Amnesty, the reverse engineered version of Apple's Dashboard that allows widgets to run on the desktop with Konfabulator-like abilities, has been made open-source and is now freeware.
Originally released in 2005, days after Apple introduced Dashboard with its release of OS X Tiger, Amnesty was built around an engine allowing it run widgets independently of Dashboard, and thus could give additional capabilities to widgets including adjustable desktop level and opacity. The engine also allowed users of OS X Panther to run Dashboard widgets.
Amnesty was released to many positive reviews, including a sidebar mention in David Pogue's Missing Manual for Tiger, but as the interest in widgets waned in the past few years, its popularity and sales began to decline.
Developer Danny Espinoza, who had recently stopped releasing updates for his products sold under the name Mesa Dynamics, felt it was best to release all his software products, including Amnesty (and Amnesty Singles, a widget-to-application converter), as open source as part of their official discontinuation.
Amnesty 1.6 is free and requires Mac OS X 10.4 and later. The application and its source code are available at mesadynamics.com.
[crarko adds: Consider this a public service announcement and a thank you. I used this program back in the day and liked it a lot. I support the notion of developers taking discontinued software and making it open source instead of letting it collect dust (whenever it's practical to do so).]
I was annoyed by a behavior of Messages.app. When a friend sends me a message the chat window will not open automatically. Instead the Messages app icon will get a badge and bounce a couple of times in the dock.
But if I'm not currently at the computer, and since I do not use the Dock to launch apps and I have the Dock always hidden, I could easily miss a message for a long time. So I came up with the following solution.
First open /Utilities/AppleScript.app and paste the following into the script editor:
using terms from application "Messages"
on message received theText from theBuddy for theChat
set visible of window "Messages" to true
end message received
end using terms from
Pick a name and save the script in the scripts folder ~/Library/Scripts.
Next open up /Applications/Messages.app and do the following:
Under Preferences select Alerts.
Under Event select Received Message.
Tap Run an AppleScript and select your previously saved script under the Pop-Up menu.
Now when you receive a new message while you are away from the computer you have an open window with the message waiting for you.
[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. You need to be running 10.8 or later to have the Messages application, of course.]
At first my MacBook Air would shut down in one or two seconds. A year or so ago it started taking thirty seconds or more. Annoying but hardly fatal. Anyway, I found a trick that helped me:
Shut down with Reopen windows when logging back in CHECKED.
Turn the computer back on.
Shut down with Reopen windows when logging back in UNCHECKED.
This returned the Mac to an almost instantaneous shutdown.
[crarko adds: This makes sense, and if you have a lot of open window states to be saved that would obviously impact the shutdown time. Still, sometimes the obvious is worth pointing out. This tip should probably apply to 10.7 as well.
Hello again, I'm filling in once more this week while Kirk is otherwise occupied -- Craig A.]
You may know that you can enter Time Machine through the GUI and delete a backup. In some cases, under Mountain Lion, this results in an error, with a message saying "The operation can't be completed because backup items can't be modified."
In some cases, deleting backups from the Finder won't work; you also may not be able to use the rm command to delete these backups, because they are handled in a special way. Finally, even if all goes well, you may want to delete backups on a remote Mac's Time Machine disk.
There is an executable accessible from the command line that lets you delete these backups. To use this with Mountain Lion, run the following command:
If you reply to an email message in iOS, you normally wind up quoting the entire message you are replying to. Usually, all you want to reply to is a portion of the message.
By selecting that portion of the message in the received mail before replying, only that selection will be quoted, just as with OS X Mail app and most other computer-based email programs.
To do this, tap and hold on a word in the section of the email you want to quote. When the selection handles come up, drag them to select only that portion of the email you want to quote. Then tap on the arrow button to reply to the message.
[kirkmc adds: This is pretty basic, but there's no hint on the site, and I'd bet a lot of iOS users aren't aware of this.]
You can exclude certain files and folders from your Time Machine backups from the Time Machine pane in System Preferences; you can also do this from the command line. Run this command:
sudo tmutil addexclusion [path]
where [path] is a file or folder. For example, if I want to exclude my Downloads folder from Time Machine backups, I would run the following:
sudo tmutil addexclusion ~/Downloads
The tmutil addexclusion command has an interesting property: it's sticky. When you do this, the item you exclude remains in the Time Machine exclusion list even if you move it, which is not the case when you exclude items from the Time Machine preference pane. If you use the above command with the -p flag, then it will not be sticky, and will be the same as an exclusion you add from the GUI.
[kirkmc adds: Updated to correct an error in the post. I've removed the comments that pointed out the error. Sorry!]
TextEdit has a dialog that lets you select lines. You can invoke the Select Line window by pressing Command-L. In this window, you can enter a single line number, but you can also enter relative selections or ranges. For example, enter the following:
2: selects line 2.
+2: selects the second line after the line where the cursor is.
-2: selects the second line before the line where the cursor is.
12-14: selects lines 12, 13 and 14.
+2-4: selects 3 lines, 2 lines after the line where the cursor is.
-2-4: selects 3 lines, 2 lines before the line where the cursor is
Apparently Apple has included a pre-release version of Siri in 10.8.3. While I've gotten Siri to work in Stickies, it doesn't seem to be accessible from any other OS X apps. This may be a mistake; it may be testing code that was not removed from the final release, and this may explain why 10.8.3 went through so many betas.
To turn on Siri in Stickies, run the following Terminal command:
After you run this command, launch Stickies, and, while pressing the Option key, press the fn key twice. A small popup will appear in the current note with an icon similar to the Siri icon on iOS. Speak into your Mac's microphone - either an internal or external mike - and Siri will do your bidding.
I'm giving one of my iPads to someone soon, and a recent TechHive article pointed out the easiest way to prepare an iOS device to give or sell to someone.
Go to General > Reset, then tap on Erase All Content and Settings. If you have a passcode set, you'll need to enter the passcode to continue. An Erase iPad dialog will inform you that this will erase all media and data, and reset all settings; tap on Erase. Another dialog will ask if you're really sure you want to do this. Again, tap on Erase.
The screen will go black with an Apple logo and a progress bar, then you'll see the iOS device's name (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch) and a slider. Slide the slider to begin setting up the iOS device as a new device.
The TechHive article also noted that you can use this process to wipe and restore an iOS device; at one point in the setup process, you'll see a choice to set up the device as a new one, or to restore from an iCloud or iTunes backup.
When the process has completed, you'll have an iOS device with the stock apps and settings.
You can use modifier keys, together with F keys, to change volume and brightness by quarter increments. To do this, press Option-Shift-F1 or Option-Shift-F2 to change the brightness by quarter steps. For volume, press Option-Shift-F11 or Option-Shift-F12 to change by quarter steps.
[kirkmc adds: This isn't new; we have a hint about this when it returned to Mac OS X 10.7.4; it had existed prior to 10.7, but was removed in the early versions of Lion. But it seemed useful to remind readers about this, and point out that it works for both volume and brightness.]