Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

We're back Site News
As I'm sure most of you have noticed, MacOSXHints was not in action since mid-May. There was an issue with the site software, but I'm really happy to say that is now fixed, and I look forward to resuming publication of new hints. This is especially pleasing as the Public Beta of OS X Yosemite approaches, and the new goodies in iOS 8 as well.

I'll just say it's good to be back.

Craig A.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (13)  
  • Currently 2.00 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (18 votes cast)
 
[6,068 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
iOS: Maps wrong destination Work-around Phones
It just so happens that the building where I work has no street address, as it is part of a university campus. When I asked Siri where I was, it gave me an address, which I put as my work address in my contact card. However, whenever I asked Siri to give me directions to work, it would lead me astray - about a mile down the road. Yet when I double-checked by asking Siri where I was, it aid I was at the address previously reported. I also discovered that if I manually touch the address in my contact card and touch Directions to here I would get directed to the correct spot! I played around with Siri today and figured out a work-around so that I could ask Siri for directions to work and get there properly.

I believe this is all due to some sort of Apple Maps bug. Manually touching to get directions versus asking Siri for directions to the same address should give you directions to the same place. I suspected that Siri was using different address mappings than Maps was using, so I tried methodically asking Siri to give me directions to slightly different addresses on the same road to see if I could pinpoint the address that Siri thought my building was located at. This turned out to be an incorrect assumption. I discovered that if I ask Siri these 2 questions, I get two different destinations:
  • Give me directions to xxx Road.
  • Give me directions to xxx Road, City.
The first gave me directions to the correct destination and the second gave me directions to a place on the same road about a mile away. My Contact card had the full address: city, state, zip and country included. I first tried removing all but the street address, but that gave me wildly inaccurate results.

In order for me to be able to ask Siri for directions to work and get the correct result I had to delete only the city from the work address in my Contact card.

This problem is probably location specific; an issue with the map data itself, or possibly with the Maps app, so most people probably won't have this problem. I have submitted this issue to Apple via their feedback form and via the report a problem link in the Apple Maps app.

[crarko adds: Definitely sounds buggy to me, although I have noticed similar behavior in Google Maps and MapQuest before too. Anyway for future reference (if you don't have these) to report a bug in OS X go here and for iOS go here. If you're in the Developer program, you have access to other tools, of course.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (5)  
  • Currently 1.75 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (16 votes cast)
 
[5,656 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Creating custom shortcuts with apostrophes System
I'm running OS X localized in French and recently started using custom keyboard shortcuts extensively. But I've come across a few menu items for which I could not create a shortcut. I realized that all these items contained apostrophes. Not the same apostrophe as the one on the keyboard though (’ vs. ' which is a single quote, ascii 39).

I managed to find the right char in a *.strings file inside the Ressource/French.lproj folder of the application package (Teminal.app in this case), which I could then copy and paste in System Preferences » Keyboard » Shortcuts.

I know the solution provided here is not very elegant. Maybe you will figure out something better.

[crarko adds: And if someone does have an alternative solution, please share it in the comments.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (8)  
  • Currently 1.25 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (44 votes cast)
 
[9,345 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
10.9: Disable App Nap System Wide System 10.9
The Finder/Get Info checkmark for preventing App Nap sometimes disappears, seemingly at random. Maybe the app updates itself, or just writes something to the application directory and the checkmark is gone. The next day your overnight render is at 10%. So in Terminal, type:
defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAppSleepDisabled -bool YES
This seems to prevent App Nap completely, looking at the Activity Monitor » Energy » App Nap column. Running programs need to be restarted for the change to take effect.

[crarko adds: I tried the command; not sure if it's really made a difference. I don't do overnight renders, but if people who do leave lengthy processes going care to comment, we care to listen. I'm really curious about the check box resetting itself.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (4)  
  • Currently 1.45 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (20 votes cast)
 
[11,962 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
10.9: Assigning Tags by keyboard shortcut in Finder Desktop
I'm not sure if this has been covered sufficiently already, but I've heard lamentations by various writers about the lack of a keyboard shortcut to bring up the file-tagging popup in the Finder. While none is provided by default, one can easily be set up.

In previous versions of OS X, the File menu had Label: followed by the row of colored cells. In Mavericks, the row of tags is still there, but the un-selectable Label: has changed to the selectable Tags…, which opens the tagging popup menu next to the selected file.

This process may already be familiar to MacOSXHints readers. Go to System Preferences » Keyboard » Shortcuts » App Shortcuts and click on the + button.

In the window that appears, set the Application to be the Finder, and enter Tags… in for the Menu Title. (To type the ellipsis character, use Option+semicolon, rather than three periods.) And then, of course, set your preferred shortcut. I like using Cmd+Opt+T.

[crarko adds: Handy. I hope this kind of customizing does not disappear in Mavericks' successor. I fear the worst.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (5)  
  • Currently 1.36 / 5
  You rated: 2 / 5 (44 votes cast)
 
[13,231 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Creating a kill switch for the OSX VPN client Network
I live in China so I have to use VPN all the time if I want any kind of stable connection to sites in the west. Unfortunately the VPN will at times randomly disconnect and then all traffic will immediately start going over chinese Internet again. While this is not a big deal really, I would just prefer not to be logged in to Facebook or Gmail and have my traffic open to be sniffed by the great firewall. It also occurred to me that many people use VPNs in the states in order to safely torrent.

I know some VPN providers have 'Internet kill switches' for their VPN that will cut your Internet connection incase of a disconnect and make sure you are not leaking anything. The problem with these is that they are almost all using openVPN, while I use L2TP over IPSec for my VPN. I searched for a long time for a way to do this and could not find one so I thought of a way to do it on my own. The following is how I set my system up. Please keep in mind that I am not an experienced Terminal user or power user so if anyone knows of a better way to do this please let me know.
read more (1,035 words)   Post a comment  •  Comments (0)  
  • Currently 1.19 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (54 votes cast)
 
[10,017 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Automator Service to toggle the alias bit System 10.9
Aliases in OS X are identified to the system by an attribute referred to as the alias bit. This hint provides a very simple way to be able to toggle the alias bit of selected files within the Finder.

There may be some need to be able to toggle the alias bit of files from within the Finder. For example, I found that using Bittorrent Sync to keep files synchronized across multiple devices is very useful and a real time saver, but suffers from a bug in the OS X version, that causes aliases to lose their status as aliases. I traced the problem to the alias bit not syncing and though the developers continue to promise to fix it, I got tired of waiting.

So I put together an Automator action that installs as a service in OS X. It adds a Service to the contextual menu that will toggle the alias bit on any file or folder in the Finder. It works on multiple files at once. Just select what you want, right click, and choose 'Toggle Alias Bit.' I made it a toggler rather than a setter so you can undo it if you accidentally turn a regular file into an alias.

I'm hosting it via my Google Drive if you want to download it.

To install, unzip it, double click it, done (sort of). If you don't have Xcode installed, the first time you try to use it there will be a short pause, then you'll be prompted to download and install Xcode developer tools. This will happen automatically, you just need to OK it. The reason for the developer tools requirement is the use of the GetFileInfo and SetFile commands, which are part of that.

If you want to do it yourself in Automator, here are the relevant steps:
  • Open Automator and choose Service as the type of new document.
  • Drag Run Shell Script to the workflow. Make sure the Service receives selected files or folder in Finder, are checked for the options. Shell should be /bin/bash and pass input as arguments
  • Copy and paste the following into the 'Run Shell script' box:
    #This script will toggle the alias bit for a file  
    
    for f in "$@"  
    do  
    
    #GetFileInfo -aa should return 1 for alias, 0 for not alias  
    
        if [ `GetFileInfo -aa "$@"` == "1" ] # if it's an alias  
        then  
          SetFile -a "a" "$@" # set it to not be an alias  
        else  
          SetFile -a "A" "$@" # otherwise, it's not an alias, so make it one  
    
        fi  
    
    done
    
  • Save it as something useful like 'Toggle Alias bit.'
  • Use as described above.
Apologies if this is not the most simple or efficient scripting. It is the first bit of programming I have done in about twenty years. Also, this will likely work in older versions of OS X, but how far back, I do not know.

[crarko adds: I haven't fully tested this one. I had some problems working with the downloadable version, so I'd recommend creating the Service from scratch using the code above. I already have Xcode installed so I did not get the prompt to install it, as expected.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (2)  
  • Currently 1.12 / 5
  You rated: 2 / 5 (100 votes cast)
 
[8,209 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Add Multiple URLs to a Calendar Event Apps
I frequently want to add multiple URLs to Calendar events. Of course, you can put them in the Notes section, but given that there's a URL field, it seems a little kludgey. This solution is kludgey too, but perhaps a bit less so.

Drag the additional link(s) to the Finder to create a .webloc file; then drag that file to the attachment field for the event.

You can double-click the file to open the link, which is better than the link being non-clickable in the Notes field, where you would have to highlight and right-click (Control+click). The URL won't appear in the body of an email when you send an event to someone, but it will be in the attached .ics file.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (4)  
  • Currently 1.56 / 5
  You rated: 2 / 5 (18 votes cast)
 
[13,417 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Create a Fusion Drive with a Recovery Partition Storage Devices
There are many step-by-step guides on the internet that explain how to add an SSD to an existing Mac, and create a 'Fusion Drive' that has the speed of an SSD, but also the capacity of a Hard Drive. All these guides fall short in one way that was important to me.

Creating the Fusion Drive the way these walkthroughs say (including OWC's exceptional guides), destroys the Recovery Partition that exists on the drive. Without a Recovery Partition, you cannot enable FileVault2, and will need some other external boot drive if you ever need to perform maintenance on your internal drives. For a laptop computer that might be far from home, not having a Recovery Partition was unacceptable to me. Also note that if you buy a Mac from Apple today with Fusion Drive, it DOES come with a Recovery Partition, so it is indeed possible to do.

It turns out that Apple's Core Storage technology is more flexible than these walkthroughs give on. You can enroll an individual partition of a drive in a Fusion Drive, instead of the whole drive. This means that you can join just a specific data partition of your HD with an SSD, and leave the Recovery Partition intact.
read more (536 words)   Post a comment  •  Comments (6)  
  • Currently 1.41 / 5
  You rated: 2 / 5 (32 votes cast)
 
[12,437 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version
Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes System
I wanted to use Time Machine on my exFAT hard drive, but turns out that these volumes aren't supported from Time Machine! There is a very simple way to use Time Machines on unsupported hard drives, as long as you follow these instructions carefully you shouldn't have any issues at all.

First, connect the unsupported volume (in this case, an exFAT external hard drive.) When it mounts, open the Terminal and type these commands, substituting 'My External HDD Name' for the name of the unsupported volume.

cd /Volumes
cd 'My External HDD Name'


Next, type this code, substituting for your needs:

hdiutil create -size 320g -type SPARSEBUNDLE -fs "HFS+J" MacBook-Backup.sparsebundle
open MacBook-Backup.sparsebundle


Here, a 320GB sparse bundle named 'MacBook-Backup' is being made and mounted. You can change these values as you see fit. From herein, I'll refer to the sparse bundle name as 'MacBook-Backup'.

After you've run these commands, a new volume named untitled will appear on your Desktop. This will become your Time Machine backup volume. If you want, rename it to something else (I called mine MacBook Pro Backup) and run the command:

diskutil list

You should see a list appear of all connected volumes. Find your new volume's name and read along until you find the disk identifier. In this case, my identifier is disk2s2, but yours may be different.

Finally, enter the commands below (entering your password if prompted). Replace disk2s2 with your identifier, and 'MacBook Pro Backup' with the name of your new Time Machine volume.

sudo diskutil enableOwnership /dev/disk2s2
sudo tmutil setdestination '/Volumes/MacBook Pro Backup'


Now, open the Time Machine preference pane in System Preferences, and turn Time Machine on. That's it - you've set up Time Machine with an unsupported volume!

[crarko adds: I'd suggest having a known good backup handy before trying any procedure like this, just in case. If Time Machine recognizes the volume you should be good. The hint resembles what has been done using network volumes. If you do try this out please post your experience to the comments.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (11)  
  • Currently 1.68 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (19 votes cast)
 
[11,134 views] Email Article To a Friend View Printable Version