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Tell Siri who's who: "Jason Snell is my boss" iOS devices
You know all the different tasks Siri can help you accomplish with your recent iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. But perhaps you didn't realize you can teach Siri to help you save even more time when use the assistant for certain tasks.

I frequently use Siri to place calls to, or send iMessages to, my wife. She's one of two Lauren's in my address book; specifying to my iPhone each time that I'd like it to "Call Lauren Friedman's iPhone" would quickly grow tiresome.

Instead, I taught Siri who Lauren is: I triggered Siri, and then said, "Lauren Friedman is my wife." Siri then asked me if if I wanted it to remember that fact; I unsurprisingly responded in the affirmative.

Because I've done that, I can now tell Siri "Call my wife" or "iMessage my wife that I'm on my way home."

And you can use a lot more than spousal relationships. Siri knows that Jason Snell is my boss, Dan Miller is my editor, and Dan Moren is my mentor. You can use pretty much any noun, in fact. Siri can identify my in-laws, my parents, my siblings, and even my landscaper by those nicknames. Just hold down the Home button, announce that "[Person in my contacts] is my [noun of your choosing]," and Siri gets the picture.

Fun bonus fact: Siri treats husbands and wives as interchangeable: If you set your wife with Siri, and then ask Siri to call your husband, you'll reach the same person either way.
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Hide TextEdit's ruler by default Apps

If, like me, you wish that TextEdit did not show its ruler by default, this hint is for you.

TextEdit displays the ruler by default when creating or opening rich text documents. I find the ruler visually cluttering and distracting, and I rarely ever need it.

Unfortunately, TextEdit does not offer a way to turn off the ruler by default in its Preferences window. But it can be done using the following simple steps:

  1. Quit TextEdit if it is running.
  2. Enter the following command into a Terminal window: defaults write com.apple.TextEdit ShowRuler 0
  3. Open TextEdit.
  4. Enjoy increased visual and mental tranquility.

You can always show the ruler if you need it for something by pressing ⌘R or choosing Format > Text > Show Ruler from TextEdit's menus.

To revert TextEdit to its default setting, repeat steps 1 to 3 above, but use this command in Terminal instead: defaults delete com.apple.TextEdit ShowRuler

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Access dozens of awesome high-res screen saver images on your Mac for desktop backgrounds Apps
As first pointed out by OS X Daily, Mountain Lion's built-in screen savers cycle through a couple dozen awesome photos, across several categories, with images of space, nature, and more. The images are huge—and thus make great desktop backgrounds.

To find the images, use the Go To Folder command in the Finder (from the Go menu) and navigate here:

/System/Library/Frameworks/ScreenSaver.Framework/Versions/A/Resources/Default Collections/

There, you'll find four folders full of high-resolution imagery. You can copy them elsewhere, or even access the images from right where they are. Simply fire up the Desktop & Screen Saver preference pane, click the Plus (+) icon at the left, and add the folders—or individual images—as desired.
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Split WordPress XML files for upload to servers Internet
I've been doing some work on my website, Kirkville, changing to a new theme. In order to test the theme, I set up a staging server, and wanted to import my existing posts, comments, etc. so I could fiddle with the new theme.

I'm not SQL-savvy, so it seemed the best bet was to use WordPress's export/import feature, through its wordpress-importer plugin. This requires exporting an XML file of the WordPress content from the current server, then importing it on the staging server. Unfortunately, I was hit by that problem where my hosting company has uploads limited to 8 MB, and my WordPress XML file was 10.9 MB.

When I went looking for solutions, I found a number of posts on the WordPress forum suggesting splitting the XML file. I wasn't sure how to do this safely, but found a free Mac utility called WXR Splitter. Running this tool, I split the XML file into two pieces, with a maximum of 6 MB each. I was able to upload the XML file, and get to work with my new theme.
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Open new tab in Safari on the left Web Browsers
This script opens a new Safari window if none is open, maximizes the front window if minimized, and opens a new focused tab on the left with your bookmarks, with the text caret in the address bar.

I Googled for such a script to no avail so I made it myself. Bound it to ⌘T and scope Safari in Quıcĸsıɩⅴεʀ (of course you're using Quıcĸsıɩⅴεʀ, what else?) or any other lesser hotkey application. You can still use New Tab menu item to open tabs on the right by changing the shortcut in the Keyboard Shortcuts section of System Preferences, say to ⇧⌘T.

If you open bookmarks:// you may notice a flicker when setting the focus on the first tab. It may be due to the applescript command used — if you find a better method put it in the comments. Also, I used clicking "Open Location…" instead of setting the "AXFocused" attribute because the item hierarchy changes when in full screen mode.

tell application "Safari"
	if windows is {} then
		make new document
	else
		tell first window
			if miniaturized then
				set miniaturized to false
				make new tab at beginning with properties {URL:"bookmarks://"}
				set current tab to first tab
				tell application "System Events" to tell process "Safari" to tell menu bar 1 to tell menu bar item "File" to tell menu 1 to click menu item "Open Location…"
			else
				make new tab at beginning with properties {URL:"bookmarks://"}
				set current tab to first tab
				tell application "System Events" to tell process "Safari" to tell menu bar 1 to tell menu bar item "File" to tell menu 1 to click menu item "Open Location…"
			end if
		end tell
	end if
end tell
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Make a UTC Dashboard clock widget Desktop
The OS X Dashboard doesn't include a Clock widget specifically for GMT/UTC (Universal Coordinated Time). Even if you try choosing London, which is usually GMT, it doesn't always match UTC—since London observes daylight savings time.

If you would like to have a clock that always shows the current UTC time, a good option is to use Freetown in Africa. They use UTC+00:00, and don't ever change throughout the year.
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Fix OS X wrongly reporting an application is corrupted (OSStatus error 99999) System 10.8
OS X stopped letting me install any software not coming from Apple. I wanted to update some software, and instead of seeing the "Quarantine Dialog" box telling that the software was just downloaded from Internet, I got a dialog box telling me that the software was corrupted.

In fact, it was not corrupted—I could use it on another Mac. The issue wasn't affecting Apple software, only third-party apps. Only by setting the "Anywhere" setting in System Preferences -> Security for installing apps could I install software again. But I didn't want to use that setting.

Looking in the Console, I saw error 99999 from CoreServiceUIagent when I tried to install software.

CoreServicesUIAgent[2105]: Error SecAssessmentCreate: L’opération n’a pas pu s’achever. (OSStatus erreur 99999).


After some research and help from Apple I found that a specific file's corruption was the source of my woes.

A way to confirm that you are this weird situation is to use the SecAssessment system policy security command line utility on a system file e.g. the ls command

$spctl --assess --verbose --raw /bin/ls

the result of this command is normally
$spctl --assess --verbose --raw /bin/ls
/bin/ls: accepted

and a dump of xml properties

in my case the output was
$spctl --assess --verbose --raw /bin/ls
/bin/ls: unknown error 99999=1869f

showing the 99999 error

The SystemPolicy got corrupted somehow. Fortunately there is a default database that you can restore.

Use this command (you need to be admin)
$ sudo cp /var/db/.SystemPolicy-default /var/db/SystemPolicy
and reboot; that will restore the ability to install software, and is likely to restore things back to normal.

You may then see an occasional security dialog box coming back again asking confirmation to run a software that you previously authorized, but this is the only drawback to resetting that database.
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Disable Caps Lock, or at least get a warning when it's on System 10.8
Few of us ever REALLY want Caps Lock turned on; when we do hit it, we do so accidentally. There are workarounds.

You can just disable the key entirely, of course. To do so, go to System Preferences, and choose Keyboard. Then click the Modifier Keys button at the lower right of the Keyboard tab. Finally, set Caps Lock to No Action (or, alternatively, have it pull side duty as a bonus Control, Option, or Command key).

That's a great solution for those of us who only ever trigger Caps Lock unintentionally. But what about folks who genuinely want the option to quickly enter a mode for NONSTOP CAPITALIZATION, yet still want to avoid entertaining said mode accidentally? For those troubled typists, the solution is a free utility called CapSee. It displays an unmissable on-screen indicator when you're in Caps Lock mode. ISN'T THAT GREAT?
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Help Apple cut back on iMessage spam iOS devices

If you haven’t yet been hit by iMessage spam, you’re lucky: It’s awful. And it’s even worse when you realize that the spammer can know with certainty that the unwanted message really was delivered to you. As first noted by MacStories, Apple recently posted a way to deal with unwanted iMessages in your inbox.

Here’s the skinny.

When an unwanted, spammy iMessage arrives, first take a screenshot. (If you got the iMessage on your iOS device, press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons at the same time. If you see the spammy iMessage on your Mac, use Command-Shift-3.)

Apple also needs to see the full email address or phone number of the person you received the spammy message from. You can either screenshot that data too, or copy and paste it.

Once you have all those details assembled, compose an email to imessage.spam@icloud.com. (If you receive a lot of said spam, like I do, it might be wise to save that address as a contact.)

Attach the screenshot, the details about the sender, and include the date and time you received the message. You won’t see immediate action, but with luck, Apple will pool these reports and eliminate spammers from its iMessage network.

And if all this seems like a lot of work, remember that come iOS 7, you’ll be able to block unwanted callers, texters, and iMessage senders yourself.

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Get back online at restaurants that boot you off the Wi-Fi after 30 minutes Web Browsers

You’re at a fine establishment which offers delicious, free Wi-Fi in addition to delicious, for-pay food. Perhaps served in bread bowls. But like your soup, the Wi-Fi eventually dries up: Restaurants and coffee shops that want to get customers out so that new ones can come in might boot you off the Wi-Fi automatically after thirty minutes.

But you’re not like other customers! You’re going back up to the line to buy another beverage and perhaps a scone. You deserve to get back on that Wi-Fi, dagnabbit. And there’s a way.

We’ve covered changing your MAC address via Terminal before. But now you know that you can use this trick to get back online at Panera Bread and other establishments with time-limited Wi-Fi.

First, get your current MAC address. You can find it in many places; one such place is System Preferences -> Network -> Wi-Fi -> Hardware tab. But since you’re about to get down and dirty Terminal, you can instead launch it, and type:

sudo ifconfig en0

Note: en0 might not be right for your Mac. You might need en1 instead; if your Mac has an ethernet port (i.e., isn’t a MacBook Air), that port owns en0, and your Wi-Fi card is en1. If you’re not sure which to use, try typing just

sudo ifconfig
and pressing Return: The device listed with “status: active” is probably the one you want to work with. So if you need to use en1 and not en0, tweak the instructions below as needed.

After you press Return and provide an administrator password, look for the line labeled “ether,” and note the colon-separated string of letters and numbers. It will look something like: q3:2x:17:08:43:8f. Copy it to your clipboard. Paste it somewhere special. Don’t lose your real MAC address.

Change one thing in the address. Perhaps tweak the last letter to the next one in the alphabet, or increase the final number by one. In my example, I might make my new, fake MAC address q3:2x:17:08:43:8g.

To save that new address, perform these commands in Terminal:

sudo ifconfig en0 ether PUT YOUR NEW MAC ADDRESS HERE
sudo ifconfig en0 down
sudo ifconfig en0 up

Presto-change-o! Your Mac’s now using a new MAC address, and you should be able to reconnect to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi. But if you do so and you don’t buy more food at the same time, you’re earning all kinds of bad karma.

Just remember to change your MAC address back again when you’re finished, using the same steps in Terminal.

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