Many times people will read our articles and write in with tips, comments, and suggestions for their approach or solution to the issue at hand, some of which are quite practical approaches that should work for others. We welcome these comments, and hope to include them in future similar articles such as this and our MacFixIt Answers column, to bring you some points in our discussions that our readers might find useful.
Charles wrote us in response to a previous article on magic mice disconnecting:
I found that cleaning the battery contacts of both the mouse and the batteries themselves has eliminated my disconnect problems. I used a pencil eraser and rubbed the contacts with the eraser, then blew the crumbs out with canned air. Before doing this, I rubbed the pencil eraser on paper to get fresh, clean rubber.
Corrosion from leaked batteries as well as natural oxidation of the contacts will definitely prevent a secure connection and lead to disconnects. In addition to an eraser (which will work because it has a mild abrasive in it), you can use a very fine grit sandpaper to expose more of the contact surface. The coarseness of the tools used will depend on the extent of the corrosion.
Additionally, sometimes the contact may not have enough pressure against the batter, and using a small screwdriver you can sometimes gently lift the contacts up a little so they make better contact; however, Apple's mice seem to have a unique approach with two piston-like plugs for contacts instead of a bent metal spring.
In response to a recent article that included how to use Automator to create a launcher in OS X similar to the "Run" utility in Windows, reader Maggie wrote in:
This "run" replacement is almost what I've been looking for since I switched from the PC a year ago. What I miss the most (in this particular regard) is pressing Windows+R and then the URL I want to visit, instead having to launch my browser and then press Alt+D to get to the address bar and type in the URL.
But what I *really* want from spotlight is to just type the URL into the spotlight window without launching this little Run script, which does little to speed things up compared to starting my browser. Even better yet, since Spotlight is supposedly for searching, why can't I just type in the thing I want to search the web for with some kind of "kind" tag as described in "Customize the way you search your Mac with Spotlight commands"?
It would be nice if Spotlight had more of these functions. Apple built it for local searches only, and has also included features like a calculator; however, it has its own uses. With regards to launching the browser, I've found that pressing command-space to bring up spotlight, then searching for "Safari" (or even part of the name) will bring up Safari as the first hit. "Enter" will then launch Safari, from where command-L will highlight the address field and you can enter your URL. It takes a couple more keystrokes, but it works in a similar manner.
There may also be a URL launcher utility somewhere that suits your needs. There are several launcher utilities that include URL handling, such as "LaunchBar", "QuickSilver", Google's "Quick Search Box", and a relatively new utility called "Alfred."