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In this course, Macworld senior editor Christopher Breen provides a comprehensive overview of Mac OS X Mountain Lion, complete with insider tips for getting the most out of the operating system. The course shows how to configure system preferences, personalize the interface, master gestures, and achieve fluency with applications such as Mail, Calendar, and Preview. The course also includes tutorials on browsing the web with Safari, automating complex tasks with Automator, sharing over a network, performing maintenance operations using Disk Utility, and offers time-saving techniques for using the Mac efficiently. Along the way, Christopher reviews the 200+ new features in Mountain Lion, which gives even experienced Mac users a valuable head start.
During the setup process for OS X, you were assigned some kind of icon. Now, if you liked, you could change that icon or if you had a camera attached to your Mac, you could take a picture of yourself and use that as your icon. But suppose you skipped right past that part because you were so excited about starting to use your Mac. Well, you can still change your icon after the fact and I'm going to show you how to do that now. So, we'll go to System Preferences, click on Users & Groups, I will unlock the preference, add my password. And note, I have been assigned a hockey puck.
Now, if you're Don Rickles, that goes over great, and if you're not, you may wish to change it to something else. So, there are a couple of ways you can do this. Hover over it and you see that there's a white triangle. Click on the white triangle and you can browse through Apple's default icons. Let's say I wanted to be a penguin. Click on the penguin and I click on Done. Well, that's pretty good but what if I want to alter that penguin? I can do that too. I'll double click on the penguin. Now, I click on the Edit Icon.
I can zoom in on that penguin. So, we can just have the big penguin head, and I can also add effects very much like I did in Photobooth. And you'll recognize a lot of these effects. I kind of like this outline, this neon look for the penguin. I think that's great. So, I will then click on Done to add it. Now if you've recently worked with Icons, you'll find them under Recents. Also, if you have a camera, and this Mac doesn't, but if you did, select Camera, you would see what's in front of the Camera, you could put your face in front of the Camera, and then add effects as you like.
I'm going to go back to my altered penguin. And there is my icon. There's one other way to add an icon and that's to add an image of your own. That's easily done. So I'll just shift this over. I'll go into my Documents folder, drag a picture of my mug over to the thumbnail, and there's my picture. Same idea, I can zoom in if I want to give people a hairy eyeball. Zoom out, put it where I want it, and then I can add effects to it.
I'll make myself a little bit blurry. Click on Done, and now I have my new icon. No need to put up with what Apple has assigned you. With just these simple steps, you can change your icon. By now you've spent plenty of time with your Mac and with OS X, and there are maybe a couple of things that you're not so tickled with. For example, let's open up Calendar. Notice this interface, have kind of this leather look, the torn page.
You have some stitching. Let's open up Contacts as well. Again, here you've got your little leather look. Now some people don't actually like the look of this, so we can get rid of it. So I'm going to quit Calendar, I'll quit Contacts, and what I have done is I've downloaded a program called Mountain Tweaks. This is a donationware program from Fredrik Wiker. He's a Norwegian, 17 years old, working to make his way through college, and he's created this cool utility called Mountain Tweaks.
Let's see what that looks like. Go ahead and search for it. There it is. So, he provides you with a variety of options for tweaking the Mac's interface. One of them is Remove Leather from Contacts and Remove Leather from Calendar. Let's do that. This is going to launch an installer. We'll go through it, we'll go ahead and install it for everybody, Continue and Install. Enter my password, install software, and it's done.
Let's take a look at Contacts now. No more leather look. So, what the heck let's do it to Calendar too. Yes, Continue, All Users, Continue, Install, my password, Close, Calendar, and the leather is gone. Now, if you've tried this and you find, "Well, you know, I kind of miss that leather look so --." Okay, fine, let's put it back.
We can also add the leather look back. So Calendar, choose No instead, Continue, All Users, Install, password, Install software, and let me do it with Contacts as well while we're here. Make sure it took. Yup, leather, and leather once again. So, as you could see, this is not doing any harm to these applications.
What's happening is that he has created some images that replaced the images of the leather look. What the installer is doing is simply taking those images that he has used and then replacing the leather within the applications. Not hard to do, very inexpensive, though you should give him some money. And if you're unhappy with the look of these two applications, you can change it with this simple utility. Here's a quiz for old-time Mac users. Let's go to your User folder.
Tell me what's missing. Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Movies, Music, Pictures, Public, hey where is the Library folder? That's right, prior to Mac OS X Lion, there was a Library folder within your User Folder, and within this Library Folder were lots of preferences, settings, and other kinds of application support files. Now typical Mac users don't need to go into this folder. However, if you are a more advanced user, there may be reasons to go into that folder.
For example you may wish to throw out a corrupt preference file. So how do you get into this folder? I can offer a couple of solutions. Close this window, click on the Go Menu. Now hold down the Option key. Notice when I do that, the Library Folder appears. Click on that, and here we are in the Library folder at which point I can go into the folders I like and do what I want. But this is not a permanent fix. So, if I don't hold down the Option key, the Library folder is missing.
It's only until I hold down Option that I see that. What if I want that folder to be visible all the time? This is how you do it. I'm going to launch something called Terminal. Now we haven't covered Terminal in this course because it really is beyond essentials. However, as you travel around the internet, you may encounter times when somebody says, "Oh, just enter this into Terminal," to do something wonderful. This is one of those times. So I will now enter a command, so what does this mean? Well essentially, in the computer, there's something called the Flag and the Flag indicates the properties of a certain object.
So in this case, there's a Hidden Flag and there's a No Hidden Flag. What's happened with the Library folder is Apple has set that Flag to hidden for the Library folder. So, what I'm telling it is, Go to the Flag for the Library folder, which appears within your User folder, and that's what that tilde stands for, it means your User Folder, and the command is nohidden, meaning don't hide it. So now I'll press Return. Nothing seems to have happened, but let's see if the command took.
So, I'll go to my User folder, and look, here it is. The Library is now visible within my User folder. Let's keep this around so we can see what happens later. Notice, however, that it is still not in the Go menu. In that case, I have to hold down the Option key to make it visible. Now what if I want to hide this again? No problem. We'll just undo what we just did, so chflags hidden~/Library/, press Return, and notice that when I did that, the Library folder is gone.
So, if you're the kind of person that really wants to see that Library folder inside your User folder, you can use Terminal to do that. Before I wrap up this tip, note that Terminal can be really, really dangerous. If you don't know what you're doing, you could do things in Terminal that are very powerful that could make your Mac unstable or even unusable. So unless you have a very good idea of what you're doing and know that a particular command is going to work, you should probably stay out of Terminal.
This is just a taste of the cool and unexpected things that you can do with your Mac. Thankfully there's a thriving community of people who love nothing better than exploring the Mac's finest features. To learn more, I suggest you visit Macworld.com, which is packed with Apple information. Also check out Mac OS X Hints, where you're sure to learn something new each and everyday. There's TidBits.com, which has some terrific reporting on all things Apple. The Unauthorized Apple Weblog, also known as TUAW, or Arstechnica, which has some great technical information, and of course, the many courses here at lynda.com.
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