17 useful features every OS X Lion user should know about
Computerworld – Apple billed this summer’s release of Mac OS X Lion as having more than 200 new features, but most coverage of Lion in the intervening months has focused on only a handful of them. While iOS-like navigation and app-launching interfaces, autosave/restore capabilities, AirDrop file sharing and an emergency restore partition are by all means important, there are a lot of helpful tweaks and enhancements that can easily be missed.
After spending several months really getting to know Lion, I’ve uncovered a plethora of little-talked-about functions that are well worth knowing about. Here are more than 15 new and useful features in Lion for you to explore.
What other unsung features have you discovered in Lion? Share your tips in the article comments.
File grouping in Finder windows
Lion’s well-known All My Files smart folder gives a bird’s-eye view of everything on your Mac with files separated by type — images, PDFs, text-based documents, spreadsheets and so forth. Each type of file displays preview icons of various files that you can scroll through, much as you would using cover flow view in the Finder or iTunes.
This file grouping option is the default for All My Files, but you can use it for any folder you’re looking at in icon view (but not in list, column or cover flow views).
Grouping files by type is useful, but the Finder’s new Arrange menu in the Finder window toolbar also lets you group files and subfolders by several different criteria, including by the application that created each file (or that is associated with the file if that application isn’t installed on your Mac); by the date they were last opened, added, modified or created; by the file sizes; and by the Finder label assigned to them.
Protection for location information
Like the iPod touch and Wi-Fi-only iPads, Lion can use known Wi-Fi networks to determine the approximate geographical location of your Mac. This information can be requested by websites and other applications, as well as used with iCloud’s Find My Mac feature. The new Privacy tab in the Security & Privacy pane in System Preferences lets you choose whether your Mac can determine your location and, if so, which apps are allowed to use your location information. More
Proteins are like the workhorses of genetic biology, but they can be notoriously difficult to study. Their structure has everything to do with their function–and sometimes dysfunction–which has far-reaching implications in health and medicine. That’s why it’s such a big deal that a couple of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have more or less hacked their cryo-electron microscope to see at far greater resolutions than its manufacturer intended and produced the first 3-D images of an individual protein with enough clarity to determine its structure.
Cataloging the shapes and structures of proteins is fairly routine science at this point. Pharmaceutical companies dealing in biologic drugs do so all the time as they search for protein therapies that might relieve one condition or another. But it’s not easy, and these conventional protein models are averages of the analyses of many thousands of molecules because it’s simply too difficult to get the resolutions necessary to image the features of an individual protein.
Why Austin, Texas Wants to Be An Autos City (Yes, Austin)
When you think of Austin, Texas, the first things that come to mind are probably the University of Texas, food, music, and the South by Southwest festival. But now, Austin wants you to think of it as an automotive capital.
Isn’t Austin too deep in the heart of Texas? How can it compete with Detroit, let alone other established Southern auto cities like Lexington, Ky, Nashville, Tenn., Jackson and Tupelo, Miss.? And isn’t an auto industry focus at odds with Austin’s hip reputation?
Austin’s tactic is to home in on companies that are developing advanced technology, explains Adrianna Cruz, vice president of global corporate recruitment for the Austin Chamber of Commerce.
It’s using the Formula One race in November, which will be held in Austin, to draw attention to its bid to be included in the nation’s automotive centers. Although there have been some doubts about whether the race will happen, tickets are now on sale and it’s set to be the first F1 race in the U.S. since 2007, when the circuit last came to Indianapolis.
“The auto industry is going through a change and a shift. There’s a focus on battery technology and making things cleaner and safer,” Cruz says. “If there’s a location to look at as we discuss how to do things differently – how do we make cars smarter, safer, better for environment – Austin wants to be on the leading edge of those discussions.” More
Yesterday, Twitter announced in a blog post that it was launching a system that would allow the company to take down content on a country-by-country basis, as opposed to taking it down across the Twitter system. The Internet immediately exploded with allegations of censorship, conspiracy theories about Twitter’s Saudi investors and automated content filtering, and calls for a January 28 protest. One thing is clear: there is widespread confusion over Twitter’s new policy and what its implications are for freedom of expression all over the world.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Twitter already takes down some tweets and has done so for years. All of the other commercial platforms that we’re aware of remove content, at a minimum, in response to valid court orders. Twitter removes some tweets because they are deemed to be abuse or spam, while others are removed in compliance with court orders or DMCA notifications. Until now, when Twitter has taken down content, it has had to do so globally. So for example, if Twitter had received a court order to take down a tweet that is defamatory to Ataturk–which is illegal under Turkish law–the only way it could comply would be to take it down for everybody. Now Twitter has the capability to take down the tweet for people with IP addresses that indicate that they are in Turkey and leave it up everywhere else. Right now, we can expect Twitter to comply with court orders from countries where they have offices and employees, a list that includes the United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, and soon Germany.
Twitter’s increasing need to remove content comes as a byproduct of its growth into new countries, with different laws that they must follow or risk that their local employees will be arrested or held in contempt, or similar sanctions. By opening offices and moving employees into other countries, Twitter increases the risks to its commitment to freedom of expression. Like all companies (and all people) Twitter is bound by the laws of the countries in which it operates, which results both in more laws to comply with and also laws that inevitably contradict one another. Twitter could have reduced its need to be the instrument of government censorship by keeping its assets and personnel within the borders of the United States, where legal protections exist like CDA 230 and the DMCA safe harbors (which do require takedowns but also give a path, albeit a lousy one, for republication). More
And, from Wired:
Twitter Censorship Move Sparks Backlash: Is It Justified?
Internet scorn for Twitter’s announcement Thursday that it would censor tweets was swift and unforgiving.
But even free-speech and other experts were divided Friday on the service’s move that it might censor tweets if required by law in ”countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression.”
Like Yahoo and Google before it — and for the same reason, becoming a global powerhouse — Twitter has confronted an inconvenient truth: Freedom of expression is sacrosanct and protected by the Constitution in the United States, but in other parts of the world, not so much.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which typically has no patience with any sort of censorship, saw Twitter’s announcement as little more than stating the obvious. ”I’m a little puzzled by the kind of freak out that kind of appears to be happening. Companies have to abide by the law where they are,” said Cindy Cohn, the legal director of the digital rights group.
The ACLU wasn’t as forgiving. ”The countries that engage in censorship are precisely the ones in which open and neutral social media platforms are most critical,” said Aden Fine, an ACLU staff attorney. “We hope Twitter will think carefully before acceding to any specific requests by those governments to censor content simply because they want to interfere with their citizens’ access to information and ideas.” More