Exclude directories from Spotlight

Your Mac’s Spotlight application might be one of the most underrated part of the OS X ecosystem. Spotlight indexes all the content on your Mac, making it simple to find documents and data that might be buried deep within your file system.

It’s so fast, I’ve started using it to quickly pull up contact cards. It’s so much more efficient than starting up the Contacts app and digging through people’s names.

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A little while back, Ubuntu made a subtle change that broke Desktop Sharing to Mac computers. I keep a headless server upstairs to serve media files across my network, so screen sharing is essential to manage the server. However, when Ubuntu made their change – requiring encryption on the VNC connection – Macs lost the ability to connect.

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Mac OS DVD autoplay settings

One annoying aspect of Mac OS X is the way is automatically launches the DVD player whenever you insert a DVD in the drive. You might not be ready to watch the movie right away or you may be planning to make a backup of the disc using Handbrake or something else.

You can easily disable the autoplay feature on your MacBook. Follow these simple step-by-step instructions:

  1. Click the Apple icon at the top of your screen and open the System Preferences applet. Browse to CDs and DVDs.
  2. In the When you insert a video DVD section, set it to Ignore. This will stop the MacBook autoplaying media, leaving you to choose which application to launch.
  3. Alternatively, if you want to use a different programme to view DVDs, drop down the menu and choose Open other application. Browse for the application you want.
  4. Close the System Preferences applet when you’re finished. Job done.

While you’re browsing the DVD and CD settings, you can also play around with the settings for music and photo discs. But does anybody actually use those things anymore?

Setting a keyboard shortcut for Launchpad

You know what would be handy in Mac OS X? If you were able to activate Launchpad with a keyboard shortcut. But for some reason, that’s not how it works on my MacBook. (Update: in later versions of Mac OS X, the F4 key will bring up the Launchpad menu.)

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel. You can assign a shortcut key for Launchpad very easily. Simply open your System Preferences and click the Keyboard item. It should start in Mission Control, but flick to Launchpad & Dock and you should see an option to Show Launchpad.

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Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook ProIf you’re a power multi-tasker, switching between open application windows is essential. On a Windows machine, ALT+Tab is your friend here, allowing you to switch between any open applications.

While COMMAND+Tab still works on Mac OS X, you’ll find that it doesn’t work when you try to switch between windows in the same program. For instance, if you’ve got two browser windows open – one for researching, one for drafting. Or maybe you want to switch between messages and the inbox in the Mail app.

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