Posts Tagged With: general

Mac OS X: Handy Tips, Tricks and Tweaks you may not know about… the Dock

Tip 1: Tweak your Dock

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Many people don’t realise that you can put any application, file or folder straight in to your Dock for easy access.  It’s really simple!

So (as many people already know) for applications you can either:

a.) Open your Applications folder and drag the app into your Dock (it must be on the left-hand side of the dotted dividing line)

or,

b.) When the app is open and running, right click on the icon that appears in the dock and select

Options > Keep in Dock

Screen shot 2013-07-19 at 15.13.40

And for files and folders:

Simply drag and drop them in to the Dock (they must be on the right-hand side of the dotted dividing line).

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Tip 2: Keep your Applications Folder handy

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Categories: Mac, Mac & OS X, Macbook Pro | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How to Convert eBooks using Calibre

There are many places you can convert various formats to ePub online for free.  I have not actually used any so I can’t vouch for the quality or efficiency of said sites.  In any case, I prefer to be able to convert regardless of whether I have an internet connection.  So I use Calibre to convert all my eBooks to ePub format. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, Calibre is free eBook/eReader software which can convert many eBook formats into ePub.  You can read more about Calibre in my post here.  Although I have not tested it, I know that it also has the function to convert the other way.  But it’s worth mentioning that this function is available.  The official list of convertible formats is as follows: Continue reading

Categories: Calibre (eReader software), e-Books & e-Readers, e-Readers, e-Reading Software, Kobo Touch | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Install Fonts on a Kobo: Step by Step

I recently found out that it is possible to install new fonts on a Kobo Touch.  After reading information on several different sites I finally managed to get this working.  And it was actually really simple to do.  So to save anyone else the hassle, here is a step by step guide.  This is a comprehensive guide so some of the steps may seem obvious.  But I thought I may as well be as detailed as possible seeing as I get really frustrated when people write incomplete guides. 

OK, here we go. Continue reading

Categories: e-Books & e-Readers, e-Readers, Kobo Touch | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Show Mounted Drives on your Desktop by Default

It can be a problem remembering which discs are currently mounted and which ones you have unmounted (ejected).  When I first got my Macbook Pro I wasn’t used to unmounting things and was constantly removing external drives physically without thinking. 

This is not only annoying because of the nagging reminder

but it’s also bad for your Mac.

By default OS X does not show mounted drives on your desktop.

But I think having them visible is the easiest way to keep track of what you’ve got mounted.  Especially seeing as a drive can be unmounted but still physically plugged in to your Mac.  That way you can actually physically see the devices that need to be ejected.

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So, to avoid the stupid “disk not ejected properly” extravaganza…

The solution is really simple – just set OS X to show all the drives which are mounted by default.

1.)  Click on Finder.

2.)  Go to Finder > Preferences

3.)  Select the drives you want to have visible.

I don’t actually have my “Hard disks” visible as I never mount or unmount internal HDs.  But with my current settings (above) all external items – phones, cameras, iPods, external HDDs, DVDs, CDs etc. – show up as icons on my desktop.

Now you can see exactly what’s going on with your drives. 

Plus you never have to see that annoying message ever again. 

Hooray!

Categories: Mac, Mac & OS X, Macbook Pro | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ubuntu 10.10 – General Software

Depending on whether you do a custom or a default install you may or may not have the following programs.  After using Ubuntu for the last 6 months I recommend the following programs.  Remember, these are all FREE so if you don’t use them you can just uninstall them and it hasn’t cost you anything.  I actually think a lot of these are better than the programs you pay for.  Especially Video LAN Player.  I haven’t yet found a single video file type it can’t open.

To install these programs I usually use Synaptic Package Manager.  If you prefer to use the Terminal or the Ubuntu Software Centre that’s fine too.  I like using Synaptic Package Manager because it recommends you all the extra bits you might need for compatibility and such.  However, the Terminal is the quickest way so I will give the Terminal command for each one, and a detailed Ubuntu Software Centre/Synaptic Package Manager example at the end.

NOTE:  To install a program using the Terminal, open a Terminal window, copy and paste the command line into your window and hit enter.  Enter your Administrator password when asked and it should install it for you.

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  • Firefox – a really good web browser and far more secure than IE (and apparently Safari at the moment).  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install firefox

  • Open Office – similar to Microsoft Office except it’s completely FREE!  This should be included by default but if it isn’t install it using Synaptic Package Manager or Ubuntu Software Centre.

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  • VLC Player – a really good multimedia player which can handle most file formats.  AVI, WMV, DIVX, OGM, FLV, etc.  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install vlc vlc-plugin-pulse mozilla-plugin-vlc

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After that there are several optional odds and ends I recommend:

  • Audacity – a good sound file recorder and editor.  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install audacity

  • GIMP – the GNU Image Manipulation Program.  Similar to Adobe Photoshop… WAIT!  No…  GIMP is FREE not £650 which is the current price of Photoshop!  Seriously, who would pay that?  There are probably a few things it can’t do that Photoshop can but it’s a decent program that can do most things, and yes, it does them for free.  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install gimp

(if you like GIMP you can install some extras for it using sudo apt-get install gimp-data-extras)

  • Five or More – this used to be called Glines and is a bit like connect 4 but oh so much better.  Install this game at your peril, it is very addictive.  Install this using Synaptic Package Manager or Ubuntu Software Centre.

  • Inkscape – a vector graphics editor.  It’s good for people who would like to play around with Adobe Illustrator but refuse to pay the price tag.  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install inkscape

  • SM Player – another media player.  I find this player gets on better with some DVDs than VLC.  It’s a good alternative if you find you have problems.  To install using the Terminal use the command

sudo apt-get install smplayer

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You can install any of these programs using Synaptic Package Manager or Ubuntu Software Centre.  I will give an example for each method using VLC media player.

Using Synaptic Package Manager:

1.)  Make sure you have administrative privileges and your password.

2.)  Go to System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager

3.)  Enter your password when asked.

4.) When looking for a program you have to options – you can either browse the list or use the Quick Search.  Either is fine.

5.)  So if I wanted to install VLC Media Player I would search for it in the Quick Search and then right click and choose Mark for Installation.

Of course as I already have it installed it already has a green mark next to it.

6.)  Click Apply and it should be installed.  If it asks whether you want to install the recommended extras, choose yes.  VLC should now be successfully installed.

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Using Ubuntu Software Centre:

1.)  Go to Applications > Ubuntu Software Centre

2.)  In the search type VLC media player and select it from the list.   You can click on more info if you would like to read about it before installing.

3.)  When you are ready click the install button.  The installation may take a little while but at the end VLC should be successfully installed.

Categories: Free Software, Linux and Ubuntu, Ubuntu 10.10 - Maveric Meerkat | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Using Ubuntu Step One (general and appearances)

When you first start using Ubuntu 10.10 there are many basic things you can configure.  These are mostly found in either

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System > Preferences

or

System > Administration

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Most things in Administration I haven’t really touched since I first set Ubuntu up but a lot of settings overlap between Administration and Preferences so I won’t separate them by where they are located.

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Before we start…

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Panel

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Your Panel is the bar at the top of the screen.

If  you use an application a lot you can also add things to your panel either by dragging the item from your menu, or by right clicking on the panel and choosing Add to Panel.

As you can see I have a few things like Mozilla Firefox added to mine (on the left).  On the right you will have your System Tray with all your practical icons like Volume etc.  You can set these to appear manually but some will appear by default.

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Menus

If you can’t find anything I mention it is probably hidden by default.  In order to add one of these things to your menu right click on Applications in the panel and choose Edit Menus.  You can also get to this menu through

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System > Preferences > Main Menu

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You can add any item to your menus by selecting it here.  You can also create a new original menu using the New Menu button on the right.

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Appearance

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System > Preferences > Appearances

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Everything you can can customise involving your display such as themes, backgrounds and fonts are in Appearance.

  • Themes

You can install new themes from the website by going to the Themes tab and clicking Get more themes online.

Once you have downloaded your theme, you can install it by dragging the whole folder (don’t extract it – take the whole tar.gz) into your theme tab window.  It will ask you if you want to apply theme now.  Click on apply and then Customise to get the colours/buttons you want.  When you are finished click save as to save the theme for later use.

NOTE:  with some themes you will not have the option to change the colours etc.

As you can see I have created my own custom theme by choosing my favourite controls and colours from the tabs.

  • Backgrounds

To add a new background to the default collection just go to the Background tab, click Add, find the picture you want to use, and click Open.  You can then choose it from the collection.

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Keyboard Shortcuts

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System > Preferences > Keyboard Shortcuts

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Exactly what it says.  An extremely useful list of all the keyboard shortcuts you will ever use.

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Power Management

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System > Preferences > Power Management

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This is just like the power management in Windows.  You can edit settings like how long your system waits till it dims the screen and the action you want it to take when you close the lid.  Also, you can choose whether to show the Battery icon in your System Tray or not.

Categories: Linux and Ubuntu, Ubuntu 10.10 - Maveric Meerkat | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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