3 Tips: Repairing Permissions, Screenshot Drop, & iPad Keyboard Magic

Problems Entering Administrative Password

I just returned from an out of town mini vacation attending a painting seminar. The event was in Garland, TX which is a 5 hour drive from my home in Austin, TX. It was really hot yesterday, close to 100 degrees and I made a couple of stops which not only extended my drive time, but meant my car was hot during those stops. Although nicely cushioned in a protective case, my Mac was subject to the bumps and jars of a road trip in addition to the heat. 

When I got home, unpacked, and tried to read my email, Mail would not let me in the program unless I entered my administrative password. When I tried to do that, it seemed like a demon had taken over my Mac, a demon intent on typing character after character in the password field when I wasn’t even touching it. For instance, if my password were 123456 and I tried to enter that, the computer would continue to enter something and I would have no control over it. I had to go to the Apple Menu > Force Quit to get out of Mail and end the action. I tried to open Safari and had the same results so I knew the problem had nothing to do with Mail and everything to do with my OS. A shut down and restart did not solve the problem, either, which surprised me.

So, I banged my head against the wall in frustration – a step I recommend you skip – and opened disk utility to see if that would help.

Disk Utility is in your Applications Folder > Utilities, but the fastest way to open it is to enter “disk utility” (or even “utilities”) in Spotlight (without the quotes). It will probably be the first thing on the list and you can just click on it.

When this window opened I selected my hard drive, clicked on Repair Permissions, and let it do its thing.

Disk Utility Window

When it finished, I restarted my computer (not required, but a good idea), and everything was back in good working order.

Screenshot Drop for TextEdit, Mail, and Stickies

TextEdit never ceases to amaze me. It appears to be such a simple little application on the surface and I always tell new users to start out with it as their word processing app of choice because it is so easy to use, but it has hidden depths.

Take screenshot drop as an example. The premise is that you want to add a screenshot to a TextEdit document you are creating to illustrate a point (or whatever). Without using this technique you would have to take a picture of your example using command + shift + 4 to get a camera image then hit the space bar to highlight the window you wanted to save, and then hit return so that a picture of the image could be taken; or use the utility Grab to do the same thing. Either procedure would give you an image that you could drag into your TextEdit document. Unless you had a reason to keep your examples, you would then have to discard them.

TextEdit’s screenshot drop lets you do this with a couple of fewer steps. This is how it works:

Right-click in the spot on the page where you want to place the image and hold down the mouse button until the shortcut menu appears. Select “Capture Selection from Screen” 

Capture Selection Option

You get a window telling you to drag across the section of the screen that you want to capture. Do so, using the left mouse button, and your image will instantly appear in your document, exactly where you want it. You can still use the alignment tools to move it.

Selection Grab Instruction Window

If you don’t need a TextEdit document, but rather, just need to send an image in a Mail created email, you can use the same technique to add an image to your email. Same goes for a Stickie note.  

It’s possible that this will work in other Apple applications, but these are the only ones I found.

iPad Virtual Keyboard Tip

I discovered this completely by accident when I held my finger down a moment “too long” over the letter ‘e’ on the virtual keyboard on my iPad. Usually when I do that I get multiples of the same letter, but this time I pressed hard on the key and to my surprise, a submenu popped up that allowed me the option to select an e with a choice of several accents. To select the accented e I had to slide by finger from the keyboard e to the submenu e without raising it from the touchscreen. I found accents for the letters y, u, i, o, a, s, l, z, c, and n. On the numbers keyboard I found options at -, $, &, ., ?, !, ‘, and “. On the 3rd keyboard screen I found an additional option at %. 

I was very pleased to find these options and anyone who routinely needs language accents will find them to be of assistance when using their iPad. Check them out and see what all you have available.

And So

If you have an iPad experiment with the hidden accent options, if you like working with images then try out the cool trick with Screenshot Drop, and for goodness sake, remember that Disk Utility can be your friend in a pinch!