Apple’s Magic Trackpad & Application Grab

I suspect most people know about these two tools, since I’m not exactly on the forefront of technology out here in the semi-country, but if not:

Apple’s Magic Trackpad works beautifully. I’m using it more and more instead of a mouse due to mouse/wrist problems. Here is Apple’s hype, which is pretty much true:

“The new Magic Trackpad is the first Multi-Touch trackpad designed to work with your Mac desktop computer. It uses the same Multi-Touch technology you love on the MacBook Pro. And it supports a full set of gestures, giving you a whole new way to control and interact with what’s on your screen. Swiping through pages online feels just like flipping through pages in a book or magazine. And inertial scrolling makes moving up and down a page more natural than ever. Magic Trackpad connects to your Mac via Bluetooth wireless technology. Use it in place of a mouse or in conjunction with one on any Mac computer — even a notebook.”

The other thing, and I guess all Mac users utilize this, is Apple’s application, Grab, used to take screenshots. I use it daily, when I can’t download something, and I want an image. It creates only TIFFs, which must be converted to JPEGs, at least for my blog postings.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

9 Responses to Apple’s Magic Trackpad & Application Grab

  1. I don't know if this is same as grab (which, truth be told I never could quite get to work for me), and I'm on the old 10.6 OS, but SHIFT-COMMAND-4 gives you a PNG of a definable area (use SHIFT-COMMAND-3 for full screen).

  2. As a Mac-loving screen-grab addicted blogger, etc., I must say that Grab is a feature-starved disappointment. You MUST try Skitch ( Just as easily activated, but then you can crop, rescale, mark up and annote, drag off in multiple formats from a marvelous interface.

    You won't look back. (Well, you might want to check out earlier versions–I'm using ver 1; it got bought up and lost features, but the older versions are still out there, and apparently Evernote has paid some attention to the chorus of complaints…)

    Anyway, for daily/hourly use, this one is the bomb.

  3. I'm also a Grab fan. Check out Secrets ( Which is a preference pane that gives you all kinds of control over your mac including allowing you to set which filetype your screengrabs are saved in and also which folder they go to. incredibly useful.

    Personally I never got into skitch, but I know many people (like David above) swear by it.

  4. For the mouse/wrist issues: If you haven't tried this already, experiment with height of hand relative to body relative to desk (helps to be using a desk with an adjustable keyboard tray + adjustable chair). Also experiment with different size/shape mice.

    Good luck; we all love your books & you deserve not to be in pain while producing them!

  5. What Bryan says is right. Command-shift-4 will give you a selection cursor, and by default save it as a .png (which is OK). And if you want to change the default to .jpg, the following command pasted into the Terminal application (followed by a return) will do it:

    defaults write type jpg

  6. To make it tke effect without a logout, there should be another command that follows it. So the whole command, combined, is:

    defaults write type jpg; killall SystemUIServer

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