Hacking in the movies is crazy exciting: fingers fly across the keyboard, and the screen is an ever flashing array of cryptic characters. It’s all so…interesting. Real hacking, sadly, isn’t that intense. However illegal what you’re doing may be, you’re still just someone sitting at a computer. Most the time you’re just trying to get people to use a fake Google sign-in page.
There are a lot of bots on Twitter. Some are trying to sell things, some are stage one in an elaborate scam, and some are run by international intelligence agencies for any number of reasons.
So you saw something called “coreaudiod” while browsing Activity Monitor. What does that do, and could it be causing problems?
Whether you work at your computer or just enjoy the occasional long gaming session, it’s important to take breaks regularly. Getting up to take a walk, grab a coffee, or do some stretches helps reduce eye strain, prevent repetitive strain injury (RSI), and is otherwise just plain good for you. And one study from the University of Illionoise at Urbana-Champaign shows that breaks might even enhance productivity by increasing focus.
If you’ve got a Roku, odds are you’ve already connected your Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon account for streaming. You probably know that you can buy movies and TV episodes on other services too, like Google Play. But there is a lot of free content on the Roku too…if you know where to look.
Everyone who regularly uses the command line has at least one long string they type regularly. Instead of entering all that again and again, quickly search your history to find the complete command.
Command line users know to how read the manual: type “man” followed by the name of a command—you’ll see a detailed explanation. These manuals are useful but verbose, using hundreds of words to explain every detail of a command.
One of the best things about MacBooks are the many trackpad gestures you can use. You can quickly look something up, zoom in and out, change desktops, and so much more.
I was walking through the dorms in 2003 when I saw it: a desk with three computer monitors, all with a Matrix screen saver scrolling green text. It’s laughable in retrospect, but I thought it was just the coolest. Don’t lie, you would have too.
We may be living in the future, but sending large files over the web remains…complicated. Email is a terrible way to send files over 1GB, and using cloud-based services like Dropbox or Google Drive means filling limited space on a service, and you’ve got to manage permissions or accept that your link might be handed off to third parties.
You’re checking Activity Monitor, seeing what’s taking up resources on your Mac, when you notice a process called opendirectoryd. What does that even mean?
Command+Tab is the main keyboard shortcut for switching applications in macOS. Hold Command then press Tab—you’ll see icons representing every application open on your Mac, as shown above. Press Tab again until you switch to the application you want.
Forget Solitaire and Minesweeper. The best game ever included with Windows was a virtual pinball table. With blinking lights and arcade sounds, 3D Pinball for Windows seemed like magic back in 1995, and is surprisingly playable even today.
Looking through Activity Monitor, you notice something named “dbfseventsd.” How do you even pronounce that? It’s running three times: twice by the root account, and once by you. What is it?
My co-worker Jason is a jerk. Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of his work and he’s probably the most agreeable person I could even hope to work with. But his trivia questions constantly make me feel like a moron. Even worse, the site keeps track of my failure, constantly reminding me of how many questions I’ve gotten wrong.
By default, you can control your music with your Mac’s Touch Bar only if you use iTunes. Players like Spotify and Vox aren’t supported as of this writing. And even iTunes doesn’t offer that much functionality on the Touch Bar. But we’ve got a fix for that.
Ever wish you could copy something on one computer, then paste it on another? Synced clipboards are becoming common: you can sync your clipboard between macOS Sierra and iOS 10, for example, without any third party software. Pushbullet allows you to sync your Windows clipboard to Android (along with other features.)
Great photos can really make a website pop. They catch the eye, yes, but can also help you get your point across.
You notice a process named “backupd” while using Activity Monitor. What is this process, and why is it running on your Mac?
Reddit is terrible, but some individual subreddits are great. If you’d like to keep track of particular communities, but never want to open reddit dot com in a tab ever again, RSS feeds can get the job done.
Linux users love installing software from the command line, and it’s not hard to understand why. Instead of downloading executables, running them, and dodging the various attempts to change your default search engine, you basically type what you want to install and hit “Enter.”
It’s rare, but every once and a while your MacBook’s Touch Bar can get stuck, showing you only one set of buttons and not responding to touch. For me it was displaying the “Unlock With TouchID” message long after I logged in, but it’s hypothetically possible for this to happen while running any application.
Whether you’ve given a computer to your child or just want to keep things clean on your own machine, blocking sites that serve malware, porn, social networking, and gambling en masse is useful. And while there’s lots of third party software out there for the job, the hosts file is a built-in option for every major operating system.
You’re listening to music, but then you click a video. Now both things are playing at once, and you have to pause your music manually like it’s the dark ages. There has to be a better way.
The Internet can be a horrible place, but there’s a lot of beauty out there. Beautiful paintings and photos can remind you of that, and the right program can deliver them to you automatically.