OS X’s Help menu is fantastic, if underrated. It even lets you find menu commands by highlighting them when you search within the Help search field. If you hit enter after typing in a search term, however, you’ll get the Help Viewer, a useful little hyperlinked app windwo that just, well, hovers over all your other app windows. This is good to start, but when you want to hope back into the app you’re trying to learn more about, the Help Viewer stays on top, even when it’s not the mouse focus.
There are bound to be times when you would like your OS X Mountain Lion Mac to not go to sleep. You can set you Mac to Never sleep in the System Preferences, Energy Saver preferences pane, but that’s not always going to work. Even when it’s set to Never, your Mac may still, in fact, go to sleep. The other problem with the Energy Saver preference is that you only have the ability to set the sleep action to hold of foor three hours, or never. What if you wanted to keep it from sleeping for four hours? Or four and a half hours? Or eight hours?
With a neat little Mountain Lion-only Terminal command, you can set it to whatever you like. Here’s the scoop.
Apple loves to hide little surprises, or “easter eggs,” within its software — such as the memorable quotes inside its OS X icons, or the temporary date (Jan 24, 1984 — when the first Macintosh was unveiled) given to apps downloaded from the Mac App Store. A new one has been discovered that’s sure to please Lord of the Rings fans.
Typing a simple comment into Terminal reveals a Lord of the Rings timeline that Apple has hidden in OS X. Here’s how to access it.
Not to beat up on AirDrop or anything, but not all Macs can use the zero-configuration file sharing technology from Apple. In order to use AirDrop, you must have a a newer Mac, like a MacBook Pro from 2008 or later, a MacBook Air from 2010 or later, or a Mac Mini from mid 2010 or later (full list below)
Luckily, if you can connect your older Mac to an Ethernet cable and network, you can enable AirDrop on an older Mac. Here’s how.
The iconic Mac startup sound has evolved over the years, but it is a distinctive part of being a Mac user. Sometimes, though, you just want to boot your Mac up silently. You can keep it from sounding out if you hold down the audio mute key on modern Macs (it’s that F10 key on my Macbook Air), but what if you want to disable it completely?
You can drop into the command line to do just that, it turns out. Here’s what to do.
So, your Mac has a name, and it identifies itself as such when other computers connect to it via Apple file sharing, the command line (like when using Terminal), or via Bonjour or AirDrop. Typically, you can set this name in the Sharing Preferences panel in the System Preferences app. If you put your name into the setup wizard when you set up a new Mac, the networking name will default to “Firstname Lastname’s MacintoshModel.” So, on my Macbook Air, it said, “Rob’s Macbook Air.”
However, you can set these three networking names to display differently, so that your IT support staff sees one name when she logs in via SSH protocols, your boss sees a different name when they connect to your hard drive to grab that important file, and your coffee shop buddy will see an entirely different name when sending you a funny picture via AirDrop.
The Mac App store provides a nice, simple, graphical way to keep your Mac updated with the latest software, letting you know when system updates as well as Apple and third-party apps have a new update to be downloaded and installed.
If you don’t want to use the Mac App store, though, you can use the Terminal app along with some Terminal commands to do the same thing. When would you use this? Well, maybe when the Mac App store gets wonky, or if you’re not at the current Mac, and want to securely and remotely administer the Mac in question, that’s when.
For me, one of the most annoying tweaks in OS X Mountain Lion was the change of the default save location for many of apps I use on a regular basis. Any app that uses iCloud now displays its save dialog box differently than it would have before its integration into OS X. Due to this, upon saving files in many applications, instead of being presented with a view of the filesystem, the default save location is now just “iCloud”, and saving the file anywhere else has become somewhat of a chore. Thanks to some Terminal commands, though, this behavior can be reverted to its pre-Mountain Lion state, as i’ll show you in this video.
PC games: they can be the bane of a Mac gamer’s existence. The Mac may be a better computer than a windows box, but even so, most games don’t support OS X. Even on Steam, the leader in cross-platform computer game support, most games run only on Windows. The reasons for this are manifold, including mid-level integrated graphics chips and less customizable hardware, but it shouldn’t be this disparate.
There are a few options for running those PC games on Macs, of course. There’s Boot Camp, which allows you to run a full copy of Windows right on your Intel-based Mac, but it requires a reboot to switch between OS X and Windows environments, which can be tedious. There are emulators you can buy, like Parallels and VMWare Fusion, but these never quite pan out, in my experience, as they always seem to be fraught with issues when connecting peripherals, mice, etc. They also cost a bit, and require a full copy of Windows, which will run you some money, too.
I just want a way to play a game that is created for the Windows operating system on my Mac, without a reboot, without buying a new program or new copy of an operating system I really don’t want to use.
Tired of OS X Mountain Lion notifying you of things? Sick of the little menu bar icon in the upper right corner of your Mac’s screen? Do you not even use Notifications at all on your Mac? You might, then, want to get rid of the entire thing, disabling it completely and removing the icon from the menu bar.
We’ve got two ways to show you, one that’s more permanent than the other. Check it out.