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How to Optimize Your Mac with Onyx
In the mood to do some housekeeping on your Mac? Onyx for your Mac can do it all, for the low, low price of free! Free is wonderful, and especially when it comes to keeping your system fresh. Onyx has been around for awhile now and with every new iteration it just keeps getting better. You can use for tasks like drive verification, system maintenance, and getting rid of extraneous files. It's been updated for Lion, so let's take a look!You can download Onyx from the developer, Titanium Software's website.
Running Maintenance ScriptsMaintenance scripts help keep your Mac running in tip-top shape. There are scripts that your Mac automatically runs on a Daily, Weekly, and Monthly basis, but with Onyx, you can run these scripts on your own schedule.
Head over to Maintenance > Scripts. Once there, select the checkboxes for Daily Scripts, Weekly Scripts, Monthly Scripts, and if you wish, Delete System Archived Logs. Once done, click the Execute button to have Onyx run the checked scripts.
Cleaning Your MacIf winter, spring, or whatever-season cleaning is more of your thing, you can head over to the Cleaning tab in Onyx.
In the System tab, you can have Onyx clean the following cache elements from your system: - Boot Cache- Kernel and Extensions- International Preferences (Character Palatte Cache, Keyboard Viewer Cache, and more) - CUPS Jobs- Directory Services - QuickTime components - Audio components - Other components All of these cache items take up valuable drive space; so, depending on when you cleaned these items last, you may get back some of this disk space.
In the User tab, you can delete the following items from the cache: - Applications - Preferences of System Panels - Audio Units - Java and Applets Java - Desktop Background - International Preferences - Dock Icons - ColorSync - QuickLook - Temporary Items Check the items that you wish to remove from the cache, and then click the Execute button to have the scripts run to remove the cache elements from your Mac.
The Internet tab will let you easily remove browser-specific items from your Mac without having to open your web browser. You can remove: - Browser Cache - Download Cache - Browser History - Recent Searches - Web Page Previews - Bookmark Icons - Form Values- CookiesNote that form values and cookies (may) spare you from the typing of user names, passwords, and other required info when you revisit a Web form (like MacLife.com, and other websites). You should use these items with caution. When you are ready to delete the browser-specific items, click the Execute button.
The Fonts tab will let you remove the following items from the Fonts Cache: - System and Users Font Cache- Adobe Systems Font Cache - Microsoft Font Cache - Quark Font Cache - Some Open Source Application's Font CacheNote that after cleaning the font Cache of these applications, some apps may take unusually longer to open on the next launch as it rebuilds the cache. Be patient when opening applications that have recent had their caches cleared.
The Logs tab will let you clear the following Log files on your Mac: - Log Files- Apple Software Update Log - Bash Log - System Archived Logs (Deletes logs archived by maintenance scripts) - Instant Message Logs - User Diagnostic Reports - System Diagnostic Reports - Mobile Devices CrashReporter

And, finally, the Misc. tab will let you remove the following files from your Mac: - Recent items (from the Apple menu) - Recent conversions of Calculator - Items in the Mail Downloads folder - Items in the Saved Searches folder (The items in the sidebar are not deleted)- Obsolete items - Previous iTunes Libraries - "My Computers" list in Screen Sharing - QuickTime Content Guide (for pre-QuickTime X versions)
Cleaning and maintaning your Mac's OS is imperitive. Using the features of Onyx we've mentioned above is one way to keep your Mac speedy. Remember that it's always a good idea to reboot your Mac after using any of these cleaning options.
Follow this article's author, Cory Bohon on Twitter.
cleaning  Mac  Onyx  optimize  system  Utilities  How-Tos  ifttt  Googlereader  home  from:googlereader  IT  from google
december 2011 by L33Fly
Organize: Part 3 - Seeing it Through
Here’s another guest post from our buddy Neil Creek — fellow blogger and photographer from the land down under.

We continue on our journey to image organizing bliss, picking up where we left off last time, in the middle of a walk-through of my image workflow. If you’re joining us for the first time with this post, I’d like to recommend you start at the introduction first.

I’d also like to reiterate that I am not an expert in image management or even in organization. I have been taking a huge number of digital photos for over five years, and as a matter of necessity and through trial and error I have come up with a system that works well for me. It is this system that I describe here in the hope that others will be able to benefit from what I have learned. Please take from this whatever works for you and adapt it to your own style.

Below is a timeline of my typical workflow. The sections at the top were covered in part two, and you can click on the links for those steps and you will be redirected back to the previous post. The second half of the workflow is discussed in detail below.

Sections in grey were covered in Part 2.

Take the shot

The card fills up
If I’m shooting in the field I copy the card to my portable storage device.

Once at home
Create a new directory on my RAW hard disk drive and copy all files there from the card/portable HDD.

In the new directory
Copy all the files from the auto-generated sub-directories into the new top level directory and rename them all.

Load up Lightroom
Import all the files (into whatever RAW processing/image editing software you prefer), applying what metadata you can on the way.

Delete the duds, flag the picks and process.

Additional metadata
Assign more detailed and descriptive metadata to the picks of the shoot. This is where I need to make the most improvements to my routine.

Preparing for output
On my DERIV HDD, I prepare a new directory.

Using my preferred settings for the intended use, I export all the photos I want.

Upload, email, burn or otherwise disseminate the images.

Automated software mirrors all changes of my entire RAW and DERIV HDDs every night for a current backup. I still need to implement an off-site backup but this would be a relatively simple additional step.

With the directory and file naming schemes I use, finding the images I’m looking for is usually very simple. Because my metadata routine is imperfect, finding images based on concepts is a little tougher.

Lightroom Catalog Size

A point I forgot to mention in part 2. My preferred RAW processing tool is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. This application uses a catalog system to manage images, thumbnails, metadata, processing settings and more. The advantage to this approach is the speed of viewing and searching gained by keeping a database of thumbnails and metadata, and other benefits. The cost is that the catalog needs to be loaded and modified whenever changes are made to a file.

The number of photographs I take is considerable, and growing. This leads to very large catalogs after a while, and the performance of Lightroom suffers badly. My solution to this problem was to use several catalogues grouped by date. For each quarter of the year I make a new catalogue. This keeps their sizes manageable enough to optimize performance. The problem is that I can’t search my entire collections of photographs at once. Until computer performance improves sufficiently to eliminate this problem, the compromise will have to do.

Preparing for Output

I discussed my hardware setup in part 2, describing the RAW/DERIV hard disk drive (HDD) system I use. The directory setup I use on the derivative HDD is similar to the one I use on the RAW HDD. The only difference is I group the directories into quarters.

For the same reason that I split the Lightroom catalogs by quarter, I do the same with the derivative files. A huge list of directories, one for every day I have ever taken a photograph, can take a very long time for a file manager to display. I keep the current quarter’s photos in the top level, but every three months I create a subdirectory named for the quarter and copy those files into that. I name these directories like this: creek-07-Q4, creek-08-Q1 etc

When you’re exporting RAW files, the method can change significantly depending on the final use you have for the images. Are they being printed? Are they going to be uploaded to the web? Are they to be elements of another image, such as a panorama? Depending on the use, I will put the output images into different directories. Below are some examples of these:

Output subdirectories

If I wish to output the full size image, I will simply export the file to that date’s directory.
If the file is destined to be posted online, or sent to friends via email, it will be redirected to a subdirectory of that date called “web”.
pano elements
Photos to be compiled into a stitched panorama.
hdr elements
Exposure bracketed images to be merged into a high dynamic range photo.
3d elements
Pairs of photos for 3D stereoscopic images, or the split photos taken with the single-shot Loreo 3D lens that I own.
focus elements
A series of photos taken with slightly differing focus points for focus stacking, most commonly for macro photos.
astro elements
A series of photos taken of a night sky subject to be stacked in order to increase brightness and eliminate noise.
You can create any subdirectory as a temporary holding place for photos to be used for other purposes or in any kind of composite or multiple exposure image. Typically for “element” photos, once I’ve generated the final composited image I delete these subdirectories and their contents. I still have the RAW files and can re-generate the elements any time.

Exporting photos

The settings I choose for the exporting of photos depends a lot on what use I intend for them to have. The vast majority of the time, they will end up being uploaded to the web or sent to friends via email. Other times I will be exporting full-res photos for printing, or creating a sequence of images to be combined into one, such as with a panorama.

What sizes, file formats and compression ratios you choose for your output files is entirely up to you and will depend on your personal taste. I have, however, recently found a very helpful Lightroom plugin for producing web-ready photos. It’s called LR/Mogrify and it lets me apply output sharpening and a custom watermark to the image upon export. This negates the need to load the image into Photoshop for any reasons other than specific patching/touch-up work.

If the photos are destined for Flickr, then I take a bit of extra time to keyword the images now. I was keywording the photos after I uploaded them to Flickr for too long before I realized my mistake. If I keyword the raw files, they will stay with the image in the metadata, and already be there in Flickr when uploaded. They’ll also be there for any other use I have for the image, and make it easier to find later. If I wait till the photos are on Flickr to tag them, only that copy of the image has them.

Completed composites
If the exported images were elements of an image to be composited, it is now that I load the relevant software to bring them together. These processes would best be described in a series of posts relating specifically to the topics, but in short I use the following software for the various composites I create:

PTGui and Pano2QTVR
3D photos
StereoPhoto Maker
Focus stacking
Combine ZM

Once the relevant fiddling around has been done, I end up with a single composite image. This resulting image is named the same as the first image in the sequence with a context appropriate suffix added. These include:

Output filename suffixes

A stitched panoramic photograph.
A merged or tone-mapped high dynamic range photo.
A combined and “framed” 3d stereo pair.
A focus stacked image.
An astrophoto.
These completed composite images are usually stored in that day’s top level directory. If I need to downsize the results of other uses, such as the web, I’ll place the modified copy in the relevant subdirectory. These suffixes will stay with the composited image from this point on.


By this stage, I’ve completed all the work I will do on a particular image, from pressing the shutter to sending it to its final destination, whether online, to a friend’s email or sent to the photo lab. But I can’t forget about the image yet. It’s still vulnerable, as there is only one electronic copy of it in existence. The file needs to be backed up, but there’s one other step first.

I’m a big fan of the DNG RAW format, and the many good reasons to adopt it have been mentioned online in various places. For my purposes the main reason to use it is to keep all the metadata Lightroom creates about a file embedded within it. Any edits I make or keywords I add are kept safely and securely with the photo.

With the photos converted to DNG I’m ready to back them up. That’s usually when I head off to bed. Using another great little tool called SyncBackSE, my primary HDDs, both RAW and DERIV are mirrored each night to their backup disks. The oldest backup I have is only ever 24 hours old. This brings great peace of mind.

There is only one problem that gives me the cold sweats: I currently don’t have an off-site backup. In the event of a fire, or theft, my photos are not protected. There have been higher priorities for our limited funds for a while, but I know it is very important that get a very large HDD to which I will copy every file I couldn’t stand to lose. I’ll then store this at another location, probably a parent’s house. No less often than once a month I’ll get the disk back and update the backup with my new work. Even though the odds of total loss are slim, till then I still feel a… [more]
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february 2008 by L33Fly

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