SizzlingKeys Review

SizzlingKeys LogoSizzlingKeys, created by the developers over at Yellow Mug, is an app for Macs that gives users full control over iTunes’ functions from any application through a series of customizable keyboard shortcuts.

The basic/free version of the app can play/pause your music, jump to previous or next tracks, adjust iTunes’ volume, show/hide iTunes, display your playlists and search through your entire iTunes library. You can also configure shortcuts to alter your rating for any give song on the fly. As songs change or if the music plays/pauses a small translucent “floater” window appears over all other open apps to with the title of your current song.


There are other preferences to fine-tune your settings but this is essentially what the basic version of the apps lets you control.

I have tried numerous apps similar apps—Synergy, Bowtie, Alfred, etc.—and to be honest, there’s no huge difference in terms of functionality between them and the basic version of SizzlingKeys. However, moving up to the pro version for a mere $1.99 unlocks additional goodies that make this app really stand out from the others.

SizzlingKeys Pro

As far as I know, none of he others will let you fast forward incrementally through songs, engage and disable shuffle or loop, and I use these features multiple times, everyday.

Going “pro” also allows you to control the system volume levels but that doesn’t really add much value given that the standard volume keys are always readily accessible.

SizzingKeys is easily a 5-star app for me but—FAIR WARNING—having this app set to launch at startup may make you want to chuck your Mac from your roof.

For a while there, was I whining about how PAINFULLY sluggish the app was. I could press any of the commands a number of times with no reaction from the app only switch to iTunes to take care of it myself, and have rapid-fire the commands I had previously tapped. Frustrating.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was only misbehaving since upgrading to Mountain Lion, and that other apps had started being sluggish too. Then I realized that most of these sluggish apps were all set as startup/login items in my system preferences. Suppressing these apps at startup and launching them right after made them as good as new! Including SizzlingKeys!

(BTW, I use Startupizer 2 to manage my startup items now. S’awesome. Be sure to check it out too.)

I’ve been using it for almost a week without issue. It’s back to the near-instant responsiveness. Back to my “highly recommended” list.

Go grab it!

Basic accent shortcuts on a Mac

Yesterday a colleague of mine, who recently made the switch from PC to Mac, asked me if I could send along “a list of codes for French accents”. As an avid Mac user, I actually get this question semi-regularly — usually whenever a friend or family member makes the same switch.


Accented Vowels


I have to deal with French copy on a daily basis so, when I get this question it reminds me, once again, how much nicer it is dealing with accents on a Mac than on a Windows machine. Macs work differently in that each accented letter doesn’t have a special code to memorize the same way the PC does. Instead, it’s a combination of the “Option” key and handful of letters that add the accent to the subsequently typed vowel/letter:

Option+e then the vowel adds the acute accent ? á, é, í, ó, ú
Option+` then the vowel adds the grave accent ? à, è, ì, ò, ù
Option+i then the vowel adds the accent circumflex ? â, ê, î, ô, û
Option+u then the vowel adds the umlaut ? ä, ë, ï, ö, ü
Option+c = ç; Option+Shift+c = Ç
Option+n then n, a or o, adds the tilde (ñ, ã, õ)*

Also, other than the ç/Ç, if you want uppercase letters to have accents they follow the same rule as above, for example: Option+e then uppercase “E” = É.

And there you have it! :)
Hope this helps.



*I knew this one was possible but since the accents I deal with are almost exclusively French-related, and the tilde is more common on Spanish, I had to go digging for the info on this one.

Well, it’s about time…

As the title of this post implies, this site/blog has been a long time coming; not in terms of its design, per se, but more in terms of actually existing. I’ve been trying to get around to building an online creative “presence” for years in order to share design projects, ideas and resources, and get feedback on creative works as they’re being developed.

I’m also at a point in my life where I’m trying to grow creatively and looking to gel professionally. This site is a work in progress, it will evolve as I do and grow to include a design portfolio, illustrations, creative writing snippets, app reviews, articles of interest, and eventually free resource files for download.

Thank you kindly for dropping by.
Next time I’ll be sure to break out the tea and cookies. :)