Murphy Mac - Screencasts and Tutorials » Posts in 'Beginner' category

Preview JPG Rotation

exif rotation
I never noticed that images I rotated in Preview weren’t really rotated. Then I happened to notice a rotated jpg in my Gmail sent items.  It wasn’t rotated.

If you rotate a jpg in Preview and you want it to appear rotated for people you might send it to, clear the checkbox labeled Use Exif Orientation Tag.  The box will appear when you’ve rotated a jpg in Preview.

What’s this all about? Leaving the box checked adds information to the Exif data for the image. That information can be read by some software products that will then display the photo rotated the way you’ve set it.  And your image won’t be altered in the rotation.  If a user opens the image with software that doesn’t read the tag the photo won’t appear rotated correctly.

For example, I saved a rotated jpg with the box checked. Lightroom displays the image rotated. Opening the image directly with Firefox does not rotate it.

The downside of not checking the box is lossy rotation. Pixels are rearranged to create your rotated image, and data is lost in the process. For certain photos you might not be concerned with this, but it’s always good to know how certain software rotates your jpg files. Especially if you don’t have a backup.

More on lossy rotation at Apple Support.

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WakeUp for iPhone and iPod touch

Maybe you’ve got an Airport Express hooked up to your stereo – and it pulls from iTunes on your computer upstairs. You want to listen to some music – but you’re comfy on the sofa and you don’t want to go upstairs and wake up the Mac. Or the PC for that matter. If you can muster the strength to retrieve your trusty iPhone from the coffee table you don’t have to get up.

WakeUp is from the same people who make this handy Wake-on-Lan Widget that Murphy posted about long ago. (so long ago that Apple TV was called iTV.)  It’s 99 cents in the App Store.  Link to WakeUp in iTunes.

With WakeUp you can send a magic packet to sleeping computers, as long as they’re wired into your Ethernet network – and have their Wake-On-Lan ability activated.  See this post for more details.

Now your computer is awake, and you can use your iPhone or iPod to remote control iTunes.

Related Posts:

Sleep Your Mac by Email
Twitter While You Sleep
Sleep Your Mac with Terminal

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Access Web Sites Directly

A quick look at simple ways to open frequently visited web sites directly, without your mouse.

Hopefully you don’t click in the address bar and forward-delete and backward-delete to erase what’s there.  But some people do.  Here are Murphy’s tips for opening web pages directly with the keyboard.

1.  Add an alias for the site to the Dock. You can access the Dock with Control+F3, even if you’re in another application.  DockUse the arrow keys to select your site-alias and the Return key to open it.  You can create the alias by dragging the icon from your browser address bar to the Desktop.  Then drag from the Desktop to the right side of the Dock.

2.  Command+L and a Firefox keyword. This is an easy one.  Command+L selects everything in the address bar in Safari and Firefox.  Control+L does it in Internet Explorer.   Now you can start typing – whatever is highlighted  will be deleted.  But don’t type out the url, just type the keyword you’ve assigned to the site, which could be as short as one character.  Keyword?  Read on…

keywordEdit your bookmarks in Firefox and view properties by selecting a bookmark.  There’s a field for keywords.  Go ahead and set a keyword – now you can enter the keyword in the address bar instead of the url.

Safari doesn’t have the bookmark keyword feature – but you can use Command+1 and so forth to access the bookmarks on the bookmark bar.  They’re numbered from left to right automatically.

TextExpander3.  TextExpander. With TextExpander your Mac is always watching for certain text strings.  When you type a configured string the assigned action is carried out.  The action can be an Applescript.  A simple script can open your browser of choice to your destination site.  The great thing about TextExpander:  Your browser needn’t be active to invoke it.  You could also use TextExpander simple text replacement to replicate the Firefox keyword function in Safari. More about TextExpander. $29.95.

1password4.  1Password. You might know about or even use 1Password for storing all your log-on credentials in one secure database.  But it also features a bookmark pop-up that lets you jump to a site and auto-populate your username and password.   1Password lets you assign names to your entries, so you can keep them short.  It’s a way to bring keywording to Safari.
1Password licenses start at $39.95. This post has more information and a screencast about 1Password.

5. Terminal.
Do you always keep a Terminal window open? Set an alias in Terminal to open your favorite browser and pass along the site to enter.  A command like this will store the alias for you:

alias mm=’open -a Firefox’

Then open a terminal Window, type mm and hit return.  Your page will open.  See this post for information about making an alias available when you reboot.

6. Use Quicksilver.

Do you have a favorite way to open favorite sites? Let us know in the comments.

Related Post: Murphy shows how to open a set of tabs in Safari with one click.

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TextExpander is an incredibly useful utility, especially if you prefer to keep your hands on the keyboard and leave the mouse alone. It works by watching your keystrokes and taking action whenever you type a code you’ve set up. For example, I type xmmlink in a text editor and the letters are instantly converted to <a href=””>Murphy Mac</a>.

It works across applications, so you don’t need to set up your codes over and over. TextExpander takes stuff I’ve been doing the easy way and makes it easier.  You can use TextExpander to drop a long path into Terminal, to create tinyurls, or even to run Applescripts.  TextExpander can assign text “snippets” or Applescripts or even pictures to a code, which you define.

TextExpander will convert your code as soon as you type it, unless you prefer to use a delimiter like the tab key or the space bar.  The utility is always watching as you type, so even if you’re in iTunes and enter xomm (x open murphy mac) you’ll be whisked away to the Murphy Mac site in whatever browser you prefer.  Assuming you’ve set a definition for xomm in TextExpander to run an Applescript.  You can also set hotkeys to disable TextExpander if it’s getting in your way.

Coming up with a good code system might be half the fun.  Devise a sound naming strategy and TextExpander shouldn’t get in your way under most circumstances.  The examples I used above start with x.  Some users might use z or q – letters found in few actual words – so the chances of invoking TextExpander by accident are smaller.

The screencast shows some basic examples of what you can do with TextExpander.  I’ll post again soon and show some of the tricky stuff, like creating short URLs and entering date offsets with simple codes.

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Which Weather Widget?

I was looking at my iPod weather forecast and looking forward to some cool days in the sixties next week.  And then I looked at my Macbook’s weather widget – which expects temps closer to 80.  Who should I trust?


I’ve actually noticed this quite a bit over the last few weeks.  My iPod thinks it’s going to be cool.  My Macs are all less optimistic.  The weather on my iPod comes from Yahoo! Weather, which partners with The Weather Channel, aka   My Dashboard weather comes from

I’ve got Weather Bug installed on my iPod too.  But I’m not in the habit of checking it.

Where do you get your forecast?

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