If your email is completely under control—your Inbox is normally empty, filing new messages is a breeze, and you feel no anxiety at all about the number of messages you receive every day or the number you’ve stored over the years, you can stop reading this article now. For everyone else, I have a few suggestions to help simplify your email experience.
Consolidate your accounts
Most email clients, such as Apple’s Mail and Microsoft Outlook, can handle as many accounts as you throw at them, and of course it’s often necessary to keep work and personal accounts separate. But do you really need email accounts from iCloud, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, your ISP, and so on? You can simplify your email by picking just one as your go-to account and setting up all the other services to forward email to that primary address (so you don’t need to worry about sending everyone a change-of-address notice).
Are you following too many people on Twitter, or finding your timeline unruly and hard to keep up with? If so, you may have the Twitter overload blues. This happens to many Twitter users, but there’s a way to cure this problem: Use lists both to organize the accounts you follow and to use Twitter more efficiently.
Create a list with Twitter.com
When you follow people on Twitter, they get added to one long list of accounts. Your timeline contains all the tweets (and retweets) from all those accounts. But you can create lists to organize the accounts you follow and view each list individually, cutting down the density of your timeline.
Lex uses a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 5, an iPad mini, a Kindle 3, a TiVo HD, and a treadmill desk, and loves them all. His latest book, a children's book parody for adults, is called "The Kid in the Crib." Lex lives in New Jersey with his wife and three young kids. More by Lex Friedman
Used to be, people maintained literal personal phonebooks. Books into which they scrawled the names, numbers, and addresses of their friends and family members. Those were dark times.
In 2014, there’s no need for such old-fashioned foofaraw. Your Mac and iOS devices can sync all your contacts for you, and store more data than those books of yore could have handled even if you wrote with the sharpest of number two pencils. There are plenty of ways to deal with your contacts’ information, so which method do you choose?
You may use your Mac for serious work, but sometimes it’s a good thing to add a touch of whimsy to it. Here are four quick tips for customizing OS X and making it a bit more fun to use.
1. Try the iTunes Artwork screensaver
When you’re not working, by default your Mac’s screen turns black with a subtle, shifting white Apple icon and a bit of text, usually your username. But you need not settle for that. To pick something different, go to Apple menu > System Preferences, select Desktop & Screen Saver, and then click the Screen Saver tab. You’ll find a lot of fun options to explore here, such as “Word of the Day.” If you’re a music fan, though, try the iTunes Artwork screensaver, which displays a collage of random album covers from your iTunes library.
When it comes to quickly taking care of daily tasks, the command line can be both powerful and dangerous. Take today’s commands as an example: the rm command allows you to remove (or delete) files. The rmdir command does the same to directories (also know as folders). But be careful: unlike when you move files to the Trash from the Finder, there’s no way to get them back if you use these commands. Still, if you want to tap into Terminal's powers, this is a command you can't overlook. I’ll show you how to add a safeguard to ensure that you only delete files you really want to delete.
Why bother deleting files with the command line?
Deleting files with the Finder isn't too difficult, plus you can always fish files out of the Trash if you change your mind. So why bother using the command line? Here are some reasons:
I usually lose all enthusiasm for the shiny new habits of the new year by about January 4, giving me the rest of the year to feel like a failure. But I’m much more disciplined in work than in my personal life, so when it comes to my home business, I think I have a better chance for success. If you’re considering adopting (or shedding) a habit or two, let my seven resolutions be food for thought.
The command line—that hidden world of code behind your Mac’s pretty OS X face—sometimes offers a quicker way to do everyday tasks. You’ve learned how to navigate files and folders with the command line and get help when you need it from man pages. Today, I’ll show you how to copy and move files, common operations that often come in handy. I’ll also show you how to create directories (that’s Unix-speak for folders), so you can move files to new places.
Why bother with the command line?
It’s certainly easy to copy and move files in the Finder, but there are a number of reasons why you might want to do this from the command line instead: