blog

An assortment of thoughts.  Mostly tech related.

Control your 4th gen Apple TV with your TV remote

I made another accidental discovery the other day with the new 4th gen Apple TV. My TV remote control works to control player functions on the Apple TV.

Much has been said about how the Apple TV takes advantage of HDMI-CEC for basic control of connected televisions, ostensibly to allow control of volume, automatic input source selection (when the Apple TV is powered on) and power on/off of the TV using the Sleep button on the Apple TV remote.  In addition to HDMI's ability to transfer sound and image information, HDMI-CEC also has other two-way data capabilities to allow basic control of supported displays/TVs.  It seems to work both ways in more ways than I (and perhaps others) have first thought.

When watching a movie on the Apple TV the other night, I found that I could control some functions on the Apple TV using the buttons on my Samsung smart TV television remote - namely fast forward/rewind and play pause.  These buttons are included to manage some of the Smart TV functions such as player controls for on-demand streaming and YouTube etc, but they seem to connect.

Now, I couldn't be 100% sure whether this is operating via IR or taking advantage of the HDMI-CEC standards, which my Samsung TV and the Apple TV both support.  I don't suppose it matters really, but it's a handy thing to be aware of when watching your favourite show or movie and the TV remote is the closest thing to hand.

Fix for New Folder button off screen in Save As dialogue box on Mac OS X

I've run into this small problem umpteen times, and it happens most often on my 13 inch MacBook Pro Retina, and usually after disconnecting from my external displays and running off the built-in screen alone.

I begin work on a new document (most often in MS Word) but it happens in other applications too. When I go to save, and the Save/Save As dialogue box appears, I'm able to navigate to the correct location, but then (being the *cough* organised person that I occasionally am) I often want to create a new subfolder, only to find that the New Folder button is missing - off the screen and at least partially concealed behind or beyond the Dock.  This usually means having to save it in a temporary location that I CAN reach and then jumping into Finder, creating the new folder and moving the file etc, etc. Both tedious and annoying.

Here's a tip to get around the issue without leaving the Save As dialogue box:

The Save/Save As dialogue box has two modes.  A full, 'Finder-like', Expanded mode view showing the locations of all your favourites and additional options, and then a Collapsed mode view which is more abbreviated and lacks access to your Finder Favourites etc.  The trick to getting around the problem is simply to toggle between the two modes.

Click the disclosure triangle to the right of the Save As filename box and you'll toggle from Expanded to Collapsed view, click it again and the Expanded view will return, but this time reformatted to fit your screen a little better, AND (importantly) with the New Folder button visible!  It's still a little clunky, but it gets you out of trouble.

Yesterdate - TextExpander snippet tip for inserting yesterday's date

This one needs little intro aside from the fact that I'm calculating and manually typing yesterday's date far too often.  Here's a simple and handy tip to insert yesterday's date using TextExpander. Make a new snippet, give it an abbreviation of 'yesterdate' and include the following for the snippet.

%@-1D%e %B %Y

This seems like a super-obvious tip (and it absolutely is), but I've only instituted it today and it would have been very handy for me over the last few YEARS. Hope it helps someone else.

Bonus

As a lightweight bonus (and an even more obvious tip) use the abbreviation 'todate' to  insert today's date. (Replacing 'day' for 'date' in each of the abbreviations works for me...and remembering what I've named my snippets is one of my biggest struggles!). Anyhow, the snippet code for today's date, is just:

%e %B %Y