Tagged: OS X

The most in-depth review of OS X Yosemite you’ll find

OS X Yosemite
OS X Yosemite has been out for a while now, and I’m enjoying the heck out of using it. It’s probably the most full-featured OS release Apple has offered us in quite a while. While you’ve probably read plenty about the hero features, it’s still worth reading John Siracusa’s full review. At 25 pages in length, it’s about as in-depth as you can get.

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Apps & Utilities for Mac OS X I can’t live without: Part 1

Mac apps I can't live without

“When it comes to utilities and applications for my Mac, I must admit I’m a bit of a whore.”

I’ll date lots of them, and toss them aside just as quickly as I come across them. But there are some that just seem to stick around. I absolutely love them, and can’t imagine my Mac-using life without them. Here is part one of my list of OS X apps I love: (more…)

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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.

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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.

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Lynda.com offers Intro to OS X Mavericks, free until Nov. 17th

Just upgraded to Mavericks? Do you know someone who needs a little training on the new features? Lynda.com is generously offering their Intro to OS X Mavericks training video by Chris Breen for free until Nov. 17th. Watch the OS X Mavericks training video here.

You’ll have to visit this Facebook page and click the link to the Lynda.com video page. A pop-up will ask if you want to share it on Facebook, just hit Cancel if you don’t want to share right at the moment.

Video Description: While many of the important changes in Mavericks are “under the hood,” there are some intriguing “over the hood” features that make your Mac more efficient and easier to use. Macworld’s Chris Breen shows you the way. Learn how to install Mac OS X 10.9, aka Mavericks, and discover how improvements to the Finder, the iCloud Keychain, multi-monitor support, and apps like Maps, Calendar, Safari, and iBooks make your Mac experience even better.

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Pasting text completely unformatted in OS X

Paste without formatting

It happens a lot in the design business. You’re taking copy from one document and using it in another. The problem is that when you copy your text and paste it in your new document, the formatting comes with it. All the fonts, all the colors, all the special text treatments. You’re stuck “un-formatting” only to have to reformat it in the new style. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Mac OS X offers a simple way to paste text from any document into another document completely unformatted. Simply copy the original formatted text as you normally would using Command + C. Then, instead of pasting the text normally, paste it using Command + Shift + V.

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Proofreading tip: Speak Selected Text with a Keystroke in Mac OS X

Mac OS X tip

Sometimes it’s beneficial to proofread text in your design work by hearing it, rather than reading it. Mac OS X offers a convenient way to do it, and OSX Daily offers a simple tutorial to show you how to set it up.

I use this feature quite often, but not as much as I probably should. Give it a try, you may find it quite useful.

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Overlooked features of OS X’s Finder Path Bar

Mac OS X FinderOpen a Finder window (Finder > New Finder Window) and then choose View > Show Path Bar. The Path Bar appears at the bottom of all your Finder windows, showing the complete path from your computer to the current folder.

At first glance, that’s all the Path Bar does. But as Sharon Zardetto points out in her Macworld article: Five overlooked abilities of the Finder’s Path Bar, it can do a whole lot more.

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Vecte: OS X application switcher replacement

Vecte

Vecte replaces Mac OS X’s built-in application switcher

Vecte is a simple Mac OS X application switcher replacement. All the standard keyboard shortcuts still work, the only difference is how it looks and feels. Vecte moves the application switcher overlay you get by hitting Command + Tab from the center of the screen to the top left corner of the screen. Vecte also switches apps instantly rather than waiting around until you let go of the command key. Finally, Vecte does not re-order the apps every time you switch to a new app. If you missed the app you were aiming for, it’s still in the same spot.

I used Vecte for a few weeks and found it to work quite well. And it’s a great way to customize OS X to your liking. Ultimately though, I prefer the built-in switcher. Given that Vecte is free, you have nothing to lose by checking it out. You can download Vecte here.

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Add a little ambient sound to your day with Relax Melodies

Relax Melodies

Sometimes I just don’t want to listen to music. I just want some nice ambient sound to wash over me while I’m working. I’ve reviewed Elsewhere for the Mac previously, a free app for OS X which lives in your menubar and provides three ambient sounds, plus rain (with an in-app purchase).

Today I point you to two more great apps, both free, that provide ambient sounds (white noise) to OS X.

Relax Melodies brings 48 individual ambient sounds which you can overlay on top of each other to create the perfect background sounds to suit your style. Relax Melodies Seasons offers 33 sounds, including 8 Christmas-specific sounds like bells, fireplace, and popular Christmas tunes.

Relax Melodies Seasons

Both apps offer to add up to 100 sounds or more with an in-app purchase, but the built-in sounds are pretty darn good on their own. Both apps allow you to combine sounds and adjust the volume of those sounds independently. You can also save your favorite settings in both apps, but I prefer to explore new combinations every time I use the apps. And finally, you can set alarms and timers with both apps.

I love both these apps, though the regular Relax Melodies app is probably more than enough for most users. If I have one complaint about either of these apps, it’s that neither offers a way to hide the interface and the Dock icon and work only as a menubar app the way Elsewhere does. Still, both can help you relax during a busy day designing the next great ad, or writing the great American novel!

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