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How To Enable And Customize Video Subtitles [OS X Tips]

photo Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

photo Rob LeFebvre, Cult of Mac

Many videos that you purchase these days via iTunes or other sources have subtitles, those little words beneath the screen that were created to help caption videos.

These can be useful for someone with a hearing impairment, or who reads a different language than the one being spoken in the video, to watch these during a movie.

In OS X Mavericks, you can easily get subtitles going in any supported video, and you can customize the way they look, as well. Here’s how to find out if your video supports subtitles, how to turn them on and how to change their look and feel.

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Better Security On That Macbook: Turn Off File Sharing, Enable AirDrop [OS X Tips]

Airdrop Top
When you travel with a Mac laptop, whether a Macbook Pro or Air, you may be leaving it open to malicious users to get into your machine.

One of the things you can do to keep them out of your precious files is to turn off File Sharing completely. Then, if you still want to share files with other Mac users, you can use AirDrop, which is more of a temporary opening of the security gates than File Sharing is.

Note that you can indeed improve security while using File Sharing on and setting up your Firewall with specific ports, but that’s the subject of a different tip.

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Learn To Play Like A Pro With GarageBand For Mac [OS X Tips]

music lessons garageband

While the latest version of Apple’s fantastic (and free!) music production suite, GarageBand, has lost some functionality like podcasting and Magic GarageBand, it still has plenty to recommend it for those new to music or old vets alike.

One of these cool features is the Learn to Play function, which has some pretty good basic music tutorials baked right in, along with the capability to purchase videos from hit artists like Sting and Norah Jones, who teach you how to play some of their famous songs.

It’s a pretty heady set of music learning; here’s how to access it. Getting really good at your instrument will take more than watching a video or three, but this is a great start if you want to try your hand at the guitar or piano.

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How To Get Media Into iTunes Faster [OS X Tips]

iTunes Easy Add

I’m all for getting my stuff into iTunes more efficiently, aren’t you? Jordan Merrick is, too, and he’s come up with a brilliant way to do just that. He’s also got a great site full of clever tips there as well. Really, go check it out.

The default way, says Merrick, for media to get to iTunes is like this: drag and drop a folder full of music or a video you’ve converted from DVD to iTunes. iTunes takes said media, copies it, and places it into its own special folder structure.

What happens in this case is that you’re left holding two copies of that album or video — one in your iTunes folder and one wherever you pulled it from. That’s kind of silly, if you ask me, especially if you back up regularly. No one needs two copies of anything on their hard drive.

Luckily, there’s a cool folder in your iTunes folder that lets you add stuff directly to iTunes. Sadly, it’s pretty buried, but Merrick will show you a better way.

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How To Disable App Nap For Specific Apps [OS X Tips]

Prevent App Nap

According to Apple, its App Nap advanced technology feature in Mavericks helps you save power when you’re working with more than one app at a time. The system knows when a certain app is in the background, completely hidden by other apps’ windows. When that app isn’t doing anything, then, OS X will slow the app down, keeping it from using up CPU cycles, and thus battery power.

It’s a great feature, and one of the reasons why your Macbook may seem to have more battery life than it used to, thanks to Mavericks.

When switching to a napping app, it can seem to take a couple of seconds for OS X to get that app back up to speed. If you want to reduce the start up time of a napped app, you can disable App Nap for it.

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Tweet Any Highlighted Text From Your Mac [OS X Tips]

Photo credit: Rob LeFebvre

Photo credit: Rob LeFebvre

If you’ve ever come across a great snippet of text you want to Tweet right from your Mac, you know the drill: you have to copy it, open Twitter, create a new message, and then paste in the text there. Then hit the Send button.

Sure, it’s not that difficult, but what if there was an even easier way?

Well, there is, and here it is.

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Spotlight Potential: See The Full File Path Of Found Documents [OS X Tips]

Credit: kensegall.com

Credit: kensegall.com

Spotlight is crazy useful to find stuff on your Mac. Just hit Command-Space on your keyboard and type in the name of files, words from in text files, the kind of document you want, or even the date when you think it might have been created or modified, and you’ll find it in an instant.

I rarely organize stuff into fine-grained folders anymore due to the power of this one simple to use feature in OS X.

Sometimes, though, I want to know where a found document is — here’s a cool trick to do just that, sent to us from Cult of Mac reader Ivan Manzanilla.

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Speed Up Your Startup: Remove Login Items [OS X Tips]

login

When you start your Mac up, you may notice the process taking longer and longer over time. One of the reasons may be the sheer number of little menu bar and helper apps that you’ve allowed to creep into your system over time.

One way to decrease this start up time is to take these items out of the Login Items list, which is in your System Preferences app.

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Spring Cleaning: Use Spotlight To Find Huge Files [OS X Tips]

File Size Photo

I’m kind of a stickler for a clean hard drive, especially since I started using Macbook Airs a few years back, what with their tiny little SSD units. I’ve moved most of my music to the Cloud and my iPhoto library to an external hard drive, but there’s still a ton of cruft that ends up on my system.

So, once a month or so, I sort my Movies, Applications, and Downloads folders by size, and delete the biggest things I don’t need anymore. Or I move them to an external hard drive for access later.

What I’ve never done before is use Spotlight to find these files easily across all my folders.

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Make Spotlight Sing: Use Dates To Search Your Files [OS X Tips]

spotlight

You know what I miss? Those pre-defined search items that used to hang out over in the Finder sidebar window. You know, the ones that said, “Files Created Today” or “Yesterday” or what have you. They were super handy.

Turns out, you can get the same sort of search power right in Spotlight. All you need to know is a little syntax, and you’ll be looking for stuff created or modified on specific dates or within certain date ranges. There’s even a way to request stuff done before or after dates. Yay!

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