Murphy Mac - Screencasts and Tutorials » Posts in category 'Site Referrals'

Using Special Characters

heart Your Mac is loaded with special characters you can access from all kinds of applications.  Take a look under the Edit menu and in many cases you’ll see  Special Characters  at the bottom of the list.
Instead of scrolling through all the characters in the list use the search field.
More details at UsingMac, including a hearts example just in time for Valentine’s Day emails and tweets.  They probably won’t work everywhere, like in WordPress, without a little tweaking.

You Can Be a Cartoonist with Bitstrip

Murphy always thought he could be a cartoonist if he could only draw. Another dream shot down. The cartoon you see here was made with bitstrips. It’s still in beta, but you can request an invite on their site.

I think I’m going to develop these characters.

Google 411

Google 411Maybe Murphy was the last to know about Goog411, but here’s a quick post anyway, in case any readers don’t know about it yet. All you do is dial 800 Goog 411 or 800 466 4411 from your phone.

The automated system prompts you for city and state and then a business or category. So you could say something specific like Moe’s Tavern or something generic like plumber. Goog 411 will tell you the address of the business it thinks you’re searching for, or read you a list of businesses if there are multiple matches. When you confirm your selection the call is transferred to the phone number. As an alternative you can say “text message” and the details will be texted to your phone, assuming you’re calling from your mobile.

Goog 411 works well. The interface is quick and Google seems to have a good handle on voice activated systems. There isn’t a lot of extra conversation. Murphy finds retrieving voice mail irksome because the prompts say things like, “You have reached the blah blah messaging system, there are x messages in your mailbox.” It should say, “x new messages, y saved messages.” Extra conversation isn’t useful when you’re trying to get through twenty messages.

The Google system also facilitates going back a step and starting over easily without disconnecting the call and calling back. In other words, it’s a nice interface. Best of all, you don’t have to pay one or two dollars to your cell provider for directory assistance. Just add Goog 411 to your phone’s contacts.

If you like these kind of services you should check out Microsoft’s Tell Me too. It has additional features like stock quotes and sports results. Murphy had more trouble navigating the Microsoft service, but maybe he was mumbling. You can try Tell Me at 800 555 Tell.

Murphy didn’t see anything about these services outside the USA. Anyone?

Great Stuff

An industrious Murphy Mac visitor has taken two posts and run with them. Things that would have taken Murphy weeks to unravel have been hammered out in mere minutes.

First, Chris at millshalligan posted a widget for converting a single file into an encrypted file. (After seeing Murphy’s post here!) So if you’re a Widget kind of person and not really interested in the Terminal take a look.

After that, Chris posted a solution for having your WordPress site contact your Mac via Growl when a comment is posted to your blog. Murphy had wondered about the plausibility of such a feature in his own Growl post. Maybe Murph should wonder about some other stuff and see if Chris keeps cranking out answers.

It looks like Bluehost doesn’t allow the outbound Growl notification – unless you pay an additional $30 annually for a dedicated IP address. Check with your own host before trying this out.

Thanks to Chris at millshalligan for some great stuff.


Murphy’s in Vegas this week – no screencasts. There’s plenty of other stuff to keep you occupied though. If you’re a switcher and you haven’t taken the time to get familiar with the Terminal maybe this is the week to do it. Start with the older posts in the Terminal category and work your way through.

VegasOr visit some other sites. Murphy saw some great stuff with the Command key over on Silver Mac. And the guys at MacApper are always writing up tons of useful software. The Mac Lawyer proves there’s a Mac site for everyone with plenty of practical information.

More time to kill? And money? You could sign up for a Bluehost account. Better yet – buy yourself something on Amazon. You get a new toy – Murphy gets a cut! Either way you’ll be buying Murphy a little more time at the tables so he can get his room comped!

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