Your Mac Can Speak Roman Numerals

The Mac speech synthesizer has to be aware of context as it speaks.  Otherwise, if you had “$1000” in your sentence it would say something like “dollar sign one thousand”.  I get that.

Did you know that it can speak roman numerals?  We stumbled on one phrase that triggers it:  “Mac OS X”.  Specifically “OS” triggers it.  The numerals must be uppercase as well.  I imagine that when Apple demos the Mac speech synthesizer, they want it to be able to say its name correctly.  However, you can also substitute any other valid Roman Numeral for the “X”.  How sophisticated is the Roman Numeral processing?  1987 seems to be complicated enough for me, but my Mac handles it with ease.

Try the say command in Terminal:  say “OS MCMLXXXVII”.  Cool.


Locking the Screen with my Keyboard

I’m a big fan of keyboard shortcuts.  In Windows, I knew that I could hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete and then Spacebar to lock the screen in WinXP.  I used that every time I walked away from the computer.

I switched to a Mac at work in 2006.  I never could find a way to use the keyboard to lock the screen without installing and running some extra software (yuck–RAM is precious) or using an Exposé Hot Corner.  The Hot Corner works, but it’s not great.  If you accidentally move your mouse to that corner, you have to quickly move it away or else you’ll be entering your password just to get back to work.  If you accidentally move the mouse shortly after triggering the screensaver, it immediately goes away without prompting for a password.  I’ve made do with the Hot Corner until today.

I found out that Ctrl-Shift-Eject puts the display to sleep (scroll to ArthurMenezeszd1v’s comment).  This is perfect since my Mac prompts for my password upon waking the display.

The quest for computing nirvana is never-ending, but this is at least one more step in the right direction.  Yay.