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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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                  Last Updated on May 14, 2019

                  8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                  8 Replacements for Google Notebook

                  Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

                  1. Zoho Notebook
                    If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
                  2. Evernote
                    The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
                  3. Net Notes
                    If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
                  4. i-Lighter
                    You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
                  5. Clipmarks
                    For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
                  6. UberNote
                    If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
                  7. iLeonardo
                    iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
                  8. Zotero
                    Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

                  I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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                  In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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