Learning To Code

3 Simple Computer Hacks for New Developers

Flatiron School / 29 July 2015

This blog is part of a continuous series that highlights experiences, insights, and tutorials from fledgling developers at Flatiron in Web and iOS.

At The Flatiron School, we use Macs. As far as I know, every student in the class uses a borrowed Macbook Air from The City of New York. Before starting at Flatiron, the last time I used a Mac was in the mid 2000’s. My elementary school PowerPC (not Intel) Macbook ran OSX version 10.4 “Tiger”. The only reason I was able to determine which version it was is they added the Dashboard in that version and my 10 year-old brain thought it would be important that I remembered that.

Since then, much has changed in the Apple world (including Apple completely changing the world with the iPhone). I feel like it’s a pretty stellar time to remind myself how to use a Mac and hopefully learn some new tricks to make productivity a bit better.


I started writing the rest of this post without knowing how to take a screenshot on a Mac. I’m not sure how I would ever figure out how to do that if Google didn’t exist.

  • Command + Shift + 3 = Full Screenshot
  • Command + Shift + 4 = Interactive Screenshot

Finder Sidebar

Finder is Mac’s file manager. Its fairly similar to Windows Explorer and Nautilus (for all of you Linux users), but being a product made by Apple, Finder is designed for a group of people that use technology completely differently than everyone else. Finder’s default settings make it completely useless to a developer. Let’s fix it.

By going to Finder > Preferences or pressing the Command + , keybind, you can access the Finder preferences. Under the Sidebar tab, you can add a home folder. While you’re here, you can also remove some of these completely useless options.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.38.24 PM
Let’s also set Finder to default to your home directory when you open a new window.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.38.14 PM
In order to add your document root to the menu, you can press Command + Up until you see your hard drive icon and drag that to the list as well.

Next, drag your development folder into the list as well.

Looks great!

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.37.58 PM

New Terminal at Folder in Context Menu

System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services

Under Files and Folders:

Enable New Terminal at Folder.

<center<Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.39.51 PM

Now you can Control + Click any folder and press New Terminal at Folder.

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 10.40.03 PM
This post originally appeared on Carson Crane’s blog. Read more here.

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