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9 Most Useful Built-in Tools In Mac That You May Have Forgotten

9 Most Useful Built-in Tools In Mac That You May Have Forgotten

Mac OS X comes with a number of practical and versatile built-in tools, which can help enhance productivity and simplify your tasks. We often end up overlooking some of these easily available and handy features, which are jam packed with potential. Here is my cheat sheet of the top 10 default tools that you may have forgotten about.

1. Grapher

Access: Finder – Utilities – Applications – Grapher

For math geeks as well as those intimidated by equations, Grapher is a powerful tool to visualize pesky formulae. The software sketches out 2D and 3D graphs in seconds from any mathematical equation. In fact, it can chart multiple equations at once. The interface is simple with three panes: equation editor on the top, equation list on the left, and the graph area. Use the Inspector button on the top right corner to change colors, line type and other attributes of the graph. Eliminate dabbling with your paper and pen, and add Grapher to your list of must-use applications.

Grapher2

    2. Dictation

    Access: Apple – System Preferences – Dictation & Speech

    Available in Mac OS X Mountain Lion and later versions, you can use Dictation to speak to your Mac and translate words into text. You have to be explicit with punctuations – like saying aloud ‘comma, ‘quotation mark’, ‘all caps’ or ‘new line’ will do as the name implies. The computer will listen to your dictation for 30 seconds at a time. OS X Mavericks also offers Enhanced Dictation without an active internet connection.

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    Dictation2

      3. Automator

      Access: Finder – Applications – Automator

      With Automator, you no longer have to repeat your daily and tedious tasks.  Many users shy away from this tool because it looks difficult to implement at first glance. But once you get the hang of it, it can significantly reduce the time taken for mundane activities. To name a few of its features, you can rename multiple files or images at once, automatically quit applications at designated days and times and convert a text file into audio in no time.

      Automator

        4. Screen Sharing

        Access: Apple – System Preferences – Sharing

        This robust and user friendly feature lets you connect to another Mac on your network and display its screen on your computer. It’s helpful when you want to remotely trouble shoot on a parent’s computer, collaborate on a project and access your home Mac on the go. If you have an iCloud account, you can use Back to Mac to share a Mac screen on a remote network as well.

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        ScreenSharing2

          5. Podcast Publisher

          Access: Finder – Applications – Utilities – Podcast Publisher

          Podcast Publisher enables you to record audio and video podcasts of professional quality. I particularly enjoy ‘trimming’, an editing feature that aids in removing unnecessary parts of my clip. For some of us, creating content is the easy part but distributing it efficiently is a taller task at hand.  With this application, you can easily share your podcast to iTunes, email it to another person, save it on your desktop or publish it on the Podcast Library. You can also record your Mac’s screen real time to demo something instantly.

          PodcastPublisher

            6. Preview

            Access: Finder – Applications – Preview

            Preview is probably the most underrated and unspoken treasures in the Mac OS X. Aside from the the basic PDF viewing utility, it is equipped with a host of other functionalities.  You can annotate files, insert new pages, magnify a specific portion of the document and sign PDFs without printing them. Besides, you can crop, rotate and resize popular image files such as JPEG, TIFF, GIF and PNG.

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            Preview2

              7. Terminal

              Access: Finder – Applications – Utilities – Terminal

              Analogous to the Windows command prompt, Terminal lets you communicate directly with the core of the Mac. It is more powerful than Automator and has a whooping number of useful features, that makes it worth even for a casual Mac user to learn a few basic commands. Have you ever been unsuccessful in permanently deleting a file because its locked and you can’t identify the culprit? Terminal will do it in a second using the ‘rm’ command. Want to have some fun and make your Mac talk to you? Use the ‘say’ command in Terminal.

              Refer to a more exhaustive list of Terminal commands here.

              8. Boot Camp Assistant

              Access: Finder – Applications – Utilities – Boot Camp Assistant

              Sometimes the most loyal Apple supporters need Windows on their Mac, be it for customized office software or the latest PC games. Boot Camp lets you choose between Windows and Mac OS X when you turn on your computer.  It will create the necessary Windows partition without erasing your existing OS X data. But remember, you still have to buy the Windows license!

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              BootcampAssistant

                9. Wi-Fi Diagnostics

                Access: Finder – Go – System – Library – CoreServices – Wi-Fi Diagnostics

                Diagnostics is a shy and lonesome tool but does wonders by tweaking your Wi-Fi for optimal performance. It monitors signal strength and noise by providing a real-time graph. Observing what makes your signal drop from time to time can prove to be an addictive pastime! If anyone attempts to connect to your network, the Record Events function logs it along with the date and time. For those into debugging a network, the Capture Raw Frames can seize all traffic on the wireless network for later analysis.

                Diagnostics

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                  Published on January 18, 2019

                  Best 5 Language Learning Apps to Easily Master a New Language

                  Best 5 Language Learning Apps to Easily Master a New Language

                  Learning a new language is no easy feat. While a language instructor is irreplaceable, language learning apps have come to revolutionize a lot of things and it has made language learning much easier. Compared to language learning websites, apps offer a more interactive experience to learn a new language.

                  The following language learning apps are the top recommended apps for your language learning needs:

                  1. Duolingo

                    Duolingo is a very successful app that merged gamification and language learning. According to Expanded Ramblings, the app now counts with 300 million users.

                    Duolingo offers a unique concept, an easy-to-use app and is a great app to accompany your language acquisition journey. The courses are created by native speakers, so this is not data or algorithm-based.

                    The app is free and has the upgrade options with Duolingo Plus for $9.99, which are add free lessons. The mobile app offers 25 languages and is popular for English-speaking learners learning other languages.

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                    Download the app

                    2. HelloTalk

                      HelloTalk aims to facilitate speaking practice and eliminate the stresses of a real-time and life conversation. The app allows users to connect to native speakers and has a WhatsApp like chat that imitates its interface.

                      There is a perk to this app. The same native speakers available also want to make an even exchange and learn your target language, so engagement is the name of the game.

                      What’s more, the app has integrated translation function that bypasses the difficulties of sending a message with a missing word and instead fills in the gap.

                      Download the app

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                      3. Mindsnacks

                        Remember that Duolingo has integrated gamification in language learning? Well, Mindsnacks takes the concept to another level. There is an extensive list of languages available within the app comes with eight to nine games designed to learn grammar, vocabulary listening.

                        You will also be able to visualize your progress since the app integrates monitoring capabilities. The layout and interface is nothing short of enjoyable, cheerful and charming.

                        Download the app

                        4. Busuu

                          Bussu is a social language learning app. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS. It currently supports 12 languages and is free.

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                          The functionality allows users to learn words, simple dialogues and questions related to the conversations. In addition, the dialogues are recorded by native speakers, which brings you close to the language learning experience.

                          When you upgrade, you unlock important features including course materials. The subscription is $17 a month.

                          Download the app

                          5. Babbel

                            Babbel is a subscription-based service founded in 2008. According to LinguaLift, it is a paid cousing of Duolingo. The free version comes with 40 classes, and does not require you to invest any money.

                            Each of the classes starts with with a sequential teaching of vocabulary with the help of pictures. The courses are tailor made and adapted to the students’ level, allowing the learning to be adjusted accordingly.

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                            If you started learning a language and stopped, Babbel will help you pick up where you started.

                            Download the app

                            Takeaways

                            All the apps recommended are tailored for different needs, whether you’re beginning to learn a language or trying to pick back up one. All of them are designed by real-life native speakers and so provide you with a more concrete learning experience.

                            Since these apps are designed to adapt to different kinds of learning styles, do check out which one is the most suitable for you.

                            Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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