Sometimes, an old hint is so good, it bears repeating. Years ago, we shared a hint involving the Recent Items section of the Apple menu.
Next time you're looking at that particular section, hold down the Command key. The names of your recent apps and files—which you could otherwise select to launch as desired—will change. For example, if your Recent Apps list included Acorn, that item would change to Show Acorn in Finder. And yes, this works with documents, too.
So if you very quickly want to find specific files in the Finder that you know you used recently, the Apple menu's Recent Items section, in tandem with the Command key, can help you out in a jiffy.
Since OS X 10.6, when you're screen sharing and looking at a remote Mac's screen, you cannot successfully use Command-Tab to switch out of a screen sharing window, because the command is sent to the remote machine instead.
I recently found a way around this by using Quicksilver. With Quicksilver installed, the key combination is not sent to the remote machine, but rather to your local Mac instead—once you've summoned Quicksilver. When the Quicksilver window shows up, focus goes to local machine, and Command-Tab is also sent to the local machine.
Lex adds: And that's just the tip of the iceberg. In his testing, my colleague Dan Moren found the same behavior works with Alfred; he could trigger Alfred's shortcut while screen sharing, and the app would launch on his local Mac, and thus Command-Tab would begin working on the local Mac instead.
I'm a LaunchBar guy, though, and when I tried to trigger LaunchBar on my Mac—which I've set to use the Command-Space shortcut that defaults to Spotlight—it triggered Spotlight on the remote computer instead. But that gave me an idea: I instead switched to using my Spotlight keyboard shortcut (which I've set to Control-Space). That in turn launched Spotlight on my local Mac, at which point I too could use Command-Tab to switch away from my screen sharing window via the keyboard.
This hint is an oldie but a goodie, and we could only find it mentioned in comments on older hints. If you don't know it, you'll want to; if you already knew it, pay it forward to Mac users who are spending too much time fussing with the mouse.
The Apple menu sits at the top left of your menu bar, and the Notification Center icon sits at the top right. For years, though, OS X has made clicking menu items in either position simpler than it might appear. You needn't move the mouse cursor to precisely the slim confines of either icon when you want to click on them. If you slam your mouse all the way to the top left corner of the screen, well beyond the perimeter of the Apple icon, and click—you'll still successfully trigger the Apple menu.
The same trick works with the Notification Center menu at the upper right: Move the mouse all the way to that corner, fretting not about whether your cursor is actually atop the icon, and your click will still register as desired.
Thus, in keeping with the tenets of Fitts's Law, you essentially have an infinite amount of clicking space to access either menu.
Sure, IMDb’s advanced search tools can you help find occasions when two disparate actors appeared in the same film. But navigating IMDb when you want to play offshoots of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is no fun. If you have a Siri-capable iOS device within reach, you can find movie star overlap using only your voice.
Give Siri an instruction like, “Show me movies with Jason Biggs and Woody Allen,” and the virtual assistant should suggest Anything Else a moment later. And in cases of overlap—“What movies have both Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry”—Siri provides a list of all the matching films. (In that case, it’s both Rugrats in Paris and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.)
Tap on a matching movie to see more information about the film.
We’ve previously shared a Terminal-based approach for customizing the behavior of All My Files in the Finder. But in Mountain Lion, customizing All My Files’s search criteria—or the criteria of any other similar Finder sidebar entry, is deliciously simple:
Simply right-click (or Control-click, or two-finger click with a trackpad) on the sidebar entry, and choose Show Search Criteria. You’ll see the Smart Search characteristics that power the entry in question, and you can tweak and re-save the search factors you prefer.
Full disclosure: You can’t save over the existing All My Files saved search with this approach; you’re really just saving a new search instead. But it’s quick, painless, and non-destructive.
Suppose you have a folder full of photos taken in rapid succession. These might be images from an MRI or ultrasound, or simply a sequence of shots snapped at a celebration of some sort. Either way, you've ended up with a series of photos that would likely look good animated—but they're all simply stills.
There's an easy way to put those photos in motion. Single-click on the first one in your folder, and then press the Spacebar to bring up the Quick Look preview of your image. Now, simply hold the down arrow. The Finder selection will cycle through all the photos in your folder, and the Quick Look preview will instantly update in real time.
If your folder contains photos that work as a flip book, you can see the animation right there in the Finder using this method.
In OS X 10.8.3 and later, Apple seems to have changed the behavior of the Mac App Store: It will no longer automatically check for System Updates if you are running from an account that does not have administrator privileges.
A simple work-around: Select the Updates tab in the Mac App Store. From the Store menu, select Reload Page (Command-R). The app will now prompt you for an administrator's credentials. Then the app will search and (in my experience) find system updates if any are available. Updates can now also be installed from your non-admin account.
Now that Google Reader is dead, it's time to find a replacement news-reading solution. If you, like me, land on Feedbin as your answer, you might not be happy with any of the current Mac apps that can connect to the service. And thus you might—again, like me—choose to set up a single-site browser for Feedbin using Fluid.
In general, Fluid and Feedbin get along fine. I tweaked settings to that I could open any URL within my Feedbin Fluid app, so that I could more easily open links to whatever sites I stumble across using the service. But I missed my "unread articles" badge, which NetNewsWire had long sported in my Dock.
Of course, to make the whole thing work, you'll need to enable putting that unread count in the page title, which is a setting available on the Feedbin website's Settings screen.
Today is my last day running the Mac OS X Hints website. I'd like to thank all of the site's readers, and especially those who have submitted hints, for visiting the site and helping us provide neat hints and tips about OS X.
Lex Friedman of Macworld will be replacing me. I wish him all the best, and hope that Mac OS X Hints continues to be a place where you can find great ways to work more efficiently with your Mac.