osx

Run a picture slideshow from the Finder

One of the cool things I just discovered on my Mac is the slideshow capability of the Finder. This can be a great tool for previewing a collection of images, or just to rotate images on your screen just for fun. Just highlight a few images, right-click, and choose the Slideshow option.

The Mac DigitalColor Meter utility (get Mac RGB values)

The DigitalColor Meter application is a cool little utility that comes free with Mac OS X. It has one simple purpose: to let you determine the color of a pixel of an image. Actually, it's a bit more than that, but that's what I use it for.

Can't remember Force Quit key combination

I haven't had the problem of a frozen application on my Mac OS X laptop in a long time, but when it does I can never remember the keystroke combination to bring up the Force Quit dialog. The key combination is [Option][Command][Esc], which I know at this moment because I'm looking at it in a book.

Since I can't remember that combination I'm hoping this mnemonic will help: "Oh Crap Eddie", where "Oh" stands for "Option", "Crap" == "Command", and "Eddie" == "Esc".

Run Dashboard widgets from your desktop

If you've ever wanted to see your Dashboard widgets outside of the normal Dashboard environment, Amnesty Widgets lets you run your widgets directly on your desktop. It's not free, but if it's something you always wanted, you can download a free trial.

 

Mac Stickies and the Stickies widget

In a previous tip I discussed how to create a Mac sticky note from inside a Cocoa application, but I forgot to mention about how to use stickies as a standalone application.

Fortunately, it's pretty easy. Just open your Applications folder, and click the Stickies application icon. Once the Stickies application is started, just click File, and New Note to create a new sticky note, or press [Command][N].

Mac OS X Dashboard Widgets (intro)

I've been having a blast these last few days with Mac OS X Dashboard Widgets. Apple has assembled a nice collection of them, and they're all easy to install. Just download them (they seem to all be zip files), double-click the zip file to extract the contents, and then double-click the installer. Best of all, the widgets are free, fun to play with, and in some cases, they may even help your productivity.

Mac Stickies (and easily saving content)

I just learned about Mac Stickies, and they're pretty cool. If you're in a Cocoa application (like Safari, TextMate, and others) you can select text and/or graphics, and then easily save the content to a sticky note on your Mac desktop. To save the content you can either (a) remember the [Command][Shift][Y] keystroke, or else (b) click the application menu item (i.e., the "Safari" menu item if you're using Safari), then Services, then Make New Sticky Note.

The picture below shows what a Mac sticky note looks like when it's created on the desktop.

Mac OS X dictionary

At least once a week (and more likely once a day) I need to look up the spelling or meaning of a word. Interactive spell-checking is built into many Mac OS X applications (like TextMate), so that saves me when I'm typing. But a cool thing that's also built into many Mac OS X applications is the ability to easily get a dictionary definition for a word in a document.

Mac Finder tip: delete a file without dragging it to the Trash

Mac Finder FAQ: How can I delete a file using just the keyboard, i.e., some keystroke combination?

Lots of people ask me if the only way to delete a file is to drag it to the trash can on the Dock. After all, pressing the [delete] key sure doesn't delete it.

The short answer is yes, you can delete a file in the Mac Finder with the keyboard by:

Mac tip: command-click the folder icon

If you're a mouse user, and you need to move up the folder hierarchy when using the Finder, an easy way to do this is to Command-click the folder name at the top of the current Finder window. I've shown this in the following image. To display this menu I didn't just click the folder icon, I held down the [Command] key while clicking it. This lets me easily move up one or more levels in the folder hierarchy just by selecting one of the other folder names in the drop-down list.