Solving Frustrating Problems On Your Mac

| Computing with Bifocals

Missing Address Field In Safari 

If you ever lose the address field from the toolbar in Safari it can be very frustrating. You probably can’t find any help in the “help” files and you can’t go looking for help on the internet, because you can’t get to the internet without the address field unless you have a second browser on your machine. It is not all that hard to lose the address field. An inadvertent swipe with a mouse and the Command key at the wrong time can cause it.

Which, by the way, is a good idea. To have access to more than one browser on your Mac I mean. My recommendation is that you add FireFox. A lot of Mac users actually prefer it to Safari. I’m not one of them, but I do keep it on hand just in case.

If you lose the address field here is how you get it back.

From the Safari Toolbar select View > Customize Tool Bar. The following window opens.

Safari Customize Toolbar Window

You have two options. If you have added things to your Safari toolbar, such as the New Tab icon that lets you instantly open a new page, or the AutoFill icon that lets you fill out your personal information on web sites when you select it, then you should select the field with the blue arrow and just drag it up to the Safari tool bar. Your address field and search field will be back in place and your other icons will not be removed.

If you don’t have any extra icons selected from this window, then you can select the field pointed out by the red arrow and drag it to the Safari tool bar.

Compressing a File

Other people send me compressed files and I open them.  After all, anyone can click on a file and open it. But I didn’t know how to compress them and sometimes you can’t send stuff unless you compress it first. And, you can compress files so they take up less room on your machine. Who knew?

Turns out it is easy to do on a Mac. I just never asked anyone about it.

The file must be closed (i.e. you don’t have it in use in an application). Find it on your system and click on it once so it is highlighted.

Identify the File to be Compressed

Then from the File Menu, choose Compress.  The word compress will be followed by the name of the document you have chosen as illustrated in this example.

Select Compress from the File Menu

As soon as you release the mouse button a zip file icon will appear on your desktop bearing the name of your document and the size of the new document. In the case of these examples the original document was 3.2 MB. The compressed file is 2.8 MB.  

 Document Icon when Document is Compressed

As soon as you release the mouse button a zip file icon will appear on your desktop bearing the name of your document and the size of the new document.  In the case of these examples the original document was 3.2 MB.  The compressed file is 2.8 MB.  

You can drag and drop the compressed (zipped) file anywhere you wish it to go.  

The Wonky Mouse

I was working away, trying to beat a deadline to publish a product review, when my mouse started acting wonky. (That’s a technical word that means I don’t know what is the matter but I don’t like it.) The right mouse button wouldn’t work. Every time I pressed it, it executed actions that were assigned to the left mouse button.

Very, very frustrating. I set aside the mouse and tried using a different one. No help. I tried using the hated trackpad. Nothing. I did a restart on my computer. No help there either. Obviously I had a problem.

This obviously was a job for superdaughter. This is what she told me to do and it worked perfectly.

  1. Turn off your computer
  2. Unplug everything plugged into it except the power adapter
  3. Hold down the power button for 5 seconds
  4. Restart your computer

I still don’t know why it acted up, but I don’t care.  It works now.

Some Things To Try If Your Mac Freezes Up

Sometimes your Mac will freeze on you. It might be because you are running an application that has bugs in it. It might be that you have too many applications open at once for the amount of memory that you have. It might be that there was a power surge. It might be that you have a problem with your Mac.

If this problem happens to you with any frequency you should get it checked out because with Macs it is not expected behavior. I have a Mac Book Pro and there are times that I have 8-10 applications open at a time because of work that I am doing and my machine has not had a freeze in the past 8 months.

But they do happen. Here are some ways you can get your Mac going again without doing damage.

Open the Force Quit Applications window so you can quit the frozen application without having to shut down your whole computer. You can do that even if the computer is frozen by hitting Command-option-Escape.

Try the “stop the process” tip. Hit Command-. (period)

Force the computer to shut down. Hold down the Power button. Not your best option because it doesn’t allow the computer to go through all the usual shut down steps.

Quit all open applications and restart using Command-Control-Media Eject key.   If you can’t find the Media Eject key look for it on the very top row of any Apple keyboard. 

I hope these prove to be helpful.  If you are looking for other basic tips, check out my beginners manual.


A compilation of tips for beginners can be found in my beginners manual Tips, Hints, and Solutions For Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With Leopard and Snow Leopard The entire Table of Contents and a sample page are available for free review for anyone who wishes to see them.

The first is the more traditional printed book format, spiral bound. Cost is US$17.15 each, plus shipping. All the illustrations have been printed in black and white to reduce the purchase price.


The second option is a PDF download version. This is the full version of the book available in the same format as that available in the free review The contents are hyperlinked from the Table of Contents for ease of location. This version is US$9.85. After payment has been verified the purchaser will be sent a URL where they can download of the document.

Anyone wishing to pay with a money order or cashier check may contact me through TMO at nancy@macobserver.com


Comments

mhikl

. . .  my mouse started acting wonky. (That?s a technical word that means I don?t know what is the matter but I don?t like it.)

Nancy, you and Dr Johnson would have got along real fine. grin

Nom

Comment: some files are worth compressing, and some aren’t.  Image files, for example, will rarely get smaller.  Text files, word and excel documents, and the link can shrink massively.

PDFs with a lot of images in them won’t compress much (the images are already compressed).  PDFs that are mostly text might shrink quite a bit, but these will usually start smaller.

You can also compress entire directories.  This has two advantages:
- You’re dealing with one larger file rather than lots of smaller files.
- It’s likely to end up a lot smaller than compressing each file individually.*


* (Explanation: compression is basically about finding repeated patterns. The bigger the data set, the more repetition. There’s also a certain amount of overhead storing all the changes made to the data so it can be reliably un-compressed at the other end.

Image and movie files (eg .jpg, .mp3) are already ruthlessly compressed, so running a normal compression algorithm over the top of that typically ends up with a header that says “nothing much I could do” plus mostly unmodified data.)

mhikl

Clear and succinct, Nom.

SUNNY BHAREL

Nice Tips!

Although I have worked my way around them a few years ago, but this is definitely something a recent PC2Mac convert or a new Mac user would like to have!

Any tips for the iPad as well? Teehee!

-Sunny Bharel
Senior Business Security Analyst

Nancy Gravley

Any tips for the iPad as well?

You bet.  Look for iPad tips in my next column.

Nancy

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