Mac OS X Tips

Fine volume control on Mac OS X


I came by this on

I often felt that volume adjustment offered by the volume control keys on your Apple keyboard didn’t adjust the volume to exactly where I wanted it and often supplemented the adjustment with turning the volume slightly up or down on my external speakers or headphones.

Turns out Apple thought of a solution to this already.

Simply hold down the SHIFT and OPTION/ALT keys at the same time as you use the volume keys an you will get 1/4 increments instead of a full block.


Enabling click-to-dial on Snow Leopard


As a follow up on my Dialectic article, I thought it may be necessary to post some information on how to enable click-to-dial in Snow Leopard.

The problem is that Mac OS X 10.6 no longer supports contextual menu plug-ins, so any plug-ins that you had will stop working after you upgrade to Snow Leopard.

Replacing this functionality is a much improved Services support and this can be used to dial selected phone numbers from most applications.

After installing Dialectic you can do the following to enable it:

  1. From the System Preferences application, select the Keyboard preference pane.
  2. In the Keyboard preference pane, select the “Keyboard Shortcuts” tab and scroll down to the “Services” item from the list box on the left side of the window.
  3. After selecting “Services”, scroll down to the “Text” Services group on the right and enable the “Dial Selection” Services item (see the screenshot below).
  4. Dial-Selection.png

    Works like a charm.

Tweak Quick Look to See What Files Are Inside a Folder


At first I thought this might be very gimmicky, like many of the OS X window manager tweaks that are out there in the wild. This one I however found very useful. I’ll state up front that if you don’t often use quicklook, then feel free to ignore the rest of this article.

So what does X-ray mode do for Quick Look?

Instead of just seeing the regular folder icon in Quick Look, the folder icon will be semi-transparent, with previews of the folder’s contents visible in the Quick Look window. What’s more, the preview images will rotate automatically, moving through each item in the folder.

Desktop Bin.png

You can enable X-ray mode for Quick Look in a couple of ways, but the quickest and simplest way to do it is to simply turn on X-ray mode with a simple Terminal hack.

Fire up Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/ and paste the following:

defaults write QLEnableXRayFolders 1

Hit Return, then Alt+right-click on the Finder icon in your Dock and click on Relaunch. X-ray mode should now be enabled. Hit the spacebar when you’ve selected any folder in Finder to test it.

Old recipients in Apple Mail annoying you ?


I’ve had this issue myself before and was recently asked by someone else how you can remove old recipients from the auto-complete drop down list that shows up when you start typing an address in Apple Mail. I never really bothered to sort the problem out and rather just worked around it. Now that I’ve figured out how simple it is to clean up this list, it’s probably something I’ll do a little more often…

Two simple steps:

1 – Click on “Window” on the tool bar (while Mail is your active application of course.

2 – Click on “Previous Recipients”

Previous Recipients

Previous Recipients

Now just select the addresses you want to remove (or possibly even add to your address book) an then the “Remove From List” button.

Remove the offensive addresses

Remove the offensive addresses

You’re done.

Automate getting your RSS fix



Over time I’ve messed around with a number of OS X applications that automate the finding and downloading of content that I subscribe to with RSS.

Some of the applications that I have been using have not been updated in a long time and they have begun to become more and more unreliable.

Fortunately I recently came across “Automatic”:

The answer to your RSS prayers

The answer to your RSS prayers

Automatic allows you to set up subscriptions for virtually any content linked in RSS feeds: podcasts, videocasts, torrentcasts… Rule of thumb: if it ends in ‘-cast’, you can get it with Automatic.

Once set up, there’s nothing else to do but sit back and wait. Automatic will fetch and deliver the latest content for your subscriptions right to your download folder*, so all that’s left for you is to find some time to enjoy it!

For example, just imagine you wanted to ensure that you were always up to date with your favorite TV show. For this example, we’ll assume that “The Big Bang Theory”is the show in question.

Hit the best TV Show RSS feed, select “The Big Bang Theory” from the drop down list, click the “Get public feed” button and copy the URL that it spits back at you.

Show RSS

Show RSS

Open up Automatic (it lives in your System Preferences).

System Preferences

System Preferences

Click on the “Subscriptions” tab at the top and the on the “+” button to add a new subscription.

Add a feed

Add a feed

Click the “+” button again on the next screen to add a feed. Paste the URL into the top field and Automatic does the rest.

Automatic feed

Automatic feed

In this case I’ve made use of a feed that will only return episodes for this show. You can obviously use a general feed and then use the filter function to view only the items you want.

Play with it for a few minutes and you’ll get the idea. Pretty simple stuff really.

Note: This show used as an example only. Make sure you only use this only to download content that you have rights to. Otherwise you will probably get into trouble.

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