MacHack: Free Your Media Keys from iTunes

I’m playing pandora in the background while I work when a call comes in. I press the pause media key expecting the music to… well… pause, but instead iTunes opens up and begins playing my personal music library. Now, instead of silence, I have two sources of music playing over the top of one another. What a nightmare! I finally got around to solving this problem.

At first, I found a really great script solution “iTunes Media Hotkeys Disabler” provided by Redth. He actually includes a DMG file as well, which I did not install. This worked really well to disable/enable the default functionality. But that didn’t end up being my solution. Instead, I spent the $5 it cost to buy PandaBar, which is actually pretty awesome. When PandaBar is playing, it takes control of the media keys, so there’s no need to disable the default behavior. Still, you can if you like 🙂

If you prefer to disable the media keys, here’s how. Open a terminal window, then…
launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/

To reverse that action, just run…
launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchAgents/


  1. iTunes Media Hotkeys Disabler
  2. PandaBar

MacHack: Using Chrome to “Search with Google” rather than the default Safari

In all my 14+ professional years, I’ve been a PC guy. But these past couple years I’ve started playing with Macs. It began when I did some work on my Mom’s site ( partially in trade for her hand-me-down macintosh. I’d pick it up now and again, mostly to read my email and such while in bed. But as time went on, I became more and more enamored until finally I broke down and bought my first MacBook Pro about a year ago. I’d still divide my time between my PC and MAC, mostly because there was significant friction getting ColdFusion server up and running on my Mac and I just hadn’t wanted to take the time needed to figure it out, until finally I did (thanks CommandBox!).

For the past couple months, I’ve pretty much been on my Mac 99% of the time. In fact, I don’t think I’ve opened my PC for a month now.

In any case, as I use the Mac more and more, I love it more and more. I specifically love how configurable it is. Whenever I experience a frustration, I can usually find a solution. I thought I should probably start to document those solutions, so here’s one.

The Problem:

I prefer chrome as my default browser and love the “Search with Google” functionality you find when you right-click highlighted text, but this always opened up the search results in Safari to spite the fact I’d set Chrome as my default browser. Frustrated, I searched for a solution… and a solution I found. See the references below.



  1. How to force Mac OS to open “Search with Google” in Chrome
  2. How to Remove Services from the Contextual Menu in Mac OS X
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