A Windows Tip and a Mac Tip

Something separate for each of Mac and Windows users this week

First the Windows tip – Windows has mis-interpreted the type of files kept in a folder

Windows is sometimes just a bit too clever for its own good (so is Mac OSX, but that’s another matter).

Windows Folder-type Choice
Choose “General Items” to see the normal information associated with files in Windows Explorer
I’ve just opened a folder inside my Dropbox folder that I use as a temporary place to move things between computers. As such, it can contain all types of files (music, pdfs, spreadsheets, etc). For some reason, Windows has just decided that this folder contains music tracks and, therefore, is showing me file attributes that it thinks are relevant – in this case, “Name, Title, Contributing artists, and Album”. It’s not showing me the date modified or anything else that is useful and “standard”.

The way to disabuse Windows of its notion (in Windows 7 or Windows 8) is as follows:

  • Find the folder using Windows Explorer (or, as it’s called in Windows 8, “File Explorer”)
  • Right-click on the folder
  • Left-click on the “Properties” option at the bottom of the list of options
  • Left-click on the tab called “Customise” (at the top of the window that’s just opened)
  • Left-click on the dropdown list under the heading “Optimise this folder for:”
  • Choose “General Items”
  • Click OK

And now the Mac tip – banish the icon bounce!

One thing that has always driven me dotty when using a computer is having anything un-ncessarily flashing, moving or doing something else that screams “look at me, look at me, I’m the most important thing in your life at this second and I won’t go away until you find out why I’m trying so hard to get all your attention”. How do the designers of these distractions get to be so arrogant that they think this is legitimate? Is it just the Victor Meldrew in me, or does everyone else get annoyed as well?

Safari icon bouncing on trampolineThis happens on a Mac when a program that is “in the dock” tries to distract us by bouncing up and down. Here’s an example. A few weeks ago I blogged about a browser add-in called AdBlock Plus that stops ads appearing on web pages. It seems to work perfectly well running in Firefox under Windows. I also installed it to run with the Mac’s own Safari browser. Every now and again the two get in a scrap and the Safari icon bounces up and down (even when I’m not looking at a Safari window) and continues to do so until I click on it – only to be told that Safari couldn’t start the add-on. Big deal. I don’t really care at the moment. Now, please stop bothering me and let me get on with the Sisyphean task of sorting out my iTunes music.

Finally, I did a bit of research and am happy to share with you the method for keeping these docked icons in their place. It’s a bit of a blunt instrument as it stops ALL of the icons from bouncing. You can’t stop just the more egregious programs from behaving this way.

  • Open the “Applications” folder
  • Open the “Utilities” folder
  • Open the “Terminal” application
  • Enter the following two commands (without the quotation marks)
    • “defaults write com.apple.dock no-bouncing -bool TRUE” – and then hit the Enter key
    • “killall Dock” – and then hit the Enter key

If you ever want to bring the bounce back, repeat the commands exactly as above, except replace “TRUE” with “FALSE” in the first of the two terminal commands.

What we have done above is suppress the bounces when an application wants our attention. It is slightly easier to suppress the bounces that happen whenever we click on a dock icon to open that program. To suppress those bounces:

  • Click on the Apple (top left of screen)
  • Click on “System Preferences”
  • Click on “Dock”
  • Untick the box next to “Animate opening applications”