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Level Up OS X With These 8 Mountain Lion Tips and Tricks

Level Up OS X With These 8 Mountain Lion Tips and Tricks

OS X Mountain Lion is the next step in making a “traditional” desktop operating system more like iOS. Some call it iOSification while others call it annoying and not needed. Personally, I like the direction, but just because Apple thinks something in your OS “should be a certain way” doesn’t mean that it has to be. And what’s awesome, is that Apple has relented on some of Lion’s changes to appease the power user.

Here are 8 Mountain Lion tips and tricks to make this the greatest version of OS X yet.

Take your power back with Save As!

What a weird sub-heading. Apple has been trying to change what users think the “document model” should be in operating systems. On iOS we don’t really ever see files (unless you are a serious GoodReader user), so why not make OS X the same, right?

Well, many “power users” were upset about this change, so instead of doing a hack, you can get back Save As by simply pressing the Option key (⌥) when you are in the File menu of an application. Or, better yet, you can use the shortcut Option+Shift+Command+S (⌥⇧⌘S).

Turn off Notification Center quickly

You are trying to get things done right? Not so easy when you have the new Notification Center blaring down your right side. Rather than go into System Preferences and cleaning up your notifications, quickly turn it off by holding Option (⌥) and clicking on the Notification Center Icon in the menu bar.

    Notification Center Off

      Notification Center On

      Make your Mac act more like a Mac and less like an iOS device

      There are a couple of annoyances that happened in Lion that can be cleared up in Mountain Lion, that is, if you are as annoyed as I am by them. One was the weird behavior of scroll bars. To keep your scroll bars from disappearing go to System Preferences > General and choose “Always” under Show scroll bars.

        Make your scroll bars functional again

        Also, you can change the behavior of the scroll bar when you click on it in a long document. Instead of only jumping to the next page, you can jump to the proportional spot in the document that you clicked on the sidebar.

        One more for the General settings, instead of Mountain Lion saving all of your changes for you automatically, you can turn that off and have the familiar pop-up when you are closing a document when you haven’t saved. Also, you can revert your changes since the last time you saved.

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          Setup your social profiles

          Are you a social media nerd? Well, it’s easy to integrate Flickr, Vimeo and Twitter by simply going to System Preferences > Mail, Contacts, and Calendars and selecting which one you want. Boom.

          Facebook integration is coming soon (if you are into that sort of thing).

            After you add your accounts you can then use Twitter right in Safari and upload videos and pictures from iPhoto to Vimeo and Flickr.

            Take Note(s)

            The Notes app is new to OS X with Mountain Lion and it’s basically as you would expect; pretty much a copy of the iOS version. Oh, other than the fact that it’s basically a Rich Text Editor on OS X. You can insert lists (bulleted, dashed, numbered), align text, change to any number of system fonts, and much more.

             

            Another couple of nice touches are that you can add photos to a note by simply dragging them in to the current note. Pictures don’t currently sync with iOS, but maybe that’s coming in iOS 6. Also, you can organize your notes by folder on your Mac by going to View > Show folders list and then right clicking on the folder bar and choosing New Folder.

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              One last tip with Notes is that you can share a note via Mail or Messages by going to File > Share.

                Inline find in Mail

                Mail isn’t necessarily my favroite email application, but it has gotten much better over the last two iterations of OS X. A new addition is the inline search function in Mail. Simply go to a message and hit Command+F (⌘F) to enter inline search mode.

                  You will now have a tiny search box above your message and it works a lot like searching in a web page in Safari.

                  Tabs in the cloud

                  Something else that works surprisingly well for me is the new iCloud Tabs in Safari. All you have to do is sign into iCloud and enable Safari in iCloud settings. You can now see all of your open tabs on your other signed-in and enabled devices.

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                    See your groups

                    Another annoying trend (depends on who you ask) is how Apple is trying to make everything look like the real thing (Skeuomorphism). This can be a problem when you want to see all of your data and not some little tears of paper or a page flipping, but I digress.

                    In contacts you can get your groups back by simply going to View > Groups or ⌘1. Also, in Calendars you can see your calendar lists by going to View > Show calendar list.

                      What are some tips you have picked up over the last couple of weeks with Mountain Lion? If you have any, make sure to share them with us in the comments.

                      More by this author

                      CM Smith

                      A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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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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