The Ultimate Guide for switching from a PC to a Mac
(Part 2 - coming soon)

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Changing text size in Safari and Firefox!

A cool way of changing the size of the viewed text on a webpage is "Command +" or "Command -". It works in both Safari and Firefox. There is an even cooler way of changing the text size, but it only works in Firefox. You have to push "Ctrl-Command" and scroll up or down with your mouse. It is pretty neat! Here is an example showing how small and how large it can go:

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Changing icon size on the desktop or anywhere in the Finder

I have to admit, one of the only place where my computer is not organized is the desktop. I take a screenshot, receive attachments, download some freeware to test, etc... Everything goes on the desktop to be sorted when I have more time. My desktop is a bit of a mess but even if your desktop is perfectly organized, you can take advantage of this tip. What actually happens to me is that when the desktop gets too cluttered up, I sometimes miss space for new icons as the desktop is full!! A good tool for getting more space or simply for reducing the area covering the super nice background you have is to right click on the desktop and choose "Show view options". From there, you can change the size of the icons and the size of the text under the icons. If you load this window when you are in another folder, you actually have the choice of changing the settings for all the folders or only for the current folder.

From the "View options" preferences, you also have other options, such as "Show Icon Preview" to display the picture instead of the generic jpeg icon and "Keep arranged by" to have the icons automatically sorted. The "Keep arranged by" can greatly reduce the need of using "View" and "Clean Up" all day long.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Gain a lot of screen real estate!

For productivity, one of the best but often overlooked feature of Mac OS X is the possibility of hiding the Dock. The Dock is a quick way of loading application or seeing what programs are running but it does takes up a lot of screen space. I used to reduce the size to the minimum but even then, the icon were microscopic and it still took an appreciable amount of space. Dock hiding can be turned on by choosing "Automatically hide and show the Dock" in the "Dock" section of "System preferences". You then only see the Dock on demand when you bring your mouse where it used to be but to the lowest point possible (if it's at the bottom). One of the only downside of this is that it sometimes gets in the way when you resize applications.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Instant Slideshow in Mac OS X

I often get photos cd from PC friends but they are most of the time not convenient to look at. Importing the whole cd into iPhoto just for showing a quick slideshow is not the easiest thing to do and definitely won't convince your PC friends that Macs are user-friendly. A great way of doing it is by clicking "Command-A" to select all the pictures in the folder or the cd (or simply selecting the files), right-clicking on one of the picture and choosing "Slideshow". It doesn't even lauch any software and you then get the option of "Index Sheet", "Fit to screen" and "Add to iPhoto". It is very useful, quick and easily accessible.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Burning a CD or DVD right in Mac OS X

Toast is a great application for burning CD or DVD but sometimes, the large flexibility offered by an application like Toast is not needed and the simplicity of the Finder might just be the best. You can easily burn CD and DVD in the finder by choosing "New Burn Folder" when you right click anywhere in the Finder. You then only have to drag and drop the files you want into the "Burn Folder" and click "Burn" in the upper right of the folder. Best of all, when you drag and drop the files, it won't create a new copy of the files and use up even more disk space, it will simply create a kind of "shortcut" until you're ready to burn the optical disk.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Viewing web content on your iPod

A few days ago, a tip explained how to get text onto your iPod. This AppleScript is a slightly modified version that gets the contents from a website and adds the text as a note onto your iPod. I usually use this in the morning when I get to work. I wake up and I don't have to check what's new on news site before leaving for work. With my iPod hooked up, I just load the Script and I am good to go. It can be programmed in Automator in this manner:

1. Open Automator
2. Choose "Get Specified Text" from the TextEdit library
3. In the "Get Specified Text" text box, enter the URL of the website you want to copy to your iPod
3. Add "Get Text from a Webpage" from the Safari library
4. Add "New iPod Note" from the iTunes library
5. Save the plug-in into the Script Menu

You're now good to go. This great tip doesn't work optimally with every website. Some websites rely too heavily on pictures to be understandable as an iPod note. The best way of using this is to try a lot of different websites to see how well it performs.

If you need additional help with Automator, I suggest you take a look at the two previous Automator tips.

See you tomorrow.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Merging rolls

This is the screenshot explaining how to merge rolls as was asked in the comments about creating a new roll in iPhoto.

Archiving a file right in Mac OS X

Mac OS X biggest feature is its ease of use and it is once again proven here with this quick way of archiving a file. It is easy to save space on many files distributed on the Internet by creating an archive ".zip". I remember the pain of doing this in Windows and this is one of the thing that really reinforces the idea that switching to Mac is the best decision ever. To "zip" a file, you simply have to right click on the file and choose "Create Archive of "name of the file"". Some kinds of file are not as easily compressed as others but on some, you can save quite a bit of space. Many freeware and shareware are distributed in this way. Another great use for this is to store several files. You can archive thousands of files in one big chunk that is easily sendable on the Internet.

See you tomorrow for another Mac tip!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Converting a VIDEO_TS to an iPod format

A few posts ago, the tip explained how to rip a DVD as a VIDEO_TS on your hard drive. I had mentionned that you could then put it onto your iPod. Well there was still a missing piece to the puzzle, the software that can convert the VIDEO_TS to a file readable by a 5th generation iPod. A good freeware I found for that is Instant Handbrake. It is still in Beta but it works remarkably well and it is very easy to use. You can simply install the software, choose the VIDEO_TS folder, select which format (5G iPod or PSP), select the chapters, select the language and click convert. You can download Instant Handbrake here on the developer's site.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Creating a new roll in iPhoto

A good way of classifying you pictures in iPhoto without much effort is by using film rolls. This gives you a more understandable library where you don't have 2500 pictures in a big chunk. It kind of separates the events without the need of creating an album for each one. You can enable film rolls by choosing "Film Rolls" in the "View" menu. When you import pictures from your camera, the rolls will be created automatically. This works amazingly well until you import the content of your camera memory card and you realize you didn't have time to import before and you are now stuck with two events in a single roll. I used to do it in a really complicated manner. I imported any picture from my camera and it would create a roll. I deleted the picture and transferred one of the event to the new roll. That was until I found the simplest way imaginable of doing it: you select the pictures you want in the roll with two events and you choose "Create a Film Roll" from the "File" menu. Boom, you now have your two events in separate and organized rolls.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Keyboard shortcut for your bookmarks bar

A great new tip I just discovered last week: using your keyboard to open a bookmarked website from your bookmark bar in Safari. You can easily open a bookmarked website that is in your bookmark bar with "Command-1", "Command-2", "Command-3"... (The number corresponding to the bookmark you want to open). This works amazingly well, except for one thing, it doesn't work with bookmarks folder.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Using "Reply-To" with Mail

Hey! Sometimes you receive an e-mail and you think, "This question should have been asked to that person". You then foward the e-mail to the person who have the answer. A great way of doing this is by adding a "Reply-To" field with the e-mail address of the person you received the e-mail from and I usually add my own too. In this way, when the person you fowarded the e-mail to answers, no time will be lost waiting for you to foward it again to the original sender and you'll both receive the answer! This can be done with Mail by clicking the small text icon beside the "Account" field and choosing "Reply-To address field".

See you tomorrow for another Mac tip!

Here is a screenshot showing how to do it in Mail:

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Adding text to your iPod with Automator

The iPod isn't the best portable electronic equipment for carrying text but the capabilities are there nonetheless. This AppleScript created in Automator will ask for text and add this text as a note on your iPod. For this to work, your iPod must be connected to your computer when you do it. To create the script:

1. Open Automator
2. Add "Ask for Text" for the TextEdit library
3. Write a question that the script will ask you when it requests the text. Example: "Text to add as an iPod note?"
4. Add "New iPod Note" from the iTunes library
5. Click Options on the New iPod Note and select "Show Action When Run"
6. Save the script as a plug-in
7. Select Plug-in for "Script Menu" and give the script a name

You now have your script all ready and made to quickly add text to your iPod. Unfortunately, the text remains read-only on the iPod itself. Your iPod must be hooked up for this to work. When you select the script, it will ask the text to add and you just have to copy and paste the text into the text box. "Command-V" doesn't work for pasting the text so you must right click and choose "Paste". I know the text box is tiny but it will accept lots of text: the biggest I tried is 15 pages and it worked. It will then ask you for the name of the file you want to create. That's it! You're ready to look at it on the iPod itself. It is in "Extras" and "Notes". The notes might take a while to load.

If there's anything that you are unsure about Automator, I suggest you take a look at the previous Automator tip as it includes further details on adding the Script Menu to your Menu Bar.

See you tomorrow!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Creating a backup of your DVD

In many countries, it is legal to decrypt a DVD for personal use such as on an iPod or for burning on a DVD to use as a backup. DVD are great in the living room but they are not as portable as they should. One of the best application on the Mac for decrypting DVD is a freeware called: Mac the Ripper. It decrypts and removes the Macrovision protection. It rips the VIDEO_TS folder and it can be viewed in DVD Player by clicking "Open DVD Media" in the File menu. You than select the ripped VIDEO_TS folder, click "Choose" and hit Play. Mac The Ripper is available as a free download here on MacUpdate. Please make sure this program can be legally used in your country.

See you tomorrow.

Here is a screenshot of the file menu in DVD Player:

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Server Error on Blogger

Blogger is currently experiencing some technical difficulties. This is why the site currently works on and off. Sorry for any inconvenience.


iLife-style photo browser in any application

The iLife photo browser is very useful and definitely show the kind of integration offered by Apple. Sometimes, it would just be great if you could push it a little further and be able to browse your iPhoto library in other applications. When you're sending an email with a picture from your library, you have to open up iPhoto, rearrange the windows so they all fit on your screen and drag the picture to your e-mail. It's pretty time-consuming. It would be so much better with an iLife style media browser. Well, you know what, here is an easy script that can be programmed in Automator to get this. Here is the way it works:

1. Open Automator
2. In the Library section at the left, click on "iPhoto"
3. In the Action section, double click on "Ask for Photos"
4. Go to "File" and select "Save as Plug-in"
5. Give your script a title such as "Photo Browser"
6. At "Plug-in for", choose "Script Menu"
7. Press save

To use this great AppleScript when you are in any application, you go to the Script Menu in the menu bar and you choose the script you just created and boom, you have your photo browser. If you don't have a Script Menu in your menu bar, you have to activate it first by going in your applications folder, choose AppleScript, open AppleScript utility and click on "Show Script Menu in menu bar".

The new widget created especially for "A New Mac Tip Every Day"

Hey! I just created a new widget that enables you to have instant access to "A New Mac Tip Every Day" right on your dashboard. It will update instantly and will show you the latest posts in the RSS feed. It is available as a free download from MacUpdate.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Easy color matching in Microsoft Office

Today we have a great tip submitted by François La Roche. It's a much easier way to match a color from text, pictures, shapes and headers in Microsoft Office. Sometimes, you receive a document for your work and you don't have the exact color code to reproduce it. It can easily be done by opening the color palette, called "Other color" and located in Font color or Fill color. You can then use the Magnifying glass to capture the color. You can even drag the color to the grid at the bottom to use it in the future.

Here is a great screenshot provided by François, showing the function:

Thanks François.

See you tomorrow for a cool Automator tip!

More information on gDisk

Many readers were worried about gDisk especially since Google limits the possible attachment to 10 MB. This is one of the features that makes gDisk so useful, it is not limited by the size of the file you want to upload. You could theoretically upload a file as big as the free space you have on your Gmail account! Here is a screenshot showing the great interface and the 85 MB file I just uploaded.

Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate all your comments and e-mails.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Save a lot of disk space with Monolingual

Hey! This a great freeware to free up lots of disk space. It is particularly useful on portable computer since the disk space is usually very limited but it's still great for every Mac. Basically what it does is it strips out the languages you choose to remove from your operating system. Mac OS X is very multicultural and comes with tons of languages and most of us only speak one, two, maybe three. The title can be confusing as it says "Mono" but you really have the choice of what languages you want to remove and the one you want to keep. Another great thing is that it's a universal binary. I suggest you take a look here on MacUpdate. See you tomorrow!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Another program to transfer music from your iPod

Here is another great program, suggested by Peter Garner. It also enables you to transfer music from your iPod: Senuti. Best of all: it's universal! Download here!

Thanks for your suggestion Peter!

Using your iPod as a backup for your music

Wouldn't it be great if your iPod, which already holds all your music, could be used as a backup for your music? Hard drive failure happen and we must be backed up because you'll simply loose the music you bought on the iTunes Store otherwise. One of the limitations of the iPod is that you cannot copy music from your iPod to your computer. This was done to reduce piracy but it is also a big limiting factor. Luckily a developer created a great freeware to solve this problem called iPod Disk. It's very easy to use: when your iPod is hooked up, load iPod Disk and boom it mounts a disk on you desktop with all your music. You can easily copy your music back to your computer. Just drag and drop! The only disadvantage is it's not universal but it runs very well anyway under Rosetta. There are no noticeable slowdowns on an intel Mac. I suggest you check it out at :

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Resetting or updating a widget!

This is such a great tip, I just found out about it myself and I was so excited when I first used it. Many widgets keep old information and they don't always update the way they should. I have experienced this a lot with the ESPN widget included with Mac OS X: old hockey match didn't go away and new one were not up to date. Another example is you enter information into the Yellow Page widget and you wish you could just erase it with a simple click. The best is it works with all widgets! You just have to click on the desired widget, hit command-R and Boom!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

E-mail address

I just want to let you know that I now have an e-mail address especially for this blog so if you have any questions or if there is any thing you're not sure how to do it on a Mac, just write and we'll do our best to find the answer. Often when you say "I wish this could done or I wish there was a way to do this more efficiently', it's because it can be done or there is a way to do it more quickly. My new e-mail is

Using your Gmail account as web storage

Gmail is great, you get over 2500 MB of storage and all, but let's face it, how many of us actually use the 2GB of email storage? That's right, very few. I thought, wouldn't it be great to use this space as web storage? Well it is possible with this great Universal application (both PowerPC and Intel) called gDisk. I've used it a lot, it works great and it doesn't affect your mail at all. I suggest you take a look on the developer's site here at

Also, I know I was just talking about Gmail and it is still in Beta and not fully accessible to the public, but if you are looking for an invite, you can write to us at

See you tomorrow for another great Mac tip!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Selective iPhoto Import

There are many times when I just wish iPhoto had a selective import feature where I could select exactly what picture I want to import. Sometimes, I'm on a friend's computer and I just want to give a few pics or sometimes I have work pictures and family pictures on the same memory card and I want to upload the pics on two different computers. Unfortunately, iPhoto 6 doesn't include this built-in but it is still hidden there in the code. When you hook up your camera, iPhoto 6 brings up an import dialog where you basically only have the choice to "Import" and "Delete items from camera after importing". But, when you are there, you can click on Return (or Enter) twice and you will switch to edit mode. You don't want to edit your photo there as they are still on the camera. You unfortunately don't have thumbnails as thumbnails are actually smaller version of the image created when importing and you didn't import yet. The interesting thing is that you can look at the image one by one and drag the one you want to your Library. Plain and simple!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Keyboard shortcut for changing tab under Safari

Using tabbed browsing in Safari is really a life-saver for when you have about a hundred windows open and you have so many that F9 basically becomes useless as they appear too small. The only thing that annoyed me was that the keyboard shortcut I used to change windows didn't work anymore for tabs. I've finally discovered it: command-shift-left arrow or command-shift-right arrow. The only annoyance is it doesn't work if you are clicked into a text box.

For anyone who doesn't know how to enable tabbed browsing, you go into Safari, Preferences, Tabs and you click "Enable Tabbed Browsing". When you are surfing, you can then open a webpage into a new tab with Command-click on the link.

See you tomorrow for another great tip.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

iPhoto 6 hidden editing mode

iPhoto has a pretty good set of basic editing features but it is possible to go even further. iPhoto 6 has an hidden advanced editing mode.

When you are in the regular editing mode (just double-click any picture), you click on either "red-eye" or "retouch" and then you press at the same time on ctrl-caps lock-9. You are now in the advanced editing mode. You can change option using tab. Remember that you must be in either red-eye or retouch or nothing will happen when you enter the combination.

In the red-eye tool, you have two options, the usual cursor or an all new resizable cursor. To change the size of the cursor, you use the bracket. ] to increase and [ to decrease the size. You can also replace the red on red eyes by a lighter color than the usual dark grey by pressing and holding Shift before clicking.

With the retouch tool, you have three options, the usual cursor, a new resizable cursor and a lighten cursor. You can change the size of the cursor using the bracket in the same way than the red-eye tool. You can also change the intensity using } (increase) and { (decrease). Lighten works the same way than retouch, except that you cannot change the intensity.

See you tomorrow for another Mac tip.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Keynote QuickTime

The Keynote QuickTime is now available at

Mac News website!

What a great day with all the keynote news coming to launch our all-new "Mac News" website. I suggest you take a look at A link is also located in the sidebar.

As for the keynote, some people want to watch the keynote QuickTime without hearing about the new products first while others prefer to have all the news analyzed and dissected right away. You will then find a "spoiler-free" link to the QuickTime file right here on "A New Mac Tip Everyday" while all the new products information will be released on "Mac News".

See you later!

Dictionary in nearly every applications!

Hey, welcome back! As most of you know, today is the Macworld San Francisco Conference Keynote where many new Apple products will undoubtedly be revealed. We will add more information concerning this later in the day.

Today Mac tip is how to access a dictionary from any application. Unfortunately, this tip only works with Cocoa applications (most applications) and doesn't work in Carbon applications (applications ported from OS 9 without being reprogrammed). This means that it is not an option for Microsoft application but it does work in iWork. It is quite simple to use, with the cursor on the word you want to search, you press ctrl-command-D.

See you later today for the Keynote updates.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Using an Apple remote to boot into Windows

Rumors of new products abound with the Macworld Keynote scheduled for tomorrow. I will be posting the link to the keynote Quicktime as soon as it's out. We will start studying what's new right away to once again bring you the latest hidden features in the new iLife and iWork '07.

A tip for all Intel Mac users: booting into Windows under Bootcamp with an Apple remote. It is very useful if you're using your computer as a media center, away from your desk or simply to show off with your friends. You simply have to hold down the "Menu" button on the remote while booting and you can select the desired operating system with the remote forward and backward buttons.

See you tomorrow for another Mac tip and for the keynote news.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Optimisation, maintenance and settings

Hey. After reading the comment, I guess "removing widgets" wasn't as useful as I thought so I'll just move tomorrow tip to today. This tip for optimizing you computer for the best performance is actually a freeware called OnyX. I suggest you download it at this link: It is very useful especially as it is the one place where you can do everything from repairing permissions to clearing safari cache. You can also change many settings not easily accessible in OS X. One of the cool feature that ties in nicely with yesterday's tip about screenshot is that you can also change the format in which the screenshots are saved.
Once again, see you tomorrow!

Removing unwanted widgets

Here is the third mac tip: removing unwanted widgets. To tell you the truth, I was very excited about Widgets when they were introduced in Mac OS Tiger, but now after what, two years, my widget selection is getting cluttered up. Sure, I could simply disable them in the widgets settings but why keep something useless on my computer (especially if it's a portable). I have lots of widgets that are even outdated, like countdown to certain events. So, how to do it:

The widget is either located in :

1. Macintosh HD, Library, Widgets
or in 2. "you account", Library, Widgets

and you can simply drop the file in the trash and you're done!

See you tomorrow for tip #4 and an update on what we'll do for the Macworld San Francisco Keynote!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Easy Screenshot in OS X

You can easily take a screenshot in OS X with a few simple keystokes:

"shift-command-3" will capture the whole screen and save the file on the desktop.
"shift-command-4" will capture the area you select with the cursor after pressing the keys and the file will be saved on the desktop.
You can also hold "ctrl" when taking the screenshot to place the file in the clipboard instead of saving it on the desktop.
Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow for tip #3.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Enabling Safari debug menu!

Here is our first Mac OS X hidden feature: the Safari debug menu. It can be activated by entering the following command in Terminal while Safari is closed:
defaults write IncludeDebugMenu 1
It is very useful especially as many website are working in Safari but are stopping visitors who don't have Internet Explorer. You can then change the "User Agent" to Windows Internet Explorer and the website won't know you are using Safari. The debug menu can easily be deactivated by entering the same command with a 0 at the end instead of a 1.
Thanks for reading,
See you tomorrow for the second Mac OS X tip.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

A New Mac Tip Every Day Widget

The widget "A New Mac Tip Every Day Widget" gives you access to the site rss feed right in your dashboard. It is 104 KB and it can be downloaded here.
Brain Toniq. Clear the head fog
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