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

A service to log Dictionary lookups Apps
This Service adds any unique words you look up in the OS X Dictionary app to a TextEdit document that is- saved on your desktop, so that you can review, or repeat them later. Then you can use the same service to look up those words that you have logged already; they won't be added to your log file.

The service is seamlessly integrated with the Dictionary service on your Mac. It is even installed on the same keyboard shortcut: Command-Control-D.

The only limitation is that it only works with selected text, so if you are looking up a word by hovering the cursor over it, in, say, Preview or Safari, then you'll have to choose More in the lower right corner of the Dictionary sheet that pops up to view the full Dictionary window. Then you'll have to press Command-Control-D once more, to "log" the word into the text file (the search word turns up selected in the Dictionary window.)

Avoid the above limitation by selecting the word before Command-Control-D. If you select the word before pressing Command-Control-D, then everything is handled automatically.

Since English is not my native language, this is something I have been wanting for years. So it is mostly made for non-native English speaker, but may also be useful for native anglophones.

How to install:

  1. Open Automator

  2. Choose service and don't check anything

  3. Search for the Run AppleScript action, and add it to your Service

  4. Paste in the script below, replacing everything that is by default in the Run AppleScript action

  5. Save the Service as dictLogger

  6. Quit Automator

  7. Open the Keyboard preferences of the System Preferences pane

  8. Find the service under "Services" and install it with the keyboard shortcut Command-Control-D

  9. After you have successfully looked up a word, look into the file "DictLogger.txt" that should be on your Desktop if everything is working

  10. Select a word in "DictLogger.txt", to see that it works from here

  11. If you use some app other than TextEdit for .txt files, be sure to set the default app of this file to TextEdit, if you want it to open with TextEdit. I don't guarantee that every other text editor will work, though I think it will work with TextWrangler and BBEdit

# © McUsr/MacUser06 2012
on run {input, parameters}
    set glossaryName to "DictLogger.txt"
    set AutomatorIcon to (a reference to file ((path to applications folder as text) & ""))

    # checks to see if the current selection contains anything valid
    considering diacriticals
        if first character of (input as text) is not in "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz" then
            tell application "System Events" to set appname to name of first process whose frontmost is true
            using terms from application "Finder"
                tell application appname
                    display dialog "The selection you tried to look up a dictionary definiton for contains non-valid characters.

Please copy the selection you used into an empty text document to figure out what is wrong.

Quitting for now…" with title "Dictionary Logging Service" buttons {"Ok"} default button 1 with icon AutomatorIcon

                end tell
            end using terms from
            return input
        end if
    end considering
        open location "dict://" & input
    end try
    tell application "TextEdit"
            set glossaryDoc to its document glossaryName
        on error
            set glossaryDoc to null
        end try
    end tell

        set theF to quoted form of (POSIX path of (path to desktop folder as text) & glossaryName)
    end try

    set foundword to true
        do shell script "test -f " & theF & " || touch " & theF

        set foundword to (do shell script "grep '^" & input & "$' " & theF & ">/dev/null && echo \"true\" || echo \"false\"") as boolean
    end try

    if not foundword then

        if glossaryDoc is not null then
            tell application "TextEdit"
                tell its document glossaryName

                    make new paragraph at beginning of its text with data ((input as text) & linefeed)
                end tell
                save glossaryDoc
            end tell
                do shell script "export TMPFILE=`mktemp /tmp/${tempfoo}.XXXXXX` && cat " & theF & "  >$TMPFILE ; echo " & input & ">|" & theF & " ; cat $TMPFILE >>" & theF
            end try
        end if

    end if
    do shell script "open -b \"\""

    return input

end run
  Post a comment  •  Comments (5)  
  • Currently 3.14 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (7 votes cast)
[6,015 views]  View Printable Version
Use keyboard shortcuts to go to favorite mailboxes Apps
Mail in OS X has a Favorites Bar (View > Show Favorites Bar) where you can drag the mailboxes you use often. If you do this, you can use keyboard shortcuts to go to these mailboxes. Command-1 is the first one on the left, Command-2 the second one, and so on.

Interestingly, even if you don't have the Favorites Bar displayed, you can use these shortcuts to switch to their mailboxes. So if you want to apply keyboard shortcuts for your favorite mailboxes, and don't want to see the Favorites Bar, display it, add the mailboxes in the order you want, then hid the Favorites Bar. You can see the shortcuts in the Mailbox > Go to Favorite Mailbox menu in case you forget which shortcut to use.

This was mentioned in passing in this hint about moving messages to favorite mailboxes, but deserves a mention on its own.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (1)  
  • Currently 3.00 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (6 votes cast)
[4,830 views]  View Printable Version
Only show messages in inbox in VIPs mailbox Apps
Mail in Mountain Lion has a VIPs mailbox, which, by default, shows all e-mails from people you have set as VIPs. (To do this, click on an e-mail address and choose Add to VIPs.) But this mailbox, by default, shows all messages received from those addresses, whether they are in an inbox, or whether they are in a folder or in the Archive mailbox.

You can change this, but the setting is in a non-intuitive location. Click on the VIPs mailbox to select it, then choose View > Sort By > Inbox Only.

I would actually like the VIPs mailbox to also show sent messages, which it doesn't; not all the time, but sometimes I'm looking for a sent message to someone in my VIPs list, and it would be easier to be able to find them there than rooting through my Sent mailbox.

Thanks to Dan Frakes for sharing this, and to David Sparks who posted the solution on his website MacSparky.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (1)  
  • Currently 3.83 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (6 votes cast)
[4,235 views]  View Printable Version
Prevent undesired in-app purchases iOS devices
If you, like me, have suffered an undesired in-app purchase there is a solution. Apple used to require the password to be entered every time there was a purchase involved. On the iOS 6, however, if you happen to have entered the password, such as to download a free App, watch out. During the next 15 minutes, if your kid happens to play one of those nasty games that keeps prompting for a in-app purchase they can do it without entering a password!

The solution is easy although a little inconvenient. You can turn on restrictions and make sure that the password is always asked for instead of lasting for 15 minutes.

To do this, go to Settings > Restrictions > Require Password and set it to Immediately. (There are only two choices: the default 15 minutes and immediately.) The drawback is that if you want to download a few apps in a row that are free you must always enter the password.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (7)  
  • Currently 2.52 / 5
  You rated: 2 / 5 (21 votes cast)
[7,468 views]  View Printable Version
Mountain Lion installation on home built Fusion Drive System 10.8
Inspired by an Jinx's article about building your own fusion drive I've decided to take it one step further and brew my own with full OS X installation on it.

First, I needed to put two drives in my Mac. I already had a Crucial M4 SSD and 500GB HD so I a bought hard drive caddy and put my 500GB Momentus XT in it.

That was the easy part. Now how to make them work? In Jinx's article you can read that GUI Disk Utility does not offer needed functionality. It's available only in command line version, diskutil. But from my previous installation I remembered that there is access to terminal in OS X's recovery mode.

It was downhill from there. Create a logical volume group, get the UUID and create the volume. The OS X Installer recognized the volume and installed nicely. After the whole process was over, I did tests similar to those that Jinx mentioned and the drive does, indeed, behave like a fusion drive - files used more often end up on the SSD and less used are shuffled to the HDD.

You can see screenshots and more information here: Mountain Lion on home made Fusion drive

[kirkmc adds: I don't usually run hints that don't explain things, but the first article linked above goes into great detail. I'm tempted to try this out, as my Mac mini has both an SSD and a 750 GB HD, but I'd need to move all the files - my music collection - from the HD to an external drive. I might try and get to it this week.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (15)  
  • Currently 4.13 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (8 votes cast)
[14,929 views]  View Printable Version
Use Emoji in file and folder names System 10.7
It is possible to use Emoji in file and folder names. When typing a file or folder name, you can choose Edit > Special Characters, click on Emoji, and add the symbols you want to use. They will display in the Finder as part of the item’s name. If you use them at the beginning of a file name, they sort above numbers but below spaces.

[kirkmc adds: We had a hint last year about using Emoji in LaunchPad. I felt it was also interesting to point out that you can use Emoji in file and folder names. Personally, I wouldn’t want to put smileys on file names, but adding symbols can make certain folders stand out. You can even add folders to the Finder sidebar, and the Emoji will add some color to that drab gray area (whereas custom folder icons don’t display in the sidebar).]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (7)  
  • Currently 2.89 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (28 votes cast)
[12,884 views]  View Printable Version
Use HTML signatures with Mail on iOS 6 iOS devices
With iOS 6, you can now add different signatures for different e-mail accounts, but you can also add logos, links and styled text.

If you have an HTML or styled signature in Mail on OS X, do the following:

1. Send an e-mail to your account with the signature from OS X.
2. Open the e-mail on your iOS device, then tap and hold the signature text.
3. Select all the text and images of your signature, and then copy it.
4. Go to Settings > Mail, contacts and Calendars > Signature. In the text field, tap and hold again to display the Paste menu and paste your signature.

Only styled text (bold, italic or underlined), plus images and links will be copied. Text colors or font sizes will not.

[kirkmc adds: We had a hint giving a much more complex way of doing this back in April. This is very easy to do, requires no third-party software or futzing around with backups. Though, to be fair, think carefully if you really need images and logos in your e-mail signature…]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (8)  
  • Currently 2.93 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (14 votes cast)
[20,661 views]  View Printable Version
Reduce CPU usage by removing video files from the Desktop System 10.6
I was working on my iMac recently when I noticed the hard disk was working overtime. I checked Activity Monitor and found out the Finder was eating into my CPU, from 40% to over 100%. I decided to take everything off my Desktop and enclose it in a folder. Doing so reduced the CPU to nothing until I opened the folder containing the documents. I narrowed it down eventually to an MKV file I had. I can only assume it was QuickLook rendering the movie.

Reduce the files on your desktop, especially movies as these seem to eat into CPU even though you are not using them. Even normal files need rendering every time your Mac launches, so there's no need to leave them there.

[kirkmc adds: The idea isn't new; we covered this back in 2005, and it's pretty well known that files on the Desktop can slow down Macs. The reason I'm posting this is because I have seen the same thing since Mountain Lion. (The hint was submitted as a 10.6 hint, but I've only seen this excess activity since 10.8) I have some video files on a network volume, and if I open a folder containing the files, I can see the network traffic and see in Activity Monitor that QuickLook is working very hard. So not only can this slow down your Mac because of CPU usage, but it can also cause a lot of network activity, if you have such files on a network volume.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (2)  
  • Currently 3.45 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (29 votes cast)
[8,614 views]  View Printable Version
Easily enter different e-mail addresses in Safari on iOS iOS devices
I've recently needed to fill in an e-mail address in Safari on my iPad for a number of sites. I have multiple e-mail addresses and they're not trivial to type. I kept thinking "why doesn't Safari let me pick one of my addresses to fill in here?" While I couldn't find a way to make that happen, I realized I could do this by creating shortcuts for my commonly used email addresses and get a very similar result.

To do this, go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Shortcuts. Tap on Add New Shortcut, enter a "phrase" - this can be a single word, an e-mail address or a longer text - then enter a shortcut. For example, to enter, enter a shortcut such as "myn."

[kirkmc adds: I've been using shortcuts for some user names that aren't e-mail addresses, since I generally use the same address on most websites, but this is a good way of easily entering any kind of text. If you don't know about them, you should.

One interesting thing to point out: shortcuts sync across devices via iCloud, as long as you have Documents & Data syncing turned on in the iCloud settings. So set up a bunch of shortcuts on one device and they'll propagate to others.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (3)  
  • Currently 3.77 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (13 votes cast)
[5,302 views]  View Printable Version
Enable AFP Server Activity log on OS X Server OS X Server
Apple has published a technical note explaining how to enable the AFP Server Activity log on OS X Server; this log is not enabled by default.

Run the following command to enable this log:
sudo serveradmin settings afp:activityLog=yes
To disable the log, run this command:
sudo serveradmin settings afp:activityLog=no
  Post a comment  •  Comments (0)  
  • Currently 2.36 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (25 votes cast)
[6,063 views]  View Printable Version