If you’ve been using a Mac for any length of time, you know that it’s more than just a pretty point-and-click, window-and-icon interface. Beneath the surface of OS X is an entire world that you can access only from the command line. Terminal (in /Applications/Utilities) is the default gateway to that command line on a Mac. With it, instead of pointing and clicking, you type your commands and your Mac does your bidding.
Why would you want to do that? For almost all of your computing needs, the regular graphical user interface is enough. But the command line can be handy when it comes to troubleshooting your Mac, to turn on “hidden” settings, and other advanced chores. Many of the hints we publish on the Mac OS X Hints website require the use of the command line. It’s a good idea for anyone who isn’t an utter beginner to be familiar with it.
If you aren’t already familiar with OS X's command-line interface, this article is the first in an occasional series that’ll get you up to speed. The plan is to cover the most important commands you need to know and show you how to use them. First up: How to navigate the file system from the command-line prompt.
As any iPhone or iPad owner with children will attest, touchscreen devices are clearly the future of kid-friendly computing—there’s no substitute for the direct interaction between on-screen items and fingertips. But a lot of great kid software is still available for the Mac, so until we replace all our Macs with tablets, we’ll have plenty of reasons to set up a computer for the young ones.
Most people worry about finding the right software and configuring the right settings for kid-safe computing. But what about the hardware? Chances are you often see a scene much like the one above—your child happily absconding with your laptop to the couch. But it’s not the best setup—ergonomically or logistically—for a child. Here are some tips for setting up a work-and-play-station your kids will love.
You probably spend a lot of time moving in and out of folders in the Finder as you navigate among your files and apps. Getting into a folder is easy: Just double-click it. But what about getting out of that folder and returning to where you were? You may be surprised to find that you have many ways to move up a folder in the Finder. Here are eight of them.
1. From the keyboard
If you use the keyboard a lot, you’ll appreciate the simplicity of this technique for moving to the folder that encloses the contents of the current window. When you have a Finder window open, just press Command-Up Arrow, and your Finder window will shift to show the enclosing folder.
Senior Contributor Joe Kissell is a senior editor of TidBits and the author of numerous ebooks in the Take Control series. More by Joe Kissell
Mac users who want to (or have to) use Intuit’s QuickBooks have plenty of choices—we can run the Mac, Windows, or Web app version. One of those options probably pops out as an obvious choice, but as I recently discovered, the least-obvious solution is sometimes the best one.
My wife and I are both professional writers. A few months ago, on the advice of our accountant, we reorganized our small business as a corporation. We agreed to endure a considerable amount of extra paperwork in exchange for significant financial and legal benefits.
Accountants love QuickBooks (even if authors don’t)
Chris has covered technology and media since the latter days of the Reagan Administration. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, he's a professional musician in the San Francisco Bay Area. More by Christopher Breen
I recently read Jeff Carlson’s “Four things Apple could do to improve iPhoto right now,” and one point he made struck me in particular—that I couldn't make Photo Stream images appear in a folder of my choosing. Thinking how convenient this could be—for copying images into my Dropbox folder, for example—I set about finding a way.
The slow and clumsy way
A simple-but-clumsy way to do this is to access the folder where the images are stored on your Mac and then open a load of folders inside that folder to get to your images. You can navigate to this folder by choosing Go > Go to Folder in the Finder, entering ~/Library/Application Support/iLifeAssetManagement/assets/sub in the Go to the folder field, and clicking Go. This exposes a window full of folders, each folder containing an image.
If you like to find new ways to tweak OS X, you sometimes need to look in unexpected places. For example, the Accessibility pane of System Preferences, which houses a number of features to help users who have limited seeing, hearing, and mobility, contains some nifty features that all users should know about. Here are five system tweaks that you might want to try on your Mac.
David has been covering Apple and how to get the most out of its products since 2005. Now a freelance tech writer, he runs Finer Things in Tech, jots down thoughts at DavidChartier.com, occasionally starts outlining the great American tech novel, and might still get to snowboard Breckenridge one more time. More by David Chartier
Keeping up with just one social media account is tough enough. But if you personally hang out on even one or two more services, or are in charge of socializing with your business’s customers online, juggling it all starts to feel a lot more like work, and not the fun kind. Here are a few tools and tricks—some for power users, others for business cases, and even a slightly nerdier option—that can help take the drudgery out of managing social media.
Get started posting with OS X
Depending on your needs, there is, of course, always OS X itself. As of Mountain Lion, Apple added some much-needed integration of a handful of social media accounts right into OS X. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences and select Mail, Contacts, & Calendars. Here, you can add multiple Twitter accounts, one Facebook account, and Yahoo, Vimeo, and Flickr accounts.