Posts tagged 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.



Challenge your grey matter



There was quite a lot of noise about Machinarium when it was released and everyone started playing it. I thought I’d keep my opinion to myself until I had finished the game.

The game was developed and released by a small independent Czech studio Amanita Design and was simultaneously released for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. A great feat you may think, but actually just a clever move by developing the game in Flash. So basically any OS that has a compliant Flash player is able to play the game.


I know zombies that wouldn’t waste their time with most flash games out there, but Machinarium really does take it to a new level. The world the game takes place in is beautifully drawn and the level of detail is amazing. The game reminds me of the kind of gameplay we had with some of the classics like Myst. Puzzles that make you want to tear your hair out and run over the next door neighbours yapping dog. Fortunately there is a clever built in hints system that you get access to by completing a mini-game.

The game costs $20 and you get access to all three versions when you buy it. The game isn’t very long, but it is definitely worth the money.

Save the little robot.

Handbrake Video Encoder Hits 0.9.4: Not Dead, Just Pining for the Fjords


Anyone that owns a Mac and a portable media device that is capable of video playback has no doubt used Handbrake to rip and/or convert a DVD or media file to an appropriate format or size so that they could have it with them on the go.

It’s been a while since the application has been updated, but the it has been worth the wait. The speed improvements and the presets make faster and simpler than ever to drive the sometimes scary task of fiddling with video.

Best of all, it’s still free. If you’re using anything else, stop it. Download Handbrake today and put it through its paces.

A year to the day after the previous version was released, Handbrake has hit 0.9.4, and boy is it faaaaaaaaast:

There’s an old proverb in the video encoding world: “Speed, size, quality: pick two.” It means that you always have to make a trade-off between the time it takes to encode a video, the amount of compression used, and the picture quality. Well, this release of HandBrake refuses to compromise. It picks all three.

If you have video you want to get onto your iPhone, Handbrake is the way to go — and it’s free. New, streamlined presets still include Apple Universal, iPod, iPhone & iPod touch, and Apple TV (as well as others if you’re rocking the Xbox, PS3, Zune, or whatever floats your video boat).

Improvements include much better H.264 encoding via the x264 project, a new build system, new soft subtitles, live preview, and constant quality encoding. As can be seen by the list above, they’re all about x264 now, so they’re also winding down support for AVI, OGG/OGM, and XviD — they’ll tell you why via the link above, but basically they want to pull you kicking and screaming into the better looking future. Love them.

Here’s the direct link to downloads for Mac OS, WIndows, and Linux.

Note to 64-bit Mac users: If you decide to go with Handbrake 64-bit for OS X, and intend to rip DVDs, know that Handbrake uses VLC for the task and VLC 1.0.3 doesn’t yet have a 64-bit version, so you’ll have to stick to 32-bit Handbrake, or downgrade your VLC to 1.0.2 64-bit.

If you give it a spin, let us know how it transcodes for you!

[via TUAW]

This is a story by the iPhone Blog. This feed is sponsored by The iPhone Blog Store.

Handbrake Video Encoder Hits 0.9.4

via The iPhone Blog

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.

Click-to-dial from the Apple address book


I’ve been using an IP softphone on my Mac for some time, but there has been no integration between the softphone and the Apple address book. It wasn’t the biggest issue for me, but I became really tired of copying the numbers I looked up and pasting them into the softphone to be able to dial.

After trolling the interweb yesterday and finding a few address book plug-in scripts (that no longer work with Snow Leopard), I came across Dialectic from JN Software.


It works with pretty much every softphone and web-based VoIP service I’ve come across. You can customize dialing rules based on the type of call (local, long distance, international etc etc) as well as your location.

There is actually a lot more power under the hood when you consider that it can hook into Apple Scripts as well.

While I was playing with the preferences, one setup that I thought would be particularly useful was to have all my in country calls route via my softphone and all my international calls route out via Skype, which is easily done with Dialectic. Nice work.

It looks slick and will only cost you $25 if you decide to keep using it after your trial period expires.

Get it.

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