How to swap left and right speaker output in Mac OS X

My MacBook is set up as a desktop computer — it’s plugged into a Dell 22in LCD monitor (E228WFP) and sits on a fabulous Rain Design mStand so that I can use its screen as a second monitor. I have a pair of Logitech speakers plugged into the MacBook’s headphone socket, but since the MacBook sits on the left of my desk and the headphone socket is on the left of the MacBook, the (short) audio cable that runs to the right speaker is stretched rather tightly.

A simple 3.5mm male to 3.5mm female speaker cable would solve this, but I already have enough cables behind my desk, so I figured that it wold be easier to simply swap the speakers around so that the right one was nearer the MacBook. This would also reverse the speakers’ stereo image, of course, so I’d also need to swap the L-R speaker assignments in Mac OS X. Is such a thing possible? Fortunately, yes — here’s how. (more…)

How to make an external monitor the main display on a MacBook

mac-dual-displaysRunning a dual-monitor set-upon a MacBook is easy enough — just plug in the monitor and go to System Preferences > Displays to configure it. The first thing you’l need to do is click the Arrangment button and drag the external monitor so that it’s position is Displays matches that on your desk — so that it sits to the right, left or wherever of your MacBook screen, in other words. But if you want to use the external display as the main display, how do you move the menu bar and Dock from the MacBook screen?

Easy. Just drag the white menu bar from one monitor in the Arrangement pane of Display preferences from the display it’s on to the display you want it to appear, and the Menu bar and Dock will follow. Oh and don’t forget to disable ‘Mirror Displays’ if you want a different image on both displays…

Backup your iPhone contacts to Google with iTunes

If you want to use Google Mobile Sync to keep your iPhone synchronised with your Google Calendar and Contacts, you’ll have to backup any existing contacts on your iPhone first, otherwise Google Sync will delete them.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to do this and you can use iTunes to upload your contacts to your Google Contacts list. You can then set up Google Mobile Sync and sync those same contacts (along with any others) back to your iPhone. Here’s how. (more…)

How to display a Mac OS character map

mac-characters-paletteTyping a character that doesn’t have its own key on the keyboard is easy in Windows – you can just use the Windows Character Map tool. Mac OS doesn’t have a similar tool – or rather, it doesn’t have one that’s so easily accessible. There are a few options for quickly inserting symbols like ®, π and © into a document, though.

The easiest is to display the Mac OS Characters palette – just press [Command] + [Option] + [T], or [⌘] + [⌥] + [T]. You can then browse through various symbols and special characters, and simply double-click any one to insert it into your current document. (more…)

How to hide the Genre column in iTunes 8 for Windows and Mac OS

itunes-8-disable-genreiTunes 7 has a Preferences option to turn of the Genre column in the main window, iTunes 8 does not. This is very frustrating. I’m not in the least bit interested in seeing what genres are in my music library, and the Genre pane takes space away from the far more useful Artists and Albums pane.

So, here’s how to disable the iTunes Genre column, the hard way, for both Mac OS X and Windows. (more…)

How to type a hash (#) on a Mac UK keyboard

Mac keyboards don’t have a # (‘hash’ for the UK, or ‘pound’ if you’re American) key, which is a  bit of a problem when you want to type a # symbol.

The lack of a dedicated key doesn’t mean you can’t type the symbol, though – just type [Alt] + [3] or [⌥] + [3] (depending on your keyboard) and the # symbol will appear.

There’s just one thing to note – you need to press the [3] key on the top row of number keys as the [3] key on the numeric keyboard won’t work.

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