Tech Tricks

I love my tech. It is one reason I love my job. I would love for this blog to be a place where I can share some tips and tricks with the world. This is currently the first tip and trick post but hopefully more will come.

This one was found by total accident. On my mac (OS 10.8.3) I would be archiving my email (in Mail.app) with command-control-a, and randomly my window would go to about ~10% opacity. It was totally frustrating. I had to close the window and reopen it. Then finally (after over a month of this random action) I determined that I would be pressing command-control waiting to archive an email, and then two finger scrolled to read the current email. This key-action combination makes any window only ~10% opacity. To get 100% opacity again just scroll up instead of down (I have the “natural scrolling”/ipad scrolling turned off).

I then looked to see what programs worked (Chrome, Sandvox, Terminal, Reminders) and what programs did not work (Papers, Mathematica, and MATLAB). I figured out that these were the programs that worked, or did not work, with Afloat.

Afloat is a cool application that I use to keep windows on top of all other windows. The only thing that is sad is that it only works with some types of apps. But this incident led me to find out another cool feature of Afloat: changing a window’s opacities.

As an example here is Apple’s Mail.app open with Safari open behind it.

Opaque

If you want to see what is on the Safari page then just perform the keyboard command (control-command-down two finger swipe) and then you can see the Safari window.

Transparent Mail is still the active window so if you were typing an email you can continue to type.

I know that this sounds a bit lame, but I expect to use it in my note taking app, nvALT, when I’m jotting stuff down but need to reference some other window. I know that the OSX is built for multitasking with different windows open, but sometimes there just is not enough room on my screen. I also might use this when I am coding or woking in terminal. Not sure when others will use it, but that is where comments come in handy.

I hope this trick is useful to someone.

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