Things You Didn’t Know Your Mac Could Do

Ever wished you could play retro games on your Mac? Make your computer talk to you? Watch a text animation version of Star Wars? Strangers, friends, fellow nerds, I have great news for you—your Mac can do all this and more.

To access these nifty secret programs, you’ll first need to locate a program called Terminal. The easiest way to find it is by clicking on the magnifying glass at the very top right-hand corner of your screen. In the dropdown “spotlight” search bar, type in “Terminal.” Click on the first search result and a small, mostly blank window will open up. Within this window, you’ll be able to type commands directly to your computer. Click in the window, get ready to type, and let the fun begin!

Retro Games



This is one of the best kept Mac secrets around. Most people have no idea that their shiny new computer came fully loaded with a suite of retro games! Once you have Terminal up and running, you have the power to access them. Just type the word emacs into the Terminal window, click enter, then hit the key combination esc+x. Choose a game from the following list and type in the name. Press enter again, and you’ll be up and running!

Games available:


Cheapest Psychologist Ever

My discussion with the doctor

My discussion with the doctor

Ever  just need to talk? Your Mac’s built-in doctor will be happy to listen. In Terminal, type emacs, press enter, then hit the key combination esc+x. Now type doctor, press enter again, and the doctor is in! Type in the answers to the questions and get psychoanalyzed for free. It might be better than Gchat.

Speak to Me, O Macbook

Screen shot 2013-02-21 at 12.11.34 PM

My computer loves me.

This little feature will come in handy for your 2001: A Space Odyssey reenactment. In Terminal, type the word say followed by just about anything. Ever wondered what your computer’s voice would sound like? Now you know. (Spoiler alert: It’s not the sultry drone you would expect from a Macbook.)

Star Wars IV You

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Have a lot of time to kill? This almost-too-good-to-be-true text-animated Star Wars video might be just the thing. In Terminal, type telnet (note: you will need Internet access for this to work). Sit back, relax, and marvel at how much free time some awesome maniacs have.

Customize Your Dock

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Do you hate the reflective glass effect under your dock? Now you can ditch it forever. Type the following command into Terminal: defaults write no-glass -boolean YES; killall Dock. You’ll end up with a black background instead of a shiny glass one. If you decide you don’t like it, you can always change the dock back by repeating the same line of code and substituting the word NO for the word YES.

History Lesson

Screen shot 2013-02-21 at 12.16.09 PM

This is a handy tip if you’re looking to brush up on important dates (or seriously lacking dinner conversation). Paste this code into Terminal: cat /usr/share/calendar/calendar.history. Press enter and you’ll be presented with an extensive list of historical events.


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