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Single-user mode made easy System
This is a follow-up to the hint about using <Cmd>-S during boot-up to go to single-user mode.

Well, I go to single-user mode to run fsck, the UNIX disk checking tool and I noticed on my Wall Street PB that <Cmd>-s would work sometimes but not consistently.

As an old UNIX geek I was trying different, more reliable ways to get to single-user mode from the Terminal and found this one almost by accident:

1. su to root (or use sudo)
2. Run the command "shutdown now" (without the quotes, of course.)

After a bit of pondering, OS X will quietly and consistently shutdown to single-user mode. A quick 'reboot' and you're back in Aqua.

Man, I love this OS!
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Use custom icons for docked URLs Desktop
You may already know that if you drag a URL into the right hand side of the dock, it'll stay there and clicking it opens the page in your chosen browser.

Trouble is, the icon for URLs is generic and unintuitive and you can't change the icon directly. There is a solution...

Instead of dragging the URL straight into the dock, drop it into a suitable folder and the use the standard cut'n'paste method (described in the rest of this article) to swap the icon. Now drag the URL/icon into the right hand side of the dock. Hey presto, you have a custom url with custom icon in the dock. I have an icon of Dilbert that takes me straight to his daily comic strip.

Read the rest of this article if you need a primer on cutting and pasting icons in OS X...
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Stupid dock tricks Desktop
I haven't noticed anybody mentioning this yet. It isn't useful at all, but here goes:

Open a Carbon or Cocoa app and dock one of its windows. Then hide the app (command-H or from the app menu).

The docked window "flies" over to hide behind the app's icon in the Dock! Unhide the app by clicking it in the Dock (or command-tab) and it flies back.

It's this kind of attention to detail that makes me love Apple. Now if only the interface wasn't so slow. :)

[Editor: Make sure your dock is visible first; hit CMD-OPT-D if you usually leave it hidden; it's not so impressive when you can't see it ;-) ]
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Steps to a more responsive desktop Desktop
Try the following to maximize the speed of the desktop:
  1. Don't change the opacity of the terminal. [Editor: But it looks SO good!]

  2. Change the dock minimization effect to "scale" by typing defaults write mineffect scale

  3. Increase the mouse tracking speed and the keyboard repeat rate through the System Preferences application.

  4. Set your colors to thousands, not millions. [Editor: Audion 2.1 looks so much better in millions!]

  5. 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.
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Simple way to archive mail in Apps
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.
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Myth? Speed up OS X with Dev Tools install System
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.
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Rename files/folders without the delay Desktop
This is really rather too simple, but... :-)

Browsing through the Help system helped me get over being cheesed off with the extra delay that Apple has inserted on the second click when renaming items in the new Finder.

All you need to do is to hit the Return key, and you're instantly in edit mode on the file name.
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Copying audio CD files to your hard drive Apps
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.


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Using multiple IP addresses for serving UNIX
IP aliasing allows your server (or more accurately your interface card) to respond to more than one IP address.

I like to use a mixture of header based IP and real or aliased IP addresses, meaning that a number of URL's point (in DNS) to the same IP number, and other URL's have their own IP address.

eg -> -> -> ->

To do this, your interface device has to recognise and listen for the different IP numbers. This is done via IP aliasing.

Using the ifconfig command in OSX/BSD appears to be different from Linux.

Instructions for the syntax to do this is over on the Stepwise site.

Linux instructions for IP aliasing are available at Linux Documentation Project

You will also need to add listen directives to the apache config file - this is covered else where on this site.
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Drag and drop text in all Cocoa apps System
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 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!
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