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Use Back to My Mac to manage remote server Network
When managing a server at work, I noticed my home server was showing up in the list of managed servers. Trying to see if I could connect by supplying my credentials was unsuccessful. I figured it must be showing up because I had signed into the same iCloud account on both machines. I then wondered if using the Back to My Mac URL for iCloud would allow me to connect.

To test, in Server.app I selected Manage > Connect to Server... From there chose "Other Mac." For the Hostname I inserted the Back to My Mac URL in the form server.XXXXXXXX.members.btmm.icloud.com. (see this hint to find how to construct the correct URL for your Mac), supplied my credentials and clicked Connect. The remote server came right up and I was able to manage my home server with no issues.
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Increase volume on Apple Cinema Display System
I have a 27" Thunderbolt Cinema Display, and I use its built-in speakers for the output of alert sounds. (In System Preferences > Sound > Sound Effects, you can choose this.) But the volume wasn't very loud, even though I had set the Alert volume slider to its maximum setting. I'd been trying to figure out why, because when I listen to music, the alert volume - and a sound I use to alert me when VIP e-mails arrive - isn't loud enough to be heard.

So I remembered that Audio-MIDI Setup has a number of tweaks for system sound settings. This app is found in /Applications/Utilities. When I opened it, and clicked on Display Audio, the two volume sliders (right and left channels) were nowhere near the maximum volume, so I raised them, and now I can hear my system beeps and other sounds.

So if you have problems with the volume of any audio outputs, you might want to check Audio-MIDI Setup and see if it can fix the issue.
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Find a .plist file for a specific application Apps
Have you ever had trouble finding an application's preference file? It isn't always easy, as the name of the .plist file sometimes isn't even close to the app's name. Here's an easy way to make it show itself.

Open the /Library/Preferences folder in your user account. (In Lion or later, from the Desktop, hold down the Option key and select Go > Library to access your user account.) Set the window to list view, then click the Date Modified tab at the top so they are listed by the newest files first.

Some apps will update their .plist file every time you use the program. Otherwise, open the app and make any type of change in its preferences and save. Go back to the Preferences window and see which .plist file jumps to the top of the list.

[kirkmc adds: Good common sense. I've used this many times over the years, and I couldn't find it in past hints.]
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Remove recent e-mail recipients on iOS iOS devices
Up until iOS 6, there was no way to remove e-mails from the "recently contacted" list when you start typing new e-mails, even if that person wasn't in your Contacts. Now, you can remove them one at a time, provided they are not in your Contacts.

All you do is start typing the e-mail address, and then when the list of addresses starts to populate the screen, scroll down to the address you wish to delete. It will have a blue arrow pointing to the right. When you tap on that arrow, you'll see a Remove From Recents button; tap that to remove that e-mail address from the recent e-mail list.

[kirkmc adds: I don't know if this is new in iOS 6, because I never really paid attention to it. What I notice is most of the addresses I see are addresses I've used on my Mac, not on my iOS devices. So, I went into Mail > Window > Previous Recipients, and deleted all those who weren't in my Contacts, and the next time I synced my iPhone, those extra addresses were gone.

Note that I sync e-mail accounts via iTunes (Info tab > Sync Mail Accounts); if you have only set up your accounts on an iOS device, and don't sync, then this my work differently. Can anyone post in the comments if they do it differently, and if e-mail addresses get deleted after removing them in Mail?]
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Use text substitutions to correct common typing errors Apps
Mail and spell checking in general will fix a lot of typos and spelling errors automatically as you type, but it fails to correct common key sequence issues. Sometimes words are an actual word, but not something 99% of people would write. It also sometimes doesn't fix short spelling errors. Fixing things like "i," "suer", "tis," "fi," "eb," "si," "ti," and "int eh." Symbol and text substitution is your friend and picks up when spell checking doesn't.

I write a lot of e-mails; often hundreds a day providing support to customers. Not form e-mails, but actual human e-mails. Mail has pretty good auto-correction for spelling errors, but it doesn't handle key sequencing errors where the space key gets hit just before the ending letter of a word, or when letters come out just slightly out of sequence form typing fast. I constantly found myself proofreading for weird auto-corrected words, fixing the red underlined unknown things Mail didn't fix, and fixing missed capitalization mistakes such as "i" and "THanks." I searched and searched, trying to figure out how to remove words from dictionary, when I suddenly realized I could override the dictionary. Until now, I just see people telling you how to make shortcuts to type longer texts and such, but it's more useful to me to have it fix my typos so I can write my text faster.

Open System Preferences, click on Language & Text, then on the Text tab to see the Symbol and text substitution list. Using this, I can fix common spelling sequence typos automatically, and have made my typo error rate almost 0%.

Here are some examples that Mail didn't auto-correct:
  • i > I
  • em > me
  • hte > the
  • ym > my
  • tis > its
  • ont hem > on them
  • suer > user
  • fi > if
  • od > do
  • beb > Ben
  • apss > pass
  • si > is
  • eb > be
  • sue > use
  • Whent he > When he
  • int eh > in the
  • ont he > on the
  • ont eh > on the
  • ti > it
  • tot he > to the
  • trya > try a
  • a nd > and
Try this, and you may find that the common errors you make are automatically corrected.
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A service to log Dictionary lookups Apps
This Service adds any unique words you look up in the OS X Dictionary app to a TextEdit document that is- saved on your desktop, so that you can review, or repeat them later. Then you can use the same service to look up those words that you have logged already; they won't be added to your log file.

The service is seamlessly integrated with the Dictionary service on your Mac. It is even installed on the same keyboard shortcut: Command-Control-D.

The only limitation is that it only works with selected text, so if you are looking up a word by hovering the cursor over it, in, say, Preview or Safari, then you'll have to choose More in the lower right corner of the Dictionary sheet that pops up to view the full Dictionary window. Then you'll have to press Command-Control-D once more, to "log" the word into the text file (the search word turns up selected in the Dictionary window.)

Avoid the above limitation by selecting the word before Command-Control-D. If you select the word before pressing Command-Control-D, then everything is handled automatically.

Since English is not my native language, this is something I have been wanting for years. So it is mostly made for non-native English speaker, but may also be useful for native anglophones.

How to install:

  1. Open Automator

  2. Choose service and don't check anything

  3. Search for the Run AppleScript action, and add it to your Service

  4. Paste in the script below, replacing everything that is by default in the Run AppleScript action

  5. Save the Service as dictLogger

  6. Quit Automator

  7. Open the Keyboard preferences of the System Preferences pane

  8. Find the service under "Services" and install it with the keyboard shortcut Command-Control-D

  9. After you have successfully looked up a word, look into the file "DictLogger.txt" that should be on your Desktop if everything is working

  10. Select a word in "DictLogger.txt", to see that it works from here

  11. If you use some app other than TextEdit for .txt files, be sure to set the default app of this file to TextEdit, if you want it to open with TextEdit. I don't guarantee that every other text editor will work, though I think it will work with TextWrangler and BBEdit

# © McUsr/MacUser06 2012
on run {input, parameters}
    set glossaryName to "DictLogger.txt"
    set AutomatorIcon to (a reference to file ((path to applications folder as text) & "Automator.app:Contents:Resources:Automator.icns"))

    # checks to see if the current selection contains anything valid
    considering diacriticals
        if first character of (input as text) is not in "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz" then
            tell application "System Events" to set appname to name of first process whose frontmost is true
            using terms from application "Finder"
                tell application appname
                    display dialog "The selection you tried to look up a dictionary definiton for contains non-valid characters.

Please copy the selection you used into an empty text document to figure out what is wrong.

Quitting for now…" with title "Dictionary Logging Service" buttons {"Ok"} default button 1 with icon AutomatorIcon

                end tell
            end using terms from
            return input
        end if
    end considering
    try
        open location "dict://" & input
    end try
    tell application "TextEdit"
        try
            set glossaryDoc to its document glossaryName
        on error
            set glossaryDoc to null
        end try
    end tell

    try
        set theF to quoted form of (POSIX path of (path to desktop folder as text) & glossaryName)
    end try

    set foundword to true
    try
        do shell script "test -f " & theF & " || touch " & theF

        set foundword to (do shell script "grep '^" & input & "$' " & theF & ">/dev/null && echo \"true\" || echo \"false\"") as boolean
    end try

    if not foundword then

        if glossaryDoc is not null then
            tell application "TextEdit"
                tell its document glossaryName

                    make new paragraph at beginning of its text with data ((input as text) & linefeed)
                end tell
                save glossaryDoc
            end tell
        else
            try
                do shell script "export TMPFILE=`mktemp /tmp/${tempfoo}.XXXXXX` && cat " & theF & "  >$TMPFILE ; echo " & input & ">|" & theF & " ; cat $TMPFILE >>" & theF
            end try
        end if

    end if
    do shell script "open -b \"com.apple.Dictionary\""

    return input

end run
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Use keyboard shortcuts to go to favorite mailboxes Apps
Mail in OS X has a Favorites Bar (View > Show Favorites Bar) where you can drag the mailboxes you use often. If you do this, you can use keyboard shortcuts to go to these mailboxes. Command-1 is the first one on the left, Command-2 the second one, and so on.

Interestingly, even if you don't have the Favorites Bar displayed, you can use these shortcuts to switch to their mailboxes. So if you want to apply keyboard shortcuts for your favorite mailboxes, and don't want to see the Favorites Bar, display it, add the mailboxes in the order you want, then hid the Favorites Bar. You can see the shortcuts in the Mailbox > Go to Favorite Mailbox menu in case you forget which shortcut to use.

This was mentioned in passing in this hint about moving messages to favorite mailboxes, but deserves a mention on its own.
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Only show messages in inbox in VIPs mailbox Apps
Mail in Mountain Lion has a VIPs mailbox, which, by default, shows all e-mails from people you have set as VIPs. (To do this, click on an e-mail address and choose Add to VIPs.) But this mailbox, by default, shows all messages received from those addresses, whether they are in an inbox, or whether they are in a folder or in the Archive mailbox.

You can change this, but the setting is in a non-intuitive location. Click on the VIPs mailbox to select it, then choose View > Sort By > Inbox Only.

I would actually like the VIPs mailbox to also show sent messages, which it doesn't; not all the time, but sometimes I'm looking for a sent message to someone in my VIPs list, and it would be easier to be able to find them there than rooting through my Sent mailbox.

Thanks to Dan Frakes for sharing this, and to David Sparks who posted the solution on his website MacSparky.
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Prevent undesired in-app purchases iOS devices
If you, like me, have suffered an undesired in-app purchase there is a solution. Apple used to require the password to be entered every time there was a purchase involved. On the iOS 6, however, if you happen to have entered the password, such as to download a free App, watch out. During the next 15 minutes, if your kid happens to play one of those nasty games that keeps prompting for a in-app purchase they can do it without entering a password!

The solution is easy although a little inconvenient. You can turn on restrictions and make sure that the password is always asked for instead of lasting for 15 minutes.

To do this, go to Settings > Restrictions > Require Password and set it to Immediately. (There are only two choices: the default 15 minutes and immediately.) The drawback is that if you want to download a few apps in a row that are free you must always enter the password.
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Mountain Lion installation on home built Fusion Drive System 10.8
Inspired by an Jinx's article about building your own fusion drive I've decided to take it one step further and brew my own with full OS X installation on it.

First, I needed to put two drives in my Mac. I already had a Crucial M4 SSD and 500GB HD so I a bought hard drive caddy and put my 500GB Momentus XT in it.

That was the easy part. Now how to make them work? In Jinx's article you can read that GUI Disk Utility does not offer needed functionality. It's available only in command line version, diskutil. But from my previous installation I remembered that there is access to terminal in OS X's recovery mode.

It was downhill from there. Create a logical volume group, get the UUID and create the volume. The OS X Installer recognized the volume and installed nicely. After the whole process was over, I did tests similar to those that Jinx mentioned and the drive does, indeed, behave like a fusion drive - files used more often end up on the SSD and less used are shuffled to the HDD.

You can see screenshots and more information here: Mountain Lion on home made Fusion drive

[kirkmc adds: I don't usually run hints that don't explain things, but the first article linked above goes into great detail. I'm tempted to try this out, as my Mac mini has both an SSD and a 750 GB HD, but I'd need to move all the files - my music collection - from the HD to an external drive. I might try and get to it this week.]
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