Monday, 25-Jul-2016 09:38:59 EDT

macOS (10.12) Sierra

OS X (10.11) El Capitan

Installation notes:


(Free unless otherwise noted.)


  1. BetterTouchTool ($6) assigns more stuff to trackpads, etc. I use it to allow tapping in the corners to replace the Home & End keys (which don't exist on my new wireless keyboard), closing windows (⌘W), ⌘-click in Safari & Mail, & Enter Full Screen (⌃⌘F) elsewhere.
  2. Menubar weather: Meteo(rologist). Also, WeatherMan Lite
  3. AutoKeyboard assigns different keyboard layouts (as for different languages) to each app.
    (Haven't tried it: I use Keyboard Pilot, which is no longer free.)
  4. Music:
    1. GarageBand will convert ≤ 40 sec. segments of videos into ringtones.
    2. Singer Song Reader adds lyrics to metadata of iTunes music.
  5. TexShop: Front end for MacTeX. (Doc: select by hand file:///usr/local/texlive/2012/doc.html.)
    1. SyncTeX: ⌘-click on input/output to find same spot in other window; works with Full Screen.
    2. Auto Save & Versions.
    3. Flashmode automatically TeX's while you're typing. (Haven't tried it yet.)
    4. To convert pdf → eps, open the pdf in TeXShop, choose the "Selection" tool in the Preview window toolbar, select the desired rectangle (or all, either with ⌘-A or manually), choose "Preview > Save Selection to File...", & save as eps. If that doesn't work, TeX the pdf in a file 1st.
  6. MacFusion is an interface to FUSE for OS X (OSXFUSE; include MacFUSE Compatibility Layer), which mounts (s)ftp volumes as the Finder should, so you can add files, & edit with TextEdit.
  7. Xcode (from the Mac App Store, also in  menu) includes:
    1. FileMerge compares 2 text files (& merges) with a nice interface. (If you want to access it directly, you can make an alias to the file in Contents/Applications; as usual, access Contents of an app by right-clicking & selecting Show Package Contents.)
    2. Simulator shows what your web pages look like in iOS. (Separately found in Contents/Developer/Applications.)
    3. Note: Simulators & Command Line Tools now need to be downloaded separately via Preferences... > Downloads > Components. (Requires free developer account.)
    4. Also available: various versions of Fortran; CERNLIB & other HEP.
  8. In case you lost them, here are some ancient Mac system sounds.
  9. Leaf for RSS, because it uses Feedly to sync with my iPad. ($10, but I got it when it was free.) Also, the more basic Feedly.

Safari 9

  1. Mutable tabs.
  2. History shared with other devices, can be cleared for various recent periods. Tabs, too.
  3. Scrolling tab bar.
  4. Customize Toolbar has a Favorites Bar item for toggling it.
  5. iCloud Keychain: can AutoFill even when websites resist, if password required after period of sleep
  6. Power Saver blocks Flash ads
  7. GlimmerBlocker (Java http proxy) blocks ads for all all browsers & even RSS readers.
    1. If there is a Java vulnerability specifically affecting web browsers (i.e., @ certain web sites), you can disable Java in Safari Preferences... > Security. This won't affect GlimmerBlocker or the other Java apps listed below.
    2. When subscribing to filters, note the preference "Automatically update subscription".
    3. Reinstall after major system upgrades.
  8. Safari Extensions (link in Safari menu) install automatically from Apple's site:
    1. Nope conveniently further blocks ads.
    2. ClickToPlugin:
      1. Blocks Flash & other plug-ins, replacing it with HTML5 when available. Safari 10 will already do this.
      2. Allows downloading media (e.g., on YouTube), as does Media Center. But both extensions will become obsolete in macOS Sierra.
      3. An alternative for video downloads is helper.
    3. Tabletoy allows floating table headers & sorting by columns.
    4. Lyrics Here shows lyrics for YouTube music videos.
  9. If audio is played as Flash instead of HTML5, it can be saved using Soundflower & QuickTime Player: Set the sound output in System Preferences, & the microphone in New Audio Recording in QuickTime Player (but leave its volume @ minimum), to "Soundflower (2ch)".
  10. MathML: pretty good now, except for some big delimiters.


  1. Vector graphics ("draw"): LibreOffice (Draw)
    1. Allows editing of pdf (including conversion to ps, but not eps).
    2. Lots more tools than basics: e.g., gradient shading, transparency, primitive 3D.
    3. Returns to Select tool after use of any other tool (unlike Inkscape).
    4. Includes text editor (Writer) that's better at reading MS Word files than TextEdit (but so is Quick Look).
  2. Bitmap graphics ("paint"):
    1. Seashore
    2. Gimp is more powerful but more awkward. Now native (no X11/XQuartz).
      1. Due to interface bugs, you may want to use Windows > Single-Window Mode for now.
      2. If you want more themes (e.g., Aqua), you can install them the hard way in Contents > Resources > share > gimp > 2.0 > themes.
  3. Java apps:
    1. 3D graphics (raytracing, etc.): Art of Illusion; saves as JPG (e.g.), but Preview will convert to PDF.
    2. JaxoDraw draws Feynman diagrams with just the trackpad/mouse. (Others require programming & specifying coordinates.)
    3. FidoCadJ does the same with circuit diagrams.
    4. After installing new versions of OS X, reinstall Java. (See System Preferences.)
    5. If newly downloaded Java app won't run, go to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > General.



  1. Unicode characters (e.g., math in Mail/Messages):
    1. Substitution (useful also in iOS):
      1. Built-in (e.g., 1/2 → ½), or
      2. Added (e.g., ^2 → ²): System Preferences… > Keyboard > Text. Use menu item Edit > Substitutions > Text Replacement.
    2. Emoji & Symbols:
      1. Edit > Emoji & Symbols, or add directly to Title Bar by selecting in System Preferences… > Keyboard > Input Sources.
      2. For more characters, Customize List... from Action pop-up menu (gear).
    3. STIX fonts (now included in OS X) have TeX characters, useful in figures, MathML, etc.
    4. See also my Unicode page.
  2. Editing tricks:
    1. ⌥⌫ deletes words.
    2. 2-finger single tap (right-click on mouse) on a typo to choose a correct spelling is easier than retyping.
    3. ⌃T between 2 letters to transpose them.
    4. Also note the menu item Edit > Spelling and Grammar > Correct Spelling Automatically.
    5. Hit esc to complete word or guess next one.
  3. Text selection:
    1. 3-finger swipe (click & drag with mouse) to select text as contiguous letters.
    2. 1-finger double-tap (-click) to select word, 3-finger swipe (drag with mouse) for contiguous words.
    3. Triple-tap (-click) for paragraphs.
  4. Preview form input. (But for reading the output in Acrobat, save by printing to PDF, or see this article.)


  1. Batch renaming: "Right-click" multiple selected files for menu item.
  2. In a home folder window, View > Show View Options > Show Library Folder.
  3. Screen Sharing (also in Messages) allows remote control of your Mac (even over the internet).
  4. ⌘⇧4 to select portion of screen for snapshot, or hit space for camera to select window (or dock, menu bar, or desktop for all).
  5. To create an alias while dragging, hold down ⌥⌘. (⌥ alone creates a copy.)
  6. ⌘-drag to rearrange menu bar.


  1. News/rumors: 9T🕘 5Mac (RSS).
  2. Apple keynote coverage (WWDC).
  3. iCloud Drive (5 GB free) makes all of iCloud easily accessible from all apps, Finder, iOS, Windows, &
  4. Automatically install OS X updates: System Preferences > App Store.
  5. Preview lets you create signatures using the trackpad instead of the camera.
  6. To get to the Dock in Full Screen mode, go "past" the edge.
  7. Enlarge cursor: System Preferences > Accessibility > Display.
  8. To add a keyboard shortcut for a menu item, System Preferences > Keyboard > Keyboard Shortcuts. If you want to add a shortcut for something with an ambiguous "last name", you need to give the full Menu Title, separated by "->" (not ">") w/o spaces.
  9. In LaunchPad, drag an item on top of another to create a folder; hold ⌥ to get wiggly icons with X's for deletion.
  10. Grapher (in Applications > Other) also does equations nicely; for arithmetic, just delete the "x=" (or whatever) & type. You can even export the equation as (La)TeX: Use the secondary click & select the menu item.
  11. Quicktime Player does screen video capture.
  12. System Preferences > Extensions:
    1. Actions: Markup gives new image editing options in any viewer (Preview, Mail, ...).
    2. Today: widgets to customize Notification Center. (In the Today window, besides the Edit button there's also ⓘ buttons on rollover.)
  13. I need Safari Privacy > Cookies and website data set to "Allow from websites I visit" instead of "Allow from current website only" for me to be logged in to blog sites that use my google ID. That means more ads, but @ least only from places I already shopped.


  1. My shortcuts disappeared (just on my Mac, not my iPad nor Around the same time (not sure it was related) I got a popup window with the error message "This Mac can't connect to iCloud because of a problem with" my account username & "Open iCloud preferences to fix this problem." Doing that it asked me to "Sign in to use your Apple ID." after which it said "An unknown error occurred." After that problem went away (or did I just ignore it?), I tried to go back to iCloud preferences & got "iCloud is temporarily unavailable for your Apple ID because of account maintenance. Wait a few minutes and sign in again." Once it was available again, I went to turn iCloud drive off & on again to fix the original problem (remember that?) & got the ominous message "If you turn off iCloud Drive, all your documents stored in iCloud will be deleted from this Mac." So I did it anyway. That fixed my shortcut problem. But it did delete all those files. However, after a little while they got re-downloaded. (Apparently I couldn't access them from my Mac otherwise.)
  2. Preview can't set Always Show Sidebar as default in Full Screen mode. When I select it, it usually fails to move the pdf to the side, & then sometimes crashes Preview.
  3. You might have the misfortune of opening a web page in Safari (most other browsers have fixes for this problem) that gives an apparently ∞ (but really only 150) loop of popups. The easiest escape is to (normally) quit Safari & reopen it with the ⇧ (Shift) key held down. (Any tabs/windows you still wanted can be found in your recent History.)
  4. If you get disconnected from Ethernet, try turning WiFi on & off.
  5. General, simple fixes for new bugs, not associated with system/app upgrade, not described on the Web:
    1. Restart the app. If the problems persist,
    2. Restart your Mac. If that doesn't work,
    3. Delete the preference files for that app in ~/Library/Preferences/ after quitting. Empty the trash. You may also need to restart, if it's system-wide. Of course, you'll lose all your preferences.
    Many other techniques (restart in Safe Mode, reinstall the system, use Disk Utility, zap the PRAM, etc.) work rarely & take more time.
  6. When a file won't delete because it claims it's in use, select it, 2-finger tap (right click), & Delete Immediately.... Also under File menu when holding ⌥, or directly as ⌥⌘⌫.