Tagged: Mac OS X

Ambient sounds from Elsewhere for Mac

I’m the type of person that can’t work without some sort of sound. I mean I absolutely hate quiet – it’s maddening to me. But there are times when I’m trying to concentrate on a project or simply read an article on a website, and a podcast or my favorite iTunes playlist is just too distracting. This is where a little ambient sound comes in handy.

Ambient sounds from ElsewhereElsewhere is a new app from Eltima Software, makers of the popular Folx downloader and Elmedia Player apps. Elsewhere’s purpose is simply to provide ambient sounds on your Mac to help you relax or concentrate.

The app looks absolutely gorgeous, and is simple to use. You invoke Elsewhere’s interface by clicking the icon in the menubar. You simply choose which type of ambient sounds you wish to hear – forest, beach or city, and whether you want to hear day or night sounds. You can also adjust the volume in the window, as well as pause the sounds if you need to.

The preferences are simple, you can set Elsewhere to launch at login time, and switch between day and night ambient sounds automatically.

The beauty of Elsewhere, besides its simple interface, is that you don’t notice any audible looping of the sounds. They appear to go on forever as if you were sitting in the location the sounds are coming from.

I’m not much for one-trick ponies, but this app could only be made better by adding the peaceful sounds of a mountain stream.

Elsewhere is normally $4.99 on the Mac App Store, but is on sale for 99¢ at the time of this review. Because the Mac App Store doesn’t offer demo versions, you can visit the Elsewhere web page for a working preview of the sounds.

Reset your OS X Lion user password

OS X LionPrior to OS X Lion, the OS X installation DVD included a password reset utility. With Lion there is no install DVD, and no easily recognizable way to reset a password for a user account. Don’t worry, if you ever forget your password for a Lion user account, there is still a way to reset it; in fact it’s much easier than booting from a slow DVD.

Restart your Mac while holding Command + R. This will boot you into the Recovery HD Utility. Launch the Terminal from the Utility menu at the top and type resetpassword and hit enter. The Reset Password dialog box will appear where you can choose which user account password you wish to reset, and allow you to enter a new password and hint.

Remove Lion’s Mission Control animation

OS X LionFor users with the latest & greatest Macs, the animations Lion added are probably barely noticeable. But for those of us running it on older Macs, it’s painfully slow and quite annoying. Thankfully, much like removing the new Mail animation I wrote about last week, you can remove the animation completely.

Launch the Terminal app and type the following and hit Return after:
defaults write com.apple.dock expose-animation-duration -float 0

Before the change takes affect, you need to restart OS X’s Dock, which you do by typing the following in the Terminal and hitting Return:
killall Dock

Thanks to OSXDaily for the tip, and a few more adjustments you can make to Mission Control’s animation, including restoring it to its original state.

Apple announces Mac OS X Mountain Lion; to be released this summer

Mountain Lion

See how innovations from iPad inspire new features for the Mac. And find out what’s coming this summer with OS X Mountain Lion. Messages, Reminders, Notes, Notification Center, Twitter, Airplay Mirroring, Game Center, and more. You love them on iPad. Now you’ll love them on your Mac. And with iCloud, they all work better together.

[ilink url=”http://www.apple.com/macosx/mountain-lion/”]Read more about OS X Mountain Lion here.[/ilink]

Apple releases Messages app; will replace iChat in Mac OS X Mountain Lion

MessagesDownload Messages Beta and get a taste of what’s coming in OS X Mountain Lion. When you install Messages, it replaces iChat. But iChat services will continue to work. And Messages brings iMessage to the Mac — just like on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch running iOS 5.

Here are the features you can expect with Messages:

  • Send unlimited iMessages to any Mac, iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
  • Start an iMessage conversation on your Mac and continue it on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
  • Send photos, videos, attachments, contacts, locations, and more.
  • Launch a FaceTime video call and bring the conversation face-to-face.
  • Messages supports iMessage, AIM, Yahoo!, Google Talk, and Jabber accounts.

We knew this was coming, and it’ll be great to have all our messages synced across desktop and laptop Macs and our iDevices!

Download Messages beta here.

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.


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.

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.