I began playing Dungeons & Dragons in grade school, and I used Apple computers almost as long. I started writing up adventures on my Apple II and printing them on an dot matrix printer, took a brief sojourn into the world of Windows PCs during and after college, and then returned to the Mac with the release of Mac OS X.
I spend a lot of time on the Mac — at work, at home, when I’m dreaming. These are the hacks that I use almost every day to get the most out of my computers.
Zoom in on anything
For a zoomed in view of anything on your computer, hold the CTRL key and then brush upwards on your trackpad with two fingers. To zoom out, hold the CTRL key and brush downwards with two fingers.
Get Google Talk working with iChat
There is no Google Talk client for the Mac, but you can access its instant messaging capabilities by setting up Jabber in iChat. This will not support voice chat, but it works just fine for text. Learn how to set up Jabber via this Google help page.
Fast launch applicatons from the dock
Sometimes you want to quickly browse your full list of applications without delving into the Finder and clicking on the “Applicatons” folder (or following a shortcut from the Desktop).
A hack I learned by visiting the Apple Store was to drop a shortcut to my Applications folder. Under 10.4 Tiger, you could then right-click on the folder and see a full list of all your apps. Then select the one you want, and it launches.
One of the reasons I bought my MacBook Pro was to get back to digitizing some home video and experimenting with video podcasts for Nuketown. Unfortunately, Apple’s iMovie ’08 video editing app isn’t cooperating. Every time I hook up my Canon ZR70 up to the MacBook Pro and try to import audio via iMovie ’08 … Read more
My new MacBook Pro arrived Friday, and the first thing I did (after basking in the beauty that is a new Mac) was to start loading my “must have” applications on it it. Of these, the Quicksilver fast app launcher is probably the single most important tool I have — using it has become as … Read more
I love my Macs, but I know they can be a little frustrating for the uninitiated, particularly those who come to the platform from Windows with absolutely no experience on the Mac. My goal with this blog entry is to help ease the transition a bit by addressing some of the frustrations that I’ve seen … Read more
It’s official. I’ve switched to the Mac. Long-time readers will know that I bought an Apple laptop – an iBook – a few years ago, but I’ve continued to use a Windows desktop machine at home. That machine was getting more than a little long in the tooth though, and it was time for a … Read more
Jaguar, the latest iteration of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system, offers greatly enhanced compatibility with Microsoft Windows, a superb spam-killing e-mail program, and numerous minor improvements. The previous release was 10.1, and while this one is formally known as 10.2, it offers far more than the .1 incrimination of its version number implies. Apple … Read more
As a Mac user, I get a fair amount of flack from PC folks. Some of it was about the toilet-seat design of the original colorful iBooks (hey, I agree – those things looked awful). Some of it was aimed at processor speed (I admit it – PCs have faster processors, although gap isn’t nearly … Read more
Crystal Ball is a robust RPG aid for Apple’s Macintosh OS. Created by Joseph Sharp, the program runs under both Mac OS X and the older Mac OS 9. The tool is built to support Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition and includes tools for creating characters and monsters, tracking combat, calculating experience, creating names, rolling … Read more
The net’s a big place. Watson helps make it smaller. Produced by a California-based company called Karelia Waston is a sort of specialized search engine for the Mac OS X operating system that offers 16 tools designed to provide a simpler, more productive interface for the immense treasure trove (and accompanying wasteland) that is the … Read more