Accessing your idisk (given to you when you sign up for itools) is quite easy under OS X.
When in the finder, select Connect to Server under the Go menu (or just press command-K). When the dialog box appears, make sure the drop-down menu says AFP Servers, and then type idisk.mac.com in the URL entry box.
A username/password dialog box should appear. Enter your mac.com username and password, and your idisk should mount on the desktop. Once it's mounted, you can make an alias to it, and simply double-click it in the future.
Apple has added a new "Software" folder to everyone's idisk which contains a selection of OS X software disk images. To use, simply drag the image you want onto a local volume and it will download. There's a large number of programs listed, and I imagine this folder will get much more active once OS X 1.0 ships. Quite cool, and this alone probably makes it worth getting a (free) itools account.
Thanks to 'James' for submitting the idisk question!
The tcsh shell (the one that launches when you start a terminal) has a prompt which looks like this:
You can modify the prompt with the set prompt = command (subtle, I know!). Over on the MacNN forums, this thread includes a great tutorial (written by blanalex) on how to generate some unique and useful prompt strings, including those with colored foregrounds and backgrounds.
I've reproduced the final how-to from the discussion in the remainder of this article, in case the MacNN posting goes away anytime soon.
[Editor's note: The following applies to the Public Beta only. The current release version of OS X does not contain SSH; search the site for articles on installing SSH if you'd like to use it. Rumor has it that the first OS X update will again include SSH]
If you access your OS X box remotely, you can do so through an incredibly simple-to-use Telnet server (simply click "Turn on remote Telnet access" on the Sharing System Preference panel). However, this is not the best way to connect to your OS X box - your passwords are transmitted in cleartext (non encrypted), meaning that they could be intercepted by those with malicious intents.
OS X includes a built-in secure remote access package known as SSH (Secure SHell). However, there is no GUI for enabling SSH, which is unfortunate (hopefully this will be changed prior to final release). It is not, however, overly difficult to enable SSH using a terminal session, if you're reasonably comfortable with editing files in the shell.
If you access your machine remotely, and you would like to do so more securely, read the rest of this article for information on how to enable and use SSH.
While looking for interesting OS X apps recently, I happened upon a program called InstantLinks, available from Subsume Technologies. InstantLinks, shown in use at the right (click on the image for a larger screenshot), is a system service that is available in any application that supports OS X services (such as Fire and OmniWeb, to name two).
What does it do? From a services-aware application, you highlight a text string that you're interested in, such as a word, an address, or a URL. Then simply activate the InstantLinks service menu, and pick the action you would like performed on your selection. You can look it up in a dictionary, map the location, open the URL, search the web, or check a thesaurus.
It's an amazing example of some of the really neat stuff that I think we'll see coming out for OS X in the next few months. Highly recommended, if for nothing more than a peak at the future possibilities of OS X. Read the rest of the article if you'd like a detailed explanation for how to install and activate the progam (it's a bit different than a typical application).
If you're new to UNIX, the concept of file permissions can be somewhat daunting, to say the least. In a nutshell, permissions control who is able to do what to any given file or directory. It's important that they're properly set, otherwise certain things (such as CGI's for your web server, or shell scripts) may not work as you expect them to.
Read the rest of this article if you'd like an introduction to managing permissions in UNIX. Although quite detailed, this is not intended to be a complete education on file permissions; a good UNIX book is still recommended as the best way to further increase your knowledge.
If you logon as any user other than 'root' and you find that you are unable to launch an application, check the permissions on the Applications folder. The quickest way to fix the problem is to give the group 'Everyone' Read&Write access and copy this to the rest of the folders. Even though the permissions are correct further down the tree, the permission at the top level seems to matter.