One of the more interesting—and less visible—new features in Mountain Lion is the ability to encrypt almost any disk. OS X has long offered the ability to encrypt your startup disk using Apple’s FileVault, but Mountain Lion extends this feature to other disks, even to simple USB flash drives. Here is an overview of how this feature works, how you can encrypt and decrypt a disk, and what options you have when doing so.
Encrypt a disk from the Finder
This new full-disk encryption feature is well hidden in Mountain Lion. Typically, you use Apple’s Disk Utility (in /Applications/Utilities) to work with hard disks or other types of removable media. Disk Utility can erase, partition, and repair hard disks, but curiously, it cannot encrypt a hard disk.
It’s a common notion that when we go on vacation we want to “get away from it all.” But take a closer look and you may find that what you really want to do is get away from it all with the technology you love. But what gear should you haul along with you? That depends a great deal on how you’re getting from here to there, whether this is a working vacation, where you’re going, and who you’re visiting along the way.
The means you choose to travel will influence what you take. If you’re flying, you’ll want to pare it down so that valuable gadgets—camera, laptop, tablet, and portable entertainment device—can be placed in your carry on. I prefer to throw that stuff in a backpack that fits under the seat in front of me, thus saving an overhead bin for a bag containing items that I won’t need during the flight. Placing the bag within reach ensures that can get to your toys at all times (except during takeoff and landing, of course) plus relieves you of the worry of it being tossed around by careless baggage handlers.
Far more than Apple’s “version of Word,” Pages () is full of powerful, time-saving features that help you make great word processing documents quickly. Three of the best are styles, templates, and tables. Gain some familiarity with these features and you’ll make better documents in less time than ever before. Here are nine tips to get you started.
1. Apply styles quickly
Use styles to format text quickly and consistently. Paragraph styles affect an entire paragraph, whether you’ve highlighted every character of it or simply clicked anywhere in it. Clicking is faster, so don’t bother with the careful selecting. To apply a style, you can use the Styles Drawer (View -> Show Styles Drawer), or better yet, use keyboard shortcuts. With the Styles Drawer open, control-click a style name and then, in the menu that appears, choose Hot Key, and select from the shortcut choices in the menu. Now, applying a style is as simple as clicking in a paragraph and pressing this key.
More than a few Mac users worry that OS X is becoming too much like iOS, thanks to the former gaining features obviously inspired by the latter. But even the most anti-iOS Mac user has to admit that sometimes this is a good thing. To wit: With our iPhones and iPads, we’ve come to expect that even when the device has been asleep, waking it will immediately present us with our latest email messages, events, reminders, changes to contacts, and more. These devices will even back up to iCloud and sync with iTunes when unattended. Under Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8), if you’ve got a compatible Mac laptop, you’ll get many of the same benefits thanks to a new feature called Power Nap.
Which Macs are compatible? Currently only the Mid 2012 MacBook Pro with Retina Display and the Mid 2011 and Mid 2012 MacBook Air models. Each of these models requires a SMC firmware update (Mid 2011 Air, Mid 2012 Air, Mid 2012 Pro Retina) to support Power Nap.
As of Safari 6, the version of Apple’s web browser shipping with Mountain Lion, Apple has dropped support for reading RSS feeds within the browser. Instead, Apple asks that you use a dedicated RSS reader when you want to peruse the latest links. But what if you don't want to use such a reader? You can still see RSS articles in Safari with a little help from Apple's automation utility, Automator. It works this way.
Create your workflow
Launch Automator (in the /Applications folder) and in the template chooser that appears, select Service and click Choose. Configure the top of the workflow to read Service Receives No Input in Any Application. In the Actions library select Internet and drag the following actions into the workflow area: Get Specified URLs, Get Link URLs from Articles, and Display Webpages.
The biggest time-saving feature you’ll find in any Web browser is the ability to bookmark sites, providing a quick route back to places you visit frequently. Here are my favorite bookmarking tricks for Apple’s Safari (), Mozilla's Firefox (), and Google’s Chrome ().
Among computer users, there are two types of people: mousers and keyboarders. I’m the latter. I like to use keyboard shortcuts as often as possible to save time and to keep my hands on my keyboard. Here are ten of my favorite keyboard shortcuts for the applications I use most.
1. Select Safari’s address field
Sometimes I copy a URL and want to paste it into Safari’s address field. Instead of using the tab key, or a mouse or trackpad, to select the field, I prefer using the Command-L keyboard shortcut. This highlights the text in the field, and I can then paste my URL and press Return to go to a webpage.