Making Sense of Mac Keyboard Symbols

Mar 27, 2012 - 41 Comments

Mac Keyboard Symbols

Ever wondered what those Mac keyboard symbols mean and what they translate to? You see them on a lot of Mac keyboards and on plenty of keyboard shortcut lists, looking like strange glyphs (⌥), shapes (⇪), and bugs splattered on windshields (⌘). They can be fairly confusing, which is why we at always try to manually write out the key itself. Using the name of the key is becoming the norm on newer Apple keyboards, but many pre-2011 Macs have keyboard symbols on keys, and with really old Macs you get all symbols with no labels. Additionally, you’ll find the symbols in drop-down menus throughout OS X, so what the heck are they in plain english? That’s what we’re going to learn, first let’s cover the basics that you’ll commonly see in walkthroughs, menu items, and elsewhere.
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Use iBooks Themes to Improve the Reading Experience on iPhone & iPad

Mar 27, 2012 - 6 Comments

iBooks themes

The iBooks app includes three different color themes that can be used at different times of day to improve the reading experience. Accessing the themes is easy:

  • Launch iBooks and open a book
  • Tap the “aA” button at the top of the screen and tap on “Theme” to show the three choices; Normal, Sepia, and Night

Normal shows classic black text on a white background, this is great for mid-day reading when the ambiant lighting is brightest, but later in the day it can be harsh on the eyes.

Sepia offers dark brown text against an off-white background, making it perfect for dimmer lighting in early mornings or evenings when the surrounding light isn’t quite as bright.

Night is light grey text on a black background, which is ideal for reading in the night time in darker rooms. Not only is it easier on the eyes, but the inverted screen colors stop the iPhone or iPad from illuminating the rest of the room like an artificial lamp, making it less obnoxious if someone in the same room is trying to sleep. You can also take the Night theme concept system-wide by inverting the iOS screen, making it easier to read web pages and use other apps in the darkness.

The Sepia theme is probably the best all-around choice to use if you don’t want to be tweaking themes throughout the day. Use it in combination with adjusting the screen brightness and you can read comfortably in just about any lighting conditions. The dimmer the surrounding light, the lower the brightness should be, this makes it easier on the eyes and has the added benefit of improving battery life of an iPad or iPhone.

By William Pearson - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 6 Comments

How to Install & Run Ubuntu Linux in VirtualBox

Mar 27, 2012 - 27 Comments

Ubuntu Linux in a Virtual Machine with VirtualBox

If you want to experiment with Linux without dual booting and potentially impacting your main operating system, the best way to do so is with virtualization. Virtualization allows you to run Linux directly atop your primary OS, whether it’s Mac OS X or Windows, in a separate virtual machine, with practically no potential for error. It’s completely free and fairly easy to set up, we’ll walk you through the entire process.

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By William Pearson - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 27 Comments

Remove the Auto-Hiding Dock Delay in Mac OS X

Mar 27, 2012 - 38 Comments

OS X Dock

If you use a hidden Dock in Mac OS X, you can speed up the time it takes to show the Dock with a defaults write command. This command removes the delay from when a cursor is hovered near the Dock location and to when it’s displayed, it doesn’t change the animation speed of the dock sliding in and out itself.

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By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 38 Comments

Improve iPad Picture Frame with a Custom Photo Album

Mar 26, 2012 - 9 Comments

Picture Frame for iPad

Picture Frame is a great feature of iOS on iPad that turns the device into a rotating gallery of images. The iPad Picture Frame app defaults to flipping through all images contained in the Photos camera roll album, but you can improve the experience by creating a custom photo album and setting that as the only source for the gallery, here’s how:
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By Paul Horowitz - iPad, Tips & Tricks - 9 Comments

Disable “Top Sites” in Safari for Mac OS X

Mar 26, 2012 - 8 Comments

Top Sites in Safari

New windows and tabs in Safari default to displaying a 3×4 grid of “Top Sites”, representing the web sites you visit the most often with Safari. This can make for a nice home page, but sometimes it will display sites you don’t want showing up, and it can also slow down Safari on older computers.

We’ll show you how to disable Top Sites in Safari, hiding it completely, and also how to reset the previews in the feature.

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By Paul Horowitz - Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 8 Comments

Easily Create Beautiful iOS App Icons with this DIY Retina Icon Kit

Mar 26, 2012 - 6 Comments

iOS Retina icon template 1

It’s rare that app developers and web developers double as graphic designers, leaving some apps and websites to include fairly hideous iOS icons. As we’ve said before, icons matter, however superficial they may be, so instead of shipping an app or site with an ugly icon do yourself a favor and download this do-it-yourself retina icon kit.

The DIY template from KillerIcons comes as a deeply layered and easily workable PSD file containing a 512×512 app icon, letting you easily create a very attractive icon just by switching on or off some layers, adding an element or two, and adjusting as necessary. PSD’s are best opened with Photoshop, but if you don’t have it go ahead and download CS6 beta for free and use it until the final version comes out, the template works fine.

These icon templates are useful website owners as well, use them to create an Apple touch icon PNG file to set as a custom bookmark icon for iOS home screens.

Shown below are the base template styles, but the possibilities are practically endless just by changing colors, borders, or hiding and showing certain layers.

Free iOS DIY Retina Icon Kit

You can see several sample retina icons I made quickly for OSXDaily below.
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How to “Find On Page” on an iPhone with Safari on iOS 6 and iOS 5

Mar 26, 2012 - 7 Comments

Safari It’s easy to find text on a page with a desktop browser, with just a keyboard shortcut you’ll have a search field. This is a bit different in the world of smaller mobile screens though, and if you need to find text on a current web page with Safari for iPhone or iPod touch you’ll need to do the following instead:

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By Paul Horowitz - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 7 Comments

Transfer .mobi & ePub eBook Files to an iPad for Easier Reading & Viewing

Mar 25, 2012 - 14 Comments

Have some ePub and mobi ebooks that you want transferred over from a Mac or PC to an iPad for easier mobile reading? The quickest way to transfer the ebooks is through email sent from the computer to iOS device, but you will discover that a few additional apps are necessary so that you can read the files and to insure compatibility with not only the epub and mobi format, but just about every other ebook filetype that you may come across. Don’t worry, the apps are free and are excellent to have around anyway. Read on to follow the entire process of getting ebooks to the iPad from start to finish.

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By William Pearson - iPad, iPhone, Tips & Tricks - 14 Comments

Send AirPlay Video from an iPhone or iPad to a Mac, PC, or TV with XBMC

Mar 25, 2012 - 8 Comments

AirPlay video XBMC

XBMC is a powerful free app that turns any Mac or PC into a full fledged media center. The newest version has been updated with a slew of improvements, but most interesting for iPhone and iPad users is the addition of AirPlay video support. This means you’ll be able to wirelessly transmit video from an iOS device to anything running XBMC, whether it’s a Mac hooked up to a TV or an old PC, here is how to set that up and get AirPlay video working.
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By William Pearson - iPad, iPhone, Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks - 8 Comments

13 Beautiful High Resolution Retina Wallpapers for the New iPad

Mar 24, 2012 - 11 Comments

Retina iPad wallpapers

Looking for some gorgeous high resolution images for your new iPad? Here are a handful of gorgeous retina wallpapers, each measuring 2048×2048 pixels.

Click on any of the images below for a full sized version, though some of the links go to InterfaceLift and the iPad 2048×2048 version must be selected manually from their drop-down download menu, labeled as “new iPad (3rd gen)”. Enjoy!

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By Paul Horowitz - Customize, iPad - 11 Comments

Mac Setups: MacBook Air 11″ & Mac Mini Web Development Workstation

Mar 24, 2012 - 5 Comments

Web Developers Desk

This weeks great Mac setup comes to us from Eddie B who uses his Apple gear for web design and development. The MacBook Air serves as the primary work machine and the Mac Mini, resting below it, functions as a web server. Here’s the full hardware list:

  • MacBook Air 11″ (2011)
  • MacMini (Late 2009) used as a web development server (Git repo, test server, etc)
  • Dual Apple Cinema 20″ Displays (second screen powered by an EVGA UV Plus 19)
  • Apple Wired Aluminum Keyboard
  • Magic Mouse
  • iPad 2
  • iPhone 4
  • Griffin Elevator Laptop Stand

I’m a big fan of the Apple Cinema Displays, both old and new models have classic designs, even the later model 20″ displays shown don’t look aged whatsoever. It’s also pretty amazing that an ultra-portable Mac like the 11″ Air is powerful enough to function as a primary workstation, they really do provide the best of both worlds to users looking for portability and power.

For those in the market for a laptop stand, the Griffin Elevator laptop stand shown in the shot is hard to beat. I have the same stand for a MacBook Pro and it’s highly recommended for those who use an external monitor with a Mac laptop, it raises a laptop to eye level while providing for huge amounts of airflow underneath.

Want your Mac setup featured? Send in pictures of Apple & Mac setups to and include some brief hardware details and what you use it for.

By William Pearson - Mac Setups - 5 Comments

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