Five fast email productivity tips

There’s been a lot of great discussions about email productivity going around on sites I enjoy, so I thought I’d throw in five no-brainers that I’ve seen help a lot of folks. Shut off auto-check – Either turn off automatic checking completely, or set it to something reasonable, like every 20 minutes or so. If you’re doing anything with new email more than every few minutes, you might want to rethink your approach. I’m sure that some of you working in North Korean missile silos need real-time email updates, but I encourage the rest of you to consider ganging your email activity into focused (maybe even timed) activity every hour or three. Process, tag, respond to the urgent ones, then get the hell back to work. (See also, NYT: You There, at the Computer: Pay Attention) Pick off easy ones – If you can retire an email with a 1-2 line response (< 2 minutes; pref. 30 seconds), do it now. Remember: this is about action, not about cogitating and filing. Get it off your plate, and get back to work. On the other hand, don’t permit yourself to get caught up in composing an unnecessary 45-minute epistle (see next … Read More

Christopher DiamondFive fast email productivity tips

Auto-Complete Words On Your Mac

Hey This is a rather cool quick tip that can save you a lot of time. Most modern search boxes now a days have a drop down auto-complete feature to help you complete words a lot quicker, this is generally useful and can save you some time and effort. Wouldnt it be useful if you could expand this auto-complete feature to more text boxes around your operating system. Thankfully you can. Simply press Command + Period (or full stop) and your Mac will bring up a list of words which you can use to complete the word you are typing. This drop down menu appears in pretty much any text box areas such as Mail, TextEdit to name a few. You start typing a word, press Command + Period and a list will appear that you can scroll through and use to complete the word you are typing. Useful if you have a long word that have a very specific start and you dont want to type the whole thing out. You can scroll through with the arrow keys and select your work with either the tab or return/enter key. Unfortunately this auto-complete doesnt quite work like the one on … Read More

Christopher DiamondAuto-Complete Words On Your Mac

Flight Control HD For Mac – Review

Hey If you buy this game you will lose a lot of hours in the following week and month, I for one had to rush a report because I as playing this game. If you havent played Flight Control HD, on an iPhone or iPad you can finally play it on your Mac. Flight Control has been out for quite a while, so I thought I would give it a review and tell you what I think about it. Im also interested in what other players of this game think as I have been addicted to this game. The general premise is rather simple. You are in a top down world and in charge of controlling various aircraft. Aircraft of different types, represented by different colours, enter the screen from the edges. They will then fly in a straight line until you take hold of them. By selecting an aircraft with the mouse (there are various different setups to do this) you then have a chance to mark the flight path of the aircraft. You have to get each of the planes to the required airfield (with the same matching colour) without crashing into other aircraft. It sounds simple, and … Read More

Christopher DiamondFlight Control HD For Mac – Review

How To Unrar RAR Files On Your Mac

Hey There are many ways in which you can unrar rar files. In a similar method of yesterdays post on how to play mkv files, todays post is going to mention some of the different ways to unrar rar archives. Since there are many ways to skin a cat there are also many ways to unrar these archives. Pretty much every app mentioned here does the same thing and there isnt much difference between them. The only difference is between the command line program and the GUI apps. Since the built in Archive Utility doesnt have a support for rar files its worth having an app that can support these files when the time comes. UnRarX The app that I use regularly is UnRarX. From the many apps that I have tried it seems to be the best. Like most of these apps it is a no nonsense app that gets the job done. Unlike most other apps it has a small window which tells you what it is doing rather than a simple progress bar. This way when you get a corrupt archive or a file that wont fully extract it will tell you what exactly is happening and … Read More

Christopher DiamondHow To Unrar RAR Files On Your Mac

Play mkv (Matroska) Files On Your Mac

Hello, In the digital age that we live in there are hundreds of file formats, one that is getting particularly prominent is the mkv or Matroska, file format. A digital video container that is usually used for storing high definition videos. The Matroska format is a container format where the file can contain numerous video and audio files all in one container, Matroska is derived from the Russian term for a nesting doll. Its a very useful format and with it being used in HD videos it is becoming more common. The problem is that your Mac will not naively play them and you need a suitable plugin/codec to get them to play. This post is going to highlight some of the best ways to mkv files and get you on your way. There are many ways to play video files on your Mac. I think I have covered the more common ways to play these videos. However if you have a question or comment that you would like to add, please leave a comment below. VLC We start with VLC the Swiss army knife of video play back. VLC can play pretty much every multimedia file you can think … Read More

Christopher DiamondPlay mkv (Matroska) Files On Your Mac

Change The Dock Right Click Menu Names

Hey When ever your right click on a Dock item you will notice there is a list of items. Have you ever wondered how these items are created and if you can change them? Well you are in luck. This post will hopefully show you how you can change them to something a bit different. Its quite simple to do however you do need to err on the side of caution as you are altering system files. You only need TextEdit so it shouldnt be too complicated. 1) To begin we need to find the file that the Dock is using to generate the names for the menu item. Open up Finder and navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices. 2) Right Click on item named Dock and select Show Package Contents and then navigate to /Contents/Resources/English.lproj if you are using a different language go to your respective language folder. In this folder is a set of text files called strings. Strings essentially allow the program to name an item within the code and then assign a different language to that name. This ensures an item named Quit says Quit in English and Salir in Spanish (I hope Google Translate worked correctly). We are … Read More

Christopher DiamondChange The Dock Right Click Menu Names

Find Files In Use Using Activity Monitor

Hey If you ever get those random errors saying a file is in use by an application it can be quite difficult to figure out what is happening, and why the application wont close. Alternatively you may want to know what files an application is using to run, this can be useful in diagnosing problems. Although you can use a terminal command to find which files an application has open the Terminal output can be massive and take a long time to dig through to find the bit of information you may want. Todays tip is going to show you how you can do this using Activity Monitor which is far more user friendly. Start by opening up Activity Monitor in Applications Utilities. If you have never ran this program it is all about showing the background processes that your computer is using to run. In this example lets say iTunes is failing to close because a file is open. I select iTunes from the list and click the inspect option from the toolbar at the top of the app window. This will open a window which can contain quite a bit of information. Select the tab that says Open … Read More

Christopher DiamondFind Files In Use Using Activity Monitor

Open Your Current Terminal Directory In Finder

Hey I found a rather cool little tip that I thought I would post. Its in regards to opening the current folder you are browsing in while using Terminal. Many times I have wondered if there was a way to view my current folder, this is usually very useful if you are very deep within a directory and need to have a more visual look at it with Finder. Ive also found that its useful when viewing the output of any bash scripts. To open the folder you are viewing in Terminal type the following: open . The word open is followed with a dot, without it it doesnt work. You can combine the open command with the change directory command. This is useful if you want to do something in Terminal and view the Finder window belonging to it. cd /path/to/folder; open . You can write it as one line and is a quick way to move around Terminal and Finder in one. Within a couple of days ill have another post on using the open command. It is very useful. If you want to keep up with the latests post from Mac Tricks And Tips I recommend you … Read More

Christopher DiamondOpen Your Current Terminal Directory In Finder

Disable Your Mac’s Apple Remote

Hello, If you have an Apple Remote and you want to disable its usage on your Mac, for example in a School environment or you just dont want the receiver switched on its very simple to do. This post will show you how to disable your remote control infrared receiver so it cant be used any more. To start open up System Preferences in Applications. Press the Security option in the Personal section of the preferences. Press the lock at the bottom of the screen to allow you to change the general settings. You will notice at the bottom of the screen an option to disable the remote control infrared receiver, checking the box will disable the device. Its a simple as that. The best thing is the option is password protected so if you have fiddly kids or students they shouldnt re-enable the option. If you have any questions or comments please leave one below. If you want to keep up with the latests post from Mac Tricks And Tips I recommend you subscribe to the RSS Feed.

Christopher DiamondDisable Your Mac’s Apple Remote

Adding Default Alarms To iCal Events

Good Evening, If you use iCal to set up reminders and events it is often useful to add an alarm. This way you know an event is coming up and you wont forget it. Thats the theory anyway. This post is about automatically setting up an iCal alarm for your events. This way you dont have to manually add an alarm. Its rather simple to implement and can save you a couple of seconds when adding a new event. To add a default alarm, go to iCal Preferences General from the menu bar. This will load the preferences for iCal. Within the options have a look, about half way down, for an option that says Add a default alarm. This is the option we are looking for. Check the box and add a time in the text box. The alarms are set in minutes, so if you want an alarm set for the day before enter 1440 minutes. Now every time you add a new event within iCal it will automatically add an alarm to that event. Nifty. Saves me having to add one. If you want to keep up with the latests post from Mac Tricks And Tips I … Read More

Christopher DiamondAdding Default Alarms To iCal Events