AMITIAE - Wednesday 27 August 2014

Mac Icon Customization; Erica Sadun's Folderol; and iPhone 5 Battery Replacement

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


Last week, the Apple video, "Misunderstood" won a Creative Arts Emmy Award. The advertisement features an apparently-dysfunctional teen (played by Logan Riley Bruner) who is more engaged with the family than first appears and sent a lovely Xmas message when it appeared last year.

A more recent video from Apple, called Stickers, uses stop motion to show how some people customize their computers. The video featured the MacBook Air. As well as the outside of a Mac, some users customize the appearance of the inside: the desktop. There are a number of ways, for example to personalise folders.


Before the arrival of OS X, I used a set of Andy Warhol icons that allowed me to customize the folders on the Mac. I had not really found anything to replace these for my Macs, even though making them the app icon is a little awkward. They still work in the latest versions of OS X.


I click on the folder with the icon I want, then press the "i" for information (or Command + i). At the top left of the panel, is the icon. Clicking on that highlights it and I use the Copy command. With the target folder, I again open the Information panel and highlight the icon, then use Paste: that adds the icon I want and the folder then changes from the basic dull blue.


I downloaded these originally from Interfacelift where hundreds of icons are available. They are no longer available but other Warhol-inspired sets can be found via a Google search.

Recently, Erica Sadun, a longtime developer of apps for the Mac and iOS devices, released an app called Folderol, which makes the process of changing the folder colour much easier. The app costs $2.99 (90 baht) and is available in the Mac App Store. By default, there are seven pastel shades to choose from. All the user has to do, is select the colour by clicking on it (the main colour icon is changed), then drop the folder onto the panel. The folder now displays that colour.


There is a lot more to this, however, as users are able to select a custom colour by clicking on a colour square to the right. This reveals a panel with several ways in which a specific colour may be selected, including an accurate colour picker. Instead of the pastel shades, I made one of my test folders a brilliant scarlet.

As well as the basic and customized colours, a small square to the right (in a section marked, Extras) allows users to add their own images, thus completely customizing folders. I was able to drop images onto the square from the desktop and directly from Aperture. A couple of the images I tried were large - one was in excess of 40 MB - so Folderol was understandably a little slow with these, but in the main, changes occurred quite quickly.


An image would take the hue of the current colour selection. A change in the colour is shown on the image panel. Any folder dropped onto the main panel would have the new colour/image selection. Clearing the image is done using a small Trash icon on the image panel.

This is a simple, straightforward app that I had no problems with. There is a Help file that explains the processes and links to a short YouTube video that explains the use of images.

The iPhone is not noted for having the best battery life. I make this worse by turning on everything (GPS, Bluetooth) and using the device a lot during the day, with email, www, photography and occasional videos. It does not surprise me that my iPhone battery does not last all day. I have tried battery packs (too heavy), but I may have a new recharging solution coming in a month or two.

The iPhone 5s batteries are better than those in previous iPhones. Rumours suggest that an improved battery will be in the next iPhone. That is not a major revelation: Apple always heads in this direction. As for other rumours, I ignore these until Apple announces the real specifications. Most are usually wrong, or the writer has an axe to grind.

Batteries are not made by Apple and sometimes can be faulty. The Sony-made ones in my 2006 PowerBook were replaced by Apple. Owners of the iPhone 5 have also had some problems and Apple has a replacement program for some of these. According to the website, the program will start on 29 August in Thailand.

The site indicates that the specific "iPhone 5 devices were sold between September 2012 and January 2013 and fall within a limited serial number range." By entering the serial number of the iPhone (look in Settings >General >About) on the web page, users can see if their phones are included.

See also:

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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