The Mac Terminal – A Short Introduction


No doubt, Apple’s Mac OSX has the most streamlined and user-friendly user interface of the commonly used operating systems on the market. Sometimes, however, using your mouse to complete a task can be cumbersome. This is where the Terminal can come in handy.

The Terminal is a command line tool which lets you send commands to your Mac by typing text instead of using your mouse with the user interface.

To start the Terminal application navigate into your Application folder, and from there into the Utilities folder. Alternatively you can press CMD+Space and type ‘Terminal’.

The ls command

When you start Terminal you will be presented with the so-called prompt. This prompt tells you when you last logged on and what folder in your file structure the terminal is currently pointed at (if this is the first time you use Terminal this will be your account’s home folder)

To see what files are in this currently active folder type the ‘ls’ (without the quotation marks) command (a small L, not an I) and hit enter. ‘ls’ is short for list, not surprisingly terminal will list all the files and folders in your home directory. One of those folders should be ‘Desktop’. This is the folder where everything you see on your Desktop is located.

If you want to see what files and folders are in this Desktop folder type the command ‘ls Desktop’ (again, without the quotation marks, and hit enter).

The cd command

The ‘cd’ command (short for change directory) will let you navigate to a specific folder. Assuming that you are still inside your account’s home folder type ‘cd Desktop’. The Terminal is now ‘pointing’ at your Desktop folder. If you use the ‘ls’ command now, you will we presented with a list of files and folders in your Desktop folder.

To navigate back to your home folder type ‘cd ~’. Alternatively you also use ‘cd $Home’.

To navigate to the current folder’s parent folder type ‘cd ..’

The help command

Probably the most helpful command for a Terminal beginner is the ‘help’ command. Type ‘help’ (without quotation marks) and hit enter. Terminal will present you with a list of all available commands.

If you need help with a specific command, simply follow the ‘help’ command with the name of the command you need help with. For instance, ‘help cd’ will offer you help with the change directory command.
Brian Leanza

How Do I Make Safari Open Pages in a New Tab?

You most probably have ran into this situation: there is a web link in a page you are viewing in Safari and when you click it, Safari will open the page in a new window. This behavior kind of defies the point of having a browser able to open pages in tabs. So what can you do? One thing you can do is right-click the link and select ‘Open in a New Tab’ (if you do not have a two-button mouse simply hold down the ctrl key while clicking the link). Alternatively you can hold down the Cmd-Key while clicking the link. This does works perfectly well for single links. How, however, can you make Safari open every link in a new tab without having to right-click or cmd-clicking?

What You Need
This works with Apple’s Safari Browser 4.x and on a Mac only. If you use Safari on Windows this will not help you.

Change Safari’s Beahaviour
To force Safari to open every link in a new tab you need to use an utility you already have installed on your Mac: the Terminal. To open the Terminal open the Finder, navigate to Applications, from there into the folder Utilites. In this folder you will find the Terminal application. Start it and type in the following text (best copy and paste from here):

defaults write TargetedClickCreateTabs -bool true

NOTE: you will have to restart Safari for the change to have effect.

Undo the Change
To undo the change simply open the Terminal again and type in the following (it’s the same command as before with the parameter changed from ‘true’ to ‘false’)

defaults write TargetedClicksCreateTabs -bool false

NOTE: you will have to restart Safari for the change to have effect.

Having Safari open links in new Tabs by default can save you quite a bit of time and will reduce desktop clutter tremendously. And, it was not hard to do, was it?
Brian Leanza