Vecte: A more beautiful application switcher

Hitting command (⌘) + Tab brings up the native app switcher, allowing you to switch through your open applications by hitting tab.

Vecte is a lightweight application that beautifies the function, discretely displaying the application list from the corner of your screen, rather than from the native center overlay.

Just install and use, no setting up necessary!

Download Vecte here.

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How to: Sync Messages on your Mac with your iOS device

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There are a surprising amount of people who have an iPhone as well as a Mac, and they don’t even know that Messages can be synced to your Mac. It’s probably one of the best features of Messages on Mac, it’s significantly easier to respond to messages from your computer, over touch typing on your device.

So, instead of having to type out messages on your phone, you can use your computer when you have it on you, and save yourself a nice amount of time by typing on a real keyboard.

Step 1: Go to your Applications folder, and launch Messages.

Step 2: You know the drill here, open the Messages preferences.

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Step 3: Check that your Apple ID is signed in and enabled for the application. Tick off the boxes for the contact points you want to be reached for (the phone number and/or email that is associated with your Apple ID. You can also specify where you want the messages to be sent from when starting a conversation from your computer (for instance, I use my email address as my sending point for my computer, as opposed to my phone number from my iPhone).

All done! Don’t forget, you can adjust your notification settings for Messages in System Preferences, if the pop up banners bother you.

Forget about memorizing keyboard shortcuts

CheatSheet app

One of the last posts I wrote on this blog, in 2008, was about using your keyboard only to operate your mac.

But that sort of stuff isn’t for everyone. Ane between 2008 and now, with the AppStore bigger than ever, we’re always using new apps, and it’s tough to remember what all the keyboard shorcuts are for those apps.

Enter CheatSheet. Very lightweight, just install, and hold the command (⌘) key for a few seconds to have a window overlay pop up, listing all the active shortcuts for the application being used.

Download it here.

Quickly get word definitions

Gone are the days for searching word definitions, now, all you have to do is select the word you want a definition for (be it on Safari or any application that allows you to display and select text), and just 3-finger tap it on your trackpad.

For those who like using their keyboard a lot over the mouse, I highly recommend one of my favourite productivity- boosting applications, Alfred, where you can simply type ‘define ______’.

Alfred App

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My first post in a long time is bound to be a good one. For that reason, I decided to post about Alfred. This is by far my most used application. Simply put, it is a local and web search tool. For the basic user, it lets you launch your applications, or directly search on the search engine of your choice, including websites like IMDB, Amazon, and YouTube.

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It can also perform basic power functions of a Mac, e.g. you can log out or lock your computer by simply bringing up the Alfred window and typing in ‘log out‘ or ‘lock‘. Alfred is available for free, with a purchasable Powerpack, providing additional features including iTunes navigation and theme implementation.

If I had to pick one third party application for my Mac, this would be it.

More information here.
Download here.

How To: Survive Using Your Keyboard Only

How to survive using your keyboard only; here are some shortcuts.

Users with MacBooks need to include the function (fn) key in commands involving F#-keys.

ctrl + F2

opens access to your menu bar, which is navigated with arrows, enter, or letters (for a shortcut, type the first letter of the menu item you want to access.

ctrl + F3

opens up access to your dock, which can be navigated in the same way as the menu bar.

NOTE: If those actions are not working, then press

ctrl + F1

to activate/deactivate the commands.

Don’t forget the simple shortcuts too, like

Command + Shift + A

which opens your applications folder (only works when on Finder; Safari for instance, gives you autofill preferences…)

Other shortcuts you must know are:

Empty trash: Command + Shift + Delete
Quit application: Command + Q
Close current window: Command + W

UPDATE: oli4 reminded me with his comment; to see a directory of shortcuts, go to System Preferences > Keyboard & Mouse > Keyboard Shortcuts

UPDATE #2: Learned a new shortcut! When on Safari, select a word and press

ctrl + Command + D

and you will get a quick definition show up as a tool tip window.

Feel free to share your tips and shortcuts in the comments below!

Or you can just forget about memorizing altogether.

How to: Restore windows and tabs on Safari

One of the great things about other web browsers, such as Firefox and Camino, is that they have many functions that Safari does not have. I’m sorry, I meant, did not have. With Safari 3, many new functions have been introduced, one of which is provided by browsers like the previously mentioned.

All performance enhancements aside, one of the key new features implemented in Safari 3 is restoring one’s last workplace. All you need to do is go to the history tab in the menu bar, and click on Reopen All Windows From Last Session.

Simple as that! The nice thing about it, you don’t always have a window popping up to ask you if you want to restore or not, like Camino, instead, you just use that menu tool when you need it.

BatchRename’em: Rename groups of files and folders easily!

Finally, a way to easily rename groups of files!

Pretty helpful if you’re renaming pics and screenshots!

With BatchRename’em, you can do the following to files and folders:

– Make Sequential
– Add Text
– Replace Text
– Change Case
– Add Date or Time

Much easier than doing every file manually.

Get BatchRename’Em here.

TextWrangler: TextEdit, on steroids

TextWrangler is a full blown text editor; it pretty much works with anything that uses text, packed with various utilities to use for script editing, Terminal, etc… Seriously, this has everything you could possibly need when it comes to text. The icon leaves a lot to be desired, but you can always change that. Programmers, admins, you’ll definitely find use for this.

Get TextWrangler here.