next steps of its transformation to a devices and services company that empowers people for the activities they value most.

“There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time,” Ballmer said. “We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”

GoSquared: The Google Analytics alternate you need


Google Analytics is very much the Adobe Photoshop of web analytics. It’s extremely advanced with plenty of features but for many, it’s just overkill. Whilst powerful, it’s designed more for users wanting detailed statistics regarding advertising goals, conversions, and other buzzwords that make little sense to anyone outside of the social marketing arena.

GoSquared is an analytics service for the rest of us, providing the statistics and information that we expect, wrapped in a great web interface. I’ve been putting GoSquared through its paces to see if it could be an alternative to services such as Google’s behemoth.

Over at Mac.AppStorm I review GoSquared, a website analytics service that offers a compelling alternative to Google Analytics.

Create awesome invoices in Numbers


More people than ever before are breaking free of the corporate shackles and trying to make it as a freelancer, from web designers to Mac consultants. Perhaps the most important, yet overlooked, part of the process is invoicing clients and getting paid. A poorly written and designed invoice can be the difference between getting paid on time and chasing clients for money.

In this screencast, I’ll show you how to create an awesome invoice template in Numbers that can be customised to your needs, making sure your invoices look just as professional as the services you provide.

I’ve recorded a screencast that’s available over at Mactuts+ that explains how you can use Numbers to create great invoices.

Repair Disk Permissions

Thomas Brand over at Egg Freckles dishes out some harsh truths about the myth of repairing disk permissions:

If you don’t know about permissions don’t worry about permissions. Just keep using your Mac the way it was intended, and Apple will take care of the rest. Leave Repair Disk Permissions for the people who need it.

I find myself mostly in agreement with Thomas’ piece, however, I don’t see any harm in running a disk permissions repair. It certainly won’t cause any issues to your Mac, just don’t expect it to repair much.

Just Delete Me

Robb Lewis:

JustDelete.Me is a directory of urls to delete your account from web services. (Yes, I am aware how terrible that description is. If you’ve got a better one, let me know). Services are marked either easy, medium or hard depending on how difficult it is to delete that account. Those marked as hard have additional information on how to completely remove your account, such as Skype which requires you to contact customer services to do so.

A lot of inspiration for the site came from Steve Streza’s DevCenter.me and the search functionality is modified from the repository. I thought about just forking the repo and modifying it but the sites are different enough to warrant the time to build it myself. Also, where would have been the fun in that? Ed Poole did a great on job on taking the initial concept and making it look a hell of a lot nicer than what I “designed”.

What a fantastic idea. I’ve used it already to close an old PayPal account.

Via @imyke.