Category: Tips & Productivity

Repost: 5 Terminal Hacker tips for the Mac

[This is a repost from my HackTheDay blog of 6 years ago. But these are rare-to-find tips that are still highly valuable.]

You don’t really need a reason to try out these Mac OSX tips and hacks. But they are fun, probably useful and definitely will get a nice reaction from your friends. They all involve typing some commands in the Terminal.app(each command is followed by the Enter key); if commands start with sudo, you might be asked to also type down your Mac administrator password(which you ought to have set when you first logged to your computer). For instructions on finding Terminal.app and tips on using it, see our great Terminal.app tutorial.
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Forced reinstall of application downloaded from Mac App Store

Context:
In Mac OSX Lion, I opened Launchboard and deleted an app that I had previously downloaded from the Mac App Store
Problem:
I was no longer able to download it, always getting the same annoying message from the Mac App Store software:
A newer version of this app is already installed on this computer

After spending hours trying to find the fix that does the trick (and, man, did I try them all: removed spotlight indexing from my HDD, removed launchpad db files, removed various folders and files), countless Trash emptied and reboots, I finally found the fix.

Here’s what worked for me (via stackexchange):
I opened up Terminal.app, pasted the line below, then pressed Enter:

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user

A few minutes of waiting, and when it was done I launched the Mac App Store app and.. miracle: I was able to, once again, download my favorite app from the store.

I hope this will save a few hours for you as well

From laptop to the tablet/phone: 5 FREE key tools to keep you in sync

Desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone.. – more often then not you feel like you might have too many gadgets. You are constantly searching for a website you glimpsed at only 2 days ago, and unable to find it in the browser history – so you wonder – Was I on my laptop when I found that article? Or was I on the iPad? Or maybe it was a Twitter link that I clicked on my iPhone.. ? Also, that quick note I had.. where on earth did I save it.. and on which device?

To get you sorted in this digital mess, we present to you the 5 most important tools you can use to de-clutter your digital existence Evernote, Simplenote, Dropbox, Push the Page and Instapaper:
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Secure your Mac – Password protected screen lock

When your nosey coworkers enjoy peeking on other people’s desktops when they are gone, or you simply don’t want your kids to accidentally erase your soon-to-be-complete Pulitzer story while you were in the kitchen, your mac has the quick and simple solution, one that few people know exists: the screen lock

Enabling screen locking is pretty easy, although hidden where you’d least expected it. Here’s how it’s done:

You’ll need to open up Keychain Access, a utility app that comes preinstalled on your Mac and can be found inside the /Applications/Utilities/ folder. Once there, you’ll open up the Preferences menu (press ⌘, or as the submenu of Keychain Access menu). In the General tab, make sure the checkbox ‘Show Status in Menu Bar’ is checked. A tiny lock icon will appear in the menu, somewhere on the right. Clicking on it will reveal the long awaited option: Lock Screen.

PS. Make sure you know your mac password before clicking on it, because only those who know it will be able to unlock the computer.

On Information Gathering and Archiving

This year I promised myself not to make any public personal New Year resolutions. Life is unpredictable enough as it is, and year-long commitments are way too often bound to be broken. So, why purposely aim to disappoint myself later on? Why should I want to feel like shit sometime later for not having been able to do stuff that was not in my power to do so, in the first place?

Instead, for the past days I’ve started to try out some new professional, productivity and lifestyle changes. The difference from New Year resolutions is that they are just that – try outs; I won’t feel like shit if they don’t work out, but I will like it if they eventually turn into habits.

 

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Powertool for your Mac – Hyperdock

I’m not the kind to praise apps, but once in a while a recently downloaded app makes me so happy I need to share it with the world. Today I feel this way about Hyperdock, a currently free beta app (the developer warns us that once it gets final it will cost a small fee – although if you want to keep it free you can probably just disable the automatic updates). To be noted that there’s no hidden reward for me for this tiny review – the developer didn’t contact me about the app(as a general rule I tend to ignore all email I get that promotes web services or apps), I’ve hard about it from a Tweet and decided to give it a try.

Hyperdock installs itself as a System Preferences pane, and replaces the OSX standard Dock with a much more powerful version of it, kind of like a swiss knife of system goodies:

  • Window previews – when you hover over the icon of an opened app in the Dock, you get to see a small bubble with live preview of the app’s opened windows.
  • Powerful shortcuts – for all the apps in the Dock, you can configure particular or general shortcuts. Take the default shortcuts for instance – Option+Left click on any of the Dock apps will trigger Expose to show the windows opened by that app. Shift+Left Click will hide it, etc.
  • Window Management – by far the best feature, allowing to quickly snap and resize windows(Windows 7 style) by simply dragging them to the screen edges, etc. It successfully replaces the $14 Divvy app and adds, on top of that, quick shortcuts for moving and resizing windows.

There are other features listed on the app’s page, but I stop at this for now. I can only hope that the developer will chose a small enough price for the app(I’d expect less than $10, but I’d really hope something like $5) to encourage wide adoption of this pretty great all-in-one app.
Give it a try and let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

Do it yourself – Fullscreen mode for your Mac apps

Everyone knows that multitasking is usually bad for your productivity, and that in order to get ‘in the flow’ one would need to focus on the task at hand and nothing more. Having your app maximized to your screen size might be enough most of the times, but a real full-screen mode(that is, covering also the Dock and the MenuBar) would be even better.
Apparently the next operating system version for your Mac(OSX Lion) will add native support for full-screen apps. But until then, neither of these two options are made easy by the current Mac OSX version.

If you’re in the same place as I am and too impatient to wait for your full-screen productivity boost, I found a temporary solution. An awesome one which, best of all, is completely free(although donations to their developers are welcome)!

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Three Tools for a more Productive Day

To mark my comeback to HackTheDay blogging, I’ll share with you three amazing apps I use on a day-to-day basis:

  • Jumpcut – minimalist clipboard buffering for OS X – it’s a free(even open-source) tiny app that stays in the menu bar and remembers every fragment of text you copied or pasted lately. So whenever you’re in a IM discussion and are too afraid to copy-paste something in order not to lose something already in the clipboard, don’t panic – with Jumpcut you can manage more than a single item in the clipboard. You can even define the keys to switch around them – mine is Ctrl+Option+V
  • Dropbox (referral link, if you use it you get an extra 250MB of storage)- one of the hottest startups of the moment, provides seamless sync of a special folder and all it’s contents onto the web and all the computers connected to it. The free account allows for 2GB of disk space (upgradeable up to 8GB of space – you get 250MB extra for each friend referred to the service) but you can also pay $99/year for 50GB of space or $199 for 100GB of space. The way I use this is by saving all my text files and docs inside, so they are safe in case of disk crash. Also, I can easily access them using lots of 3rd party tools – including your’s truly ‘Clean Writer‘ – iPad simple text editor app.
  • Sparrow – a new email client designed specifically with GMail users in mind that’s quite the rage lately. It looks beautiful(way better than the default Mail.app OS X email client) and integrates seamlessly with GMail, with live updates and more fun features. Above all, it’s pretty minimalist, letting you focus on the email writing instead of useless extra features.

Those were about it for today. Other tips for a more inspired and productive day will come soon.

Essential tips to make your Mac the king of USER FRIENDLINESS

It’s a common symptom among new Mac users to be really ecstatic about their new MacBook, praise the speed and functionality, then after a month or so start seeing some flaws; much like in any relationship, where your passionate blind love from the first weeks starts to fade, giving way to more realistic assessments.
Some hard-core Linux geeks will probably miss their configuration files, kernel hacking and source code install. Windows users might miss their favorite software(Picasa, Winamp or Total Commander). I didn’t miss my Windows machine one bit, partly because I got used to other essential Mac software, partly because I use my Windows software from within Windows virtual machines, and mostly because I realized the Mac offers me all the productivity tools I ever wished for, out of the box or for free.

This article lists several essential but frequently forgotten configuration tips that make the most of your Mac. A future article will cover some vitally important FREE (or really inexpensive) Mac OSX software for your daily chores.

Regular readers might have already read these tips here, on HackTheDay, but I hope they’ll learn a few new things as well.
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