So, the next time you’re seeing general slowness on your Mac, don’t forget to give Launch Services a kick in the pants. Guaranteed to be more effective than zapping your PRAM.
My MacBook Air was feeling slow — especially when opening the Finder, clicking menubar items, and after waking up from sleep (at the login screen, I’d have to wait around 20 seconds for the keyboard to become responsive). It’s much better thanks to Craig’s tip.
We briefly touched upon the improvements to Quick Look in our Lion review last week, speaking of the improvements made to it in broad strokes. But we felt as though it was worth a second look because there have been quite a few improvements, including many that are subtle but really nice touches.
The biggest change is of course the refreshed look, which Cody described in the review as “painted in a new white lacquer compared to the smokey previews in Leopard and Snow Leopard”. The reaction to this change has been both positive and negative, but broadly speaking we think it’s a good change, it feels cleaner and more refined – gone is that thick and wasteful bar at the bottom of the Quick Look window.
In our first “Miscellaneous Lion Tips and Tricks” article we collected the best tips we received soon after Lion’s launch on the Mac App Store last Wednesday. Lion was being welcomed with positive reviews, Mac users finally got their hands on the much anticipated upgrade, and people started digging deeper into the OS to discover functions and tricks not publicized by Apple in its marketing material and Mac App Store description page. Less than a week into Lion, the web has exploded with new Lion tips, Terminal hacks, and app tweaks. Once again, we have collected the best tips sent to us by our readers and Twitter followers in an article that will (hopefully) help you discover new things Apple didn’t talk about at its developer events or in Lion’s promo video. Jump after the break for a second list of Lion tips and tricks you can try right now. (more…)
Lion is a solid update to OS X and it comes with several new features as we’ve outlined in our review, however there are so many little touches and minor features it is possible some of them will go unnoticed, leaving a user wondering whether something he thought would be possible was removed by Apple. In this post, we’ve collected some of the best tips and tricks we’ve received from our readers and Twitter followers since Lion came out yesterday, as well as stuff that didn’t make it to the review. More will follow throughout the next days, but in the meantime check them after the break.
Use AppleTV video caching for faster AirPlay viewing
Dan Frakes from Macworld writes on how the Apple TV caches content streamed via AirPlay:
The latest Apple TV doesn’t have a hard drive, but it does have 8GB of internal memory. Some of that memory is used to store the Apple TV’s operating system and other software, but a big chunk of it is used to cache media—video, audio, or photos—for better performance. If you’ve ever streamed a movie from your Mac or from Netflix, you’ve seen the blue progress bar “fill up” as the Apple TV stores a chunk of that content (a technique often called buffering). When you’re watching the video, the Apple TV actually reads the stored data, rather than the data streaming over the network; as stored data is used, it’s discarded and replaced by new data. This is why you (usually) don’t see stutters and freezes in streamed video, even with a choppy network connection.
But this caching doesn’t just happen with media streamed over the Internet or from your Mac—it also happens when streaming, say, video from an iPhone. And, in fact, that video stays in the Apple TV’s cache until the memory is needed for something else.
The idea is that your wireless network might not be up to snuff to instantly stream video from your iPhone or iPad. By using the aforementioned knowledge of how caching works, you can “prepare” the Apple TV for company by streaming media at least once to avoid a thirty or forty second delay when your revisit that content. Instead of re-buffering the streamed content, the Apple TV will recognize you’ve already played that content, and simply read that data locally. It’s an interesting tidbit of knowledge (the fact that the Apple TV doesn’t flush its cache every so often), for those lacking the bandwidth. But where you have the capacity, video on the local network should start streaming in three to four seconds.
Here’s an interesting tip about the OS X dock I absolutely didn’t know about, which was brought to our attention by OS X Daily. With a simple Terminal command, you can create a new “smart” stack item in your dock that will automatically collect your most recent applications, servers you’ve connected to, documents, volumes and Favorite items. The stack — which needs to be manually enabled — comes in handy if you’re looking for a quick way to re-open items you’ve recently launched — and especially for Servers and Volumes, this means the stack is collecting my most used items, not just the recent ones.
To enable the recents menu, type this in the Terminal:
The new stack will automatically be placed in the rightmost section, next to the Trash. To remove it, simply drag it out of the Dock. I like this menu because it’s making me save lots of time that would have been spent into the Finder otherwise (the method above worked just fine for me on Snow Leopard 10.6.7). Check out more screenshots below.
Update: if the Terminal command throws you a syntax error, make sure to copy the plain text from OS X Daily.
5. Screen zooming… To enables this gem, go to your Settings app and tap General. Then tap Accessibility and then tap Zoom. Flip the switch to on and then you can three-finger-double-tap your way to screen magnification bliss whenever your heart desires.
We’re supposed to be iOS geniuses here at MacStories, but a few of these tips & tricks I wasn’t aware of. Mainly some of the obscure ones such as the one above I didn’t know about, and the two finger tap to zoom out in Maps is just awesome. John Casasanta over at tap tap tap has put together a really beautiful and well written blog post about becoming a pro at using your iPhone or iPod touch, and I recommend that seasoned pros and beginners (maybe new Verizon iPhone owners) alike stop by and check it out – I’ve tucked this away for quick reference in Yojimbo myself.
While symlinks are funny creatures (you’d never want to sync a Symlink from a Mac to a PC), they can be amazingly valuable if you’re keeping multiple Macs with equal paths in harmony. MacDropAny is a nifty Dropbox Addon that allows you to point to any folder on your computer outside of Dropbox via a symlink inside of Dropbox. It’s recommended that you don’t sync your Applications folder, but that documents folder might be nice to backup. There’s no application screenshot here: MacDropAny is so simple just a couple of menu prompts will walk you through the process.
For me, the most annoying thing in iTunes is that to check for app updates I’m forced to mouse to the “Check for Updates” button in the lower right corner, and most of the times I miss the little arrow next to it with my cursor. I used to hate this. I’m saying “used to” because thanks to this tip I found over at Finer Things in Mac, now I can check for app updates with a keyboard shortcut.
The shortcut is the usual Command-R. What’s interesting is that the shortcut is used to refresh the web view in the iTunes Store, and Command-R isn’t documented in the iTunes menu.
So, there you have it. Command-R to check for updates. A little trick that’s incredibly useful for me.