iTunes 10.6, just out, has a new feature that some music lovers will appreciate. In the past, you could auto-convert music files when syncing them to an iPod or iOS device, but only to 128 kbps. Now, with iTunes 10.6, you have three options: 128, 192 and 256 kbps. This is available in the Options section of the Summary tab for an iPod.
[kirkmc adds: While not strictly a hint, but rather a heads up for a new feature, this is a one that many iTunes users have been hoping for. I blogged about it, but thought it would be useful to have it here as well.]
Apple recently announced that iTunes in the Cloud was extended to include movies purchased from the iTunes Store. A post on the Tech of the Hub website points out that not only can you re-download or stream iTunes Store purchases, but that some "digital copies" of movies, which you get on some Blu-Ray discs, are also recognized.
So if you have any Blu-Rays with these digital copies, and you haven't bothered to put them in your iTunes library, you might want to do so. If they are matched, you can access them from other devices more easily.
Note: as the blog post points out, not all the movie studios are on board with this yet. So you will certainly find movies that don't match from digital copies.
While the Mission Control preference pane allows you to map common keyboard shortcuts to Mission Control actions, its interface doesn't allow you to map more esoteric keys like F19. Here's a quick way to assign an unlisted keyboard shortcut to one of the Mission Control actions.
Go to the Keyboard preference pane, then the Keyboard Shortcuts tab, select Mission Control and enter your keyboard shortcut there. It will automatically be reflected in the Mission Control preference pane. No need to muck around with Terminal commands!
[kirkmc adds: This is a good reminder that other features that offer a limited set of keyboard shortcuts may be available to change in the Keyboard Shortcuts pane of the Keyboard preferences. For example, the Spotlight preference pane offers a number of shortcuts, but you may want something other than what's in its menu. You can set any shortcut you want in the Keyboard preference pane.]
I discovered a bug in Logic Pro by missing the last movement of a symphony recording: if you unplug your headphones, Logic stops recording. I'm assuming this is because it switches from line out to speakers.
The solution is to route the output of Logic to Soundflower. Launch another audio application (e.g., Amadeus Pro), set its input to Soundflower, the output to headphones or speakers, then launch any operation that allows monitoring the signal. (In Amadeus, open a real-time sonogram window and select Play Through.) Unplugging the headphones now no longer interrupts recording in Logic Pro.
[kirkmc adds: I haven't tested this; I don't use Logic Pro.]
I use Dropbox to sync files across my Macs, but also to collaborate with others on several projects. One day, I woke up to find the disk space on my MacBook Air had dropped substantially. I started poking around, looking for large files, swap files and the other usual suspects. I eventually found a hidden folder inside my Dropbox folder: .dropbox.cache.
Looking inside this folder, I found that it contained three dated folders, for the past three days. (For example, 2012-03-01.) Inside this folder were a number of files, and since on one shared project we use a standard versioning system, I was able to see that there were subsequent versions of these files, with names indicating that they had been deleted.
All in all, I recovered 8 GB that day, because there were two projects where people had change a lot of files. On a desktop Mac, this won't usually make much of a difference, but if you have a MacBook Air, in particular, without much disk space, you may suddenly find yourself out of room. So, if you see a sudden decrease in disk space, you can check this folder. If you use Terminal you know how to get there; if not, you can open it from the Finder. Choose Go > Go to Folder, and enter ~/Dropbox/.dropbox.cache (assuming that your Dropbox folder is at the default location at the top level of your home folder; change the path if it is not). You can delete the folders with no worry of losing files.
The MacDrifter site posted a helpful tip: Messages works well as a shared clipboard between your Macs and iOS devices. Either device type can be used for sharing text or images, but files can only be shared from Macs to iOS devices.
It works well and it seems easier than any of the third-party solutions I've tried.
Here's the two steps:
Copy a link, photo or text and paste into iMessage on Mac, iPhone or iPad.
Send a message to yourself.
[crarko adds: Simple things are brilliant things.]
I was typing in Pages today, and forgot that I had turned my laptop's special F-keys off so I could play a game, and discovered something interesting.
If you are typing a word in any supported apps (Pages, Keynote, Numbers are what I have tried, there are probably others), and then press F5 (at least on a laptop) in Lion, then a menu will pop up with any other words in the Mac's dictionary that what you have already typed could be included in.
To expose this option, go to System Preferences » Keyboard and check 'Use all F1, F2, etc. keys as standard function keys.'
For example, when you type the word world, then press F5, the menu will show 'worldly,' 'worlds,' etc.
[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. F5 is the standard Cocoa Text System 'Complete current word' function, that's often masked by the alternate uses of the function keys.]
Back to basics -- use keyboard shortcuts to open and close the fonts window and the color picker window in text editing applications.
Here are two quick and easy shortcuts to keep in mind for use in most text editing applications. Don't bother with these in Word, they don't apply. Try them in TextEdit instead.
The first you probably already know. It lets you open the font selection window. It's Command+T.
The second you may not know, but it usually works in applications where the first one works. It's Command+Shift+C and it opens the Mac Color Picker window. Two quick tips about this window:
1) If you click the magnifying glass icon, you can choose any color available on your Mac's screen, and
2) you can drag a color from any point inside the rectangle near the top of the window into one of the squares at the bottom to store it there for future reference. Try dragging the bottom right corner of the window (and/or the right edge, if you're using Lion) if you need more squares.
One last thing, use the same shortcut to hide the windows as you used to invoke them.
[crarko adds: In BBEdit, only the first shortcut works (not surprising). Both shortcuts worked in the iWork and iLife applications I tried them with, as well as TextEdit.]
Using Apple's new app Messages beta you can discover who you can send Messages to.
In Messages, press Cmd+N to open a blank message window. In the 'To:' field, which is highlighted by default, begin typing a name. A list will appear showing all the possible completions. Once you have typed one unique name, the list will show all the addresses known for that person, and will put a blue chat bubble next to any item that you can send a Message to. This works for both e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
[crarko adds: I don't have the beta handy so I haven't tested this one.]
When looking at the new Messages.app preferences I realised that you can get it to run applescripts on various events.
Under the Alerts Tab in the Messages.app preferences, you will find a list of Events under the drop down Menu 'Event.' Each event has its own set of independent options . All include a 'Run an AppleScript script' option. These scripts can just run on every instance of the chosen event.
But you can interact with the Messages.app with the script the same way you would in iChat.
So if I wanted to, for example, have my Mac send me a message, when an event occurs that matches certain criteria I can use the iChat syntax.
using terms from application "iChat"
on message received theMessage from theBuddy for theChat
--display dialog (theBuddy's name as string)
if theMessage is "some Text" then
-- do something
send "some info" to theBuddy
-- do something
send "some other info" to theBuddy
end message received
end using terms from
Messages.app at the moment registers itself as iChat, not Messages. This most likely will change when the final release is out.
I did not use iChat that much. But I will be using Messages.app a lot. What makes this even better is I can send Messages to myself to get my Mac to do things.
[crarko adds: I'm sure in Mountain Lion there will be some interesting ways to combine Notifications with Messages, if the Sandbox permits it.]