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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 February 15, 2019

                      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                      Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                      Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                      Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                      So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                      Joe’s Goals

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                        Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                        Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                        Daytum

                          Daytum

                          is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                          Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                          Excel or Numbers

                            If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                            What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                            Evernote

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                              I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                              Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                              Access or Bento

                                If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                                Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                                You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                                Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                                All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                                Conclusion

                                I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                                What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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