SizeUp

This is just to say that SizeUp is a piece of software that I use constantly to manage my windows on the Mac. It’s a lot like a tiling window manager, and I find it’s the best method of spatially organizing windows. I’m writing this here because I’ve never seen anybody else using it, and I can no longer imagine working without it. With just a few keystrokes, you can resize and reposition windows to a wide variety of customizable shapes and positions. It’s free to try and I strongly recommend it to anyone who ever juggles more than one window at a time.

It’s particularly geared towards a keyboard-centric control of window management, but the same developer has made a mouse-based window manager (Cinch) that might be better suited for some.

Custom Keyboard Shortcuts to Dynamic Menu Items

Here, I outline a method for adding a keyboard shortcut to menu items with dynamic names in Mac OS X. Custom keyboard shortcuts on the Mac are generally great, and you can create your own system-wide, or application-specific shortcuts in the keyboard preference pane. All you need to do is provide the precise name of the menu item you want to make a shortcut to. Instructions for how to do this can be found at lifehacker. But it's a problem if the menu item changes dynamically.

I’ve been using Versions as a svn client for a couple of weeks to help manage my writing, and so far it’s proven to be a great app. But in managing LaTeX projects, there are a lot of files that should to be ignored by the repository. Unfortunately, Versions doesn’t have a keyboard shortcut for ignoring a selected file. To make matters worse, the name of the menu item changes to reflect the selected file, so making a keyboard shortcut in the usual way doesn’t work.

I guess this wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t a keyboard junkie. But anyway, here’s how I worked around ...

Reclaim Your Mac’s Playback Control Keys

tl;dr: Run Quicktime to prevent iTunes from launching every time you use built-in keyboard controls or the Apple remote

Don’t let iTunes hijack your keyboard’s built-in playback-control keys. A lot of programs take advantage of the Apple remote, or laptops’ built-in track control buttons to let you control their playback without switching back to that app. Personally, I use Cog to play music I keep as flac.

But after upgrading to Snow Leopard, iTunes has decided to hijack those controls a bit. The buttons still control Cog, but iTunes launches whenever you press any of them. Today, I happened upon a solution: keep Quicktime Player running in the background.

What I find upsetting about this whole issue is that Apple clearly recognized that iTunes shouldn’t launch every time one of those keys is pressed. So they made Quicktime, and probably Front Row override the default behavior. But as far as I can tell, they didn’t tell anyone else how to do it.

Mac Screenshot Commands Cheat Sheet

I’m always forgetting exactly how to take screenshots on my Mac. The Shift, Command, Control, 3s and 4s all get garbled up in my head. So for my own benefit, and perhaps your own I’ve consolidated them here into a convenient list.

Command-Shift-3 :: Take a screenshot of the whole screen.
Command-Shift-4 :: Take a screenshot of an area you select.
Command-Shift-4-Space :: Take a screenshot of a window.

All these commands save a file to your Desktop. Adding the ‘Control’ key to any of them puts the image in your clipboard instead.

Additionally, you can take, or initiate screenshots from the command line using the very rich built-in screencapture command.

    usage: screencapture [-icMPmwsWxSCUto] [files]
      -c         force screen capture to go to the clipboard
      -C         capture the cursor as well as the screen. only in non-interactive modes
      -d         display errors to the user graphically
      -i         capture screen interactively, by selection or window
                   control key - causes screen shot to go to clipboard
                   space key   - toggle between mouse selection and
                                 window selection modes
                   escape key  - cancels interactive screen shot
      -m         only capture the main monitor, undefined if -i is set
      -M         screen capture output will go to a new Mail message
      -o         in ...