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.
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.
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.]
We recently ran a hint about displaying just one calendar quickly in OS X Calendar. A commenter said, "Anyone know how to show just one calendar and then go back to the group of calendars that were previously checked? That would be awesome."
It turns out that Daniel Jalkut of Red Sweater Software came up with a way to do just that . Using AppleScript and GUI scripting, he found a way to toggle to a single calendar and back to all calendars. Have a look at his blog post and download the script, edit it for your calendar names, and you're in business.
Apple published a technical note about this yesterday. From Reminders, if you choose File > Export, you can save your reminders to an .ics file; choose File > Import to import a similar file, either following an export or from a backup.
Apple's technical note explains this, and also tells you how you can restore reminders from a Time Machine backup. Since there is no automatic backup of reminders - they do get synced to iCloud, but there's no accessible file anywhere on OS X - this involves finding a file you've backed up and importing it, something you may not be likely to do.
It's in the File menu in the Reminders app on OS X, but I never thought of looking there, so while technically not a hint, it's good to point this out.
You can use Emoji fonts in Mail and TextEdit, but the Apple color Emoji font has never worked in Pages. For some reason Apple has not yet updated the app so that Pages can use these characters. Until Apple fixes this problem in a future Pages update, here's a workaround for using Emoji fonts in Pages.
First make sure your toolbar shows the keyboard icon on the right side of your toolbar. If not, go to System Preferences and then click on Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts; and check “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in menu bar.”
Open your Character Viewer and select the Emoji font. Then select the
Emoji image you want to use. An enlarged version will appear in the Emoji icon box.
Press Command-Control-Shift-4, and your cursor will now be a crosshair. Click and drag the crosshair around the large Emoji icon into a box frame and release your mouse or trackpad. You have now captured the Emoji icon as a screen shot on your clipboard.
Click in your Pages document where you want to place the Emoji icon, then press Command-V to paste it. There will be have handles around the image, and you can resize it to your need and drag in to a different location.
[kirkmc adds: This is indeed a workaround, but it doesn't keep the actual character, so while you'll see the image, if your paste it into an application that does handle Emjoi characters, you'll get the screenshot, but not the Emjoi character itself.]
Double Clicking/tapping in the right place helps Safari set its zoom to the proper setting when using Smart Zoom.
Safari and the Mac OS support a feature called Smart Zoom. In Safari, a double tap/click will zoom in on the web page. This is a wonderful feature for those of us that our vision isn't what it use to be. Small text can now be made readable.
The zoom value is determined by the cursor location when double clicking/tapping. Make sure to have the cursor over the text you want to fit on screen. The width of the paragraph helps to determine the zoom value. Having the cursor over a blank area on a web page will likely generate unexpected results.
When done with the zoom, or if the cursor placement caused an unwanted zoom, double-click/tap to get back to full zoom.
[crarko adds: In the interest of fair play, you may consider this hint to be a rebuttal of what I said about yesterday's hint. To me, it just shows the wonderful differences in how people make use of their Macs.]