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#835: Instant Dictionary, Global/Regular Expression/Print (GREP), Caffeine


Hello all,

Happy end of summer. I cannot describe the recent local weather any other way except “perfect.” Warmish to hot days, cool evenings and nights, which means plenty hot to hit the beach during the day and then cool enough to sleep at night afterwards. I usually have a moment when I realize summer is on its way out and go into a slightly melancholic reverie before embracing the approaching fall and winter. I thoroughly enjoy the other seasons as well, but only the end of summer brings the feeling that it went by too quickly.

I did pretty well this year, actually, and I’m fortunate enough to be spending this week oceanside on Cape Cod, which after Labor Day is not only quiet, but also affordable for normal human beings. So that scratches “go to the ocean” off the list. Ocean visits are a new summer activity for me — the seaside is a must-do for my wife and after a few years, I am an enthusiastic convert. The only thing I really have left to do is a trip to the local drive-in! Maybe I can squeeze it in next weekend after climbing Mount Mansfield on rollerblades while riding a windsurfer, which will take care of several things on my bucket list for the year.

Anyway, there are big doings in the South Burlington Service department. We have expanded our service area and built a 12-foot checkin counter with three machines for check-ins. Summer’s end has always been busy for us here in service, and for the last few years, there has been no drop-off in business after the summer rush. August has set the trend for the following year. (Obviously this is a great problem to have.) But we have outgrown the space, so it was time to expand to make it a better experience for our customers. There’s lots of work (and fun) to do as we reorganize and think about how to utilize our new space.

Take a look at the before and after here.

Thanks for reading!


  Instant Dictionary  

How do you quickly get information about a specific word? Have you seen a word and though it was being used improperly? Unsure of the meaning of a word and don’t want to load another app?

In most, if not all, apps you can simply hold down the command, control and ‘D’ keys and a pop up will open with the dictionary entry for that word. To get the window to close, just simply click elsewhere and it will disappear.

  Global/Regular Expression/Print (GREP)  

Mac OS X has deep roots in Unix and at this point, is fully Unix-compliant. It’s common knowledge. That is what we all say, but what does that mean? Well, one of the things it means is that a lot of the things we do in OS X are nice GUIs that let us use Unix command line functionality without having to learn all the commands and variables.

OS X Aqua also lets us interact (hopefully) more intuitively with the operating system — and do things that would be very hard or just impossible in a command line environment. Sometimes, though, the reverse is true and the command line is the easiest, best path to accomplishing a task.

One great example of this is the grep command. It’s really g/re/p, or global/regular expression/print. It’s a text search tool that lets you enter simple or highly detailed search parameters called ‘regular expressions’ and then either print or view the results.

One simple example would be to search every Word document on your machine for the word “Croatia.” Possible in the GUI, but hard to even figure out what the process would be. Finder and Spotlight would be helpful, but neither offer the precision that grep does in this case. One simple command line will give the same results very quickly and easily.

Grep is too deep really go into in a Tech Tails article, so if you are interested, check the grep and GNU Wikipedia pages for more info, or shoot me an email at (I’ll be blissfully leaving email behind while I’m on vacation, though!)

  Prevent Sleep Through Terminal  

On my Snow Leopard-based MacBook at home, I use a neat little app called Caffeine. Caffeine prevents the system from sleeping or dimming the display during long periods of supposed inactivity.

Caffeine, though, has limitations; you can select periods of time for it to prevent sleep or set it indefinitely. What if you want the machine to sleep upon completion of a long running task? Do you set Caffeine to become inactive after you think the process will be complete in the predefined time settings? In Mountain Lion, you can use the command line or Terminal command caffeinated.

Say you want the unit to remain awake for an hour?

caffeinate -u -t 3600

3600 is the time, in seconds, the unit will remain awake. Say you want caffeinate to run only until another application completes a task?

caffeinate -s running_command_or_app -additional_arguements

For example, you could use caffeinate diskutil repairpermissions to keep the machine awake in your absence until Disk Utility can complete repair of permissions.

The command will prevent sleep on the computer until either the specified time has elapsed (keeping in mind your sleep settings in System Preferences) or until the specified application you have entered completes its task.

  Mac-Tech In-Depth Conference in Boston  

Our friends over at MacTech Magazine have developed a series of events around the nation that aim to provide in-depth training on IT issues. Later this month, the seminars come to Boston and the two-day event will cover network, Wi-Fi design, troubleshooting and mobile device management.

On September 27th, MacTech InDepth: Network & Wi-Fi Design & Troubleshooting is a one-day event for those supporting and deploying networks supporting mobile and desktop devices. From small business to Enterprise, Network & Wi-Fi Design & Troubleshooting has become one of the hottest topics facing corporate environments not only because of growing demand generated by business users, but also because of the proliferation of mobile users.

With everything from sharing data to deployment to management to security and more facing organizations, MacTech InDepth gives you the opportunity to spend a full day on the topic and identify what options you have in networks and Wi-Fi, what you need to do to take advantage of them, and how to make the most of the technologies available.

Then on September 28th, MacTech InDepth: Mobile Device Management is an event for those supporting, managing and deploying mobile devices. MacTech InDepth gives you the opportunity to spend a full day on the topic of MDM and identify where you are, what you need to do, and how you are going to get there.

For more information, visit their website.

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  TT SPECIAL: AirPort Express and 4-Port USB Hub  

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  TT SPECIAL: Magic Bundle  

TT Special: Magic Bundle - Apple Wireless Keyboard, Magic Trackpad and Magic Bar


If this were a Harry Potter spell it would be Inputaneous! Here is all is…for only $159.99!

  • Apple Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard
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  • Twelve South Magic Wand

This is a fabulous set up that I love using in our stores when I check out all the demo product that I never really get to use at my desk. (Though I may have to buy this for myself!)

You know how the keyboard and trackpad work…but The Magic Wand is cool little accessory that connects Apple’s Magic Trackpad to your Apple Wireless Keyboard, creating the sleek, one-piece input device you’ve been imagining.