Alarm Clock Pro is a good alternative to filling your calendar with alarms and events. You can easily set alarms for specific times or intervals. These alarms can trigger scripts, sounds, alerts and actions for a variety of purposes.
The Digital Color Meter is a utility that comes with your Mac that lets you find the color of a pixel on your screen. This can be very useful for artists and developers. You can grab the color of a pixel from an image or web page. You can also get the average color of a group of pixels and get the exact pixel location of the cursor.
The Unarchiver is a free utility that will help you if you need to decompress files of different archive types that are not supported by Mac's built-in Archive Utility. You can decompress old SIT archives and odd download archives like RAR.
You can obtain fonts from a variety of sources: retail packages, clipart web sites, font web sites and the Mac App Store. In most cases, you end up with a file that contains the font and need to install it. Just double-clicking on the file will launch the Font Book app on your Mac and you can install that font, and manage the rest of your fonts using this app.
There are many apps that come with your Mac that you can use in school. The Dictionary app is more than just a way to look up definitions. You can also use it to browse and search the world's largest encyclopedia. The Grapher and Calculator apps come in useful, and the free Google Maps app can help with geography. But perhaps the most useful educational app is iTunes because of access to thousands of free lessons through iTunes U.
I often hear myths and misconceptions about Macs in the comments and questions I get at MacMost. Here are some of the most common ones I see.
Hidden in your Applications/Utilities folder is the complex graphing program Grapher. You can use it to plot 2D and 3D equations on your Mac. You can also export 3D animated graphs. Very useful for math students or those who use complex equations in their work.
TypeStyler is an old Mac graphics tool that has reappeared in the new Mac App Store. You can use it to create beautiful text complete with textures, 3D effects, curves and other elements. It is a handy tool if you need to create titles for projects.
In your Mac's Applications folder you've got a Calculator app that you probably haven't given a second look. This is much more than a simple utility. You can use it in scientific and programmer mode, convert units, time and currency, work in octal and hexadecimal, produce a tape of your calculations, and even get it to talk to you.
Some Universal Access features in Snow Leopard can be used by everyone. You can enlarge the cursor, get feedback when you type, zoom in to see pixels and more.
In episode number 500 of MacMost Now, Gary Rosenzweig takes a look at the Mac App Store. After updating to Mac OS X 10.6.6 you can browse, purchase and download Macintosh software using the Mac App Store, which fundamentally changes the way Mac users get software.
If you are not a computer expert fixing problems can be difficult. Here are some basic things you can do to troubleshoot issues. But persistent problems can usually only be fixed with first-hand help.
You can use the application Text Expander and other programs like it. You assign shortcuts to longer pieces of text, so that when you type a few characters, those characters are replaced with the longer piece of text. It works in any Mac program. ;
One option for screen captures and recording is Snapz Pro. It offers more options than the standard capture ability in Mac OS X, such as being able to follow the cursor around and record anything on the screen. It comes with a high price tag, however.
If you have accidentally deleted an essential Mac application, like TextEdit, Preview, iCal, Address Book or the QuickTime Player, you can get it back without reinstalling your entire system. The packages for these files are on your Mac OS X installation disks. It is just a matter of knowing where to find them and how to get at some of the ones that are somewhat hidden.
When you print a document you are faced with many options. You might not realize, however, that these options vary depending on which printer you use and which application you are printing from.
You can quit an application using the Finder, Dock, keyboard, Terminal and even your voice. Also learn how to force quit applications. See how many of these you knew about.
You can launch an application using the Finder, Dock, keyboard, Terminal and even your voice. See how many of these you knew about.
You can print envelopes, mailing labels and two kinds of lists from Address Book. You can also print to a PDF file to put a list on another device or send in an email.
Many take the file open and save dialogs for granted, but there are a lot of power user actions and keyboard shortcuts that can make these tools easier to use. You can navigate around your drive space with drag and drop, the keyboard, sidebar, the media browser and more.
While it is easy to take Software Update for granted, there are actually a few options you can choose and methods of delaying, ignoring or finding out more about the updates. You can also manually download most Apple updates.
Mac OS X allows you to declare a file as a Stationery Pad. When you double click a Stationery Pad, instead of editing this file, you will instantly create a new copy. This is handy for making simple document templates.
Learn interface window basics like resizing, closing and opening new windows. Learn how the red, yellow and green buttons at the upper left of most windows work.
You can use Activity Monitor to see how your Mac is using memory. But what do free, active, inactive and wired mean? How about page ins and page outs? Plus, learn to use them to figure out if you need more memory.
Before you buy a professional word processor consider using TextEdit, a program that comes with your Mac and can handle most non-professional word processing needs. You can format and style text, add images, lists and tables, and even open Word docs.
You can use Preview in Snow Leopard to merge documents and pages within documents. It works a little differently than it did in Leopard because you can have multiple documents in the sidebar which can confuse things.
The free Mac OS X extension Growl allows some of your applications to send you screen and audible notifications when events occur, like incoming email or completed downloads. You can even pass these notifications on to your iPhone. Check it out to see if it is something you can use.
When you print documents from your Mac just to read them away from your desk, you can choose Layout in the print dialog to save paper. You can put 2, 4 or more pages onto one sheet of paper this way. It is handy for long documents and multi-page receipts.
The free program Scratch from MIT allows you to learn how to program using a simple drag-and-drop interface. You can make and share your own games. You can even view examples made by others. This is great for children and adults who want to learn basic programming.