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A few years ago, when I was using Windows, I remembered an option to save your files to a specific location. When I switched over to the Mac, I noticed that I could only save to the folders that are on Finder’s sidebar (Documents, Pictures, Music, Desktop, etc.,). Saving many files this way, soon became a big time waster. Here’s how to save your files in a specific location within Finder:

  1. Click on the small blue button with an upside down triangle in the Save As window.
  2. Now you should see all of the folders in Finder.

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When you are busy, it can be somewhat complicated to keep up with everything. With me, I tend to forget about backing up my files or performing maintenance tasks on my Mac. In the past, I have used iCal to schedule meetings and appointments that I have to attend to. Surprisingly there is more to iCal than just scheduling events and to-do’s. You can schedule iCal to open up applications for you at a given time. Here’s how:

  1. Click on any date in iCal when you want to start the event.
  2. Go to File > New Event.
  3. Type in a suitable name for the event.
  4. Make sure the Info box is selected so you can edit your event settings. To do this, go to View > Show Info.
  5. Select a time (don’t forget to change PM to AM or vice versa).
  6. Now choose when to repeat this process (everyday, every month, custom etc.,).
  7. Then click on alarm, and in the pop-up select Open File. Change your application, file, or script to the one you wish to open.
  8. I recommend selecting 0 minutes before, so the file will open on time.

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When I am working, I find it more efficient to keep my hands on my keyboard at all times. There are only a select few apps for the Mac that make it easy to keep your hands off your mouse and on your keyboard. My favorite app that does this is Quicksilver. With Spotlight, you can only search for files on your Mac and that’s about it. With Quicksilver, you can: search for files on your Mac, open up bookmarks in Safari/Camino/Firefox, add a new album to iPhoto, move files to locations, and much much more. If you use Finder, you will often times notice how much clicking is involved. In Quicksilver, just type in a few keystrokes and the file you want is there. There are lots of plug-ins to enhance your Quicksilver experience, so play around and find some ones that you like. Assuming all of this may be overwhelming, I highly recommend visiting Merlin Mann’s website 43 Folders or watching his podcasts.

As I was watching an episode of MacBreak, I was amazed at how Terminal’s window was black with green text. I know how geeky these colors are, but somehow they really look good when put together. To make your Terminal window colors look like this or even another color:

  1. Go to Applications > Utilities > Terminal.
  2. Once in Terminal, go to Terminal > Window Settings…
  3. Then, a window will pop-up called Terminal Inspector.
  4. In the first drop-down menu, click on Color.
  5. If you want to take the shortcut, go to the Custom drop down menu and choose green on black.
  6. Now, if you are satisfied with that, then that’s fine, but I think that Terminal looks much better when transparent.
  7. On the bottom of this Terminal Inspector window, you’ll see Transparency with a scroll lever.
  8. Choose how transparent you want Terminal to look, I put it a little over the fifth little hash mark.
  9. To keep these settings, make sure to click Use Settings as Defaults.

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The day you purchase your first Mac, you’re probably excited and ready to go play with it. Without even thinking of buying the AppleCare Protection Plan, you head out of the Apple Store and drive home. The included warranty only lasts a year for technical problems and 90 days for AppleCare phone support. I’ve heard several stories where people had to pay a fee if they needed to call Apple because they didn’t have the AppleCare Protection Plan or the included warranty was expired. Shelling out the money for AppleCare Protection Plan saves you a lot if there appears to be a problem with your Mac. If you are still hesitant to buy the AppleCare Protection Plan, here are some nice features included with it: an additional 2 years of AppleCare phone support and technical support, repairs from Apple-authorized technicians, global repair coverage, and much more. If you have to send your Mac in for repair, AppleCare will take care of the whole process, so not even a nickel comes out of your pocket. If you are worried about losing the data on your hard-drive if your Mac needs a new hard-drive, Apple will take the same exact data on the old one and transfer it to the new hard-drive all for free with the AppleCare Protection Plan. Almost all of my questions have been answered through AppleCare’s phone support. The people with AppleCare have a specialty with every Mac OS version and applications. It should be pretty easy when you call AppleCare to find what you are looking for. It’s never too late to get the AppleCare Protection Plan, so go check it out on Apple’s Support page.

  1. Open Mail from either your dock or your Applications folder.
  2. Make sure POP access is turned on for your Gmail account. To ensure it is on, login to your Gmail account online.
    1. Go to Settings (top right corner of page).
    2. Go to the Forwarding and POP section.
    3. Click on Enable POP for all mail.
    4. Click on Save Changes.
  3. Now, Go back to Mac OS X Mail and go to File > Add Account.
  4. The General Information window should appear.
  5. Make sure POP is selected under Account Type.
  6. Type “Gmail” under Account Description.
  7. Enter your name under Full Name.
  8. Type your username@gmail.com under Email Address.
  9. Click Continue.
  10. Enter “pop.gmail.com” under Incoming Mail Server.
  11. Type your username@gmail.com under User Name.
  12. Put your Gmail password in the Password field.
  13. Click Continue.
  14. Make sure Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is checked.
  15. Select Password under Authentication.
  16. Click Continue.
  17. Type “smtp.gmail.com” under Outgoing Mail Server.
  18. Make sure Use Authentication is checked.
  19. Enter your username@gmail.com under User Name.
  20. Put your Gmail password in the Password field.
  21. Click Continue.
  22. Now click Done.
  23. You have now successfully setup your Gmail account with Mac OS X Mail!

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As many iTunes users know, iTunes is only compatible with the iPod. Many other MP3 players use their own kind of music store and/or software for downloading/uploading songs to the device. Since I happen to own a PSP along with an iPod, there is no easy way for syncing my iTunes music with my PSP. I’m aware of several shareware applications that allow the PSP to sync with my Mac, but why would I want to pay when there is SyncTunes. SyncTunes is a freeware application that will put your iTunes music onto just about every device including: Palm PDAs, Sony PSPs, Sony Ericsson K750/P910/W800i, and most MP3 players.

When I got my Mac, one of the first things I put in my applications folder was a backup app. I always worry about my files on my computer somehow or someway getting damaged. The problem with finding a good backup application, was that there were way too many of them. I searched many places to find a good one for a reasonable price. I kept hearing about SuperDuper and Carbon Copy Cloner. I have tried Carbon Copy Cloner once before and it just wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy using the interface and it did not make incremental backups. SuperDuper was a fantastic app which had a very easy interface for me and I liked it a lot. The only thing that pushed me away, was the 30 dollar price-tag. Whenever I’m getting something for my Mac, such as an application, I always look for a less expensive option out there, and 99% of the time, I find one. iBackup was the one. With iBackup, you have one of the easiest interface for making backups. To make backups in iBackup:

  1. Check off the folders on the list shown or add folders you would like to backup.
  2. Once you’ve done that, connect your backup drive and then click on the “Set…” button to set a location for iBackup to back up to.
  3. My favorite feature with iBackup is the option to backup only changed files, which saves me from having to backup my Home folder each time.
  4. Click on Settings icon to make incremental backups.
  5. Then go to the Advanced section and click “Ditto for 1 and rsync for backup 2..n”.

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