I'm affected by a mild form of phonemic deafness: the part of my brain in charge of translating sound into words doesn't work perfectly. Therefore, understanding spoken language is more difficult for me than for the average human, even in my mother tongue (Italian). Nevertheless, I've been always fascinated by languages, and I have learned to read in a few of them.
With the advent of the DVD, movies and TV series in their original language have become available and I'm using them as a mean to improve my comprehension. Usually, I try to understand the dialogues without using subtitles, but sometimes I need to look at them (if possible, in the language of the audio track) for a while. Apple's DVD Player allows me to do so, but you need to issue a series of commands using the controller or the menus to turn them on. However, it is possible to automate this process, causing the video to scrub backwards a little, activate the chosen subtitles and start the playback again.
As a first step, you must create a new service in Automator with a single action: "Run Applescript" (located in "Utilities"). Input the following script:
tell application "DVD Player"
delay 1 -- approximate rewind time in seconds
set subtitle to 1 -- to choose first item of available subtitles
Select the options "Service receives no input" and "in any application".
The number after "delay" controls the amount of back-scrubbing; you may try different values to fit your taste, and "set subtitle to 1" enables the first set of available subtitles.
Save the service with an appropriate name and open the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of System Preference's Keyboard pane. Select "Services" in the leftmost section and add a keyboard shortcut that suits you for the newly created service.
You may duplicate the process above, changing "set subtitle to 1" with "set subtitle to 2", etc. to create commands that select other sets of subtitles.
As a last step, create a service with the following AppleScript:
tell application "DVD Player"
set subtitle to 0
You may have seen the news: the latest update to the Apple TV (2nd generation or later) allows you to use a Bluetooth keyboard. This makes searching for things much easier; the non-keyboard interface is slow and clunky. If you want to use a Bluetooth keyboard with your Apple TV, you can see this Apple technical document which explains how to set up a Bluetooth keyboard with an Apple TV, how to disconnect the keyboard, and how to troubleshoot common problems.
Safari displays emoji perfectly: on web pages, in tabs, and in the titlebar (if emoji are used in a page title). This makes it unique amongst the main OS X browsers: Firefox displays them in the title bar but not in tabs or on the page, while Chrome displays them in tabs but not on the page. There's a screenshot on my blog where I discuss this in more detail (the blog posting is an example that can be used to test browsers).
I played around a little with encoding settings in Firefox and Chrome but couldn't fix it. Maybe others will have more luck.
One issue I'm not clear about is what's required on the web backend to display emoji. UTF-16 encoding? Does anyone know?
[kirkmc adds: It even works here, with Geeklog. 😄]
I am not sure if it is new to iTunes 11 or not, but you can use a two-finger swipe on the trackpad while the mouse pointer is over the track progress bar in the iTunes LCD to scrub forward and backward. This is available in MplayerX for scrubbing in movies. It seems faster than pressing and holding the next button either on iTunes or on the keyboard. The same gesture also applies to the volume controller on iTunes.
Also, since mouse scrolling is passed to a window as long as the pointer is over it, even if another window in focus, you can use this reduce iTunes volume with no clicks at all. However, the iTunes mini player does not display either the seek bar or the volume controller so it can be used for either.
I was on the road for a bit the other day, and when I left home at noon, my iPhone's battery was about 95% full. About 4 hours later, I saw it was down to about 25%, and I wondered what it could have been doing to deplete the battery so much. I thought of the usual culprits, like brightness (it's not at the maximum), Bluetooth (it seems well behaved with iOS 6, going in standby mode when not in use), or push email. Then I looked at which apps were open. I quit them all, including Skype. An hour later, my battery had only dropped another 5%.
When I came home, I did some googling, thinking it could be Skype, or it could be another app. I came across a Skype forum post where someone said they lost 70% in four hours, just like me. There were no other apps running that would have been keeping a connection open, so it's safe to say - given the vast number of people who have commented on the relationship between Skype and poor battery life - that there is a link.
So, if you use Skype, and see bad battery life on your iPhone, try quitting the app and see if this improves things. I haven't done any scientific testing, but there seem to be enough people who have this problem to suggest that Skype may be the culprit.
If you save an attachment from an e-mail message, and later need to find exactly which message it came from but cannot remember which it was, it can be done with a little bit of work.
First, select the file in the Finder and open its Info window by pressing Command-I. In the More Info section, you should see the file's "Where from" information. This will list the sender's name and address and the subject line of the message that the file was originally attached to. You can first use this information to try searching in Mail for the message. Many times, that's all you'll need to do.
However, if that doesn't cut it for you - for example, you have multiple revisions of a file that were sent back and forth in a series of messages, and you need to determine which came from which - there is one more bit of metadata in the "Where from" information that can solve that for you.
Copy the part of the "Where from" information that looks something like this:
Switch to Safari and paste that into the address field. Mail will activate and show you the message (assuming it still exists).
[kirkmc adds: Nice hint, but it doesn't always work for me. The Where from information is often truncated, and I can't copy the entire path as shown above. However, there's another way to do this: in Terminal, type mdls, press the spacebar, then drag the file to the Terminal window and press Return. This displays all the Spotlight metadata for the file. You'll find the Where from section near the bottom, and you can copy it in its entirety there, then paste it into Safari.
And I'm thinking that someone should be able to create an AppleScript that parses this information with a bit of grep, then sends it to Safari, hence making it possible to create a droplet which will do the trick. Anyone?]
If you close a tab in Google Chrome by accident, there's a keyboard shortcut to reopen it. Just press Command-Shift-T. This works for multiple tabs, though I didn't test to say how many Chrome remembers.
If you have a link in a Mail message that you're composing (this is in rich text mode, after selecting a link, pressing Command-K, then adding the URL), the link will be blue and underlined, but if you click it you won't get taken to the link's page. This is so you can edit the visible text of the link.
However, if you Shift-click on the link, you will be taken to its page. I don't know whether this is new to Mountain Lion, or whether it's been there all along.
[kirkmc adds: I'd never noticed this, but I don't use rich text mode in Mail.]
In the Stocks Dashboard Widget, the up- and down-arrow keys will change the selected stock, and the left- and right-arrow keys will toggle through the different time intervals (1d, 1w, 1m, etc.). This may have been possible in earlier versions of OS X but I have only noticed it in Mountain Lion.
[kirkmc adds: Not a game-changing hint, for sure, but if you use the Stocks widget regularly, it can save time.]
Sometimes when calling other countries, I have trouble getting through. For some reason, my phone provider seems to not like numbers with the 00 prefix (the international access code from France), though I never have problems with numbers beginning with + saved in my Contacts.
Rob Griffiths, during a chat the other day, found that if you press and hold the 0 button on the number pad, it types a + character. So to make an international call, all I need to do is press that button, then enter the country code and the number. This will make my international calls a bit easier, at least for people who are not contacts, and who I don't want to make contact cards for.
It's worth noting that pressing any of the other keys, the ones that show letters, such as ABC, only types the number. I guess the fact that the + is on the 0 button makes one think there's a way to get it to display; I had tried in the past, but didn't hold it long enough.