Use Spotlight in partnership with a cheap handheld scanner, plus some OCR software, and you can achieve the "paperless office" dream with remarkably little effort.
I explain more about this on my blog, but here are the basic steps. I use the excellent yet dirt-cheap Skypix TSN410 handheld scanner.
Scan in the document using the TSN410. Scan at the default 300 DPI to a PDF file (remember that the TSN410 defaults to JPG each time you turn it on). Remember too that there's often text on BOTH sides of the paper with bills.
Connect the TSN410 via USB and import the PDFs to a special folder within your Documents folder. Note that I don't change the filenames, which remain in the style of IMAG0009.PDF; I am relying totally on Spotlight to find each document as as when I need it based on its contents.
Check each PDF to ensure the scans have been successful. This can be done ultra-quickly using Quick Look. Select the first PDF in Finder, hit Space to Quick Look it, then hit the down cursor key to move down the list of files and view the others.
Use Adobe Acrobat's Recognize Text feature to OCR the documents. Acrobat can process many files at once although you'll have to open one of the files to get the option to recognize text, however. Acrobat adds the OCR'd text to the PDF itself, so I have both a scanned image of the document, and cut-and-pastable text (which Spotlight will index instantly once the PDF is saved).
You can use other OCR software but the Mac software market is weak in this regard. I couldn't find ANY OCR software that isn't costly.
Save the files back to the folder where they're stored, overwriting the originals.
Delete the files from the TSN410.
Destroy the original paperwork by shredding or burning to avoid identity theft. (It feels weird destroying bills that have just arrived!)
That's all that is needed. If in future I want to find electricity bills I can use Spotlight to search with a term such as kind:PDF electricity, although some creative thinking might be needed: kind:PDF energy might produce more results. I use Spotlight's Quick View pop-out window to see if the document is likely to be the one I want. The kind:PDF modifier tells Spotlight to only return PDF files.
[crarko adds: I'm guessing many of us have tried some variation of this type of workflow at some time. This tip is a nice example and is a good use of Spotlight.]
Safari occasionally zooms right in on a web page. It's quick to return to the actual size, but you can also disable this behavior if desired.
Myself and friends/family who I support were being bothered by Safari occasionally zooming right in on a web page. Pressing Command+0 (zero) undid it, but it was still disconcerting.
I found this is caused by Safari on OS X trying to emulate Safari on iOS: a double-tap on the mouse zooms the page to the current column.
Take a trip to System Preferences to disable this behavior: it will be either Mouse » Point & Click, and turn off Smart zoom, or Trackpad » Scroll & Zoom, and uncheck Smart zoom.
[crarko adds: This is one of those things I never see since I disable Smart zooming as a matter of course on all of my systems. I have met a number of people who do encounter this phenomenon, and asked what to do about it. So it's not an earth-shattering hint, but perhaps less obvious than it seems. I do think pinch zooming on a trackpad is useful and a logically consistent thing to do. Do folks here make a lot of use of double-tap Smart zooming on a Mac? Knowing the circumstances where it proves useful would be a nice addition to the tip given here.]
I have Console monitoring some log files, but found it wasn't always scrolling the log window automatically to display the latest entry.
It's not obvious, but down the bottom right of the log windows are some controls for Earlier/Later/Now. The Now button is actually a toggle; if you click it until it highlights in blue, the log window will always automatically scroll to the latest entry.
[crarko adds: I can confirm this in Console.app in Mountain Lion, and that there is no 'Now' button in Snow Leopard. Probably it's also in Lion, but perhaps someone can check and confirm that for us.]
In Reminders you can view the count of completed To-Do items for one or more lists.
After selecting one or more lists in sidebar, scroll down the main window. The count of completed tasks will appear at the top of the list. You can click on it to get a detailed view of completed To-Do items from selected list(s).
[crarko adds: I admit I'm one of those people who does not use Reminders.app very much, so I didn't know about this. I suspect if you are a regular user, this will be old news for you.]
In iCal (10.7.4 and below) there was a Debug menu that among other handy features allowed the enabling of iCal to use the system highlight color for today. The feature still exists in Calendar (10.8 and above), but must be added manually to the preferences.
In order to enable this feature without the Debug menu all you must do is add the CalUIUseSystemHighlightColorForToday key to the ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iCal.plist preferences file using any plain text editor (both TextEdit and TextWrangler would work).
First quit Calendar, then edit the plist, and upon relaunching Calendar it should be using the system highlight color selected in the General» Appearance panel in System Preferences.
[crarko adds: I tried this with the 10.8.2 Calendar.app and I believe it worked. I opened the plist in BBEdit and copied and pasted an existing key/value combination, edited the key to match the name above, and set the value to true. I saw some highlighting respect this, although I can't say I'm completely sure what all the intended effects are. Perhaps the submitter will see this and clarify what to look for.]
As hints go, this one is more of a bug complaint than a hint, but the most recent version of Lion (10.7.5) introduced a bug in the Finder when in Column View which prevents you from resizing the last column/preview for files with long paths. I don't know if it is also a problem in 10.8, but in 10.7.4 there used to be a column separator on the right side of the last column containing the preview with a little area at the bottom that would allow you to grab the control and resize the preview. The preview would grow to fill as much space as possible.
In 10.7.5, that separator went away, which is fine for files that have a short path from the left-most column to the right-most column. You can still grab the side of the window and resize the last column. But for files with long paths (which introduce a horizontal scroll-bar), it sometimes becomes impossible to resize the last column. So here's a simple work-around.
Grab the right-most column separator (which is to the left of the last column) and drag it to the right, making the second-to-last column as wide as you want the last column to be.
Scroll all the way to the right
Grab the same column separator and drag it back to where it was. (Note the preview size does not grow when you do this.)
Slightly adjust the height of the finder window from the top or bottom and your preview will snap to the largest possible size to fill the space.
The utility of this hint is of course minor. One could always use quick-look as a work-around as well, but I find it quicker to adjust the last column's size, especially when switching back and forth between the Finder and other apps.
[crarko adds: I don't have 10.7.x around any more to try this, but it didn't seem to be an issue in 10.8.2.
Hi, all! Kirk is out this week so I am filling in in his absence. Nice to drop in, although I'm trying to remember all the little BBEdit shortcuts we use here, so please excuse me if things are formatted a bit oddly.
Accessing your saved email drafts can be challenging when you have multiple email accounts on your iOS device. Here's a shortcut though to help save you some time.
1. Launch the Mail app.
2. Tap and hold the compose icon at the bottom right of the screen.
3. You will see a Drafts screen, where you can either compose a new message or continue editing saved drafts.
Renewing a DHCP lease via the Network System Preference Pane has the advantage of not dropping the connection, unlike switching the interface to BOOTP and back to DHCP. This command mimics that behavior.
It seems that the button creates a key in SystemConfiguration that notifies it to refresh the configuration. We can create that key using the following command (changing en0 for the relevant interface):
This isn't a hidden feature, but it's one that many people may not know. I found it recently when I discovered that I had dozens of duplicate contacts in my Contacts app, caused by quirky iCloud syncing. If you find that you have two cards for the same contact, you can select them, then choose Card > Merge Selected Cards. This will copy all unique information into a single card.
There is also a Card > Look for Duplicates command, but when you invoke it, Contacts will tell you how many duplicates it has found, and ask if you want to merge them, but won't tell you which cards were duplicates before you merge them; I'd rather do this manually so I don't lose any information.
If you like to use different wallpaper on your desktop, you might want to add folders of graphics you've collected to be selected at random. You can do this by opening the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane, then clicking on the Desktop tab, clicking on + and navigating to your folder. But there's a quicker way: just drag the folder to the Folders section of the sidebar. You can add one or more folders here quickly.