Argh! Are Beach Balls Driving You Mad?

Argh! Are Beach Balls Driving You Mad?

The time comes in every Mac user’s life when he or she hits the metaphorical wall: That rainbow-colored beach ball shows up way too often, and your Mac is bogged down by too many files, big caches, too many cookies, and who knows what else that builds up with everyday use. Or you think you’ve done everything you can to be more, ahem, productive, and your Mac still isn’t fast enough. Well, you don’t have to live with that state of affairs. We’re skipping right past the obvious time-savers (keyboard shortcuts? Been there, done that) to show you some of the best ways to speed up your workflow - and herd some more of your time back to pasture where it belongs - whether you have absolutely no time to spare or you can make a 20-minute investment in your Mac’s smooth operation.




Keep it Clean (KIC) - Remember how speedy your Mac used to be? You can restore some of that fresh-out-of-the-box performance with these clean-up tips.

Speed Demons - These applications and utilities will help make your Mac - and you - more efficient.

Working with Word (Word) - Little changes can make your life with Word much easier.

Safari - These hints will help you surf Safari with speed.

Firefox - Open-source Firefox has a lot of tricks up its sleeve.




1. Super-Quick Search (Safari, Firefox) - Oh, please don’t go typing “” when you want to search for a phrase you saw on another website. Instead, if you’re in Safari or Firefox, select the text and Control-click or right-click. A pop-up menu showing Google Search will appear. Try it… Yeah, we thought you’d like that one.


Instant Google Search is at your fingertips with a Control-click or right-click.


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2. Email Web Snippets Instantly (Safari, Firefox) - If you use Gmail and the Firefox browser, it’s easier than you think to email URLs to friends. Put GmailThis on your Bookmarks Toolbar. Then, when you want to email someone a link to your current webpage, click on GmailThis. A window will pop up with the link text already added; just fill in the address info and click Send. To email a chunk of text from the page, select the text before clicking GmailThis.


To do something similar in Safari, press Command-Shift-I and your default mail application will create a message complete with the webpage URL. You just fill in the address and send.


It couldn’t be easier to email a URL to a friend than clicking on GmailThis.


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3. Count Your Words Live (Word) - Getting your Word document’s word count by going to Word’s Tools menu and selecting Word Count—ugh, so time-consuming! Just check out the bottom of your doc’s window to see your selection’s word count. If you don’t see it, select Word > Preferences > View and check the Live Word Count box under the Window section Status Bar.


Just check the bottom of your document’s window to get its word count. No work needed.


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4. Fix Text-Selection Angst (Word) - Do you wrestle with Word when you want to make a tiny text change? Head to Preferences > Edit and deselect the check box next to “When selecting, automatically select entire word” and you can select even the teeniest bit of a word.


5. Stop Selecting Around the Bush (Word) - Sometimes you just want to select a block of text and hit Delete (ah, doesn’t that feel good?). Clicking and dragging to make the selection isn’t necessary, and it’s a big pain when using a laptop’s trackpad. You could triple-click on a paragraph, but that only selects one paragraph. So click once at the beginning of the text, then Shift-click at the very end of the block you want to select. This works in many applications - not just Word.






+ Add a Comment


You probably should use a Disk Utility for the Mac. If you optimize your hard drive, it should help speed up your Mac and stop the rainbow beach ball from re-appearing. See here:  



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Focus, people. Is this a semantics committee?


Недвижимость за рубежом

Monolingual is a good idea, but needs refining to avoid deep cleaning of essential files needed for the system & English language.



What do you mean it's not a beachball it's a pinwheel??

Not so. It is commonly referred to as the "Spinning Beachball of Death" or when it's behaving as just "The Beachball" in the Mac community for as long as it came on the scene. And I've used Mac's since 1985.




"16. Stop Annoying Websites (Safari) - Quite a few websites play annoying New Age music or flashing ads whenever they load (we’re not naming them here…lucky for them). Pretty soon we’re rooting around for a “pause” or “skip intro” button - a huge time waster. Safari Stand (donationware) lets you do things like turn off flashing ads and control which images, scripts, and other “features” load. Safari Stand can also stack open tabs in a vertical format, which is great if you like to open a lot of pages at once."

Funny, every time I visit an article link at I have to click a "Skip Ad" link, but "we're not naming names..."


G Force

Be VERY careful using Monolingual or don't use it at all! After running this seemly harmless program & gaining 2 GB of space, I lost important characters needed for MS Word & other programs. Eventually, my keyboard stopped reacting when pressing the keys! I've heard other horror stories from others using this program so I'm not alone. I was fortunate that my MacBookPro was able to reboot with the startup disk & regained full operation my system with a "archive & install" (more than an hour later). Monolingual is a good idea, but needs refining to avoid deep cleaning of essential files needed for the system & English language. Ideally, the extra languages not needed should be unchecked during the installation of Mac OS X to save the extra space - which is what I ended up doing.



It's not a beachball, it's a pinwheel.



Very nice



we always called it the spinning pizza wheel of death....


Ernest Phillips

MacLife editors, try OmniWeb! Forgot that silly Google bar, by default you can just type "google puppies" into the location bar and it searches puppies. I've even shortened mine to just g. So Command-L to get to the location bar, then type "g speed up my Mac", and I get to see if Google found this article (it wasn't the first hit).

And you can set up as many as you want. So i can "g puppies" to search google for puppies, "weather San Francisco, CA" to search for SF weather, "imdb The Golden Compass" to search imdb, "movies 99999" to get movie listings in the 99999 zip code, or "tb Frozen Shadowweave" to search for frozen shadowweave on thottbot.



In Firefox, you can use the mentioned keywords to do this.

In Safari, you can use one of several third party add-ons to get this functionality, such as Sogudi or SafariStand.

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