Category: Mac & OS X

Adjust your Mac’s volume by tiny bits

I came across this post at CultofMac that explained how you can set your Mac’s volume to “ultra-quiet” via a combination of lowering the volume all the way, then hitting the mute key on your Mac’s keyboard. This sets the volume to a barely audible level. The problem of course is that it’s barely audible.

Volume bezel

Adjust the volume by quarter bars at a time

Instead, just hold down the Shift + Option keys while using the Volume keys on the keyboard. This will allow you to adjust the volume (up or down) by quarter bars at a time, instead of full bars at a time.

Control multiple Macs with one keyboard and mouse

teleport lets you use a single mouse and keyboard to control several Macs. Simply reach an edge of your screen, and your mouse teleports to your nearby Mac, which also becomes controlled by your keyboard.

The pasteboard can be synchronized, and you can even drag & drop files between your Macs. You can make a donation to the developer if you find teleport useful in your workflow.

teleport

Control multiple Macs with one keyboard and mouse

teleport features:

  • keyboard bindings: you can assign a keyboard shortcut to a controlled Mac to directly jump to it.
  • host specific options: you can define the switching and sharing options per host, to have different settings.
  • much improved file transfers: a lot faster, specially when transferring folders, no more size limitation, supports multiple files.
  • full multi-screens support: all screens of shared Macs are now visible, so pairing a secondary screen is much easier than before.
  • full gestures support, as well as volume controls.
  • host location indicator: when positioning a host around your Mac, a red line appear at the location where the switch will occur.
  • sound notification: teleport can play a sound when it switches to another Mac.
  • host appearance indicator: when a host comes online, a line will flash on the corresponding border to notify that you can now control it.

Download teleport here.

Open files using OS X’s Quick Look feature

Quick Look is a handy feature of Mac OS X that allows you to preview a file simply by hitting the Space Bar while the file is selected. A large preview window opens allowing you to see what the file is (provided the file format is supported by OS X.

Open files with Quick Look

Quick Look can open files with a simple mouse shortcut

With OS X Lion, you can open the image by clicking the small button in the upper right corner of the Quick Look window, but it’s much easier to simply double-click the Quick Look window. Not a huge time-saver, but every click saved is a click earned, I always say.

Set the time interval of OS X’s Time Machine backups

When Apple introduced Time Machine in OS X 10.5 Leopard, it was a glorious day for everyone who struggled with overly complicated backup software. You simply turn it on and forget it, resting easy that your drive is constantly being backed up in case of drive failure. The key word that soon frustrated many users is constantly.

Time Machine backs up files every hour, and if you’re a power-user who updates and saves lots of files (particularly large ones), Time Machine could theoretically never stop working. The problem is that for many users, the Mac can get bogged-down while backing up, in some cases to the point of being unusable.

TimeMachineScheduler

Thankfully, Stefan Klieme wrote a simple piece of software called TimeMachineScheduler that allows you to easily adjust the backup interval of Time Machine. With TimeMachineScheduler you can set the interval from one to 12 hours, limit backups to WiFi or hard-wired connection only, skip backups during specified hours, and more.

TimeMachineScheduler is free (donations welcome) and works with OS X 10.5 or later on Intel Macs. Because my particular workflow doesn’t require hourly backups, I love this little utility and the features it offers me.

Paste text without formatting in OS X Lion

If you want to copy formatted text from one document into a new one but don’t want to keep the formatting, you can do so with a simple keyboard shortcut.

Simply copy the text as you normally would (Command + C), then move to where you want to paste the text and hit Command + Shift + Option + V. Your text will be pasted with no formatting whatsoever.

This is particularly useful when copying colored text with one font and pasting it into a new document that uses completely different fonts and colors.

The problem with Mac OS X Lion’s Auto Save feature

Auto SaveMac OS X 10.7 Lion’s Auto Save feature is one of the highlights of the operating system revision, especially for inexperienced users. It removes the need to remember to press Command-S (or take a mouse trip to choose File > Save) in applications that support the feature. Lion automatically and continuously saves every change to disk. However, one casualty of the feature is the age-old “Save As” command, used to create and then work on a new file with the same contents as the original. Save As has been replaced by a cumbersome duplicate-and-then-save behavior.

Tidbits goes into detail about how Auto Save works, and the problem with it replacing the ages-old Save As command. I’m not a fan of Auto Save, which is to say I absolutely hate it. I hope Apple makes it an option I can turn off in future OS revisions, but I suspect we’re seeing the beginning of the end of the file system methodology we’ve known for years. (more…)

How to merge multiple iPhoto libraries

I’ve been asked a few times over the years if it was possible to merge multiple iPhoto library files into one large library. The answer is yes, but it’ll cost a few bucks.

iPhoto Library Manager

iPhoto Library Manager is a handy tool for anyone who has large iPhoto collections

iPhoto Library Manager ($19.95) lets you easily create and keep track of multiple iPhoto libraries, but that’s only the beginning. It also has the ability to copy your photos from one library to another, while keeping track of photo metadata that is normally lost when exporting from one library and importing into another.

You could split or merge library files manually, but that could result in a lot of time spent dragging out and re-importing a lot of photos – and it doesn’t guarantee all your meta-data will make the trip. If you take a lot of photos, and you use iPhoto to manage them, iPhoto Library Manager will make organizing and backing up those precious photos much easier.

Hide those pesky Mac OS X System Preference icons

There are a few icons found in the Mac OS X’s System Preferences that I just never seem to use. Ever. They used to taunt me every time I launch Sys Prefs to make adjustments to my Mac – such as the MobileMe icon that still exists in Lion’s prefs, for example.

Hiding System Preference icons

Why must the MobileMe icon taunt me? Oh. It doesn't!

You can hide any of those preference icons you want simply by visiting the View>Customize… while in the System Preferences. A small checkbox will appear next to each icon which you can untick to hide the icon. Once you turn off the icons you don’t use or for whatever reason wish to hide, simply hit the Done button at the top of the System Preferences window.