Review: Mosaic – Simple Window Management for Mac

I have been a Mac user for more than 10 years, and while many things have changed about what I use the Mac for, and how I do my work, one thing has remained consistent – I always move app windows so they line up nicely without overlapping whenever possible. It is tedious, and probably somewhat OCD of me, but I like seeing everything lined up and positioned so I can easily switch from app to app without diving to the dock or doing a ⌘-tab to switch around. Thankfully, Mosaic – a new Mac utility – is here to save the day.

Overview

Mosaic by Light Pillar Software is a simple Mac utility that allows you quickly resize and reposition apps on your desktop. Using either keyboard shortcuts, drag and drop, or even the Touch Bar, apps can be positioned consistently and conveniently to allow for a great aesthetic or a functional working space.

Mosaic App Dialog
Currently available in two different pricing models, Mosaic can be purchased from the Light Pillar website, or as part of the Setapp subscription catalog.

Using the app is super simple. After getting things setup (allowing accessibility permissions for the app to allow placement and sizing), grabbing any app window and dragging it presents you with a a dialog box across the top of your screen. Simply drag your cursor over one of the sizing options, and BOOM, the app is perfectly positioned.

Mosaic Grid Menu
Being one to tinker, I personally adjusted this setting so the option key must also be pressed before the dialog appears. The ability to adjust these settings to better suit your needs is great in Mosaic.

Other options, like “Click and Select” allow a keyboard shortcut to present a layout picker for the currently active application. It also allows for quick access to custom layouts, where you select a section of a grid size the application. This quick customization is fun, and can be useful for larger window apps (like a web browser).
Mosaic Group Menu
Unlike Apple’s current approach to fullscreen multitasking applications (with their full screen and 2 up views), Mosaic doesn’t require the app to support special full screen or side-by-side, but simply needs to be resizable. And if an app can’t be resized, a simple notification lets you know “Hey, something couldn’t be resized because reason“. It’s a delightful experience.
Mosaic Layout Menu
The other big benefit of Mosaic vs the built-in macOS variant is the ability to have 3, 4, 5, or more apps all designated in their appropriate spaces without overlapping or needing to swipe through spaces. On a giant 27″ 5K iMac, this actually feels usable. Huge kudos to the folks at Light Pillar for one-upping Apple.

Another great feature of Mosaic is the ability to create your own custom layouts. For me, the first thing I did was make a three-section layout for Tweetbot, Messages, and Slack (since I often bounce around those three when I’m not doing actual work).

Mosaic Custom 3 App Layout
I also setup one for work, specifically to set a browser to ~72% of the screen (5/7), and ~28% for my Remote Desktop client (2/5). Making this layout pairing, and adding it to my group menu has likely saved me 30 minutes in the past month (did I mention this was an OCD thing for me?).

Other great features of Mosaic include a quick positioning option (moving an app to any side or corner of the display without resizing), and options for screen shotting the selected window and saving it to your desktop (or wherever you choose), or grabbing a screen shot and copying the image to your clipboard. These “extra” features are great power user tools, and are super convenient (for me, at least).

Mosaic Quick Grid
The only feature I find currently missing (one I hope the developers add) is an “auto-arrange” that puts all the currently active apps in a pre-determined position. This would save the step of click and drag, and enable a simple keyboard shortcut or click of the mouse to move all my apps to their assigned locations.

Verdict

Mosaic is a delightful utility that solved a problem that I didn’t know NEEDED solving. It has improved my efficiency on my computer by enabling me to spend less time fiddling and more time actually working. As I use it more and more, I find that I miss it when I’m on a computer that isn’t mine. For being a third party application, it feels like a native part of macOS, and I can only imagine it getting better from here!

Rating: 4.0/5.0

Pros:

  • Custom layout templates
  • Easy to use
  • Screen capture & quick layouts

Cons:

  • No auto-layout feature (yet)

If you’re anywhere near as fiddly as me when it comes to the layout and organization of apps on your Mac, Mosaic is hands down a fantastic utility to check out! Get it today from Light Pillar or with a Setapp subscriptions

 

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for by the developer. Light Pillar did supply a complimentary copy of the app. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

from Ian Fuchs – MacTrast

A Quick Q-and-A about Google Glass

I always enjoy sharing my opinions on technology with friends and family.  Even more so, when someone in public asks me about a device, accessory, app, etc. I always enjoy answering their questions and helping them understand or find something to fit their life.  In the last month, the device that’s sparked lots of questions from friends, family, and strangers alike is my Google Glass (check out my initial impressions of the device).

Google Glass

In the times I’ve taken Glass out in public, I’ve also received a handful of questions about how it works, what it does, and the like. Since Google Glass is extremely new, and relatively rare to see out and about, it seemed only fair to address some of the more common questions that I’ve been asked.

Continue reading “A Quick Q-and-A about Google Glass”

First Impressions: Hands-On With Google Glass – The (Possible) Future of Mobile Computing

We all know (and if you don’t, SHAME!) of Sonny Dickson.  He’s the guy that leaked several dozen photos of the new iPhones and iPads this past fall (with near perfect accuracy, I might add).  Not only is Sonny a super sleuth when it comes to connections in Apple’s production line, he’s also been kind enough to get us, at MacTrast, into the Google Glass Explorer program.

Glass-artsy

After getting invited to join the program, we thought it would be fair to share with all of you, what Google Glass is all about.  Today, we’ll take a look at what comes in the box, and I’ll give a few of my initial impressions.

Before I get to that, though, I will remind all of you that Google Glass is currently in a sort of quasi-open beta program.  Those allowed early access to the product are selected on a invitation basis, and have only seven (7) days from receiving their invite to order their Glass.  I would venture to guess that there are between 10,000 and 20,000 explorers out there right now, but I could be way off (Google didn’t seem to have any real solid numbers publicly available), and that number is growing as Google is in the midst of opening their second string of invites.

Enough about the technicalities though – head over to MacTrast.com for all the juicy details!


WWDC 2013 Predictions

With just over 12 hours until the 2013 WWDC keynote presentation, hundreds (or more) speculations, mock-ups, and predictions have hit the net.

I’m not typically one for making predictions or hypothesizing, especially when I have no insider knowledge of the matter, but I can’t help but speculate what may be on display in Moscone come tomorrow afternoon.

1. iOS 7.

This one is obvious. We know its gonna be called iOS 7 – the banners are up and photos are out. The bigger question is about what it will include.

Looking back at the iOS 4, 5, and 6 announcements (and associated banners), there was always a heavy weighted font and element of realism involved. Now that we’ve seen the slim iOS 7 type-face, I can only assume that we are bound to see a might lighter, smoother, simpler iOS.

I also think Apple is going to reshape the developers aspect of iOS. With recent rumors of AirDrop like functionality coming to
iPhone, iPad, and iPod touches, a much more advanced file structure and true app <> file interaction. Much like Android has offered for years now, the ability to click a photo and open it in any photo editor or send an document from app to app without having to export to Dropbox and move it around would be huge.

2. OS X 9?

While the general consensus is that OS X 10.9 is coming (has anyone else realized that technically the name is them OS 10 10.9?), I’m under the notion that we may see a very new OS X released. While the Mac operating system has certainly changed over time, many elements have remained consistent. It’s about time we see a huge change in OS X, hopefully not at the cost of usability or function. I’d truly like to see OS X 11.

With support for touch screen control (more on that later), more human interaction (Jarvis, look-up iron man 3), and a less hierarchical file system (to coincide with iOS) would all changes the Mac user demographic could make good use out of.


3. New products

I’m in full agreement with Mark Gurman on the lack of new iPad mini (or any iOS device). I could, however, see Apple alluding to new devices in updates to Xcode and app requirements. Support for a new screen resolution could quickly suggest a larger iPhone or higher PPI iPad mini.

Reports say Apple could be looking to AGAIN update the retina MacBook Pro line, which, to me, only makes sense if the update includes touch screen. An updated retina MacBook Air could also be huge for the Apple PC lineup, as well as a retina Thunderbolt Display.

4. The unknown.

Apple’s hobby market, the Apple TV could likely be a show stopper at WWDC, depending on what recent deals Apple may have made and how actively Apple decides to become involved in the future of home entertainment.

Another area of speculation is the iWatch market. If Apple is truly holding the Ace to drop at the end of the Keynote, it could completely reinvent the idea of wearable tech. With devices like the Pebble, Nike’s Fuel Band, and the increasing curiosity surrounding Google Glass, Apple releasing a wrist watch type wearable device could set the tone for yet another new industry (much like it did in the tablet industry with the iPad.

I’m no genius, but it looks like Apple is truly in a unique place that could greatly impact it’s position in mobile market in a matter of a few hours. If Apple fails to deliver significant (desired) changes, it could be a sign that they are losing their edge. Will we see a mass exodus – probably not – but it has become increasingly apparent that the Apple OS platforms have become stale, and developers are anxious to see what changes that will bring to the worlds most advanced computer and mobile operating systems.

It all goes down at 10 AM (pacific) tomorrow, and I’ll be following along as well as I can!

What do you think is to come? Send your best guesses to me on twitter – @IanFuchs, or leave a comment down below!