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Aug 21

Key Commands


Legend has it that the mouse was always meant as a ‘learning’ tool and eventually we were meant to graduate to key commands. Well that didn’t work out so well did it!

The mouse is vital, I think we all agree, but there are a number of very useful key commands that can be used in combination with the mouse to help speed things up.

Here then, are some useful key commands that can be used to speed up your day.

Lets start with the Finder, that smiling Face icon in your Dock that controls how the Mac actually administers files, menus and windows. (that’s windows with a small ‘w’ not Windows – that OTHER operating system) then I will move to other applications.


Shift-Command -Q will log you out but you’ll be asked to confirm this is what you want to do.

This is instead of: Clicking on the Apple menu and choosing Logout

Option-Shift-Command -Q will log you out without asking.

Command-Tab will let you cycle through all your applications. Keep pressing the Tab key until the application you want is highlighted then release and the application will come to the foreground.

This is instead of: Moving down to the dock and clicking on the application you want.

Command-spacebar will bring up Spotlight search.

This is instead of: Clicking on the Spotlight menu icon in the upper menu.

Pressing the Esc key or command-spacebar again will make it disappear.

Command-N will bring up a new Finder window.

This is instead of: Clicking on the File menu and choosing New Finder Window

Command-Shift-N will create a new folder on the desktop or open window.

This is instead of: Clicking on the Finder menu and choosing New Folder.

Shift-Command-O will open the Documents folder.

This is instead of: locating the Documents folder in the sidebar or drilling down though your disk to find it.

Shift-Command-A will open the Applications folder.

This is instead of: locating the Applications folder in the sidebar or drilling down though your disk to find it.


Command-N will open a new mail.

This is instead of: Click on the File menu and choosing New Message.

Fun Fact… you can press the TAB key to move to Subject and then TAB again to the message field and start typing. Then…

Command-Shift-D will send the email.

This is instead of: Clicking on the Send Mail icon.

Command-Q will exit the application. (This is true for all applications )

This is instead of: Clicking on the File menu and choosing Quit.

Any Application

Command-Q will exit the application.

This is instead of: This is instead of: Clicking on the File menu and choosing Quit.

Command-P will print the open document.

This is instead of: This is instead of: Clicking on the File menu and choosing print.

Command-S will save the document.

This is instead of: This is instead of: Clicking on the File menu and choosing Save.

These are just a couple of my favourite and most often used key commands. There a heap more and a good list can be found here on the Apple website.

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Jun 15

There is a CD drive lurking in your house

Remember CDs? Those things that used to have music on them. Those things that used to dominate every office draw and cram the shelves in every electronics store?

I last saw one in a movie starring Madonna before her nose job.

Anyway point is they are not used much anymore and your recently purchased laptop or iMac doesn’t have a CD drive at all.

Now while it is true that Apple (and others) will sell you a fancy external CD drive (if you really feel the need to have something to pull out of a draw once every few years), the fact is you’ve probably already got a CD drive in your house that can be used by all your laptops and skinny iMacs?

If you have a 2010 or earlier iMac or MacBook in the house you can actually use the Remote Disc option to access CD or DVD data on your new, cd driveless, Mac.

This is how…

1. Locate your old iMac/MacBook. It will be the fat one with the slot running down one edge.

2. Click on the Apple menu and choose System Preferences.

3. Click on Sharing.

4. Put a tick next to DVD or CD sharing and, if you want a hassle free experience, be sure to uncheck the Ask me before allowing others… option.

5. Go to your new Mac and open any window and click on the Remote Disc icon in the sidebar.

Magically your old iMac will appear and then, in the fullness of time, so shall your CD. From here you can open the CD and install software or access the data just like it was 2001.

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Jun 15

How do you play music in your lounge room?

I am wondering… do you have hundreds, maybe thousands, of songs on your iPhone or iPod. Do you have just as many CDs in the cupboard? Perhaps these CDs helped create the empire of music on your idevice?

But is this music only played in certain places or particular times? Is your workout rocked out to playlists you’ve skilfully mashed together while your dinner parties are forever linked to a few Elvis Presley CDs on loop? (I am talking to you Cyn)

Well your sleepless nights are over because there is a way that all the music that the Internet has to offer, as well as the music collection you have been forging, can be everywhere and enjoyed by everybody.

Apple TV

I have written about Apple’s little hobby before but in recent months it has started to emerge as a very important part of Apple’s overall strategy. It is rumoured to be the centre piece in their Homekit products but for now it is just a little black box that beams iTunes, Netflix, movies and TV Shows into your living room. And it can do music as well.

It is a fair bet that most people have a TV and that this TV is less than 5 years old. In this case it is likely to have HDMI and that, as well as the assumed internet connection, is all you need to have the Apple TV pump music into your living room.

Apple Music

Because the Apple TV is primarily used to play movies and TV, it is usually plugged into a sound system of some kind allowing it to belt out the movies soundtrack to levels worthy of a knock at the front door. This also means that it will play your music at, hopefully, more subdued levels.

If you have an Apple Music subscription then this will be an option on the screen and all you do is choose your favourite artist or station and enjoy your night.

Your Music

Of course the other option is to enjoy the music that is sitting – these days increasingly unloved – on your Mac. The Computers option will allow you to connect to your Mac and play all your music and playlists – assuming you have launched iTunes on your Mac first.

Your iPhone or iPad 



By far the sexiest – and most likely to be abused by your guests – is the Airplay option. Assuming your iPad or iPhone is connected to the same network as your Apple TV, you can always use the AirPlay option to stream all the music from your iPhone or iPad to your speakers via the Apple TV. Only drawback here is dinner guests often want to use their iPhone or iPad to pump out their Elvis music – on loop.

Open Music on your iPhone or iPad and tap on the Source icon.

Then choose your Apple TV and play music in the usual way. Instead of playing from your iPhone it will come out via the speakers attached to your Apple TV.


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Jun 14

RansomWare attacks remind us to keep our macs up-to-date

The recent Ransomware attack on May, 2017 was big news. Really big.

This was mainly because the Wannacry virus hit Government servers and shut down hospitals and other services all around the world, thus threatening global finance and lives. It was, in fact, the largest Ransomware attack in history.

As this was a Windows only attack I could fill this article about Windows vs Mac. I could bleat on for pages about how much better off we are owning a Mac. How we can sleep well at night not having to worry about such things. How we get to enjoy the full potential of our chosen platform without constantly worrying about building electronic walls and guarding them 24/7.

I could.  But I won’t.

Instead I am going to use this to remind us all about the benefits of staying up to date with software and hardware.

The simple truth is this all could have been avoided by simply keeping up to date.

The very exploit the WannaCrypt virus took advantage of had, in fact, been patched by Microsoft months and months before any hospital servers crashed or welfare cheques refused to print. What is more this attack exposed the fact that over 8% of the words computers still run Windows XP – an operating system that first arrived 16 years ago and was last patched in 2001*. And if that wasn’t bad enough it was discovered that the next largest lump of Windows out there is Windows 7 and that was replaced in 2012 by the schizophrenic Windows 8.

These old systems hadn’t been supported or patched and Microsoft had been saying for years that people needed to update. But they were ignored and these government departments and hospitals continued to use these old systems for various reasons, not least of which was cost. They thought it cheaper to stay with what they had rather than invest in newer, supported machines but I dare say they are regretting that now.

Now this is fine if the computers in question are disconnected from the internet but a large portion are not and that is the same as leaving your front door open with a neon sign above flashing “Money is under the mattress – help yourself we are out till 10pm”

So what, I am sure you are wondering by now, does this have to do with us Mac users? We already know better than to buy Windows in the first place? Right?

Well the truth is, we are not immune. Ransomware has been found in illegally downloaded software and in legal software downloaded from a compromised boutique websites.**

But I am not suggesting that we run around screaming with our hands flapping in the air but rather consider if we are as up to date as possible. And if not, why not.

Is it because we are holding onto an old piece of software that just does a better job than the newer versions? Is it because we still love our 2007 iMac and it still does everything we want? All these reasons are very valid but the fact that our Macs (2007 or otherwise) are still connected to the internet. And when you realise that the internet is like a giant cavern that is a fountain of knowledge, a wonder and a source of endless possibilities all while simultaneously trying to rob us blind, you will quickly see that a 2007 iMac running 10.6.8 is a bit like going into a knife fight wearing a vest.

I think if this terrible tragedy has taught us anything it is that we should keep our Macs up to date with the latest (or close to the latest) OS. We should keep all our software up to date and when our hardware makes any of this impossible it is time  – regrettably – to say goodbye. We need to keep backups up to date and passwords need to be varied and strong.

*  Microsoft have been releasing patches in the wake of this attack but know one can, or should, expect them to do this forever.

** It has also recently been found in the AppStore and other well respected sites.

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