Try the following to maximize the speed of the desktop:
Don't change the opacity of the terminal. [Editor: But it looks SO good!]
Change the dock minimization effect to "scale" by typing defaults write com.apple.dock mineffect scale
Increase the mouse tracking speed and the keyboard repeat rate through the System Preferences application.
Set your colors to thousands, not millions. [Editor: Audion 2.1 looks so much better in millions!]
Increase the priority of the Window Server. This requires root access. First type ps cx and look for the PID of "Window Manager". Now type sudo renice -(number between 20 and 0) (PID of Window Manager). You will be prompted for a password; enter yours (not root's). Take note that as root, a lower number means higher priority; try -5 or -10 as a start. The situation is reversed if you are just doing a renice as user.
So if 'ps' returns the PID of Window Manager as 243, you'd type "sudo renice -10 243" to set set the window manager's priority at -10.NOTE: See the comments for proof that this speed-up is purely pyschological at this point ;-)
PS: Some applications are not threaded properly. A good example is MSIE, it exhibits the exact same behavior under Mac OS X as it does under Mac OS 9. e.g. animated GIFs are "locked" in a frame if the mouse button is held down.
Create a mailbox using the Mail app preference panel (e.g. Jan 2001), drag all your mail you want to archive for that month into the mailbox. Quit Mail and go to your home library and find the Mail folder, open it and remove your newly created mailbox containing all your archived mail. I would then store this on a removable disc if my CD RW was recognized. For now I just store it on the hard drive of another Mac on my LAN.
NOTE: Please see the comments for some objective evidence that the speedup does nothing of the sort, and may actually slow your machine down a bit! The Dev Tools do have some useful utilities on them, and you need them if you want to compile UNIX source code, but don't install them for the sheer sake of a speed boost!
Full credit to MacOS Rumors, they reported that installing the Developer Tools (the third CD in the OS X retail box) made everything faster. I just tried it, and it's definitely true--even IE is zippier.
[Editor's Note: I've read this in a few places, but can't help confirm any speedup. I installed the Dev Tools about three minutes after I installed OS X, so they were in place when I ran my benchmarks. The theory that I've seen elsewhere on the net is that the "Optimizing System" step that happens at the end of the Dev Tools install was supposed to also happen at the end of the OS X install, but a bug stops it from running.
I'm not sure whether I believe it or not, but if you have the free disk space (600mb or so), it can't hurt to try. If you do, though, please time some application launches before and after you install the Dev Tools, and report back with your results. It'd be nice to have some objective evidence to back this theory!]
NOTE: You can run the "optimizing" routine at any time, by starting a terminal and entering:
sudo update_prebinding -root /
This can take quite a while to run, and may (or may not) speed up application launching times. G3-based users have reported speedups; most G4 owners have not seen any changes. Use at your own risk, and you may or may not see any benefit.
If you want to copy a audio track from a CD, you don't have to bother with importing it via QuickTime player or Toast Audio Extractor anymore. Just put the CD in and when you open it in the Finder, the files on there are in native .aiff format ready for you to just copy them straight onto your hard drive.
Up until tonight, I'd been disappointed with the lack of drag-and-drop support on text selections in Cocoa apps. It seemed I could make it work most of the time in OmniWeb pages (but not in forms), but never in mail.app or Stickies. The OS 9 method, which was to select the text, then click-hold and drag, didn't work. The second click simply moved the insertion point when I started to drag.
Tonight, though, the mystery has been solved! To drag and drop text chunks in any Cocoa app (supposedly; I haven't tested them all!), simply change your behavior slightly. Highlight the text, click and hold the mouse button in the highlighted area for just under a second, then move it around at will! If you've held it long enough, you'll see the text darken slightly to indicate that you're now holding the text in "float" mode.
I kept thinking this was simply another piece of OS X that wasn't quite done yet ... looks like it's done, but the implementation has changed. Thanks to Russ H. on the X4U mailing list for pointing this one out! Stickies and mail are now much more convenient to use!
For those of you out there that like to do M*ing (Moo, Mud, Muck, Mush, Cold, etc) there is a Unix program called TinyFugue that, to my knowledge, is the leading client for these types of games. This installs just fine on OSX and runs great. (You can go to FreshMeat to find TinyFugue)
I have found that if you just drag the file 'tf' (the TinyFugue app) to the Toolbar and click on it absolutely nothing happens.
Here is how you can get it working. You can go and Get Info on the 'tf' file itself, then 'Show Application' and set it to 'A specific application' and have it fire up Terminal. You will need to set it to show 'All Applications' and you will get a warning that it is not known if this application will launch up this file, but it works great.
I do not know if this works with all terminal based apps, but it did work for TinyFugue.
If, for some reason (can someone think of one?) you'd like to shut down your Mac from another machine, here's how you do it.
Connect to your Mac remotely via SSH or telnet.
Become root ('su' and enter your root password)
Type sync to clear the buffer (may not be necessary with the next command, but I'm cautious!)
Type halt to shut down the machine.
This will (obviously) end your telnet/SSH connection shortly after you type it ;-).
I just tried this from my PC to my Mac, and it did exactly what it was supposed to do ... my Mac shut down cleanly. No errors of any sort on restart, but I did lose my '3 day, 4:54' uptime! I'm not quite sure why one would want to do this, but it is possible.