Restricting Web Access
My question is this: Is there a way for me to select the websites that she 'can' access? This is different to using a 'net nanny' filter where I can choose sites to block. I wish to ideally, set up two user accounts for her. One account with access to all the educational information and learning sites only, with a second account (for outside of study hours) where she can web-cam with friends/family and other social or fun site access.
Can this be done somehow/somewhere? I'm OK if it requires purchase of separate (reasonably priced) software, but cannot locate a solution for this dilemma.
I, and my gorgeous daughter, would love a reply on this one!
Good news! Not only is this possible, but it is free and built right into Mac OS X. I'll walk you through the steps.
First, launch System Preferences.app either by going to the Apple menu or by finding the /Applications/ folder in Finder.
Open the "Users & Groups" preference pane and you'll see something like this:
Click that + button at the bottom left (make sure that the "padlock" icon is unlocked first.)
Now you will see a "New Account" window. Choose "Managed with Parental Controls" as shown here:
(Since I don't know your daughter, I chose a familiar "little sister" name for her.)
Once you click "Create User" that window will go away, and you will see one like this:
Click the button for "Open Parental Controls" as shown, and you will see
Select the radio button next to "Allow access to only these websites" and then use the "+" and "-" buttons to add or remove sites.
Mac OS X manages access to these sites by setting up a local proxy and sending all traffic through it, which means that the same restrictions are in place regardless of which app is used, even the Terminal. While I wouldn't assume that any system is foolproof, this should prevent any accidental viewing of undesirable websites.
You can manage other settings using the Parental Controls pane in System Preferences.app.
10-04-2012 09:57 AM
Revert a Document to the Last Saved Version Instantly in Mac OS X
We’ve all accidentally saved over a crucial file and lost something important, and that’s exactly what the Versions feature of Mac OS X aims to prevent by providing a history of a documents life. Since Mountain Lion, the Versions feature has improved dramatically, and it’s now easier to use and more logical than ever, in particular the new feature that lets you immediately revert any document back to the last saved version of that file:
With the changed document open, pull down the File menu
Select “Revert to” and choose “Last Saved – (Date & Time)”
Confirm reverting to the last saved version and the document will leap back in time
The date and time of the last save will be shown, allowing you to easily confirm that’s the file variation you are looking for.
You can still browse through the entire revision history of a given document by going to “Browse All Versions” instead, but the last saved version of a file is the most commonly used and having that as an option makes a lot of sense.
Jumping back to the last saved version even works if you have auto-saving turned off upon document closing, just don’t forget to save at some point otherwise your last version may not be the one you’re looking for.
Add Speech Bubbles to Pictures with Preview in Mac OS X
The latest version of Preview app from OS X Mountain Lion onward feature a couple of fun menu items that let you quickly add comic book styled speech bubbles to any photo. It’s extremely easy to use, but it’s also easy to overlook, so here’s how to use them to add some humor to any picture:
Open an image in Preview and click the “Show Edit Toolbar” button that looks like a square with a pen in it, or hit Command+Shift+A
Click on either the speech bubble icon or the thought bubble icon, then click and drag on the picture to place the bubble
Type what you want in the bubble, adjusting the font and size as desired using the Fonts panel
Thought and speech bubbles can be moved around and resized just by clicking on them, but once they’re saved they’re stuck in place. You probably don’t want to save a goofy modification over the original photo (even though it’s easy to revert back now), so use Export or Save As to save the styled image instead.
Use Launchpad Search to Quickly Open Apps in OS X
Launchpad’s new search function from OS X 10.8 onward make it an extremely fast app launcher, certainly faster than navigating multiple screenfuls of apps and clicking on app icons with a cursor. For the speediest launches, just do the following:
Hit F4 and start typing the app name, then hit return
Is that quick or what?
For optimal speed, don’t bother typing the full name of the application, just type the first few letters, like “ter” for Terminal. If you end up in a situation where more than one app have similar names, either type another character or two or use the arrow keys to navigate between the searched apps within Launchpad.
New Macs have the F4 key mapped as a shortcut to open Launchpad, but older Macs can easily reassign F4 away from Dashboard and to Launchpad with just a click or two within System Preferences.
Whether or not this is faster than using Spotlight is going to come down to personal preferences and keyboard habits, but there’s one obvious advantage to using this Launchpad method over Spotlight; you won’t accidentally open a file or anything else, since Launchpad is apps only.
Open a Files Enclosing Folder from All My Files in OS X
All My Files is one of those features of Mac OS X that was somewhat controversial at first, but once you start using it often you can stop sorting files yourself in the Finder and just let All My Files, search, and Spotlight manage documents instead. Nonetheless, there are still times when you’ll want to know where a file is actually located, and there’s a very easy way to do that right from All My Files:
Right-click a file and select “Open Enclosing Folder”
You’ll be immediately transported to the folder containing the file you selected, with the originally selected document highlighted.
This is not to be confused with the separate keyboard shortcut to jump to the parent directory of the current file or folder, which is also labeled as “Enclosing Folder”. That shortcut is dependent on the current directory, not the currently selected file.
Add VIPs to Mountain Lion Mail App, Make Your Special Friends Feel Good [OS X Tips]
You know, with the complete flood of email we all get each and every day, it’s hard to sort through and find the email from just the important folks in our lives. You can star emails, flag them, send them to special folders via arcane filtering rule sets, but it’s never been just dead simple to keep track of the folks that you really want to hear from, and weed those away from the rest of the onslaught of emails we all face daily.
Apple’s new OS X Mountain Lion has added a super easy way to do just that, however, and it matches its iOS counterpart fairly well. It’s called VIP, and boy is it simple to implement.
Open Mail on your Mac, and find an email from someone you consider a VIP, meaning, someone whose email is important to you throughout the day. Once opened, click on their email address at the top of the message, and choose Add to VIPs. Simple! If you want to take someone out of the VIP folder, do the same thing, only choose Remove from VIPs. You can view each of your VIPs in their very own folder, or all of them at once in the VIP folder itself.
If you have iCloud enabled on your iOS device as well as your Mac, you’ll see the same VIPs on each device. Changes you make on one device will be reflected on the other, which is why my Mac OS X Mail app already had all the VIPs I had added on my iPhone when I upgraded to iOS 6. Nifty, right?
OS X: Email Attachments from Dock Shortcuts
If you're a person who uses the right side of the Dock for quick access to your most-used files, this tip's for you. Did you know that you can email files right from the Dock, without having to locate the original file in the Finder? You can. Did you know also that I'm currently so caffeinated that I can see into the future? Well, now you do. And you should know that you'll regret what you did last night.
So here's the scoop. All you've gotta do is hold down Command while you drag a document you want to email out of your Dock.
You'll see that the Dock shortcut will remain, but you'll get a new icon to drag around. Release the Command key, and if you then drop the file you're holding anywhere in the Finder, it'll make a copy. But if you drop it on the Mail icon in your Dock, your Mac will create a new message for you and attach the file, all automatic-like.
Related to this neat feature is that if you just Command-click any of your Dock icons, you'll show your item in the Finder instead of opening it. Which is another convenient way to attach files to emails, but it's also useful for, say, jumping right to your Applications folder by Command-clicking on an app.
Save a List of Files & Folder Contents Into a Text File
Saving a complete listing of files contained with a folder is easy, and there are two quick ways to save that list as a text file.
Save a List of Files from Finder
The first approach may be easiest for most users and is done through the OS X Finder and TextEdit app, it’s a simple matter of copying and pasting:
Open the folder you want to get a content listing of and hit Command+A (Select All) followed by Command+C (Copy)
Now launch TextEdit and pull down the “Edit” menu and select “Paste and Match Style”, or hit Command+Option+Shift+V
Save the directory listing as either a .txt or .rtf
Saving a Detailed List of Files from Terminal
The second approach uses the command line, and despite being done through Terminal is not much more complicated than the copy & paste approach outlined above. Launch Terminal from /Applications/Utilities/ to get started.
At it’s most basic, the command is as follows:
ls > contents.txt
Including hidden files in the list requires the -a flag:
ls -a > allcontents.txt
To dump the contents of a specific folder, specify the directory path as follows:
ls /Library/Preferences/ > LibPrefsList.txt
Attaching certain flags to the ls command will allow the list to reveal more than just a file content list, the -l flag will also list permissions, file ownership, and modification dates:
ls -la /Library/Preferences/ > detailedprefsinfo.txt
Because the ls command accepts flags that detail additional attributes of files and folders, it can be much more informative than the Finder & TextEdit approach, which does not display details like file ownership or document permissions.
The command line approach also lets you do things like compare two directory listings by using the diff command, that can either be done by comparing the output files against each other, or even directly comparing the folders and saving difference those results as a text file.
Mountain Lion 101: Assign keyboard shortcuts to Mail outgoing accounts
Making its appearance again in Mountain Lion is the ability to assign a keyboard shortcut that'll enter an outgoing email account for a message you are composing in Mail. This feature was available in earlier versions of OS X, but was removed in OS X Lion. Now that the shortcut is back in Mountain Lion, it's time to revisit this feature and show you how to set it up. You can use these instructions below to assign the shortcut and use it when composing an email.
Before you get started, you need the name of your email account as it appears in the Mail application. If you don't know these details, then you should open Mail, compose a message and click on the From field to see the available email accounts. The syntax should look something like this:
To set the keyboard shortcut, you must open the Keyboard panel in the System Preferences and click on the Keyboard Shortcuts tab as shown below. You can set shortcuts for a variety of apps from this menu, but we are going to focus on Mail.
Click on "Application Shortcuts" on the left and look for the + icon at the bottom center. Click on this + and select "Mail" from the Application menu. Type in your email address (don't forget the formatting shown above) into the Menu Title and enter your Keyboard Shortcut combo. As noted by Kirk McElhearn in Macworld hints, the keyboard combo should be easy to remember and ideally related to your email account. I used this suggestion in the example below and selected command-option-control and the letter T for my TUAW account. You can click Add when you are done.
The next time you are composing a message, it'll be extremely easy to select the correct email address for the From field. All you have to do is type the shortcut command and Mail will enter the email address you assigned in the shortcut. You can setup shortcuts for a few email address or all of them, if you prefer.
Mountain Lion 101: Silencing Notification Center alerts
Mountain Lion's Notification Center is handy. It displays banners and alerts from notification-aware apps to keep you informed of changes, like a new Twitter mention, Calendar event or email message. That last one can get distracting, depending on how much email you receive. Here are some ways to tame email alerts:
1. Disable alerts and banners in System Preferences. Open System Preferences and click Notifications. Select Mail from the list on the right and then click None. You'll no longer see email notifications.
2. Quit Mail. Apple's Mail app won't push notifications if it isn't running.
3. Turn them all of at once. Open Notification Center on your Mac and swipe up to the very top. Move the slider labeled Show Alerts and Banners to the Off position to silence all pop-up alerts and banners (they still appear listed in Notification Center itself). Slide it back to On to restore alerts and banners.
If you're worried about a notification popping up when you're making a presentation, don't be. Notification Center is smart enough to recognize when you've got Keynote open and silences notifications on its own. Additionally, it won't display alerts or banners on a mirrored display.
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