Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Keep your keyboard's keys from getting worn out Apps
If you type a lot, you may find that the letters on the keys of your Mac's keyboard will slowly fade away. In my case, not only do they fade away, but one key - the D key, which, since I use a Dvorak layout, is the E key - actually has some of the plastic worn away. And this is on a wireless Apple keyboard that's only about a year old. (Note that since I touch-type, it really doesn't matter whether I see the keys or notÖ)

Topher Kessler, writing at CNet, posted an article with some ways to keep the letters from fading. He suggests possibly using a silicone keyboard cover, but I don't think that would be comfortable. But he also recommends using standard cellophane tape, cut into squares that cover the keys.

You probably wouldn't want to do this to all the keys on your keyboard: the most commonly-used ones are those most in need of protection: E, T, A, I, N, and others. (If you're not an English speaker - or typer - see this Wikipedia article which discusses the most common letters in a number of other languages.)

I wonder if there's not another solution though. While I've not tried it, I would think that clear nail polish might do the trick, and might be better than cellophane tape. The tape is likely to peel up from the corners after a while, but nail polish should stay shiny for a long time. I may try this and see how it works on my already-faded keyboard. Any other suggestions for protecting keys?
  Post a comment  •  Comments (13)  
  • Currently 3.11 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (9 votes cast)
[10,196 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
How to show or hide panels in Adobe Acrobat Pro XI v.11.0.2 Apps
Sometimes clicking the "Show or hide panels" (the top-right icon on right pane for Tools or Comments) in Adobe Acrobat Pro XI v.11.0.2 on OS X 10.8.3 does no work. Clicking it does nothing. Here is the fix:

1. Select View > Read Mode.
2. Select View > Full Screen Mode
3. Press the Escape key

[kirkmc adds: I donít have Acrobat Pro, so I canít test this.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (4)  
  • Currently 1.50 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (16 votes cast)
[8,331 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Use Dropbox and Automator to automatically import photos from Android Phones
I have an Android phone and wanted to automatically save photos that I take in iPhoto, similar to the Photo Stream feature that iPhones have. Dropbox has a feature that automatically uploads photos that you take into a folder called "Camera Uploads,Ē which is synced across all of my devices, so was a perfect candidate for creating a cross-platform Photo Stream.

First, I needed to import the existing "Camera Uploads" photos into iPhoto, as the folder action only triggers when a new file appears in the folder. Once this has been done, the folder action can be created.

Open Automator and create a new Folder Action. Select the folder "Camera Uploads" (in the Dropbox folder).

Next, drag "Import files into iPhoto" from the list of actions to the main window. Select the album to import into, and choose whether to delete the photos after import or not (I chose not to).

Save and give the folder action a name.

Quit Automator and iPhoto.

To test it, I took a picture with my phone, and allowed Dropbox to upload it. As soon as my MacBook downloaded the file, iPhoto opened, and the new picture was imported. iPhoto then quit automatically.

[kirkmc adds: I donít have an Android phone, and cannot test this, but it seems pretty straightforward.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (4)  
  • Currently 2.10 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (10 votes cast)
[17,386 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Download iTunes Store purchases later Apps
If you've ever been irked by the need to download iTunes Store purchases right away, or by seeing them constantly pop up in your Downloads queue until you download them, you'll be happy to know that Apple has changed this. You can now choose to download iTunes Store purchases later, as long as you're in a country which has iTunes in the Cloud. If you choose to download the content - a movie, TV show, or other large download - at a later date, it will simply be added to your Purchased list and you'll be able to download it later. Or not. Because in some cases, you may want to buy something on, say, an iPhone, but watch it on an Apple TV, and never actually download it locally. This will save a lot of time and bandwidth.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (0)  
  • Currently 2.00 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (7 votes cast)
[2,930 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Quickly type domains for different countries in iOS Apps
You may be familiar with the fact that, when typing on iOS, you can press and hold the . (period) key, or the .com key, to get a popup with a handful of top-level domains, such as .com, .org, .edu, etc. If your iOS device is set up with a country other than the US, you'll have these, plus others, such as if you're in the UK, or .de if you're in Germany.

OS X Daily recently pointed out that you can also quickly type other top-level domains by simply adding international keyboards to your iOS device. To do this, go to Settings > General > International > Keyboards, then tap on Add New Keyboard. Tap the keyboard for the country you want to use. When you next go to type text, you can press and hold the . (period) key in, say, Mail, or the .com key in Safari, and access additional top-level domains.

Interestingly, when I did this, I found a surprising change. I added a UK keyboard to be able to type easily, since I've just moved to England. I dictate a lot into my iPhone - much quicker than typing - and found that iOS was no longer recognizing "period" as a . but would type out the word. It would, however, type a . when I said "full stop." This shouldn't happen, because my iPhone is set with Voice Control to English (United States). Removing the UK keyboard fixed the dictation issue.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (1)  
  • Currently 3.63 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (8 votes cast)
[3,336 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Reduce FaceTime CPU when only using voice Apps
FaceTime uses 100% CPU when in a call, probably because of video encoding. Yet it's possible to reduce CPU usage to 20% when you only need voice, extending battery life when mobile.

To stop FaceTime from encoding video when in a call, make it fullscreen and it will move into its own space. Then switch back to your main desktop space with a four finger swipe to the right (or by simply switching to an app in that space). Although your camera LED stays on, this actually pauses the video, reducing your CPU from 100% to around 20%. You will also find that voice quality improves with less drop-outs and cracks because now your CPU is prioritized on encoding audio.

Update: As mentioned in the comments, it's seems to be sufficient to just have FaceTime in a space and move to a different space, or to minimize the FaceTime window to the Dock.

[kirkmc adds: I don't use FaceTime often, choosing rather to use Messages video chats or Skype, so I can't confirm whether this CPU usage is universal.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (7)  
  • Currently 2.33 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (9 votes cast)
[4,428 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Regular expression reference for BBEdit Apps
If you use BBEdit to work with text files, you're certainly aware of its powerful regular expression feature for searching and replacing text. Based on the PCRE (Perl Compatible Regular Expressions) engine, the BBEdit regex language can find and replace pretty much anything.

GitHub user ccstone has published a BBEdit Regular Expression Cheat Sheet, which shows all the standard regex meta-characters, those used for non-visible characters (such as tabs and returns), and classes (such as digits, lower-case letters or alphanumeric characters).

If you use BBEdit to find and replace text, and especially if you're not familiar with using regular expressions, you should bookmark this page.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (3)  
  • Currently 2.71 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (7 votes cast)
[4,615 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Fix iOS SpringBoard home screen crash Apps
Over at the Mac Observer, Dave Hamilton told of an iPod touch whose SpringBoard would repeatedly crash. (SpringBoard is the iOS equivalent of the Finder.) After trying a number of troubleshooting procedures, he narrowed it down to an iCloud issue, where corrupt data was causing the crash. Hamilton found info in crash logs indications of what was causing the crash. He eventually deleted a folder on the Mac that was linked to the iPod (com~apple~TextInput) and this resolved the issue.

iCloud has been, for me, a common source of dismay. I've not found it to be reliable enough to entrust any important data to it - though for some data, such as contacts and calendars, you have no choice. I've had to go through complicated procedures to reset different types of iCloud data several times to resolve syncing issues. This crashing problem is just another of the issues that iCloud can be responsible for.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (3)  
  • Currently 3.67 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (6 votes cast)
[8,419 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Manage site-specific Java settings in Safari Apps
Apple has released Safari 6.0.4, and 5.1.9, which, together with a recent update to Java, provides site-specific settings for activating Java. As Java has become a widely-exploited vector for malware attacks, it's a good idea to keep it turned off if you don't need it. The problem is, however, that many people do need it, and the safest way to protect from drive-by attacks on malicious websites is to provide a site-specific activation method.

Safari 6.0.4 offers this. If you visit a website that tries to load a Java applet, a dialog will ask if you want to block or allow the applet. You can later go to Safari > Preferences > Security, and click on Manage Website Settings (just after the Allow Java option) to view a list of websites which have attempted to load Java applets. You can then change the behavior for each of those sites.

Get more info about Java and Safari in Apple's technical note.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (3)  
  • Currently 3.71 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (7 votes cast)
[9,467 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Cancel a Mac Store app update while it's downloading Install
In the Updates section of the Mac App Store, if the user chooses to update an app or apps, the interface offers the ability to pause the download of the update, but seemingly not to cancel it. Canceling the download is possible by holding down the option key. The "Pause" buttons change to "Cancel" buttons.

[kirkmc adds: I don't have any current updates to be able to test this. I don't think this stops the update from generating a notification after you cancel the download, but I'm curious as to what happens. Post your experiences in the comments.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (2)  
  • Currently 3.50 / 5
  You rated: 2 / 5 (10 votes cast)
[17,639 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version