Tag Archives: mac

Favorite Things: Mondo Solitaire

Windows Solitaire on Mac

Windows has shipped with a decent solitaire since time immemorial, but if you’re a Mac user you’ve typically had to go out and find one. When I switched from Windows to Mac several years ago I embarked on a quest to find (if not the best than at least) a decent version of the classic 52 card game for one.

Burning Monkey Solitaire was a cutesy collection of solitaire games, but it got annoying quickly. I also tried my hand at multiple variants of PySol, the venerable Open Source solitaire game engine, but they were too Linuxy (you know, ugly) for my taste.


After years of searching, I finally found the perfect solitaire implementation for Mac—Mondo Solitaire by longtime Mac Developer, Ambrosia Software.

Mondo Solitaire Klondike

Ambrosia has been making quality Mac apps and games for nearly 20 years and they really nailed it with Mondo. The game is beautiful. The animations are effective without being distracting. Card decks are good looking and playing surface is too.

Preferences - Appearance

Mondo ships with hundreds of solitaire variations—not that you’ll be playing more than a handful of them . From familiar favorites like Klondike, FreeCell, Golf, and Spider to some more obscure gamestyles like Devil’s Garden, Miss Milligan, and Will o’ the Wisp there are plenty of options to keep you busily entertained.

Mondo Solitaire - Golf

Mondo Solitaire is available for Mac OS X and can be purchased via the Mac App Store or directly from Ambrosia Software and costs $9.99. A version of Mondo Solitaire is also available for the iPad and iPhone and sells for $5.99 and $4.99, respectively.

Mondo Solitaire - FreeCell 2

Forgive the hyperbole, but Apple should license Mondo Solitaire and bundle it with every Mac, iPad, and iPhone they ship. They’d sell a lot more devices to grandparents than they currently do.

What’s your favorite Solitaire game? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.


Get Art Text 2 For Free

Wowza! The kind folks at BeLight Software. are giving away copies of their premier Text and Graphics utility, Art Text 2 for a limited time. What is Art Text for, you may ask?

“Art Text is a Mac OS X application for creating high quality textual graphics, headings, logos, icons, web site elements and buttons.”

Get Art Text Free
Image courtesy of BeLight Software.

I considered buying Art Text whenever I needed to come up with a logo or a really cool heading for a presention or report. But, the $40 price tag kept me away.

Visit their giveaway page for instructions (you’ll need a Twitter account). Be sure to act soon as there’s no word on when this offer expires.


From now until June 17th the incredibly talented guys at Comicraft are holding their Father’s Day Power Tools Fonts! Half Price Sale. These hand-drawn beauties are the go-to fonts for many of the biggest names in comics.

Comicraft Father's Day Sale
Image courtesy of Comicraft.

With the combination of Art Text and Comicraft fonts your logos, presentations, and other documents need never suffer from dull typefaces and graphics again.


Run, don’t walk to your computer right now to take advantage of both of these amazing deals before they go away for good. Trust me—you’ll thank me later.

All images are from my flickr unless otherwise noted.

Favorite Things: PlugBug

This past Christmas Santa was puzzled by one particular item on my wish list—the PlugBug from Twelve South.

PlugBug Dual Charger

PlugBug Dual Charger (Photo credit: Photo Giddy)

Now, I’d been a good boy, so despite his initial misgivings Santa obliged and Christmas morning had a shiny, red PlugBug waiting for me in my stocking. Since then, it’s earned a spot amidst my favorite things.

The PlugBug is a small device that slips on your standard MacBook Air/Pro power adapter to give it a turbo-powered USB charger. It provides a full 10 watts of power via the USB slot, so your iPad or iPhone charge much (much, much, much) quicker than leaving it plugged into your Mac’s standard USB slots.

PlugBug 1 (This Is My Boom)

Small enough to toss into your laptop bag, the PlugBug is great for those occasions when you don’t have enough outlets to go around for all your gadgets whether you’re at home, in the office, or on the road.

If none of this is making any sense to you, check out this video from the Twelve South.

It’s a little bitty, teeny weeny, thing they call the PlugBug…

When I first saw the PlugBug I knew I wanted one. The concept is so simple that I’m surprised Apple hadn’t thought of it themselves. If they don’t buy the company, they should at least license the idea from them. After using it (all the time) for the past few months I love it just as much as when I first received it.

PlugBug 2 (Warm)

If you’ve got a MacBook, an iPad (or iPhone), and $35 then you owe it to yourself to pick up a PlugBug. You won’t regret it.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

Mac Tip: Cycle Through Open Application Windows

If you’re like me then you love keyboard shortcuts. If you’ve come to OS X from a Windows background then most of the shortcuts are very similar in function.

In a PC world when you use the familiar Alt-Tab keystroke it cycles through all open windows. The OS X equivalent, Command-Tab, switches from one app to another, however—not all windows in all apps.

This can be frustrating if you’re trying to navigate between multiple open Finder windows for example …

Lots of Finders

… or if you’re using an app with a multi-window user interface like MarsEdit.

MarsEdit Windows

To quickly switch from one window to another in the same application use the keyboard combo Command and ` (the key just above Tab on the left side of your Mac’s keyboard).

Cycle Through Application Windows

This little shortcut should save you some frustration. I wish I’d known about it much earlier.

What are your favorite OS X shortcuts? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

Awesome AutoCorrect Prank for April Fools Day

Warning, this post contains immature language.

Don’t let April Fools Day catch you off guard this year—be prepared! I’ve got the perfect prank for you to play on your family, friends, and co-workers.

someecards.com - I plan to spend April Fool's Day remembering all of the pranks I thought of last year but completely forgot to execute this year.

Chances are really good that everyone you know has at least one of the following: an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC. I’ve got a prank for you that you can use on all of those devices.

The AutoCorrect or text substitution feature built into OS X, iOS, and Microsoft Office can be an amazing productivity boost. But, it can also be used to freak out your unsuspecting family, friends and co-workers this April Fools Day.

On a Mac

In this example I’m using a Mac running OS X 10.7.3 (Lion), but it should also work on 10.6 (Snow Leopard). First, open the System Preferences app.

Mac OS X System Preferences

Launch the Language & Text Preference Pane.

Select Language and Text Preference Pane

Click on the plus sign (+) to create a new symbol or text substitution.

Text Tab

If I were your victim, you’d want to think of something I type all the time, My Name (where My Name is the persons name or whatever text you want to have AutoCorrect change), for example. Enter that in the Replace column.

Replace "My Name"

Now, here’s the best part—in the With column enter the text you want to be replaced when your prankee types My Name. Because I’m so cool and sophisticated I would go with something like Poop.

Replace with Poop

Be sure to close the System Preferences app to cover your tracks. After you’ve added your entry to AutoCorrect it will be available in most of the apps on the Mac: Mail, iCal, TextEdit, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, etc.

Now, imagine the following scenario. I, your hapless target am completing a moving letter in TextEdit and have just typed My Name.

Entering "My Name" in TextEdit

Bang, I’ve just been pranked!

TextEdit Poop

Now, let’s see how to do this on a PC.

In Microsoft Office 2010

For this example I used a PC running Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. To my knowledge it should also work on Windows XP or Vista using Office 2003 or greater.

Go to the File menu in an Office 2010 application, like Excel in this example. Click on Options.

Microsoft Office File Menu

Click on Proofing.

Microsoft Office Options

Then, click on the AutoCorrect Options button.

Microsoft Office Options - Proofing

Similar to what you did on a Mac above, enter the text you want to change in the Replace column and what you want the substitution in the With column.

Microsoft Office Options - AutoCorrect

To keep things consistent we’ll go with My Name and Poop again. Click on OK to save your changes and then close out of the Options window.

AutoCorrect Adding an Entry

Even though you added the AutoCorrect in Excel, it will be accessible on all Office 2010 programs including Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

So, when My Name is typed …

Typing My Name in Word

You get Poop.

AutoCorrect Poop in Word

On an iPad or iPhone

Lastly, let’s see how to add AutoCorrect entries to an iOS device—an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Open the Settings app and tap on General

iOS Settings App

Tap on Keyboard.


Then, tap on Shortcuts.


To add an entry tap on the plus sign (+) in the upper right hand corner.

Add a Shortcut

Entering AutoCorrect shortcuts is a little different in iOS. First, type in the Phrase or word you want to substitute. Again, we’ll go with our old standby, Poop.

Next, type in the Shortcut you want substituted. Please note that it must be one word only. So instead of My Name you’ll have to just use Name in this example.

Tap Save and close out of the Settings app.

Enter Phrase and Shortcut Text

The next time the recipient of your pranking prowess prepares a message in Mail.app and enters their Name they’ll get, you guessed it, Poop.

Poop Strikes Again

One quirk with iOS devices is that before the AutoCorrect occurs they may actually see a little popup before the text substitution happens. This would give them the option of tapping the little ‘x’ next to the substitution to cancel it. Given the proliferation of humorous AutoCorrect sites on the Internet, it’s a safe bet that your target will fall victim to your prank.

Now you’re all set for April Fools Day. Go forth and prank merrily.

What pranks do you plan on pulling this year? Or what are the best pranks you’ve pulled on April Fools Days past? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

Eliminate Duplicate Address Book Contacts

Is your Mac’s Address Book teaming with duplicate contacts? Do you have multiple cards for the same people—one with the home number, one with the work number, and one with the mobile number?

Have no fear! OS X has a built in shortcut to help you tame your Address Book contacts in no time.

Simply select two or more duplicate contacts and hold the shortcut combo key Shift, Command, and I.

Merge Duplicate Contacts

If you can’t remember the shortcut, go to the Card menu and select Merge Selected Cards (or you can search for it using the Help Menu).

Merge Selected Contacts OS X AddressBook

The only downside of this approach is that you’ll have to go through your contacts, one-by-one. However, the granular level of control you have over your contacts more than outweighs this.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

Retro Skills: Clean Out Your Mouse

Apple Macintosh Plus mice (left) Beige mouse (...

Image via Wikipedia

Over the years I’ve acquired quite a few valuable technical skills. Many of them are as useful today as they were back when i learned them.

The art of de-gunking a computer mouse is not one of those skills, sadly, and has not held its value.

For my kids’ sake (in the event that they should ever find themselves trapped in the past and the only way to get back to the future is to perform an intricate series of mouse clicks and the darn thing just isn’t responding), below are detailed instructions courtesy of an old 1990s Macintosh Classic factory manual I found several months back.

Mac Clean Mouse Part 1

Mac Clean Mouse Part 2

It’s amazing that so much care went into describing such a mundane and now obsolete process. That’s part of what made Apple’s culture the way it is today.

What’s the most irrelevant technical skill you mastered? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.