Computing with Bifocals - Reader Questions & New Tips
- March 28th, 2005
One of my recent columns covered tips and, as frequently happens with a tips column, it prompted questions and suggestions from readers. Following are some of both.
The First Letter
In my universe the Dock goes on the bottom of my screen. I'm sorry, but that is just the way it is. When it is moved somewhere else my eyes twitch, my hands sweat, and monsters appear under the bed. IT IS NOT PRETTY. Well, OK, maybe it is not really that bad, but in your column you wrote about a secret for finding the Dock preferences without going to the Apple menu. Isn't there some secret for moving the Dock around easily and quickly without constantly having to reset the Dock in the preferences?
There is a fast and easy way to temporarily move your Dock out of the way, and since I share your need to have the Dock safely grounded on the bottom of my screen, I know how to do it. This is actually alluded to in Mac Help, but the instructions don't really tell you how to do it easily.
Place the cursor over the vertical line on the right side of the dock and hold down the mouse button and the shift key. Start dragging the cursor to the right or left side of your screen and the dock will pop to that side of the screen out of the way. When you are ready to move it back to the bottom, repeat the process and the Dock will pop back to its home base on the bottom, at which point your world should properly fall back into alignment.
The Second Letter
There are two things that sorta bug me in Panther and I wonder if you can find a solution to them. The first has to do with the toolbar in [Finder] windows. When I was learning to use OS X I tried all kind of stuff, including putting things in the window toolbar that I don't really use much. I don't know how to remove them. I tried grabbing them with the cursor and dragging them to the desktop like you can do with icons in the Dock, but that doesn't work with toolbars.
The second also is about windows. I like to use the column view, but the more files I have the harder it is to read the whole name because the columns get so narrow. Is there a trick that will let me tell the difference between Garden Club Com. Rpt. on Community Project - Nov. and Garden Club Com. Rpt. on Community Project - June, without opening each one to read the whole name? Don't suggest that I shorten the names because I have to send them out to people who will only understand those names!
The solution to removing icons from your Finder window toolbars is almost the same as removing icons from your Dock. The difference is to hold down the Apple key while you drag the icon off the toolbar onto the desktop. Then you get the same little "puff of smoke" that lets you know it has gone away.
There is a very tiny, but highly functional solution to your long title, narrow column dilemma. At the bottom right of your column, on the outside of the gray divider line, are two tiny vertical lines. They look like an equal sign turned straight up. Double click on that and the column will lengthen so you can read the complete name of all documents in the column.
Using the Stretch Column Help
The Third Letter
In the following letter a thoughtful reader took the time to share a tip that he thought others might enjoy. I had no idea myself that one could do this.
I enjoy your columns where you give tips and thought I would share one in return. Did you know that you can actually hid that ugly hard drive icon that always appears on your desktop? You really can. When I had to use a PC at work I was always trying to hide the stuff I didn't want cluttering the desktop. I was never able to do it. When I got my new Mac, running OS X, I decided to try and do it on it. I admit I didn't find this solution on my own, but at least I found it can be done and was able to actually do it. Some of your other readers may want to try it as well. Start in the Finder window (Nancy Note: You are in the Finder window when the toolbar across the top of your screen says Finder next to the blue Apple.) Click on Finder then choose Preferences. A pop-up window will open. At the top of the window are choices about what items will always show on your desktop. (Nancy Note: Be sure you have clicked on the General Tab.) If you unclick the box next to hard drive then it won't show up on the desk top.
Controlling the Desktop
The Fourth Letter
Another reader wrote in recently with a cool Mail tip. If you use Mail for your e-mail program you may want to make note of this tip.
I think the best thing about OS X is Mail, and I am astonished at my Mac friends who haven't adopted it yet. One cool thing I learned to do with Mail is to add words to the spelling dictionary without running the spell check. I just hold down the control key and click on the word [Alternately, you can right-click if you have a two button mouse]. Then a (pop-up) menu appears. I can click on Learn Spelling, and the word will be added to the Mail dictionary. (Nancy Note: For those with a two-button mouse just right click on the word.)
My Favorite New Tip
Finally there is a benefit that seems made for those of us who are somewhat (a little bit?, a lot?) visually challenged. This works in Address Book. Place your cursor over the name field for any phone number in your Address Book (the field to the left of the number that identifies it as home, work, etc.). Choose "Large Type" and release the mouse button. The phone number will be greatly enlarged until you click again You may be able to read it across the room. The large font version will remain on your screen until you click your mouse button a second time. No more squinting. I bet you will love it.
Sample Enlarged Phone Number
My beginners manual, Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers with OS X, has been updated with the addition of 45 additional tips and hints.
Everyone who has previously purchased the manual should have already received their free copies with the additional tips and hints. Current versions of the manual have been updated to include the new tips.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
|Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.
Most Recent Computing With Bifocals Columns
- Of iPod Cases and System Preferences - August 30th
- Cool Tips, Kudos for Bob, & a Review - July 31st
- Two Apps for Reading and Browsing - June 23rd
Other "Computing With Bifocals" Columns
Warning: include(/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/extension.inc) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 108
Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/extension.inc' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/php5:/usr/share/php') in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 108
Warning: include(/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/common.) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 110
Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/common.' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/php5:/usr/share/php') in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 110
Warning: include(/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/includes/bbcode.) [function.include]: failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 112
Warning: include() [function.include]: Failed opening '/usr/local/etc/httpd/sites/macobserver.com/htdocs/forums/includes/bbcode.' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/php5:/usr/share/php') in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 112
Fatal error: Call to a member function sql_query() on a non-object in /var/www/bbm/macobserver.com/ee2/www/htdocs/comments/comments.php on line 532
- Fri, 8:10 PM
- Free on iTunes - 3 Free iOS Apps We Hope You Never Need
- 7:52 PM
- The Back Page - Apple’s ‘iRadio’ Streaming Excites Labels, Sony Hung on Skipping
- 3:50 PM
- Particle Debris - How the War Between Apple & Google Will be Won
- 3:29 PM
- News - Pentagon Approves iPhone & iPad for Military Use
- 1:10 PM
- TMO Quick Tip - Apple TV: Hiding Unused Icons from the Main Screen
- 10:40 AM
- Sci-Fi Airshow
- 9:17 AM
- News - CW Signs Content Deal for Apple TV
- 8:31 AM
- TMO Quick Tip - iTunes 11.0.3: New MiniPlayer Features
- Thu, 5:25 PM
- Analysis - Apple CEO Tim Cook Will Propose Corporate Tax Overhaul, Report
- 4:07 PM
- myPhoneDesktop Allows You to Send Data from Mac/PC to iPhone
- 3:03 PM
- iLuv Ships ‘Aud 5’ Lightning Speaker Dock for iPhone 5
- 1:40 PM
- Product News - MiniPlayer Gets Album Art View in iTunes Update