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:
Choose service and don't check anything
Search for the Run AppleScript action, and add it to your Service
Paste in the script below, replacing everything that is by default in the Run AppleScript action
Save the Service as dictLogger
Open the Keyboard preferences of the System Preferences pane
Find the service under "Services" and install it with the keyboard shortcut Command-Control-D
After you have successfully looked up a word, look into the file "DictLogger.txt" that should be on your Desktop if everything is working
Select a word in "DictLogger.txt", to see that it works from here
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
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.
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.
If you use Pages, you may occasionally want to put a border and/or colored background around some text. There are a few ways to do this; you can insert a graphic object and put text in it, but this then requires positioning, and you can't easily edit it with your other text.
You can also use the More tab of the Text inspector to add borders and background colors; for borders only, this method works great (as long as you want a full-width box). But if you add background color (to the paragraph, not characters), you'll find it's not quite right–the color doesn't fill to the edges, and spills out slightly at the top and/or bottom.
So what's the solution, if you don't want a full-width border, or you want a background fill in your box? Select the text to be boxed, and choose Format > Table > Convert Text to Table.
You'll get a one-column-wide table, over which you have complete control of colors, borders, spacing, etc.
It is possible to send an SMS command to your Mac using an AppleScript. I've made one which takes a picture when I send the command /photo to iMessages on my Mac.
The script is very simple; it must be set up Messages' Alerts preferences. Choose Event > Message Received, then check Run an Apple Script. This will check each message you get for the command; in this case, /photo.
The script will turn the volume all the way down (and up again) before taking a picture with PhotoBooth so it does not make any noise.
Then you can make a symbolic link from the PhotoBooth folder to your Dropbox so you can check the photos from your mobile device.
Here's the script:
using terms from application "Messages"
on message received theMessage from theBuddy for theChat
if (theMessage begins with "/") then
if theMessage begins with "Photo" then
set volume 0
tell application "Photo Booth"
tell application "System Events"
tell process "Photo Booth"
tell application "Finder"
set visible of process "Photo Booth" to false
tell menu bar 1
tell menu bar item "File"
tell menu "File"
click menu item "Take Photo"
tell application "Photo Booth"
set volume 3
end message received
end using terms from
[kirkmc adds: Note that this only works with iMessages (I tried for a while to get it to work with regular chats, and it wouldn't). It's worth noting that the ability to send a text message and set off a script is something very useful, and I can imagine plenty of scripters figuring out other types of remote commands they can send to their Macs. Feel free to submit them as hints.]
I was adding a Smart Playlist to iTunes (10.7) and could not find the option to add nested rules... until I held down the Option key and the plus icon became an ellipsis which then provided the ability to add a nested rule.
[kirkmc adds: This isn't new in iTunes 10.7, but rather iTunes 10. However, I see that it's not on the site, so it's worth mentioning. Apple has a technical note about smart playlists, and they call the ellipsis button the "Nest" button.]
I've occasionally seen issues where Mac App Store downloads failed, with a message saying "The product distribution file could not be verified. It may be damaged or was not signed." Topher Kessler writing at CNET showed a way you can resolve this issue.
When this download problem occurs, it is generally the result of a corrupted file in a cache folder. If you run this command in Terminal:
a folder will open in the Finder showing a number of cache folders for different applications. Delete the com.apple.appstore folder, then quit and relaunch the App Store application and try the download again.
I recently tried to download an episode of a podcast on my iPhone, but the download failed. Nevertheless, the podcast was listed on my iPhone, with one episode, but trying to play that episode did nothing. There was no way to delete it. When I deleted it from within the Podcasts app, it seemed to go away, but when I deleted the Podcasts app to use the Music app for listening to Podcasts, it was still there.
I tried turning off syncing of podcasts in iTunes, syncing, then turning it back on, but it was still there. There was no obvious way to delete this "phantom" podcast.
I finally tried going into Settings > General > Usage > Music, and saw the podcast listed in the Podcasts list. A swipe to the right on its name, a tap on the Delete button, and it was finally gone.
If you use Calendar (née iCal), you can copy all visible events in any view and paste them in text form into any application. For example, if you're in Day view, you can copy all your events and paste them in an e-mail to send to someone, to show them your schedule. Press Command-A to select them all, then Command-C to copy them.
The name of the event will be in bold, and the date will display like this:
scheduled October 5, 2012 from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM
Calendar will warn you if you are copying repeating events that only the currently visible event will be copied.
Unfortunately, this doesn't work with my calendar application of choice, BusyCal.