Finally, a use for the Help menu’s search field!


I find the search field in the Mac’s Help menu generally useless: it searches only the menu commands in the current application for a match—and a best-guess as to which menu the desired command might be in, followed by a quick scan of the commands in it, is an easy way to find a command whose location has slipped your mind. (Although I suppose you could get lost in InDesign menus…). But the feature seems made for Safari.

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Me, Mac/iPad, and Medicine


This is what being a Mac professional means in your personal life:

Two weeks ago, as part of my ongoing medical adventures, I was waiting in my very own private walled-not-curtained pre-op cubicle for what, given my history, was a minor procedure. The doctor (one of my two very favorites) walks briskly down the hallway, spies me through the open door, and stops in:

“Sharon! Sorry to keep you waiting, I’m running behind. I have someone in the O.R. for a very short procedure—15 minutes—and you’re next. But, I’ve gotta tell you—I have NO free time at home anymore since I got my iPad! I just can’t put it down!

“Also, I have to ask you: I’m having trouble syncing my Blackberry to my Mac [he had just switched from a PC]. Maybe you can tell me what I should be using.”

And he was swiftly off to his other patient. The nurse in my little room, busy setting up an IV, looked a little taken aback during this exchange, although I couldn’t quite identify the look on her face. And then she said:

“I’m having trouble syncing my iPhone to my PC…”

That’s what it’s like being a Mac pro.

Wouldn’t trade it for any other job.

Except maybe Queen.

Get Address Book phone numbers in the Spotlight menu


Spotlight in your menu bar hooks nicely into Address Book. Type a name in the search field, and the contact(s) will show up in the Spotlight menu. Point to the contact, hover for a few seconds, and get all the phone numbers for that contact in a help tag, so you don’t have to open Address Book itself. But, wait – that’s not the tip, because there’s a slight problem: all the phone numbers show up, unidentified as to which is work, home, cell, and so on. Read the rest of this entry »

TIP: What DVD formats can your Mac handle?


There’s a plethora of DVD formats: DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, double-sided, dual layer… Unless you have a new-ish Mac, which can handle almost anything you throw at it, how can you tell which DVD formats your Mac can write to? Read the rest of this entry »

TIP: Expos(é)ing Your Fonts


If you open many font files at once from the Finder, or preview a whole swath of already installed fonts in Font Book (by selecting them in the Font list and pressing Return), the Preview windows overlap, showing only the frontmost sample. To tile the windows so you can scan all the font sam­ples, use Exposé’s All Windows feature (the default trigger is F9), and then click on one Preview window to bring it to the top of the pile. With Snow Leopard’s neater approach to Exposé (it arranges the miniature windows in neat grid rather than helter-skelter), it’s even easier to look through the font samples than it used to be.

TIP: Unicode Characters in the Calculator


The Calculator—the real one, in your Applications folder, not the wimpy orange wannabe in the Dashboard—has some nifty subtle features. It can even display a character if you give the character’s Unicode ID number!

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TIP: Jump to the Finder from an Open Dialog


I love it when I discover something in the Mac interface that’s probably been lurking there for almost ever, and I just didn’t realize it. I don’t even know what prompted me to try this, but the spirit moved me and now I have another trick in my arsenal.

You’re in an Open dialog and you’ve selected something in the list—but is that the item you really want? You’d rather move to the Finder and peruse the folder the item’s in. It’s in a deeply nested folder, though, and you’ll have to do some digging. Or not: with an item selected, press Command-R (mnemonic: “Reveal”) and you’re moved to the Finder with the item’s folder opened.