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Cool Mac tricks

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Great links C.S., and thank you everyone for your opinions. Feel free to keep them coming. I have a 12" IBM Thinkpad x40 which is getting old and is batteryless at the moment but investing in a new battery for this unit seems a waste of $ at this point. The 12" screen drive me nuts. We have a 17" pc and I like being able to see my whole page. I seem to cut and paste alot during revision. Also, since one of my passions is poetry, i do a lot of reordering of poems and a bigger screen makes it easier to envision the whole book and to cut and reposition a poem within the group.
#91 - May 25, 2008, 11:13 AM &
DARE TO DREAM...CHANGE THE WORLD, Kane Miller, Fall 2012


Jill, I forgot to mention Apple Refurbs. These computers are like new and carry a full warranty.

Right now they list 17" MacBook Pros for $2099.00. The best deals tend to go early in the morning, so shop early and often.

This site is fairly reliable and handy if you're not in a hurry to buy:

One more thing about batteries: about a year ago Apple initiated a recall on batteries that were failing prematurely or bursting. I know this affected MacBook Pro's, but I'm not sure about others. Here's a link to the exchange program:

A tip for Mac newbies: You can add folders to the dock between the trash can and the line. Drag your manuscript folder there and you can open it quickly. Also, if you drag your application folder to that area of the dock, control click and you have all applications available. For those who prefer keyboard commands, an even faster way to access a program not in the dock is to hit the command key and then the spacebar to open Spotlight. Type the first few letters of the application's name, hit the down arrow and then the enter key. After you get used to that method, it's very fast.

#92 - May 25, 2008, 05:32 PM
« Last Edit: May 25, 2008, 05:34 PM by C.S. »


Here's a question for the Word Wizards on the board. Every time I open Word 2004, I have to change the preferences to allow "Background Repagination". I've tried deleting the plist file for Word, chanted, prayed, held my lips in different positions, and even wiped the keyboard and screen with Holy Water, and still that sucker wont stay selected. Any advice?

#93 - May 25, 2008, 05:51 PM

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I need to keep up on this. i'm sure there is more stuff i do the hard way that is really very easy.
#94 - July 08, 2008, 01:04 PM
How Things Work (Publications International, 2006)
Bugs & Bugsicles: Insects in the Winter (Boyds Mill Press, 2010)
Touch the Earth (NASA, 2009)


I noticed Harold's posts on Time Machine. It's not meant for a tiny 4GB flash drive - it's meant to be used with a nice large external drive that can back up *everything*, and historical versions of everything too. Every hour, Time Machine makes sure it's got the latest. If you connect a 160GB drive, the only configuration is plugging it in and answering "Yes" when your Mac asks "Use this for Time Machine?"

Having everything in Time Machine is great because if your computer's hard drive goes belly up, *everything* is on the Time Machine drive, and it can all be recovered so you're back to where you were. A little USB stick isn't what you need.

For capacity, you want one at least as large as the space your using on your computer's drive. Something from here:  Best Buy or any electronics store will sell a selection too.

It doesn't need to have an expensive, fast interface. USB 2 is fine. Firewire is a little nicer because more often it can supply power (you won't need to plug in an extra power adaptor).
#95 - July 09, 2008, 07:29 PM


Ooh, and a couple of folks were noticing that the Exposé button was on F3 where someone else had volume control there. Last year Apple moved the function key operations around. The newer keyboards have Exposé on F3.

Why Apple moved things around... only Apple knows :-)
#96 - July 09, 2008, 07:31 PM


OK a Mac Trick!

Got a Mac notebook? Missing that forward-delete key? You can do it... press Fn-Delete!

The relief when I found that shortcut... :-)
#97 - July 09, 2008, 07:32 PM


Oh... and to those for whom the two-finger scroll was new. Hold those two fingers on the mouse pad, then press the mouse button. Presto - you did a "right mouse click"! That works much more naturally than it sounds, because you usually have all those fingers hovering in exactly the right place already.

That's only on newer notebooks. If you go to System Preferences and then "Keyboard & Mouse" and then the "Trackpad" tab, you'll find videos of these shortcuts. Pretty cool!
#98 - July 09, 2008, 07:35 PM


My sister-in-law was totally saved by Time Machine last month. She migrates between two Macs (one mobile, one on the desk). One day she accidentally moved the OLD version of her work onto the Mac with the NEW version, erasing her most recent work! She freaked out but had set up Time Machine so... a quick trip back in time and she was able to restore the latest version of her document. Much relief all round!
#99 - July 09, 2008, 07:42 PM


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)?

I haven't read through all of the responses, but here's a reply:

1.  Download, install, and use MacJanitor.  It's a free program and extremely helpful -- runs superfast, too.  Whenever your Macbaby is starting to get slow, run it. 
2.  Yeah, like a PC, you have to go into your Trash folder and empty it every so often.  Very few things are ever actually gone without this. 
3.  In iTunes, a dialogue box should pop up whenever you delete a song from the iTunes app, and ask if you want it deleted from its original file, too. 
4.  Not sure about reloading your iTunes-bought music from a writable disk, BUT most of iTunes is encoded so that if it goes back to your computer, it's fine.  Like, my iPod knows my computer from my husband's and so on.
#100 - January 07, 2009, 05:44 AM

Sarah Miller

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? 

Nope. iPhoto '08 has its very own trash can. When you hit delete in iPhoto, your pictures go into the iPhoto trash can, NOT the main trash basket on your dock. You can view your iPhoto trash by clicking on the trash icon in the lefthand sidebar. When you're really really sure you want to dump your crummy photos, go to the iPhoto menu in the upper left corner and select "Empty Trash" (it's right under "preferences"). Once you do that, your trash photos are GONE forever -- they completely bypass the main trash basket on the dock and disappear.
#101 - January 07, 2009, 07:04 AM


There's a program online called Grand Perspective that my Mac genius told me about -- google it or here's the address: 

that shows a graph (sort of, it's more like a square with thousands of big and little squares inside) of where all you storage on your mac is being used. It's helping me clear out some of the junk, now that I can see it.
#102 - January 07, 2009, 07:43 AM

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Also, my husband always gives me a hard time for never turning off my macbook. He's the Mac guy and I'm a techno idiot, so I can't explain this properly, but, apparently, restarting your computer on occasion helps it to put things where they belong and organize your hard drive and makes your computer run faster.
#103 - January 07, 2009, 08:17 AM


Thanks, everyone--very helpful info!
#104 - January 07, 2009, 09:49 AM

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Oh, yay. I'm going to try some of these "cleanup" tips today. My poor machine is massively overloaded and running like... well, let's just say it's slower than me when my bones ache. And that's SLOW!

Thanks for asking about this, Jaina. I'm too slow to have thought of asking that question.  Duh. :duh
#105 - January 08, 2009, 05:18 AM
Verla Kay

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More mac tricks. Thank you so much.

I also tend to not turn off my mac. I keep my writing file up continuously as I work on it.
I've found turning off my computer at least once a week really is a very good thing to do.
#106 - January 24, 2009, 01:58 AM
Sarah Blake Johnson, MFA
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Two shortucts that are very easy and have saved me hours, probably:

Cmnd+tab: switches between applications (keep holding town tab to move to the next application)
Cmnd+~: switches between windows in the current application

Small...But very useful!

As for Macs plus writing, I'm another person whose fallen in love with Scrivener. I read through the organizations thread, and the 1 document vs. many documents threads, and giggled because Scrivener is so helpful for all those things.  :snoopy
#107 - April 19, 2009, 02:42 PM
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Sarah Miller

Cmnd+~: switches between windows in the current application


I've been wondering how to do this, but never knew who to ask or even how to phrase the question coherently.
#108 - April 20, 2009, 05:41 AM


I recently bought a Mac laptop and after hearing much ado about Scrivener, asked Hubby to get it for my bday. It took one session to fall in love. What a fantastic program. I haven't had it very long--not long enough to start a new WIP really, I"m still at the note stage--but I can't wait to try add photos to my WIP files. What a neat feature.  :love
#109 - June 13, 2009, 04:50 AM

anyone have any new, fun tricks?
#110 - August 04, 2010, 11:19 PM &
DARE TO DREAM...CHANGE THE WORLD, Kane Miller, Fall 2012


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