Silence Notifications on Your Mac

Silence Notifications on Your Mac

 

The Mac's built-in Notification Center is a great way to keep up to date on what's going on with your email, Facebook, Twitter accounts and more. But yesterday I was attending a presentation where the presenter had email notifications popping up every few minutes which was distracting. Also I have friends who sometime use creative language in their emails and I don't need that popping up on the screen and broadcasted to a hundred people.

The good news is Apple included an easy way to temporarily turn off notifications for situations just like this. Click READ MORE for step-by-step instructions.

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What do these symbols mean? ⌘ ⌥ ⌃ ⇧

What do these symbols mean? ⌘ ⌥ ⌃ ⇧

Have you even seen symbols like the ones above on your Mac or in a computer book? Go ahead and click on the "File" menu at the top of the screen right now. Don't worry, I'll wait…

To the right of most of the options in the menubar you will see those symbols along with letters or numbers. You Mac is telling you what combination of keys you can press on your keyboard to perform that action without you having to go all the way up the menu and selecting it with your mouse. These are called keyboard shortcuts and they can save you a lot of time. 

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Where is Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, and Forward Delete on my MacBook?

 Close up of the arrow keys on an Apple Wireless Keyboard

My wife was using her MacBook a while back and she asked me if there was a keyboard shortcut for the Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys. You see, Apple's USB keyboard has those keys but the condensed laptop and wireless keyboards do not. Luckily they're still there, just hiding. The secret is the function (or fn) key. The function key is a special modifier key that when held down changes what certain keys do. If you hold down the function key and press the arrows on the keyboard you will turn the arrows into the Page Up, Page Down, Home, and End keys. Let me break it down:

fn+↑ = Page Up

fn+↓ = Page Down

fn+← = Home

fn+→ = End

While we're at it there is one more function key trick.  If you hold function down and press the delete key it will do a forward delete instead of a backspace.

3 Quick volume control tips for your Mac

3 Quick volume control tips for your Mac

Apple keyboards come with volume control buttons built into the F10, F11, and F12 keys. But did you know that by using the modifier keys on your keyboard (Command, Option, Control, and Shift) you can do even more with those keys? Try these out on your Mac at home.

  • Hold down the Shift key to silence that beeping sound your Mac makes when you change the volume.

  • Hold down the Option key when pressing on the of the volume controls to quickly open the Sounds Panel in System Preferences.

  • Hold down both the Option and the Shift keys when adjusting the volume to adjust the sound at 1/4 the normal rate.

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Three great ways to make reading the web on your Mac easier

Three great ways to make reading the web on your Mac easier

Most people spend a good amount of their time online reading. What you might not realize is both you Mac and iPad have built in feature that can make the reading experience so much better. Here are three simple ways of making reading earlier on these devices, and all these features are already built in.

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Lock your mac's screen quick with hot corners

Lock your mac's screen quick with hot corners

I work in an office and sometimes I handle confidential information. I also get called away from my desk several times a day, so I needed to find a way to quickly lock my computer screen whenever I stepped away from my desk. After using a few different overly complicated methods I finally settled on using the Hot Corners feature on my Mac. It’s incredibly easy to set up, let me show you how.

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How to Take a Picture of Your Mac or iPad Screen

How to Take a Picture of Your Mac or iPad Screen

I use a lot of screenshots when writing tutorials like these for the blog. Screenshots are essentially photos I have my Mac or iPad take of what ever is currently being displayed on my screen. Recently a friend sent me an email asking how I took screenshots on my Mac. They had a video slide show from a trip they recent took but the original photos where accidentally deleted. Their plan was to take screenshots of the video to recapture some of the photos they had lost (albeit in a lower quality than the originals).

Here's how you can quickly take screenshots on your Mac or iPad.

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Using Spotlight as a Quick Access Calculator

Spotlight is that little magnifying glass in the top right corner of you screen. It is a great way to quickly search for file and applications on your Mac, but I like to use it as a calculator.

It's really simple and fast. Just click on the magnifying glass (or use the keyboard shortcut command + Spacebar) and type in a math problem. For addition you use the +, for subtraction us -, for multiplication use *, and / for division. You can even use parenthesis' for a math problem like 78+15+(54/24)*24 (the answer is 147). Sure, it won't do your advanced calculus for you (see WolframAlpha for that) but it is a great quick fix when you need it.

 Spotlight Calculator

Spotlight Calculator

Quickly Look Up Definitions with a Simple Gesture

 Three-Finger-Definition

Three-Finger-Definition

I've been using this trick for a while now and thought I might share it with all of you. You can quickly look up the definition of a word on your Mac by tapping on it with three fingers. If you're using Mac OS 10.8 Mountain lion then simply place your cursor on top of a word then tap on your trackpad with three fingers at once. Your mac will look up that word in the Oxford American dictionary and thesaurus and show you the results in a pop-up window. If you are using Mac OS 10.7 Lion then you will need to tap twice instead of once.

I've included this very short video to show you how it works.