Outstreched arm

Saturday, July 02, 2005

OS X hints from an OS X newbie

You know what sucks about page-embedded Quicktime movies (and other formats similarly included on webpages)? You're stuck with the video size deemed sufficient by the page author, normally a maximum of 320 x 240: no good for watching long videos or sharing them with a room full of people. There's help, though! If you're on OS X, its Universal Access features (meant for handicapped individuals) can assist in presumably unintended ways. Go to System Preferences (under the Apple menu) and check out Universal Access. Turn on the Zoom feature - the default settings are perfect. Now, when at any time you wish to enlarge any portion of the screen, hit Option Command =. Option Command - will zoom you out, obviously (you'll have to hit it more than once, it zooms out in steps.) So next time you watch the Daily Show clips, zoom in and sit back. I'm sure you'll find myriad other uses for this swanky zoom tool.

I used to use Firefox on my Mac, but Safari 2.0 absolutely won me over - I prefer its idea of displaying feeds, and it's fast. I still use Firefox on my work PC, and there's one thing I miss when I browse with Safari - having the search bar (that's the thing in the top-right corner) use more than one search engine. Why? I use GIS, Wikipedia, and Dictionary.com all the time. Guess what - there's a Safari solution! It's AcidSearch, a very simple, unobtrusive, and free search bar manager. It's absolutely necessary. I wish it added auto-complete functionality to the search bar as well, but it packs something possibly even better: Find-as-you-type. It's disabled by default, but once you enable it, you can just start typing your search within the page without bringing up the Find dialog (Command F) - another thing I adored in Firefox. I hope Google Suggest becomes the standard and this real-time search business takes off...

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