This hint is an oldie but a goodie, and we could only find it mentioned in comments on older hints. If you don't know it, you'll want to; if you already knew it, pay it forward to Mac users who are spending too much time fussing with the mouse.
The Apple menu sits at the top left of your menu bar, and the Notification Center icon sits at the top right. For years, though, OS X has made clicking menu items in either position simpler than it might appear. You needn't move the mouse cursor to precisely the slim confines of either icon when you want to click on them. If you slam your mouse all the way to the top left corner of the screen, well beyond the perimeter of the Apple icon, and click—you'll still successfully trigger the Apple menu.
The same trick works with the Notification Center menu at the upper right: Move the mouse all the way to that corner, fretting not about whether your cursor is actually atop the icon, and your click will still register as desired.
Thus, in keeping with the tenets of Fitts's Law, you essentially have an infinite amount of clicking space to access either menu.
Sure, IMDb’s advanced search tools can you help find occasions when two disparate actors appeared in the same film. But navigating IMDb when you want to play offshoots of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is no fun. If you have a Siri-capable iOS device within reach, you can find movie star overlap using only your voice.
Give Siri an instruction like, “Show me movies with Jason Biggs and Woody Allen,” and the virtual assistant should suggest Anything Else a moment later. And in cases of overlap—“What movies have both Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry”—Siri provides a list of all the matching films. (In that case, it’s both Rugrats in Paris and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.)
Tap on a matching movie to see more information about the film.
We’ve previously shared a Terminal-based approach for customizing the behavior of All My Files in the Finder. But in Mountain Lion, customizing All My Files’s search criteria—or the criteria of any other similar Finder sidebar entry, is deliciously simple:
Simply right-click (or Control-click, or two-finger click with a trackpad) on the sidebar entry, and choose Show Search Criteria. You’ll see the Smart Search characteristics that power the entry in question, and you can tweak and re-save the search factors you prefer.
Full disclosure: You can’t save over the existing All My Files saved search with this approach; you’re really just saving a new search instead. But it’s quick, painless, and non-destructive.
Suppose you have a folder full of photos taken in rapid succession. These might be images from an MRI or ultrasound, or simply a sequence of shots snapped at a celebration of some sort. Either way, you've ended up with a series of photos that would likely look good animated—but they're all simply stills.
There's an easy way to put those photos in motion. Single-click on the first one in your folder, and then press the Spacebar to bring up the Quick Look preview of your image. Now, simply hold the down arrow. The Finder selection will cycle through all the photos in your folder, and the Quick Look preview will instantly update in real time.
If your folder contains photos that work as a flip book, you can see the animation right there in the Finder using this method.
In OS X 10.8.3 and later, Apple seems to have changed the behavior of the Mac App Store: It will no longer automatically check for System Updates if you are running from an account that does not have administrator privileges.
A simple work-around: Select the Updates tab in the Mac App Store. From the Store menu, select Reload Page (Command-R). The app will now prompt you for an administrator's credentials. Then the app will search and (in my experience) find system updates if any are available. Updates can now also be installed from your non-admin account.
Now that Google Reader is dead, it's time to find a replacement news-reading solution. If you, like me, land on Feedbin as your answer, you might not be happy with any of the current Mac apps that can connect to the service. And thus you might—again, like me—choose to set up a single-site browser for Feedbin using Fluid.
In general, Fluid and Feedbin get along fine. I tweaked settings to that I could open any URL within my Feedbin Fluid app, so that I could more easily open links to whatever sites I stumble across using the service. But I missed my "unread articles" badge, which NetNewsWire had long sported in my Dock.
Of course, to make the whole thing work, you'll need to enable putting that unread count in the page title, which is a setting available on the Feedbin website's Settings screen.
Today is my last day running the Mac OS X Hints website. I'd like to thank all of the site's readers, and especially those who have submitted hints, for visiting the site and helping us provide neat hints and tips about OS X.
Lex Friedman of Macworld will be replacing me. I wish him all the best, and hope that Mac OS X Hints continues to be a place where you can find great ways to work more efficiently with your Mac.
Here is how to set up a Mac, running OS X Client 10.5 or later, as a PXE boot server. We will configure OS X's built-in DHCP, TFTP, and NFS servers, start the servers, and put the client boot files in place. (The NFS server may be optional, depending on the operating system we are booting.)
You'll need the Mac, a PXE-capable PC, and an ethernet cable. Some steps will require being logged in as an administrator on the Mac.
We'll boot Debian Live on the client PC as an example. We'll show a regular setup with NFS, an alternate setup without NFS, and how to uninstall.
Regular setup (with NFS):
Connect the Mac and the client PC with the ethernet cable.
On the Mac, in System Preferences > Network, click "Ethernet" and enter the following settings:
Configure IPv4: Manually
IP Address: 192.168.1.1
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
(All others can be left blank)
Note the status may read "Cable Unplugged" at this point, which is ok.
In Terminal, make new directories /srv and /srv/debian-live (we'll be sharing /srv/debian-live over NFS) with the following commands:
$ sudo mkdir /srv
$ sudo mkdir /srv/debian-live
To create the NFS configuration file, enter the following command:
and press Control-O to save and Control-X to exit nano.
If the file /etc/bootpd.plist already exists, turn off Internet Sharing in System Preferences > Sharing. Then the file will be removed, and you can create it as in this step.
(Make sure to move /etc/bootpd.plist to the Trash and disable the DHCP server before turning Internet Sharing back on. See "Uninstall steps" below.)
If you are using an ethernet port other than en0 (see System Information or System Profiler for the port name), change the value for the dhcp_enabled key to the port you are using.
The data for the dhcp_option_67 key is the bootloader filename "pxelinux.0" (see step 9 below), null terminated and encoded into base64. This can be generated with the free DHCP Option Code Utility, or by entering the following command in Terminal:
Place the .tar.gz file on the Desktop (or anywhere convenient), then double-click it to expand the archive.
Open the folder that is created (with a name like "debian-live-6.0.7-i386-gnome-desktop-net"), open the "tftpboot" subdirectory, select all of the files, and move them to /private/tftpboot. (This includes the pxelinux.0 file mentioned in step 6, and other boot menu and kernel files.)
Note that files in /private/tftpboot should be readable by everyone (so they will transfer), but not writeable by everyone (so they can't be modified). Check permissions with Get Info or ls -l if needed.
Click the Back button to leave the "tftpboot" subdirectory, then open the "debian-live" subdirectory, then select the folder called "live" and move it to /srv/debian-live. (When Debian Live is booting, it will look for the file /srv/debian-live/live/filesystem.squashfs over NFS, which contains the root filesystem.)
Optionally, test the TFTP server:
$ tftp localhost
tftp> get pxelinux.0
$ ls -l pxelinux.0
You should see that a copy of the file pxelinux.0 has been downloaded to the current directory.
Turn on the client PC, and press or hold the key to bring up the boot options (something like F2 or F12; check the documentation for your machine or look for a message onscreen).
Choose to boot from the network (PXE). The PC receives an IP address from the DHCP server, loads pxelinux from the TFTP server, and displays the Debian Live boot menu.
Choose a boot option, and after the kernel is downloaded, the root filesystem is accessed over NFS, and the operating system is loaded, you'll end up at your graphical desktop or shell prompt of choice!
To uninstall, see "Uninstall steps" below.
Alternate setup (no NFS):
This is a shorter method, because NFS is not required. Debian Live will download its root filesystem over TFTP. (However, the largest file that can be downloaded is limited by a bug.)
Follow steps 1, 2, 6, and 7 of the regular setup, and skip steps 3, 4, and 5.
In step 8, choose a smaller archive, like the standard flavor from 6.0.7, or the lxde-desktop flavor from 5.0.10. (A bug causes some of the larger versions to stall when downloading the root filesystem over TFTP.) Place the .tar.gz file on the Desktop, then double-click it to expand the archive.
Follow step 9 of the regular setup.
In step 10, instead of moving the folder "live", open it and move the file "filesystem.squashfs" to /private/tftpboot.
Open the file /private/tftpboot/debian-live/i386/boot-screens/live.cfg in TextEdit. Edit the kernel parameters for the boot menu option you'll be using, replacing the two parameters
with a single parameter
then save the file and quit TextEdit.
Follow the regular setup steps 11, 12, 13, and 14. The root filesystem may take some time to download in step 14 (1 to 2 minutes over 100mbps ethernet), but when it finishes, you'll end up booted into Debian Live!
To uninstall, follow steps 1, 3, and 4 under "Uninstall steps", but ignore the /etc/exports file in step 1, and the /srv/debian-live directory in step 4. Skip steps 2 and 5.
Move the files /etc/bootpd.plist and /etc/exports to the Trash.
Restart the NFS server:
$ sudo nfsd restart
and check the status of the server (should say enabled, not running):
You can identify unwanted calls. I still have a land line, but I am forwarding all calls to my iPhone. To identify unwanted calls (new windows, green energy, political adds...), I created a Contact named Don't Answer.
When I answer the phone and it is one of those annoying calls, if the number shows up, I can just use the 'add to existing contact' feature. Of course, this doesn't work if the number is blocked. But, in two weeks, I have a long list of calls that show up as Don't Answer and I can just not answer or choose Decline—there's no guesswork involved.
Lex adds: I do something similar for another reason. I use Google's two-factor authentication, and Google uses a variety of phone numbers to text me my passcode when I log in. So I created a Google entry in my contacts, and add each different number the company texts me from to that contact. That way, instead of ending up with lots of old entries from Google in Messages, there's just one that all their texts get grouped in.
iOS 7, of course, will provide a way to block specific unwanted callers, too. But this hint makes a nice stopgap!