OSX Dock

I Have Always Hated It! Always!!

OSX Dock
OSX Dock (visible on bottom)

The Curse of the OSX Dock!

Indeed, I despise the Mac OS X dock. It is always in my way! I use it once in a blue moon; so, I keep it hidden on the left side. Still, every time I send my mouse flying to the side in FCPX, I “bump” the wretched edge of the screen and the damn thing springs to life, in my way, annoying the hell out of me. I have to wait for it to disappear again before I can click on the area I need on the left side (right, or bottom, no matter where the dock is, it’s in my way!)

Why will Apple not let people turn off the Dock? Why?! Why?! [Pulling my hair out in fistfuls!]

But today I have discovered a terminal command that delays the dock from immediately springing into my way when I bump the sides of the screen. Here it is:

Start by hiding the dock in System Preferences. Then, launch Terminal (Applications > Utilities) and paste the following command:

defaults write com.apple.dock autohide-delay -float 2

Press the [Return] key.

Now type:

killall Dock

Press the [Return] key.

Test to your delight!

That command provides a full two second delay before the dock bounces into view atop your screen and interrupts your workflow. If you’re like me, you’ve moved your cursor away from the very edge and onto the area of the screen on which you are focused within that 2 second delay. Thus, the dock remains hidden! If you want a longer or shorter delay, make the number larger or smaller (1.5 or 5, etc.)

This solves my hassle! [Tim seen leaping for joy!]

Help Viewer Always On Top

Then, of course, there is this issue of the Help window always remaining on top of all other windows. Yes, that can be convenient at times. However, if you have multiple monitors with ample screen real-estate, it becomes a pain!

Check out Tinker Tool. Among many other things, Tinker Tool allows you to turn off the help viewer remaining on top. Tinker Tool does not run any app, it just accesses system preferences that the OS X GUI doesn’t give the average user access to.

What Was that Keyboard Shortcut?!

I always try to use keyboard shortcuts. I work much faster with them. But, jeeze remembering them all with the onset of fifty-something feeble mindedness!

And then, add this additional layer of complexity:

Match each with the correct symbol:

  1. The Command Key
  2. The Alt or Option Key
  3. The Control Key
  4. The Shift Key

Special Key Symbols (Mac)

Yes, exactly! I can remember the Command and the Shift key symbols, but I can never remember the others. *


KeyCue Window (click to enlarge)

This is why I love KeyCue! I set up this little app to activate when I press the command key two times in rapid succession. I brings up an overlay of all of the keyboard shortcuts (by menu and submenu) for the app I’m currently using. The name of each keyboard symbol appears at the bottom of the list. You can activate a command from the list with your mouse, the keyboard, the keyboard shortcut (if one exists), or escape the HUD.

Little Mouse/Cursor on Big Screens

I have complained before about losing my mouse on the screen. It’s so tiny. My eyes are so old. I’ve tried a variety of ways to keep up with it. First, I went into System Preferences > Accessibility > Display (10.9) and made the cursor size larger. This works well until you need fine tuned, precise cursor location: clicking those tiny back or forward to the previous/next keyframe buttons in FCPX. The, larger cursor actually can actually get in the way of positioning the cursor! Rrrrrr!

Then I tried Mouseposé and OmniDazzle. Both worked. I preferred Mouseposé. I set it up so that when I activated it via keyboard shortcut, the screen dimmed except for a small circle around the cursor, which automatically faded away in 3 seconds.

Now, I’m trying a different solution: Keymo. (Yes, I really don’t like the name. I think the company that made the app speaks English as a secondary language and probably doesn’t understand the phonetic association.) This app has several features, but will highlight (in one of three ways) the cursor when it is moving. I’ve used all of these apps in previous iterations and am revisiting them again.

For the moment I live at peace with my machine.

* Correct answers are: 1: B; 2: A; 3: C; 4: D