Welcome to the fold, brother. You’ve got a nice piece of machinery there, but if we’re honest here, it doesn’t come fully-equipped right out of the box. Here are the 5 essential free apps you need to get in order to unleash the Lion (OSX 10.7)  and let your mac tear up the computing world!

1. Quicksilver (Free, http://www.blacktree.com)

If there’s only one application you download from this page, let it be this one. For those of you that like to get things done fast and efficiently, Quicksilver is THE app for you. In fact, it’s really for anybody with a mac that doesn’t like Mac’s clunky built-in ‘Spotlight’ menu. Quicksilver is a sleek application-switcher / file-manager that is indispensible to power-users. I have quicksilver set to pop up whenever i hit Cmd-Space (the easiest keyboard shortcut on the keyboard), but in order to set it you need to steal it from spotlight — just go to system preferences > spotlight > spotlight menu keyboard shortcut and change it to something easy to forget- you’ll never need to use it, trust me.

Quicksilver not only catalogues your entire system but also lets you set global macro keys for your power-apps, like your web browser. I have a global macro for Chrome (ctrl-opt-cmd-C), VLC (ctrl-opt-cmd-V), my applications folder (ctrl-opt-cmd-A), you get the rest.

It’s an indispensable application, and it’ll make you a power-user in no time.

2. VLC (Free, www.videolan.org/vlc/)

Apple’s built-in video media player, Quicktime, may look sleek and sexy, but it seriously lacks in codec support, especially for those of you that enjoy .mkv, .flac, or literally any other file extension. If the file is some kind of media, throw it at VLC and I guarantee it’ll play it. If it doesn’t, then your file is corrupted. Do yourself a favor and download the best media player available.

PRO TIP: Use Quicksilver to select an .avi or .mkv file and use the command ‘always open type with’ and then ‘VLC’. This way you’ll get rid of Quicktime trying to butt in on codecs it can’t play.

3. Growl (Free, growl.info)

Growl is a notification system for OSX that is natively supported by lots of applications. Twitter, iTunes, Mail, and many other applications can give you heads-up notifications that look smooth (just like everything else on your mac). Definitely worth it, as it is now an essential part of my whole workflow.

4. Caffiene (Free, lightheadsw.com/caffeine/)

Macs are notoriously electrically conservative with display-dimming and sleep tendencies. If you’re up for a long time and don’t want your Mac dozing off, you can get this cute little app called Caffeine. Caffeine is a little coffee cup that sits in your menu bar. When the cup is full, your computer will stay awake. When it’s empty, your computer will revert back to the ‘power usage’ settings you set in the system prefs. Simple, clean, and cute app for a very practical use.

5. Menu Meters (Free, http://www.ragingmenace.com/software/menumeters/)

This is one of my most recent additions to my Mac, and it’s just awesome. Menu Meters does exactly what it’s named for- it has modules for your CPU, Disk Activity, Memory, and Network statuses that will run in your menu bar up top. This is very helpful for people who like to know what is going on with their computer at every second. I only kept the Network and CPU modules, which i colored in a grey-scale manner. It’s an awesome tool and makes your Mac only that much more pro.

So that’s the list, get to downloadin! The faster you get acclimated with these apps, the faster you’ll be tearing up the bits and gigaflops. Enjoy the brilliance and euphoria that is Mac OSX, and again, welcome to the fold.

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Thinking about the Sun as i watch it Rise this fine Friday morning...   Our Sun is becoming a busy place. Taken just last week, the Sun was captured sporting numerous interesting features including one of the larger sunspot groups yet recorded: AR 1339 visible on the image right. Only last year, the Sun was emerging from an unusually quiet Solar Minimum that lasted for years. The above image was recorded in a single color of light called Hydrogen Alpha, inverted, and false colored. Spicules cover much of the Sun's face. The gradual brightening towards the Sun's edges is caused by increased absorption of relatively cool solar gas and called limb darkening. Just over the Sun's edges, several scintillating prominences protrude, while prominences on the Sun's face are seen as light streaks. Possibly the most visually interesting of all are the magnetically tangled active regions containing cool sunspots. As our Sun's magnetic field winds toward Solar Maximum over the next few years, increased activity will likely create times when the Sun's face is even more complex. Orange Sun Scintillating Image Credit & Copyright: Alan Friedman (Averted Imagination)

A little Jingle for your Tuesday Evening…

 

O Inspiration, How you unfold!
In perfect Tempo with the Infinite Rhythm,
That will not forsake me, till my Vision has become Whole.

And while the Beat turns Thought to Form,
Strange Waves from the sound are Born,
Resonating towards a place now so Familiar.

In that Space, Where pen does paper greet,
The Mind, As line
The Heart does meet.
Aligned they Hold the power of Creation.

Friend Hear my proclamation!
Now No hesitation,
For The Infinite Rhythm Leads to All Inspiration!
Along that Old Wild Wave of The Ripple’s Rotation,
I Am One
With That, from which I’m Wove.

 

 

COPYRIGHT 2012 BRIANNA LEVINSON

Scientists have recently uncovered new discoveries about the human brain and its interaction with its environment. These studies have centered around habits: how they are formed, how they are reinforced, and how they can be changed.

Your brain deals with a lot of stimulus and action every day, and that takes energy. In most cases, the brain’s goal is to cut down on work and energy consumption, so many of the daily activities we do are all streamlined into ‘blocks’ of automatic behavior. This ‘blocking’ of common tasks happens every day, like when you pull your car out of the driveway. When you were just learning how to reverse the car into the street, it took a lot of concentration and focus to keep the car straight, interpret the mirrors, push the gas, look behind you, etc. But now since you’re well-practiced at that routine, it becomes a ‘block’, simply “pulling out of the driveway”.

In lab studies, scientists observed this behavior of ‘blocking’ in rats. They set up a maze that had a latched door at the beginning and chocolate somewhere at the end. In the first few times the rats did the maze, their brains were cranking out the processing power. But after those first few times, the rats’ brain activity looked much different. There was a spike of brain activity at the sound of the latch at the beginning of the experiment and another spike at the rats’ acquisition of the chocolate. The space (of low brain activity) in-between those two spikes is what we can call a ‘block’ or ‘habit‘.

The whole experiment put together explains the ‘habit loop’, which starts with the ‘cue’ of the latch unlocking, the ‘routine’ of running through the maze, and the ‘reward‘ of the chocolate. Although this habit loop is specific to the rats, it presents itself in many aspects of our daily lives. For instance, a smoker has his cue (boredom), his routine (smoking), and his reward (relaxation?). Same thing with morning coffee addicts: cue (commute to work), routine (buying the coffee), and reward (caffiene buzz to start the day).

This key insight into humans’ thought processes can help us shape the way we act and think. Knowing that there are ways to change your habit loops can help you enact those changes. It is possible for an aspiring runner to engrain a morning run into his habits, as long as he understands the cycle: cue (putting on running shoes), routine (running), reward (satisfaction/weight loss). It is also well within the realm of possibility for a habitual cigarette smoker to kick the habit as long as he understands the cycle that he is caught in, and how he can amend that cycle to keep the reward without the consequence of all that smoke.

There’s much more on this habit loop and how it relates to consumer marketing and corporate sales on the new york times website here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/19/magazine/shopping-habits.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2  

It’s an awesome article, and I highly recommend it. You can be the change in your life, by understanding ourselves, we understand our destiny.

Cosmic Bri Here! Sharing all things Metaphysical, Psychological, and Somewhere in Between.

Reading Rainier Maria Rilke today, i stumbled upon these few lines that i felt were worth posting, for we all are artists in our own right.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainer_Maria_Rilke

…Works of Art are of an Infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them.- Always trust  yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentation, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress, must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened. Everything is gestation and the birthing. To let each embryo of feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of ones own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an Artist: in Understanding as in Creating.

In this there is no measuring of time, a year does not matter, ten years are nothing. Being an Artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which does not force it’s sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it everyday of my life, and learn it with pain I am grateful for:

Patience is Everything!

Hey All!  I just stumbled on an amazing JavaScript hack, that I had to share with the world.  You can check out the full post here and add this bookmark onto your toolbar to Katamari any webpage!!  Its really fun, especially if you have ADD or “the rage”! So que some excellent music, set up your tool bar, and go wreck havoc on your client side Internets!