Chris Larsen started Northcoast Audio in 2010 because he loves selling hi-fi and home theater gear. He also loves living in Eureka, a town of 30,000 people in California. It's five hours north of San Francisco, and seven hours south of Portland, Ore. Larsen admits, "We're about three hours away from anything." Which makes it only that much more remarkable that Northcoast Audio isn't the only place to buy hi-fi or home theater gear in Eureka, Larsen faces competition from another brick-and-mortar shop! That's incredible, Circuit City is gone, Best Buy's future … Read more
The print-to-PDF feature in OS X is convenient for quickly preserving a document's layout in the PDF format, so it can be viewed on most computers and tablets. If you would like to send someone a formatted document that contains sensitive information, you may want to add the step of protecting it with a password.
To do this, you can use a container format such as a ZIP file or an encrypted disk image (using the Disk Utility program in OS X); however, these may be a bit cumbersome to manage, both for the sender and recipient.
An alternative … Read more
A number of programs in OS X include a hidden menu that offers some extra functions. These are generally not intended for use by the end user, but there are times when these features can be useful. For instance, there's a debug menu in Disk Utility that lets you enable viewing hidden partitions to better manage volumes and disks.
Similar to Disk Utility, a debug menu exists in the Contacts program for managing your Address Book database, which offers a couple of useful features.
To enable the debug menu, simply open the Terminal utility (in the Applications > Utilities … Read more
OS X supports a feature called Hot Corners, in which moving your mouse to a far corner of your screen invokes functions such as window management features of Mission Control, starting or disabling the screensaver, and activating Notification Center.
To set this feature up, go to the Desktop & Screen Saver system preferences and click the Hot Corners button. In the panel that drops down, you can select an action for each of the four corners of your screen.
While potentially useful, Hot Corners are easy to inadvertently activate. For instance, if you have the top-left corner configured, then you … Read more
One great thing about Bluetooth speakers is you can use them to learn about how room size and acoustics affect a given speaker's sound quality. Experiment with placement and you'll quickly learn that where you put a speaker in a room can make a big difference in the sound, for better or worse. That's true for all speakers, but since BT speakers tend to be small and light, they're easier to move around.
Start by putting the speaker on the floor in the middle of the room, and you'll hear that it makes more bass … Read more
When using the Finder in OS X, sometimes you may want to have multiple views of the same folder open at once. Usually it's quick to create a new Finder window and navigate to the folder; however, this may be inconvenient if the folder is buried deep in the filesystem, such as may be the case when troubleshooting a problem or two with the system, retrieving a backed-up file, or organizing an extensive tree of work files.
If you need a faster approach, there are several, some of which use the Finder and its capabilities, and others that involve … Read more
These days Google's popularity and reputation has made it the de facto standard for Web searches, and is enabled on many Web browsers by default. Even in speech, it's common to suggest "googling" some information, where terms like "yahooing" or "binging" are somewhat more obscure.
While Google's search results have been reliable, there are other options, some of which are fully supported in common browsers. So what keeps Google so preferred?
Perhaps many of us have simply become accustomed to using Google, so switching comes with a level of uncertainty that … Read more
OS X offers different folder view options that can be set by clicking the corresponding view button in the Finder toolbar: you can choose from list view, column view, Cover Flow, and icon view. Column view, one of the most popular, makes possible easy navigation of the filesystem using arrow keys.
While this view is convenient, in some cases its default column width may be too small for the file and folder names that you use, so when you navigate through your files a significant number of names will be truncated and condensed.
To manage these situations, you can drag … Read more
Even though contextual menus are largely useful when using a mouse or trackpad, sometimes they can be convenient to activate when navigating or managing your computer with the keyboard. For some operating systems like Microsoft Windows, you can press a contextual menu keyboard button to activate the system's contextual menu on a selection of items and copy them, send them via e-mail, or otherwise manipulate them.
Unfortunately, OS X does not support an option to activate the contextual menu without using the pointer. The menu in this operating system is linked directly to pointer's location, so even if … Read more
One of the relatively hidden but often invaluable features of OS X is its support for services, which is when one application can provide a function or capability to another, and accept some input such as text, files, or images, and perform a separate task with this data.
For instance, if you are in Safari and wish to send a selection of text to a friend in an e-mail, you can click and drag to highlight it, and then use a service to create a new e-mail that contains this text. Likewise, you can select text in Word, Pages, TextEdit, … Read more