27 Apple Tips
Posted on: 05/21/2011 12:04 PM

Here a roundup of the latest tips and tricks from Mac OS X Hints

Recovering from a catastrophic drive failure.
I can't say it enough. Back up your hard drive. I'm going to talk here about what I recommend as the best way to protect yourself from a catastrophic hard drive failure. Keep in mind that what follows is just one of many ways to protect your Mac.

Recovering from a catastrophic drive failure.

Removing widgets from the dashboard
The documented way to remove widgets from the dashboard is to press the + button at the bottom left of the screen and then click on the X button of the widget to be deleted. However, there seems to be another way.

Removing widgets from the dashboard

Another way to remove PDF passwords
My insurance company requires me to fill in claim forms in a .pdf form, but won't let me save it once it's filled in (it is password protected). After using virtual printers, utilities, etc. I have found an easier way to bypass the password and save the .pdf (and thus the drudgery of filling in the same info every time I make a claim). Just mail it!

Another way to remove PDF passwords

Make a dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows
This may be evident to some people, but I was a little surprised that my first attempt at it failed.

Make a dual-partitioned HFS+/FAT32 drive play nice with Windows

Improve usability when dragging items to a hidden Dock
Many of us have turned on Dock hiding to maximize usable screen area. One small problem with a hidden Dock, however, is that when you want to drag a file onto an application or folder icon on the Dock, you don't always know exactly where to aim, since you can't see the Dock until the mouse is on top of it. As a result, you will usually drag the file to the wrong location on the Dock at first, and you will need to hunt for the correct target, all the while keeping the mouse button down. Sometimes you will even drop the file onto the wrong icon while 'scrubbing' the Dock for the right one.

Improve usability when dragging items to a hidden Dock

Miniguide to fixing Volume-Filesystem errors
There are many drive/filesystem errors that can occur on a Mac. Here are some common symptoms that are indicative of some of them:

Miniguide to fixing Volume-Filesystem errors

Setting House Clocks after Power Outage
My power went out yesterday. I wanted a quick way to set all the house clocks accurately and easily.

Setting House Clocks after Power Outage

10.6: Install Battery Update 1.4 under Snow Leopard
As of April 30, 2011, Apple is selling MacBook battery model A1185, which has a known but correctable flaw that affects the battery's ability to maintain a charge when the Mac is turned off, as new in Apple Retail Stores with the following specs:

10.6: Install Battery Update 1.4 under Snow Leopard

Exchange Text Between an iPhone and a Mac Without Internet Access
I was on a ferry this morning with no WiFi access to the Internet, an iPhone from which I could e-mail via 3G and an e-mail on my Mac I needed to send. With no wireless modem, no tethering plan and no Internet, I didn't think there was anyway I could get the text of the e-mail onto my iPhone without retyping it.

Exchange Text Between an iPhone and a Mac Without Internet Access

A script to keep Flash Player up to date
Frequent security updates to Flash prompted me to write this script to keep Flash current on Intel Macs that I manage. While more recent versions of Flash can be configured to notify end users of available updates, this script will silently check and upgrade to a newer version if one is available.

A script to keep Flash Player up to date

10.6: Slow SMB browsing of Windows Servers fixed
By default in Mac OS X browsing to Windows 2008 and 2003 Servers is extremely slow, navigating from one directory level to the next can take a minute or longer. I utilize my Mac to access the office Windows 2008 and 2003 file servers and the speed to access these shares makes it almost impossible to work from a Mac.

10.6: Slow SMB browsing of Windows Servers fixed

Cinema Display FireWire cable length nuisance solution
Here's how to simply use the FireWire 400 hub in your 30" Cinema Display (DVI) with the dual-link adaptor, without the massive nest of unused cable just so the FireWire from the display can reach your computer.

Cinema Display FireWire cable length nuisance solution

Downloading from Public iDisk to iPhone/iPad
On a desktop computer everyone can access someones Public folder, when that person has MobileMe account.

Downloading from Public iDisk to iPhone/iPad

Change Default Bullet List format in Word
Changing the default for bulleted lists in Word is neither intuitive nor obvious.

Change Default Bullet List format in Word

10.6.7: Set up encrypted Backup in Time Machine for FileVault
This is how to set up Time Machine to work with FileVault, producing a proper incremental backup of each file in your home folder, and have that backup encrypted. If you use this technique, you should also have a second backup, preferably a clone of your hard drive.

10.6.7: Set up encrypted Backup in Time Machine for FileVault

How to Turn on Anti-Aliasing in GeekTool
One of my biggest pet peeves on my Mac has always been that GeekTool doesn't have the option for anti-aliased fonts. After searching around, I found countless complaints about this on a bunch of web sites and forums, but not any solutions that actually worked.

How to Turn on Anti-Aliasing in GeekTool

Replace older grainy thumbnails in Finder
It seems that older photos retain their tiny, pixelated, thumbnails. They are not very helpful in Cover Flow view.

Replace older grainy thumbnails in Finder

Indicator of iMac sleep status
On an iMac use the Caps Lock key to indicate whether or not the computer is awake. It is useful for those that use their iMac as a wireless access point to quickly check the status of the computer.

Indicator of iMac sleep status

Options for removing the system-wide Flash plug-in
While recent versions of the MacBook Air ship without Adobe Flash installed, the idea of voluntarily removing Flash from /Library/Internet Plug-Ins got some attention when John Gruber wrote about his technique. Put simply, Gruber removed Flash from its default location, thus trying to force sites to load HTML5 versions of content. For instances when that didn't suffice, he would load the page in Google Chrome, a browser which has the Flash plug-in embedded within it. His add-on trick is to enable the Develop menu in Safari and use System Preferences ยป Keyboard to map a shortcut for taking a page in Safari and opening it in Chrome.

Options for removing the system-wide Flash plug-in

Open formatted man pages in Preview from the command line
I spend a lot of time reading man pages. Normally, the system pager less is fine for this. Occasionally, they're big enough or important enough that I want to keep them open in a window and read them at leisure. For those cases, I made a 2-line shell script pdfman.sh that runs man to generate postscript and presents the formatted output through preview.

Open formatted man pages in Preview from the command line

Preparing textual PDFs for easy reading on iPhone
This hint facilitates right-sizing text documents so that you can save them as PDFs for easy viewing on iPhone, typically in Stanza or some other reader app. I haven't used it on iPad, since the screen is large enough that the special preparation is not usually necessary. It has not been tested in iBooks, but I think it would work well there.

Preparing textual PDFs for easy reading on iPhone

A quick Office hint, and a request
I just encountered a bug at one of my clients' place that looks a whole lot like a really super-old bug (like from the time when megabytes of RAM made a big difference in price).

A quick Office hint, and a request

Don't accidentally open huge text files from the Command Line
In my line of work, I frequently deal with very very large text files, gigs in size. Every once in awhile, I inadvertently open such a file using the open -e command from the command line to view it in TextEdit (without checking the file size first).

Don't accidentally open huge text files from the Command Line

A script to find Dropbox conflicts
Dropbox has become my favorite method of syncing files. The one thing I don't really like about it is how it handles the times when multiple computers report new versions of a file. Dropbox decides to keep both, and adds the words Conflicted Copy and some other info to the filename of the one it's not sure about. I got tired of regularly having to manually hunt for such files, so I wrote a script to do it for me.

A script to find Dropbox conflicts

A way to handle some unreadable PDF files
I often receive PDF files which show up as either blank or with blank lines in Preview. Earlier I used to open them in Adobe Acrobat Reader to see the content; however now I've found a better way.

A way to handle some unreadable PDF files

Accessing advanced printer features when batch printing
I have several hundred PDF documents that I need to print. The documents are multi-page, and our printer can staple. However, if I try and batch print by dragging the PDFs onto a desktop alias of the print queue, I have no access to the advanced printer dialogs. If I open all the PDFs in Preview, I can get to the staple setting, but I have to visit the printer dialog box for each and every PDF.

Accessing advanced printer features when batch printing

Use iPhoto to change the sorting of events in iTunes photo sync
When syncing photos to my iPhone using iTunes, I've long been frustrated by the order in which the list of photo Events was sorted.

Use iPhoto to change the sorting of events in iTunes photo sync




Printed from Mac OS Compatible (http://www.macoscompatible.com/news/story/27_apple_tips.html)