Getting control of your Mac’s volume settings

Volume controls

If you’re using an Apple keyboard (or many third-party keyboards with a dedicated audio volume button), you can adjust the volume up and down with the push of a key. For many people, that’s enough.

For those who need a little more control, you can adjust the volume in quarter increments (rather than whole increments) simply by holding Option + Shift keys while pushing the Volume Up or Down keys. You’ll notice on the Volume bezel that appears on screen that the volume is adjusting a quarter box at a time, rather than a whole.

And for those of you who are annoyed by the quacking/beeping/burping sound with every press of the volume key, you can temporarily mute that sound by using Shift+Volume Up or Down keys. Unfortunately, you can combine the two to make silent adjustments in small increments.

Easily rearrange the order of accounts in OS X’s Mail app

Mac Mail address send order

If you have several different email accounts, you may find it annoying to have to choose the right email address as your “From” email from the drop-down menu (providing the default send account isn’t the one you want to use) in OS X’s Mail app. There is no cure for this problem, but you can at least put the list in the order you want it to appear in.

Mac Mail address send order fixI’ve seen other Mac sites that offer tips to accomplish this that range from the outrageous advice that you must delete all your email accounts and re-add them in the order you want them to appear, to the less dramatic but still cumbersome idea that you must uncheck the email checkbox in the Internet accounts preference pane and re-enable email in the desired order.

Thankfully, there’s a much more convenient way to accomplish the same desired result that doesn’t require you to delete anything.

Simply drag the individual email inbox icons for your accounts in the Mail sidebar to the order you want them to appear and restart Mail. Boom, you’re done. Now your drop-down menu will list your email addresses in the order you set them in.

Get started in 3D modeling & animation with Blender (free)

Blender 3D animation software for Mac

Looking to get started in 3D modeling and animation software on the Mac? There are a few apps out there, but most fall into one of two categories. Expensive but worth it, being the first. Cheap or free, but completely under-featured and unpolished is the more likely one you’ll come across.

Blender kicks the trend and offers a high-end package absolutely free.

Blender is a free and open source 3D animation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation.

Blender is cross-platform and runs on Linux, Windows and Macintosh computers. I’m not into 3D work, and I’ve not used this software myself. But I recently read a review from a friend who has and she was raving about it. It’s free, so you lose nothing by trying it out.

If you do use Blender, be sure to check out Blend Swap for free 3D assets created by other Blender users.

Free black and white photo conversion Photoshop action

Black and White Photoshop Action

There are lots of ways to convert a color image to black & white in Adobe Photoshop, but here’s a simple little Action you can apply to your color image to give you a rich, detailed conversion result. As you can see in the image above, the standard grayscale conversion results in a rather flat looking image. But using the Black and White Action, the photo is enhanced with deeper tones and more contrast, offering a more dramatic end result.

You can download the Black and White Photoshop Action here.