It’s iSensei’s Fave FAQs
Here’s a few answers to a few questions sent in by our studio audience. We ain’t playing that game no more but you might find this info useful anyway.
• What can I do about the small type sizes on some websites (even your’s iSensei!)?
All you have to do is press Command-= (for plus/enlargement) or Command-- (i.e. dash, for minus/reduction). TRY IT! You’re staring at the screen right now, right? Cut loose, blow IT UP! Shrink it. It don’t care.
What if it all gets out of control? Well, then just press Command-0 (i.e. zero) to return to Actual Size (well, that’s what THEY call it). Good news plus? These all work in Safari, Firefox and Chrome.
And a Bonus tip: In Safari only, it would appear, press Command-` (you know, the reverse apostrophe thingie in the upper left of the keyboard) and you will cycle through all the open browser windows you have. Trés convenient!
• What is the program DISK UTILITY, and why do you keep insisting I run it?
Well, first of all, you do things iSensei tells you because he knows better than you, right? (We’ve talked about this before, gang! Absolute obedience!) Kidding. I think. ANYWAY, DISK UTILITY comes free with every Mac sold. It resides in the UTILITIES folder within the APPLICATIONS folder, where all your other apps are.
Inside the UTS folder, you’ll see DISK UTILITY. Double-click to launch, select the name of your Hard Drive from the list in the upper left column (usually the default name: “MACINTOSH HD”, unless it’s been renamed: “BUFFY’S MACBOOK” or something). Then click on the REPAIR DISK PERMISSIONS button What does it do then, exactly? Don’t ask. It basically fixes little stuff that goes wrong and confuses your computer. Rarely deadly but can cause troubles. Good for a fix anytime things are acting weird with your Mac.
This’ll take a few minutes (or more) and when it’s done, hopefully, there’ll be a list of things it repaired, if any were necessary. The list CAN get long but don’t be frightened. If you’ve never run it before, it’ll have a lot to deal with. Ideally it’ll eventually say: PERMISSIONS REPAIR COMPLETE. Yay! (If it doesn’t, call the doctor and take two aspirins). Now you’re ready to install the Latest and Greatest.
Remember, you don’t have to upgrade to MTN LION today, but eventually, you should, as it’ll be more likely to be able to defend you against potential malware and virus attack and the like. Plus you get the benefits offered by the new system! Huzzah!
And a Bonus tip: For quick access to either folder, make sure you’re in the FINDER/DESKTOP. (you’ll see FINDER in the upper left menu by little Apple icon). Press Command-Shift-A to open your APPLICATIONS folder or Command-Shift-U to open the UTILITIES folder.
• How do I know what program I’m in?
You can always tell by looking at the menu bar the top of the screen and the boldface word to the right of the little Apple icon indicates what program is in the foreground.
• Files I’m working on disappear or the menu changes. Help!
You most likely just temporarily switched to another program by clicking one of its visible windows. Simplest way to get back is to click on the desired program in the ever-handy Dock.
•What should I do when I get those annoying messages that pop up telling me to accept some update thingie? I can make them go away but they’re just going to come back. Can I make them go away forever? I don’t want to be bothered.
Oh, brother. Click here, My Naive One.
• Why does my screen look so dim sometimes? Am I running out of power?
Well, you could be dim AND weakening, but with Apple laptops, those are conditions that can be easily rectified (but not for you). First, check your keyboard. See the two sun keys in the top row left? That brightens and dims the screen. Also MacBooks automatically dim when they’re not plugged in to save power (brightness chews at the battery quick like). Try going to System Preferences under the Apple menu and select Display. There you can also control brightness but for laptops there’s an additional option to have the machine auto-set brightness based on your environment. I usually turn that off for complete control.
Oh, and for iOS devices (iStuff), go to Settings > Brightness & Wallpaper. Specific to the iPad, when it’s unlocked, double-press the Home button, which pops up the iPad dock-like thingie and slide that all the way to the right, so you end up seeing the far left of the dock ribbon. There is Brightness!
• What’s the “Apple” key people sometimes refer to? I don’t see it on my Mac anywhere. It’s what the Command key used to be called back-in-the-day (what? The 2000s called and want that hokey old phrase returned?! Good, they can have it!) Rather than the “moebius knot” graphic (as iSi calls it) currently on the Command key, there used to be a little Apple icon, hence its nickname.I’ve heard you can switch back & forth quickly between programs. How does that work? Good question, me! Hold down the Command key (next to the Spacebar) with your thumb and with another finger tap on the Tab key. You’ll then see all the launched programs. As long as you keep your thumb down, the Tab key will take you to the app you want or any other open app. When you’re over the one you want just release your thumb and voila, you are transported. May seem awkward at first but keep at it. Very useful.
And a Bonus tip: If you press/hold the Command key and tap the Tab key once, it will switch you back in forth between your two most recently used programs. Cool!
• Some people get this alternative-like menu thing when they click their mouse. I don’t. WHY?!?
Slow down there, cowgirl, all is not lost. What you’re seeing is one of the greatest little helpers on your computer. It’s called a Contextual Menu and many people aren’t even aware it exists, partially because the Mac was traditionally a one-button mouse computer. (Steve treasured simplicity, y’know). Try clicking on the mouse’s right button (if it has one) or the right side of the smooth-top Apple mice. If you don’t get a pop-up menu with a whole lot of new options, go to System Preferences > Mouse (also Trackpad) and select the option for Right-Click. Then just start right-clicking on everything and you’ll see why it’s called a “contextual” menu (cuz it changes options to suit the item being clicked). Oh, and if there’s no option to turn on right clicking in Sys Prefs, it’s likely because you have a third-party (non-Apple) mouse.
• What’s the difference between the “LIKE” and “SHARE” buttons on the web?
When you click on the LIKE button, it just adds that ‘vote’ into an aggregate “Thumbs Up” sort of rating, displaying the total number of people who clicked it. It’s just a measurement of relative success for the article/posting/site. SHARE is where you send a URL/link to someone because you want them to check that site/page out. They click on the link received via email or one of many SocNet sites (like Twitter, Facebook, etc) and are instantly transported to the source of the link.
• How do I take a picture of the windows or the desktop?
Shift-Command-3: Saves a picture of whatever is on your screen. All of it.
Shift-Command-Control-3: Takes the shot as above but saves that picture directly to the clipboard.
Shift-Command-4: Gives you crosshair cursor so you can select exactly what you want.
Shift-Command-Control-4: Takes the shot as above but saves that picture directly to the clipboard.
An all-time fave and immensely useful. More here.