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Create a GUI Finder with root access Desktop
[Editor's note: I highly recommend that you do not use a root-enabled GUI Finder unless you really really know what you're doing. It's easy to do Very Bad Things to your system without truly intending to do so. With that warning, this is actually a fairly interesting trick. Use at your own risk, of course!]

I had to move around a bunch of files in the /usr directory and I really loathe using mv and cp in the CLI. It's so cumbersome! Of course, you can't drag-and-drop, because the user you're logged in as has no write privileges to /usr. There's a simple way around this, however.

Read the rest of this article if you're interested in creating a root-access Finder.
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View nicely formatted 'man' pages UNIX
If you'd like to read the "man" pages (UNIX manual pages) in PDF mode, here's how to do it.

The following shell script displays high quality man pages using (or whichever PDF viewer the finder thinks to use):
set m=`man -w $1`
set c=`grog $m`
$c | ps2pdf - /tmp/$1.pdf
open /tmp/$1.pdf
Save the script in your personal bin directory, e.g. ~/bin/superman. Set execute permissions: chmod +x ~/bin/superman. And then superman ls will present nicely typeset man pages.

NOTE: In order for this to work, You'll need ghostscript installed for ps2pdf.
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Trashing prefs is still good advice System
OK, i know its been said in various ways on this site, but i'll say it again, as i found out today how similar OS9+ and OS X are. If something changes in your OS X enviroment, some configuration, the look of your desktop, your mailbox has suddenly added more boxes, folders are in the wrong place, or like me, all of your invisible files become visible, SCRAP THE PREFERENCES relative to the change.

if you're unsure if it's the preferences, then login as someone else and see if it stays the same, if it doesn't, its more than likely to be a prefence change, so dump it in the trash. you wont have to delete it, it wont work from the trash. after you RESTART, if the problem still hasn't changed, you can move it back (say yest to "replace new with old") no harm done. OS X isn't that different after all.

[Editor's note: I published a similar tip back in December, but it bears repeating. It's good advice, and you can find your user's preference files in your home directory, then in Library/Preferences]
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A hack to script system preferences System
Is there a way to script the system preferences? Specifically, I want to be able to have the monitor resolution change at login to suit each user's preference.
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Hotmal with IE 5.1 Preview release Apps
some people (including myself) have been having trouble with IE 5.1 and logging into hotmail. here is a workaround.

when you go to hotmail, go to the address bar and delete the part that says login, and type start/username that is whatever your username is. so if it was brodie then the whole address should look like this:
as long as it has cgi-bin/start/brodie at the end it doesnt really matter, this will give you a password/username prompt pop up. interestingly it remembers your username for the duration of your IE session.
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Fun with Calculator and InterfaceBuilder Apps
What's 2+3? 5 of course! But what if you want it to be 6? Or -1? Its easy to fool your fellow Mac users with a little help from InterfaceBuilder.

Open up the .nib file from any application (I use Calculator as an example), but make a backup first in case you screw up somewhere. In order to swap the - and + buttons on the calculator, all you have to do is re-connect the subtract button to the add action (and vice-versa). Whilst holding down control, click on the - button in the calculator window in Interface Bulider and drag the blue line over to the CalculatorController icon in the Calculator.nib window. Click on the "add:" action in the top-left area of the "Inspector" window that appears, and then click "Change Action" at the bottom of the window. Do the same for the add button and "subtract:". Save, run Calculator and BINGO! - clicking subtract now adds.

This is just a simple example. You can even modify menu items (change 'New...' to 'Quit' for hilarious consequences).

Of course none of this will work without write access to the Applications folder (ie. an adminisrator account), and you'll need the Developer's Tools installed in order to get InterfaceBuilder.

[Editor's note: Use at your own risk, as alays ... and this is a GREAT example of why you might want to use a locking screensaver when you leave your computer alone for a bit!]
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Using autofill to save typing in OmniWeb Web Browsers
OmniWeb has a forms autofill feature which can auto-complete form data on various web pages. I had previously published a long, drawn out method of making it work, but 'vgz' pointed out the incredibly obvious method for doing my apologies for missing the easy way out! I made the incredibly simple seem complicated!

Once you've completed an on-screen form in OmniWeb, but before you submit it, simply select "Save Form for AutoFill" under the Browser menu, and you will now be able to re-complete the form quickly and easily in the future - by selecting "AutoFill Form" under the Browser menu.

To make it even easier, put the AutoFill button on the customized toolbar (I didn't see a button for "Save as AutoFill", which would also be nice to have on the toolbar).
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Type Faster in Terminal UNIX
Terminal is a great app to get around your filesystem but it gets to be a pain in the hands to type those long pathnames. Here's some quick tips on typing paths or filenames in terminal.

1. If you want to get to your home directory quickly, just type ~ and hit return. You will be at the root level of you're home directory. Note if you are su'd as root you'll go to root home dir.

2. When type paths or file names, start typing the path and hit tab. Your Terminal (shell) will complete the word for you. If nothing appears to happen, hit tab again and shell will give you all the words in that path that have the partial of what you typed.Start typing again till you are past the uniqueness of the word and hit tab to finish typing the word for you. A little practice and you can navigate the CLI faster than point and clicking.

See the rest of this article for some additional examples and comments.
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Start file sharing from the terminal UNIX
This may be useful for some people. To start file sharing from the terminal do the following:
cd /usr/sbin
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FTP access and non-standard shells UNIX
OS X uses the tcsh shell for the terminal. There are a number of others you can install, including bash, which is probably the most popular. If you've installed one of these alternate shells, however, you may find that your FTP access has been disabled.

There's a file called shells that lives in /etc, and it contains a list of paths to known shells. The FTP server uses this file to limit the types of shells remote users will be allowed to connect with. The problem is that if you install a shell, it may or may not go where the shells file says it will go. For example, shells lists 'bash' as installed at /bin/bash, but it would more than likely be installed in /usr/local/bin/bash). If you try to connect and have a non-authorized shell, you'll see a message that says User username access denied.

The fix is simple - edit the /etc/shells file and make sure that the proper path to your alternate shell saved in the file. This tip was seen today on the X4U mailing list...
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