Archive for the ‘Software’ Category

by Tom Nelson

For some reason, it seems as if iTunes is the app people love to hate. So when macOS Catalina drove a stake through the heart of the iTunes app, splitting it into three different apps, I expected peals of joy from the masses. Instead, it seems more like a bit of gloom and doom. Many are worried about their vast collections of music already stored in iTunes becoming inaccessible, or that the new Apple Music app is going to cut them off from music not originating with Apple.

Fear not; the Music app is akin to iTunes, retaining many of the same features, though the interface has been modernized, requiring some effort to adjust to for diehard iTunes users.

Using the Apple Music App

When you upgraded to macOS Catalina, the Music app acquired your existing music collection. Every song you purchased, ripped, or uploaded; no matter how you acquired the tune, if you imported it into your old iTunes library, it will be available in the new Music app. You’ll also find your playlists, ratings, and any music file metadata, such as composer, writer, lyrics, or artwork, that you may have.

You may notice some content appears to be missing. Actually, Apple just reorganized things a bit, and some media types are now handled by the new Podcast and TV apps, as well as the Finder.

The Music app is dedicated to music, including content stored locally on your Mac, as well as music you may have in the cloud, such as from iTunes Match or from the streaming Apple Music service (subscription required).


A typical Music app display showing the user’s music library organized by album. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

The Music app interface is much easier to use than the cumbersome iTunes app. It has three basic panes:

Toolbar: Located on the top of the Music app window, the toolbar contains the basic playback controls: volume control, current track info, and an Up Next menu and Lyrics menu.

Sidebar: Located along the left side of the window, the Sidebar is used to control the type of content that will be displayed in the main viewing pane. Currently the sidebar allows you to select from the three basic Music app services: Apple Music, the subscription streaming service; Library, which allows you to access both local music and music you’ve stored in iCloud; the iTunes Store, which lets you purchase new music.

There are other optional categories that can appear in the Music app sidebar, depending on how you use the app. If you have playlists, they will be listed in a Playlist category, and if you connect an iPod, iPad, or iPhone, it will be listed in the Devices section. CDs or DVDs will appear in the Devices section as well.

Main Viewing Pane: This centrally located windowpane lists the content of whatever function you’ve selected in the Sidebar. You can browse Apple Music content, select Apple Music Radio channels to listen to, see your music library lists by artist, album, song, or by recently added, visit the iTunes Store to purchase new music, or manage your playlists.

Playing Your Music Library

Use the sidebar to select one of the possible Library functions: Recently Added, Artists, Albums, or Songs.

The main pane will display your library content as selected in the sidebar.

  • By Album: Hover over an album title to display a Play button.
  • By Artist: Select an artist’s name to view all of their content. You can click the Play button and select individual albums and songs, or click the Play button at the top of the page to play all of the artist’s content.
  • By Song: Double-click or tap an item from the song list to start playing the music.

You can also use the Sidebar to select a playlist, which will provide the options to play the playlist in the current order, or to shuffle the list when it plays.

Playing the Apple Music Service

If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, you’ll find the usual controls for the streaming service in the Music sidebar:


Apple Music’s subscription service is available from the Music app’s sidebar. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

For You: Apple Music can use your musical history, that is, the songs and artists you’ve already been listening to, to suggest new artists or songs you may enjoy.

Browse: The Apple Music subscription service has over 30 million song titles. Go ahead and browse through them. Apple Music will lend a hand, guiding you through the vast music collection, organizing music genres, tastes, what’s new, recently added, or updated. Or, you can plow ahead on your own.

Radio: Beats 1 is the primary radio offering, with DJs from around the world programming music content to match your preferences; or, you can be bold and strike out to find new curated selections of music, interviews with leaders in the music industry, music news, and more.

The Radio offering is much more than just a music channel. It’s a great way to be exposed to new music as well as listen to your old favorites.

iTunes Store

Not much has changed with the iTunes Store; you’ll find the usual Best of the Week, Top Songs, Top Albums, featured new music, and music by genre. You can still buy and redeem gift cards.

You can access the iTunes store from the Music app sidebar.

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by Tom Nelson

We all have favorite apps that we tend to install right away on a new Mac. For the most part, these are the apps we use every day to assist us in how we use our Macs. Your favorites may include office suites, photo organizers and editors, video editors, audio production tools, developer tools, or your favorite collection of games.

There’s another category of apps that tends to get overlooked but is no less important in helping you use your Mac for your favorite activities. These apps range from utilities that help you perform tasks or help troubleshoot and keep your Mac in good shape, to apps for lesser-known activities but ones that just may pique your interest.

10 Uncommon Mac Apps You Should Consider

This is my list of 10 uncommon Mac apps that deserve a tryout. You may not find all of them to your liking; you may not even agree that an app is uncommon, but I think that a few of these apps will have you wondering why you haven’t heard of it before.

Stellarium: https://stellarium.org

Stellarium’s view of the sky as it would be seen from our backyard. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Stellarium is a free open source planetarium app for the Mac. There are also versions available for Linux and Windows, as well as a web-based version. Stellarium includes a basic catalog of over 600,000 stars, as well as an extended catalog of 177 million stars. You’ll also find 80,000 deep sky objects, with an extra deep sky catalog that contains an additional one million objects.

Stellarium excels at many levels but is a real champ at helping you to learn your way around the sky, discover the constellations, identify the planets, and explore deep space objects, all using a photorealistic representation of the nighttime sky from your location, or for that matter, any location on earth, and from any time, past, present, or future.

Cost: Free

KStars: https://edu.kde.org/kstars/

KStars provides a free graphical simulation of the night sky, allowing you to view the cosmos as seen from anywhere on the earth, at any time. The KStars database includes 100 million stars and 13,000 deep space objects, along with all the planets, moons, the sun, and known asteroids and comets in the solar system.

Besides letting you view the night sky on your Mac, KStars tells you “What’s Up Tonight” to let you know about interesting events in the night sky. KStar can also be used to control planetariums, telescopes, astrophotography, most CCD and DSLR cameras, focusers, and filters.

KStars is a great tool for those who wish to do a bit more than just identify nighttime objects.

Cost: Free

SoundSource: https://rogueamoeba.com/soundsource/

SoundSource’s control panel lets you control audio settings on an app-by-app basis. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

The sound control panel you always wished your Mac had. SoundSource allows you to control audio on a per app basis. You can set the volume level as well as the audio device to use for each app you use. Send your music to your USB speakers, but when you switch to FaceTime for a chat with friends, you can have the audio routed to your headset and SoundSource will remember and make the change for you every time.

SoundSource not only lets you route audio input and output, but you can sweeten the sound using the ten-band equalizer, balance control, and support for Audio Unit effects.

I can’t imagine using a Mac without SoundSource’s superb audio control capabilities.

Cost: $29.00; free trial available

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by Tom Nelson

The Apple Maps app has been included with the Mac OS since the release of OS X Mavericks. The Maps app provides mapping services that include directions, turn-by-turn navigation, transit time for car, public transit, and walking, 3D modeling of terrain and buildings, trip planning, Flyover, traffic, and quite a few other features.


While the Maps app for the Mac is a powerful mapping tool, it really shines when paired with an iPhone or iPad as a navigation aid. You can even make use of an Apple Watch to guide you to your destination.

Maps History

The Maps app hasn’t always been a hit; some would go so far as to say the original implementation was a flop, with so many errors in the underlying map base that it wasn’t uncommon to hear about people being directed onto farms, or into fields or lakes as part of a route to get from here to there.

Over the years, Apple has been making improvements to the Maps app, adding features and correcting underlying problems with the map base. Eventually, Apple came to the conclusion that mapping was more than a feature needed for Apple devices; it was a core technology needed for the future of Apple.

In 2018, Apple announced that it was rebuilding Maps from the ground up, using mapping data that it was generating from Apple mapping vehicles, as well as crowd-sourced location data gathered from participating iOS users.

Apple has already started rolling out the new mapping data, incorporating it into current versions of Maps, and slowly replacing the mapping data provided by third-party sources, such as TomTom.

Using Maps

We’re going to take a look at a few of the features found in the Maps app for the Mac, specifically for versions included with macOS Sierra and later, with an emphasis on Maps 2.1, which was released with macOS Mojave.

Maps has many uses, including looking up locations, making travel plans, and getting directions. The Maps search bar is likely to be where your trip begins.

If you haven’t already done so, launch Maps, located in the /Applications folder, or click on the Maps icon in the Dock.

Search: Maps includes a search bar located front and center at the top of the Maps window. Click in the search bar and enter the location you’re interested in. You can try searching on addresses, business names, parks, schools, street names, cities, states, and countries.

As you enter the search criteria, Maps will generate search suggestions. You can select from suggestions as a shortcut to entering a full name.

If the search query returns a result (and it usually will), Maps will display the location and drop a red pin, indicating its exact location on the map.

Favorites: Over time you’ll likely build up a number of locations you keep returning to. You can make returning to these locations easier by adding them to your list of Favorites.


Store the places you keep returning to in your Favorites for quick access. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

  • Add to Favorites: Favorites are added from within the information card associated with a red pin or a pin you drop on the map. Click or tap the information icon in the banner next to a pin. If no banner is visible, try clicking or tapping the pin to make it visible. Once the information card is displayed, select the Favorites button to add the location to your list of favorites.
  • Accessing Favorites: In the search bar, click or tap the magnifying glass. From the dropdown suggestion list, select Favorites. A list of your favorite locations will be displayed.
  • Deleting or Editing Favorites: Bring the list of Favorites up using the instructions above. At the bottom of the list, click the Edit button. You can delete a Favorite by clicking or tapping the remove (X) icon to the far right of the favorite’s name. You can edit a favorite’s name by clicking or tapping its name and then entering a new name. Click the Done button when finished.

Pins: Pins are used to mark a location and are helpful for getting directions to a location, or as marking points of interest on a route. Pins you add are purple in color, while location pins generated from the search bar or favorites list are red. You can only have one purple pin in a map at a time. Pins you add are temporary, and will be deleted when you quit the Maps app. To make a pin available to use later on, add the location as a favorite.

  • Add a Pin: Place the cursor at the location where you wish to add a pin. Right-click or control-click and select Drop Pin from the popup menu.
  • Remove Purple Pin: Place the cursor over the purple pin and right-click or control-click. Select Remove Pin from the popup menu.

Directions: Getting directions to and from a place are one of the most often used Maps features. Maps offers a number of useful direction options. To access directions, it’s best if you start with the map oriented on one of the start or end points, but this isn’t a requirement.


 Maps supports turn-by-turn directions for driving, walking, and taking public transit. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

  • Select the Directions button in the Maps toolbar or in your Mac’s Touch Bar (if so equipped). If a location pin is currently showing, it will be used as the end point of the directions. If you would like to use a dropped (purple) pin as the end point, select the purple pin’s information banner and choose Directions.
  • Your current location as determined from the Mac’s location service (if enabled) will be used as the start of the directions.
  • You can change both the start and end points by typing in new locations. When you manually enter a start or end point, the text field takes on the same characteristics as the search bar, making suggestions and giving you access to your favorites and recent searches.
  • You can choose to have the directions tailored to driving, walking, or taking public transit by selecting the appropriate button.
  • One or more directions will be listed in the Directions sidebar, each with a time estimate and distance traveled. You can see turn-by-turn instructions for each route by selecting the Details button to the right of each set of directions.
  • Clicking or tapping each step in the directions will highlight that point on the map.
  • Directions Options: You can tailor the directions to avoid tolls or highways, as well as change public transit options, by using the View, Driving Options or Transit Options menu.

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by Tom Nelson

If you’ve been using Macs for a while, you may remember when Microsoft was offering Internet Explorer for the Mac. There was even a 5-year period (1997 through 2003) when it was the default browser for the Mac. Microsoft stopped developing Internet Explorer for the Mac in 2003 when Apple released the Safari browser. The last non-security update of Internet Explorer occurred in the summer of 2003.

It’s been sixteen years since Microsoft has actively been involved in the Mac web browser market, but in late spring of 2019, Microsoft unveiled the Edge browser for the Mac during its developers conference

Microsoft Edge Browser Versions

The preview of the Edge browser for the Mac is currently available in two versions, with a third to be offered soon:

  • Microsoft Edge Canary: This version represents a nightly build incorporating bug fixes, feature enhancements, and performance tuning.
  • Microsoft Edge Dev: This is a weekly build incorporating the most stablechanges to the Edge browser that occurred during the week.
  • Microsoft Edge Beta: Not yet available, this version will be on a 6-weekupdate cycle, and will contain the most stable changes to the Edgebrowser.

The Canary, Dev, and Beta versions of the Edge browser can be downloaded from the Microsoft Edge Insider website. I’ve noticed that there are a number of other download sites offering versions of the Edge browser for the Mac. I advise only acquiring the preview or beta versions of the Edge browser directly from the Microsoft Edge Insider site.

Microsoft Edge Canary

We’re going to use the Canary version of the Edge browser for this mini review and benchmark because we want to have the most current version with as many bug fixes in place as possible. This also means we’ll be working with a version most likely to have issues of some type. But that’s OK; we knew before we started that Edge is currently in a pre-beta state.

Edge has multiple layout options including the Inspirational one shown here. This layout option includes a background image and quick access to often used web sites. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Speaking of bugs or issues, I was pleasantly surprised at how robust the current version of the Edge browser is. During benchmarking and daily use it distinguished itself as being very stable and performed well in our basic benchmarks.

There were a few blips; a few times, Edge wouldn’t quit without being forced to, and some preference settings don’t seem to actually work yet. But overall, it’s a very impressive preview.

Some of that isn’t surprising; after all, at heart, Edge is running an open source Chromium engine, the same rendering engine that powers Google’s Chrome browser. Microsoft is adding interface elements for the Windows and Mac versions, and tweaking performance for a good fit with Microsoft’s own family of web apps.

Edge Features

Although this is just a preview, Edge has been developing at a fast pace. The current version of Edge has Touch Bar support, updated keyboard shortcuts that match up to what Mac users will be expecting, and media casting, which allows you to play videos or audio on an external device.

You’ll find all the usual browser features, including bookmarks/favorites, tabs, private browsing, muting tabs, pinning tabs, a download manager that can track downloads by file types, and a handy Task Manager which conceptually is like the Mac’s Activity Monitor, but only tracks Edge-related processes. Also recently added is basic support for the Mac’s Dark Mode.

Edge’s Task Manager allows you to keep track of browser performance; it also provides the ability to end individual processes that may be causing issues. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

I tried a few Edge extensions available from the Microsoft store without running into any issues. I didn’t try it, but Edge also allows you to use third-party add-ons/extensions, although that feature is turned off by default. Once the feature is enabled, most Chrome/Chromium-based extensions should work with the Edge browser.

One interesting feature, so far only seen in Edge, is Collections, a tool for allowing users to collect text, images, just about any information you may come across while browsing, and save it in collections. Collections maintains links back to the original website where you found the interesting tidbit.

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by Tom Nelson

Menu Bar apps sit in your Mac’s menu bar and provide access to an array of features and services, all with just a simple click or tap of the app’s menu bar icon. They can bring additional productivity, utility, or security, or add useful information to your Mac’s menu bar.

The basic menu bar with Apple-supplied menu items shown. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Our list of 15 menu bar apps is by no means all-inclusive; there are so many apps available that it would take quite a while to combine them into a single list. Instead, I’ve gathered a list of menu bar apps that I’ve either used or are popular in the Mac community, and are worth trying out.

Let’s start our list of favorite menu bar apps with ones that enhance your productivity.


Yes, your Mac comes with its own Calendar app, which does a pretty good job of keeping track of dates and notifying you of upcoming events. But to add, edit, and view the calendars, the app needs to be running. That’s where menu bar-based calendar apps shine, letting you work with your calendars directly from the menu bar.


Currently at version 2, Fantastical started life as strictly a menu bar app but has grown into a full-fledged Mac app. Thankfully, the folks who make Fantastical didn’t abandon the menu bar; version 2 has all the original benefits of a lightweight menu bar app, as well as the power of a full app when you need it.

Fantastical provides easy access to your current calendar and upcoming events. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Fantastical supports multiple calendars, and calendar sets, which can automatically switch their active/inactive states depending on your location. This lets you set up calendars for work as well as home, and automatically switch between them.

• Fantastical 2 is $49.99, with a 21-day free trial.


If the Mac’s Calendar app is performing well for you, and the feature you’re really missing is access to Calendar from the menu bar, Itsycal is the menu bar app for you. Itsycal can display a monthly view of your Calendar app’s information, including showing events that are scheduled. If you need additional information, you can open the Calendar app directly from Itsycal.

• Itsycal is free.

Contact Managers

There are a number of contact managers for the Mac but most are full-fledged apps, with only minimal, if any, menu bar support. One of the exceptions is the app below.


Cardhop is the preferred way to access, edit, add to, and just work with the Mac’s Contacts app. For many Mac and iOS device users, Cardhop is the only method they use to manage their contacts; that’s how powerful this menu bar app is.

Cardhop can show upcoming events and recent contacts, as well as all of the cards in the Mac’s Contacts app. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Cardhop makes use of a powerful search capability that allows you to find contact information based on just about any detail that may be present in a contacts card. Search by name, address, birth date, or any criteria; it’s as easy as clicking or tapping the Cardhop menu bar item and starting to type. Cardhop will display any matching cards it finds.

Adding or editing contacts is just as easy; just enter the name and details and Cardhop takes care of the rest. Cardhop also includes the ability to add note fields, to enter personal details about your contact, and a timestamp field to create a history of your contacts.

One of the best features of Cardhop is its ability to act on a contact you select. If you need to send an email or make a phone call, Cardhop can launch the appropriate app to send an email or connect to your Bluetooth phone, use Wi-Fi calling, or get the macOS Continuity feature to make calls for you.

• Cardhop is $19.99 and is available with a 21-day free trial.

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by Tom Nelson

For many of us, the Mac’s Mail app is the most often used app in our collection. It has so many features that for most of us, we only touch the surface of what it can do. In this Rocket Yard guide we’ll check out seven features that are often overlooked, most likely left in the default setting, or simply not used.

If you’re a Mac Mail user, take a look at our Mail tips and give them a try.

Set How Often to Check Mail

Has Mail become a distraction? It either rarely or never updates, leaving you wondering if Mail is actually working, or it updates too often, flashing notifications that distract you from your work. In most cases, the problem is the update interval that Mail uses to check for new messages.

You have a few choices in setting the mail check interval, from Automatic to Manual; there are also quite a few preset times, from every minute to every hour and lots of times in-between. The following steps will let you set the interval to use for checking mail:

You can set how often Mail checks for new messages in the preferences. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Launch Mail, and select the Preferences option from the Mail menu.

In the Preferences window that opens, click or tap the General button.

Look for the “Check for new messages:” item. You’ll find the following options in a dropdown menu:

  • Automatically: (Default) According to Apple, Mail will vary the time frame for checking messages based on whether the Mac is plugged into a power source or using batteries. I’ve found that if someone is using an Exchange mail account or an IMAP account that supports the “Idle” command, Mail will deliver messages as soon as they become available on the server. Otherwise, new mail checking is performed at 5-minute intervals when your Mac is connected to an AC source.
  • Every minute
  • Every 5 minutes
  • Every 15 minutes
  • Every 30 minutes
  • Every hour
  • Manually: Checks for new messages when you click or tap the Get Mail button in the mail toolbar. Additionally, if you’re using IMAP or an Exchange-based mail account, it will check whenever you click or tap an IMAP or Exchange mailbox in the sidebar.

Select the check mail interval you wish to use from the dropdown menu.

You can close the Mail preferences window.

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by Tom Nelson

Have you found that some websites are using text that is too small or too big, forcing you to either squint to see the text, or perform excessive scrolling to take in the entire site?

Most browsers have methods to allow you some control over how a website appears, including adjusting the size of the web page’s text and images. In this Rocket Yardguide, we’ll look at how to use the Safari browser to adjustfont size and zoom levels for the site you’re currently viewing, and for all sites you view, as well as only for a specific site, whenever you stop by for a look.

Web developers spend a good deal of time designing their websites to appeal to most of their users, but it can be difficult to always get the size right, what with so many different devices and screen sizes viewing the website. If you’re having difficulty viewing text or images on a website, you can try these various tips to get a site looking just the way you like it.

Safari Zoom

Safari has long had the ability to zoom in or out of a web page, letting you see more of the page at one time, or get in close to see details. Safari’s zoom feature normally affects both text and image sizes, but you can also choose to just expand or decrease the text size, leaving the images alone.

Keyboard zoom commands:

  • Zoom in: Press the command and plus (+) keys at the same time.
  • Zoom out: Press the command and minus (-) keys at the same time.

If you would like to just increase or decrease the text’s font size while leaving the images at their original size, give the following a go:

  • Zoom in, text only: Press the option, command, and plus (+) keys at the same time.
  • Zoom out, text only: Press the option, command, and minus (-) keys at the same time.

Note: If the zoom function isn’t working as expected with the keyboard commands, chances are the keyboard shortcuts are being used by the Accessibility preference pane, to zoom the display in or out. You can change the Accessibility settings, if needed, by following the instructions in the Rocket Yard guide: macOS 101: Using Accessibility’s Vision and VoiceOver Options.

Menu zoom commands:

  • Zoom in (menu): From the Safari View menu, select Zoom In.
  • Zoom out (menu): From the Safari View menu, select Zoom Out.

OS X El Capitan and earlier included an option in the View menu to force the Zoom command to only apply to the text on the page, leaving everything else at the original size. To set this option, do the following:

From the Safari View menu, select Zoom Text Only. This will place a checkmark next to the Zoom Text Only menu item, indicating that any subsequent use of the Zoom menu item will affect only the text on the website.

  • Zoom in, text only: From the Safari View menu, select Zoom In.
  • Zoom out, text only: From the Safari view menu, select Zoom Out.
  • macOS Sierra and later did away with the Zoom Text Only item in Safari’s View menu; instead, you can use this trick for increasing or decreasing only the text size in a web page:
  • Zoom out, text only: Hold down the option key, then open Safari’s View menu and select Make Text Smaller.

Safari Toolbar Zoom Options

Safari’s toolbar does not show any zoom options by default, but you can add the zoom capacities using the toolbar’s customization options.

Open a web page in Safari, and then right-click or control-click on an empty area of the Safari toolbar.

From the popup menu, select Customize Toolbar.

A sheet will drop down, displaying a number of buttons that can be added to the Safari toolbar.

Drag the Zoom buttons to an empty place on the toolbar, and then click the Done button.

The Zoom buttons in the toolbar affect the entire webpage, increasing or decreasing the size of both text and images.

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by Tom Nelson

Smart folders and the Dock just seem to be made for each other. You can configure a smart folder to display just the files or folders that meet your specific criteria. Need a folder that just shows the image files you worked on this week? Or perhaps a folder that only shows new music you’ve added to your Mac? Add these smart folders to the Dock, and you’ll have a quick way to view and work with their files without having to browse through the Finder to find them.

If you’ve been following Rocket Yard guides, you may remember that you can use the Terminal app to create Recent Items stacks for the Dock that can show recently used apps, documents, and servers. And while the premade recent items stack is helpful, it doesn’t allow you to use your own search criteria to create the items in the stack.

Smart folders give you all the power of the recent items stack, but with complete control over what the content of the smart folders will be.

Creating Smart Folders
Let’s start the process by exploring how smart folders are created. For an example, we will create a smart folder that displays image files you’ve worked with over the past week.

Start by having the Finder as the active app; you can do this by clicking on the desktop or opening a Finder window. Once the Finder is the front most app, follow these instructions:

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

From the Finder menu, select File, New Smart Folder.

An empty smart folder window will open. In the window’s toolbar, make sure Search is set to This Mac.

At the far right of the window, click or tap the plus (+) sign. This will display filters you can use to build the smart folder’s search criteria.

Use the first dropdown menu to select “Date Last Opened,” and the second dropdown menu to select “this week.”

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.


The smart folder will be populated with any files or folders that meet the above requirements of being opened in the last week.

To further refine the search, click or tap the plus (+) sign at the far right of the window.

A second search filter will open. Set the first dropdown menu to “Kind,” and the second dropdown menu to “Image.”

A third dropdown menu will appear that you can use to select the type of image  (JPEG, TIFF, GIF, PNG); for this example, select the “All” option to display any of the image file types.

At this point, you’ve created a basic smart folder that will show any image file you’ve opened in the last week. And while this may be all you need, there are further refinements to the search filters you can make.

Hold down the option key. You’ll notice that the plus (+) sign has changed to display ellipses. Click or tap the ellipses to add additional restrictions to the current search criteria. You’ll see two filter sets appear.

The first allows you to select Any, All, or None, if the following conditions are true. The second criteria set allows you to set the conditions that are being tested. As an example, if you don’t wish to have any PNG image files included in the smart folder, you would set the menus as follows:

Set the first dropdown menu to None.

Set the second group of menus to Kind, Image, PNG.

You’ve created a smart folder that will display all of the image files you have opened during the last week, except PNG files.

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by Tom Nelson

Have you ever wondered what’s stored in your Mac’s Utilities folder? This folder contains apps that are used to perform a number of interesting chores, from providing basic information about your Mac, to displaying complex mathematical formulas as 2D or 3D graphs, to allowing your Mac to speak, not only the text in a window, but how the window’s tools and buttons can be used.

In macOS 101: What’s in the Utility Folder, Part 1 we looked at the first ten apps Apple stores in the Utilities folder. In the second part of this article, we look at the last ten apps. Your version of the Utilities folder may contain more or fewer apps than we list here; the number fluctuates, depending on the Mac OS version you’re using. Other apps may be added by third-party developers.

If you’re ready to continue the exploration of the Utilities folder, open a Finder window and browse to /Applications/Utilities.

The Mac has been able to take screenshots since it was first introduced, by using keyboard shortcuts, such as Command + Shift + 3, to capture the entire screen, or Command +Shift + 4 to capture a user-selected portion of the screen.

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

To give the user a bit more control over taking screenshots, Apple includes the Grab app in the utilities folder. Grab can perform the same function as the earlier keyboard shortcuts for screen capture, but it also provides additional capabilities, such as grabbing a selected window, taking timed screenshots, or optionally showing the pointer in the screenshots.

If you’re using macOS High Sierra or earlier, you’ll find that Grab does a great job of handling the screenshot taking needs of most users. If your Mac is running macOS Mojave or later, Grab has been replaced by the newer Screenshot app. You can find out more about the Screenshot app a little further on in this guide.

To give the user a bit more control over taking screenshots, Apple includes the Grab app in the utilities folder. Grab can perform the same function as the earlier keyboard shortcuts for screen capture, but it also provides additional capabilities, such as grabbing a selected window, taking timed screenshots, or optionally showing the pointer in the screenshots.

If you’re using macOS High Sierra or earlier, you’ll find that Grab does a great job of handling the screenshot taking needs of most users. If your Mac is running macOS Mojave or later, Grab has been replaced by the newer Screenshot app. You can find out more about the Screenshot app a little further on in this guide.

Grapher is a visualization tool for creating 2D and 3D graphs from mathematical equations. Many users of Grapher consider it an equivalent to the older graphing calculators, but with more ability to store, edit, and refine equations than a hardware-based calculator could ever do. And there’s the added benefit that the graphs you create can be saved in various formats for inclusion in other documents you may be working on.

Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

Grapher supports popular 2D graph types such as classic, polar, linear-logarithmic, log-log and polar log. Three-D graphs can display standard system, cylindrical system, and spherical system. Graphs can include animation, though there’s an issue with exporting animated graphs that can be overcome by using the Screenshot app to capture the animated graph as a video.

Aside from the ability to export an animated graph, Grapher can export data in JPEG, TIFF, EPS, PDF and LaTeX formats.

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by Tom Nelson

Safari is the most popular web browser for the Mac, and why not; it’s fast, easy to use, and it comes with every Mac. These eight tricks (sixteen, if you count the tip included with each trick) can make you more productive, make it easier to work with Safari, or just make you scratch your head, wondering why Apple included that feature.

If you’re ready to explore a few new tricks, let’s get started.

Privacy Settings for a Website
Starting with Safari 11 and macOS High Sierra, Safari gained a number of security and privacy protections that can make surfing the web both safer and faster. These settings are normally available on a website-by-website basis, and are stored in Safari preferences, under the Websites button in the toolbar.

Accessing this part of the Safari preferences lets you see and change the privacy settings for each website you’ve visited and altered the privacy settings from the default state.

But it’s not the quickest way to make changes to a site you’re visiting; a much faster method can be found directly in the browser’s menu bar:

Select Safari, Settings for This Website.

A sheet will drop down from the browser’s URL bar, displaying the list of privacy settings for the current page.

You can alter the privacy settings on a page-by-page basis using Settings for This Website. Screen shot © Coyote Moon, Inc.

You can alter the settings directly within the pane by placing checkmarks on each setting you wish to enable, or use popup menus to select from multiple options for each listed item.

You can choose to:

  • Use Readers when available
  • Enable content blockers
  • Set the page zoom level
  • Set Auto-Play levels
  • Adjust popup window settings (macOS Mojave and later)

As well as control the use of:

  • Camera
  • Microphone
  • Location

Tip: You can also access the privacy sheet for the currently loaded website by right-clicking in the URL field and selecting Settings for This Website in the popup menu. Note: The menu item is only available if the URL field hasn’t been previously selected.

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