Author Topic: Cool Mac tricks  (Read 42103 times)

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Offline HaroldU

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2008, 07:55 PM »
Verla Kay, if that's the ONLY reason that you are considering getting Leopard, I'm not sure it's worth it. We have Jaguar on our other Mac and I haven't bothered to upgrade--I can still do backups, after all. I just have to do them by hand.

Other than that, there are some cosmetic differences, and a whole bunch of geeky stuff that I don't even understand.

That's OK. They are both such nice computers.
Harold Underdown

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Offline Verla Kay

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #31 on: February 18, 2008, 09:39 PM »
Ah, but then when the next upgrade comes out, if I don't have Leopard, it will be harder to upgrade.  I'll get it. I was just waiting til I had a little extra money, which I finally have.
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Offline Laurie

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #32 on: February 18, 2008, 11:19 PM »
Gina,

I love you!  I didn't know about the track pad scrolling! I'd been using fn and the down arrow to do page down...!

Thanks,

 :hearts

Laurie

Offline pjlyons

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #33 on: February 19, 2008, 07:16 AM »
I backup weekly onto a Seagate external hard drive. It came with software that asks me once a week if I want to perform a backup. All I do is hit yes, and it does the rest. I'm using OS 10.4--no need for 10.5 or Time Machine. I'm sure other hard drives come with back up software, too. Even though Macs are more stable than pcs, I encourage all of you to make backups. All you need is somewhere other than your computer to store data. This can be a flashdrive, CD, external hard drive, another computer. You can email your files somewhere, too. If you don't have software that automatically performs a backup for you, drag and drop your important files onto your storage device.
The Art of Story

richmond8

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #34 on: February 19, 2008, 01:45 PM »
Harold, is this a special flash drive?  I just got Leopard, 10.5, and already have a flash drive.  How do I use Time Machine?  Do you leave the flash drive constantly plugged in?

Jaina

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #35 on: February 19, 2008, 03:10 PM »
They explained it a bit on the latest Mac press conference thingy (the one where they showed the new Air-in-an-envelope).  I watched the whole thing, if you can believe it--I'm such a geek.  I think the drive is like a wireless thingy that sits in your house and periodically your Mac(s) beam their contents to be backed up on it?  Something like that? 

I have backed up my files to my iDisk, which is pretty much the same effect, I suppose, only maybe not quite the same.

You'd think I'd have learned more from that press conference, but I was distracted by the Air and it's envelope-fitting-ability.

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #36 on: February 19, 2008, 03:59 PM »
it's a little flash drive with a USB connector, and I'm going to find out if I have to have it plugged in all the time--probably do, but then you take it with you when you go out.

There are two angles to backing up. One is backing up to make sure that if your hard-drive crashes, you still have your data. The other is backing up so that if your house burns down, you still have your data. Some methods of backing up don't really protect you against the second. My flash drive will only work if I remember to take the thing with me when I leave the house. One of the plusses of backing up to an online backup site is that you are safe against both disasters.  iDisk is online, isn't it? Then I think that's good. Anything that's automated, so you don't have to remember to do it, and to take the time to do it, is good....
Harold Underdown

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Jaina

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #37 on: February 19, 2008, 04:32 PM »
Yep, iDisk is online and supposed to be easily accessed wherever.  It's also a good way to share large files with a friend--you're supposed to be able to give them your password and they can access your iDisk space and download.  I've never quite managed to get that part to work.

Offline sarah_create

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #38 on: February 20, 2008, 06:34 AM »
I need to figure out how to use time machine.
I love the hints.
I haven't been able to figure out what 'preview' is for.
And I don't know why Mozilla firefox and skype downloaded to the desktop and isn't in applications. Does this matter? I think I did something wrong. Any ideas?

I suppose I need to spend more time figuring out how my Mac works, but this thread helps.

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #39 on: February 20, 2008, 11:02 AM »
Sarah,

Preview does what the name suggests--it previews files. It's the default application for many file types, such as jpegs and PDFs, that you may not have associated with a specific application. So if you double-click a PDF, it will open in Preview and you can look at it. Same for many image types, like jpegs.

Those two applications can probably just be moved into your applications folder.
Harold Underdown

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richmond8

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #40 on: February 20, 2008, 02:39 PM »
Preview is handy when you go to print something, say from a long website page, or an email.  When the print window opens where you select how many copies you're going to print, etc., at the bottom is the little icon for Preview (photo with loop magnifier thing). Click on it.  It will show you how many pages long the item is, so that you can tell which pages you want to print, or whether you want to print them all.

You'll probably be using it more than you think, so I'd leave it in the Dock. That way you can tell whether it's still open when you go to shut your computer down.

Offline sarah_create

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2008, 03:24 AM »
Preview makes sense.
I still haven't tried printing yet. I actually use both the PC and Mac when writing--2 screens, 2 computers. I send my files back and forth when needed.
I will use the MAC to print--but first I need to figure out how to hook the printer up and it is hooked up to the PC.
And yes, if you were wondering, I find using 2 computers very efficient when both giving critiques and using critiques in revision.

The 2 applications (mozilla firefox and skype) are in the application folder.
I also put them on the dock.
Their icons are still on the desktop.

How do I get them off my desktop?
 I've tried dragging the icon to the trash and it wants to "eject" the application. It can't eject the application because it is in use.

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2008, 06:55 AM »
Those icons might be the install files, not the applications themselves. Let them be ejected. (If they were the application files, they'd just to into the trash, and you could remove them again. The fact that the computer is trying to eject them tells me they are install files.)
Harold Underdown

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Offline sarah_create

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #43 on: February 22, 2008, 05:41 AM »
Thanks Harold.
They are now ejected install files.   :)

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #44 on: February 22, 2008, 07:04 AM »
Follow-up on Time Machine: A little clunky! By default it backs up your entire hard drive, and you have to go through a rather laborious process of "excluding" folders from the backup. You don't seem to be able to work the other way--i.e., by "including" only certain folders.

I ended up with more to back up than would fit on my little flash drive!
Harold Underdown

The Purple Crayon, a children's book editor's site: http://www.underdown.org/
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iansands

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #45 on: February 29, 2008, 07:42 PM »
Not really a Mac trick but...

Making podcasts in Garage Band is really super easy. There is even a Create Podcast button when it opens. It can be as simple as hit record, stop, share. Or you can get all fancy pants and add background music and put effects on your voice... echo, echo!!!

ian

Jaina

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #46 on: March 03, 2008, 05:42 AM »
This isn't exactly a "trick" but ... does anyone know a good way to clean up a Mac?  I've had my lovely G5 for a few years now and it's suddenly starting to run slow (I suspect my husband and his video/movie downloading).  Too much junk on it, all around, really.  In the past, I've just started trashing non-essentials to try to free up memory, etc.  But I figured I'd ask here.  Maybe someone has experience in this area?

For example, if you delete something out of iTunes or iPhoto, is it really gone?  Or do you have to go somewhere else and get an actual file?  I've got a whole bunch of photos in iPhoto that are blurry/no good.  Is it enough for me to just highlight and delete them?  In iTunes, have you ever loaded your tunes onto writable CDs and then deleted them from your iTunes?  This kind of scares me.  Wouldn't that mean that if I want to load them into iTunes again, I'm using up another "install" (if they're tunes I've bought form the iTunes store)?

richmond8

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #47 on: March 04, 2008, 07:11 PM »
Have you run Disk Utility?  It comes on the mac.  They showed me how to run it at the Apple Store, and even said to do it once a month, altho I don't do it that often.  It's not hard, and the icon sits in my dock now.  The machine is usually faster afterward. 

schmara

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #48 on: March 05, 2008, 06:55 AM »
About Expose - at least on my new MacBook (I don't know when they added the key), you don't have to set up a hot corner. If you're F3 key has a box with more little boxes inside of it, then you have an expose shortcut. Push it to see all the open windows and push it again to go back to the one you were in (or click on a different one and it will come to the front.)

I LOVE my MacBook!

Jaina

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #49 on: March 05, 2008, 09:09 AM »
Disk Utility looks kind of scary.  Like it will restore my computer to factory settings and wipe out all my personal files--is that right?

Offline sbk(linda)

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #50 on: March 05, 2008, 09:14 AM »
About Expose - at least on my new MacBook (I don't know when they added the key), you don't have to set up a hot corner. If you're F3 key has a box with more little boxes inside of it, then you have an expose shortcut. Push it to see all the open windows and push it again to go back to the one you were in (or click on a different one and it will come to the front.)

I LOVE my MacBook!

Hey, that's weird ... I have a Macbook - my F3 key is volume off.

schmara

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #51 on: March 05, 2008, 11:18 AM »
My F10 is the mute button, maybe look to see if the expose symbol is on any of the other function keys.

C.S.

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #52 on: March 05, 2008, 11:34 AM »
Hi everyone,

Since I've been learning from you folks for some time, it's time to give something back.

Jaina, I'm assuming that you are using System 10.2 or later.

As to the question about iTunes, you can install a purchased song on five computers. iTunes reads the serial number of each computer, so putting it back on the same computer doesn't matter. Burning a playlist through iTunes is limited to seven times, although you can burn a song an unlimited number of times. Some of the songs you bought from iTunes can be updated to a higher quality AAC and DRM Free version for a nominal fee. Only certain labels have agreed to this.

Disk Utility is safe to use. Open the program and click on the First Aid Button.  You should see two hard-drive icons. The lower indented icon is the volume. Choose that and then click on Verify Disk Permissions. If any permissions are corrupted, choose Repair Disk Permissions. Choose Verify Disk to check the integrity of the volume structure. It is a good idea to run Disk Utility First Aid before and after any update or installation. I generally use it about once a month.

The erase function in Disk Utility is for reformatting the drive. Don't do that. It doesn't erase the drive if you click on the "Erase" button next to "First Aid," only if if you choose the buttons inside.

Raid is for advanced formatting of multiple hard-drives. You'll probably never need that.

Restore is helpful if you have a clone of your drive and the system becomes so corrupt that you have to reinstall every program. Just clicking on the Restore button next to Raid just opens another window.

One reason a computer slows is because of disk fragmentation. When you install Apple Updates, the system is optimized but becomes fragmented after a while. Downloading and deleting files can cause this, but so can normal use.

Another reason for sluggishness is that the system creates log files for anything it does. One place to see these is to open Safari and choose Activity from the Window Menu. Another place to view these files is to open Console in the Utilities Folder. If they've never been deleted they're probably quite large.

The system also saves caches and temporary files in the Library folder. These also become very large over time. Font caches, not the fonts themselves, are notorious for becoming corrupt and causing various problems. When opening Word you might have noticed that it takes a few seconds to optimize the font menu. This is a temporary file that doesn't always get deleted.

The operating system deletes most of these files for you, but only if the computer is on and not in sleep mode between the hours of 3:15 and 5:30 AM every day. To perform this operation manually, open Terminal in the Utilities Folder and type in a string of Unix commands into the core of the operating system. Beware, typos can result in severe punishment. Not exactly a shining example of Apple's ease of use, and definitely not for the faint of heart.

The easiest way to clear these files and optimize the hard-drive is by using a maintenance program. I use ONYX because it is reliable and free. If you are running system 10.5, Apple has it on their site.

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/system_disk_utilities/onyx.html

If you are using 10.3 or 10.4 you can download and read reviews here:

http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/11582/onyx

Apple also recommends these programs:

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/system_disk_utilities/macaroni.html

http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/system_disk_utilities/cocktail.html

Randomly deleting all files can result in lost web-page passwords or other problems. If you feel comfortable using such a program, I'd be happy to help.

Craig

« Last Edit: March 05, 2008, 11:38 AM by C.S. »

Offline HaroldU

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #53 on: March 05, 2008, 11:41 AM »
So Craig, if I periodically leave my computer on overnight, that automatic process will clean out those old caches for me? That's handy to know.
Harold Underdown

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richmond8

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #54 on: March 05, 2008, 02:40 PM »
Jaina, you will be ok using Disk Utility just like C.S. described.  The one thing I would add is you'll find Verify Disk Permissions inside the First Aid tab. It will take the machine a little time to do it too, so don't set it in motion until you've got a half hour to let it do its thing.  Be sure to follow it up with the Repair Disk Permissions.


C.S.

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #55 on: March 05, 2008, 02:46 PM »
Hi Harold,

The short answer is yes, but let me be more specific.

OS X runs three sets of maintenance tasks if the computer is on and not in sleep mode. Every day at 3:15 AM it removes scratch, junk, and some temporary files. On Saturday at 4:30 AM it rebuilds the sub-system database. (I have no idea what that is.) At 5:30 AM on the first day of the month the system rotates the log files. (Don't bother to ask me about that either.)

Those maintenance tasks do not empty all caches. For example, if you go to your Home folder > Library > Caches > Quicktime you will find files to any movie viewed in Safari. Those don't get deleted and can become quite large after time. Safari and other programs also store quite a few of these files.

It is a good idea to delete some of these cache files. When starting the computer in Safe Mode to diagnose problems, the system automatically deletes certain font caches before it validates the file directory.

Actually, programs like Onyx are easy to use.

Craig

Jaina

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #56 on: March 05, 2008, 02:49 PM »
Thanks for all the information!  I'll work on sorting it all out in my brain and then maybe give it a try.  It's good to know that iTunes will not count my computer as a different one, if I ever take my purchased tunes off and then import them again.

richmond8

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #57 on: March 05, 2008, 02:53 PM »
C.S., about the computer not being in sleep mode.  If I leave my computer on overnight, it will undoubtedly go into sleep mode, won't it?  Just like it does during the day?  So are we supposed to turn off the sleep mode occasionally, like Friday night?  and on the last day of the month?  What do you do?

Offline Harrietthespy

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #58 on: March 05, 2008, 07:51 PM »
Cool Mac tricks from the lady with 8 (yep) macs in the house (per capita 2/person):

1. Turn on speakable items (Speech in your apple preferences). Click the tab that says "Speech recognition." Give your computer a name and pick a "voice."  Then use the options to calibrate the computer to recognize your speech pattern (takes 60 seconds or less).  Now you can talk to your computer.  i.e. if I named my computer "Sam" I could say "Sam, phone number for Harold Underdown" and if he's in my address book it will put the number on the screen.  If I then say "Sam, Read it" it will read it out loud.  Speakable items also allows you to open documents, close them, hide them, set up appointments, open your browser, send your manuscript to your agent or editor by email, etc.  COOL feature and it's been "buried" on Macs since OS9.  The only sad thing is the OS9 version comes with faces you can change.  It will also tell you lame "knock-knock" jokes if you ask.

If you create a manuscript - click on its name without opening it.  Then say "Sam, make this item speakable."  From now on you can open the manuscript without searching for it in your folders. Most applications are automatically programmed for you. If you can't remember what to say just say "Sam, show me what to say" and a menu of all the commands your computer understands will pop up!" 

2. Have your computer read your manuscripts back to you.  Yep!  Go to Speech in your apple preferences.  Click on "text to speech."  If this is your first time, click "Set Key."  When that option comes up hold down three different keys that will be your "personal code."  Pick a voice and speed for the computer to read.  Now, whenever you highlight something (on your manuscript or internet, etc..) and then simultaneously press the keys you set up as the "code" your mac will read it back to you. It's amazing how many mistakes you can catch.  If you find a mistake while the Mac is reading to you, you can correct it while the computer is talking.

3. Need to keep track of your internet research?  Go to the print menu.  Instead of printing to the printer, go to the bottom of the first screen and click on the button that says "PDF".  It will give you options.  Save automatically as a PDF file and it will keep any links imbedded in the page as "live" links you can press when you go back to the file.  No more trying to remember where you saw that "fact."

The PDF function also works with any file you can print AND there is a express script at the bottom that saves files to web receipts.  So instead of printing out pages when you pay a bill, you can just hit control P as if you wanted to print the page and then select the web receipt option (but that has one little glitch.  If you pay the bill again the next month it will overwrite the first one because is uses the name of the webpage as a file name.  So I use the "save as PDF" option and put it in web receipts because I can give it a unique name right away, i.e. Amex Jan_08.

4. If you want to keep something active from your widgets while you work (I use dictionary and thesaurus alot) then click on the dock.  Then click on the "plus" sign.  Click and hold on the widget you want to use (the icon in the strip, not the actual widget).  Press F12 while still holding down the mouse on the icon.  When the widgets disappear, the widget you wanted will "appear" and float on the screen.  TO put it away, bring the widget menu up and then put it away without clicking anything.

5. Use stickies to keep notes?  Need to keep one active while you are working?  Make it "transparent" and it will float above your manuscript but you can see through it.

6.  Have high res photos that you need to downsize?  Or have a bunch of imported photos or files you need to rename?  Use Automator to set up a sequence.  I never remember to import photos with a "name." So I use it to create lower res files with names (like family reunion_07) and ask it to number them (or label them) while creating new photos that I can post on the internet.  You can do hundreds at a time.

7. And don't get me started on iMovie.  One of Kent Brown's nephews showed me how to take Chautauqua photos and integrate them with a song from iTunes and add special effects and captions.  You can time the photos to the lyrics by cutting and pasting.  Now I'll never look at Power point the same way again.  I used for one of my workshops at the conference (and a certain midnight party we won't discuss - lol!).

8. Oh yeah - if you have more than one Mac on an ethernet system or wireless system, you can work on your office computer anywhere in the house by accessing it from another MAC (as long as you have the password to enter the computer).  Just use the "network" icon and put in your username and password.  It's why I don't allow my children to change their passwords.  It allows me to log on by remote and delete unauthorized stuff.

9. And if you have kids?  Set up a main account, then set up sub accounts.  With a sub account you can use your administrator password to lock out the internet (in the admin account - go to preferences, click on "accounts" and set up there.  Then click on "parental controls."  I have a kid who likes to "explore" anime sites and chat rooms instead of working on homework.  Now she can only access sites that aren't pre-authorized by me by having me type in my admin code.  He he he.  When she's done, I delete the site!

There's more.  But I'm whupped. Have fun!......C (mac nerd)
« Last Edit: March 05, 2008, 07:54 PM by Harrietthespy »
Sacred Mountain (Lee and Low, Spring 2009)

C.S.

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Re: Cool Mac tricks
« Reply #59 on: March 06, 2008, 10:54 AM »
Richmond, thanks for clarifying where to find Verify Disk Permissions. I should add that it doesn't matter which drive icon you choose. If the upper icon is selected, Disk Utility also verifies the S.M.A.R.T. Status. You'll see it on the bottom right of the First Aid window. Any problem with that and there's a good chance the drive is about to fail. Back-up immediately.

In order to have the system run maintenance tasks, sleep functions must be disabled in the Energy Saver panel inside System Preferences. I don't bother with that. Once a month I run those tasks with Onyx. It's very easy to do.

Here's a link to Apple for more information:

http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107388

The article's a bit dated and doesn't list all the programs available. See my previous post for links to other programs. If you download Onyx, or any other system maintenance program, make certain that it's the correct version for your operating system.

Hope that helps.

Harriet, that's a great tip about speech recognition. Never knew it was there.

Craig