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Cancel a Mac Store app update while it's downloading Install
In the Updates section of the Mac App Store, if the user chooses to update an app or apps, the interface offers the ability to pause the download of the update, but seemingly not to cancel it. Canceling the download is possible by holding down the option key. The "Pause" buttons change to "Cancel" buttons.

[kirkmc adds: I don't have any current updates to be able to test this. I don't think this stops the update from generating a notification after you cancel the download, but I'm curious as to what happens. Post your experiences in the comments.]
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Change OS X cursor size System
The Accessibility pane of System Preferences holds a number of interesting adjustments you can set to make your Mac easier to use. One of them is the ability to change the size of the cursor; the pointer you see on your screen.

Go to System Preferences > Accessibility, then click on Display. Drag the Cursor Size slider from Normal (smallest) toward Large. Find the size you want to use, and close the preference pane.

I have a 27" Thunderbolt Display, and I find the normal-sized cursor a bit small, so I've set mine to be a bit larger. You may find this to be a useful tweak as well.

Note that some applications may not use the changed setting. Feel free to post in the comments any apps that don't inherit this setting.
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10.8: New Notes App Service System 10.8
I put together a simple Automator action that takes the selected text from any application and creates a new Note. This sort of thing should have been in the Services menu to begin with, but this powerful feature of OS X is often unsung and underused. Hope it helps.

Open Automator and create a new Service. Set the Service to receive selected text in any application from the drop down menus.

Drag Copy to Clipboard from the Utilities library into the workflow. Drag Run AppleScript from the Utilities library into the workflow.

Paste the below text in place of (* Your script goes here *):
tell application "Notes" to activate
tell application "System Events"
 click menu item "Notes" of ((process "Notes")'s (menu bar 1)'s 
  (menu bar item "Window")'s (menu "Window"))
 click menu item "New Note" of ((process "Notes")'s (menu bar 1)'s 
  (menu bar item "File")'s (menu "File"))
	keystroke "v" using {command down}
end tell
Save the Service with a name like New Note. Now when you right click on selected text you can find the New Note service in the Services contextual menu. When selected it creates a new note out of the selected text.

[crarko adds: I compiled the script and it seemed to work. I didn't test the Automator Service.]
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Find users that use the most disk space UNIX
Find which users take up the most disk space. This can of course be used to indentify any number of users so I picked 10 as an arbitrary number.

If you are already root (unlikely, but possible) you can remove the sudo -s part. Here's the command:
sudo -s du -sm /Users/* | sort -nr | head -n 10
Generally you would have to make sure that you use sudo -s or it will give a few Permission denied errors before finally spitting out the results, and they may be incorrect. The directory structure should start with the /Users Directory and then it will recursively perform the operation. This may miss any folders outside of the normal user space, but there shouldn't normally be any user data there.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. There are third party utilities that will give the same results with a GUI, but this is pretty handy to have for use on remote machines over an ssh connection. It can take a while to complete, so be patient. Also I noticed in Activity Monitor the du process was using a lot of cpu, so it's best to do this while not running other cpu (or I suppose disk) intensive programs.]
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Amnesty Goes Open Source and Free Apps
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

[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).]
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10.8: Automatically open the Messages chat window Apps
I was annoyed by a behavior of 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/ 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/ 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.]
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10.8: A fix for slow shutdown times System 10.8
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.]
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Delete Time Machine backups from the command line System
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:

sudo /System/Library/Extensions/TMSafetyNet.kext/Helpers/bypass rm -rfv /Volumes/[disk]/Backups.backupdb/[path]

This command works with Lion:

sudo /System/Library/Extensions/TMSafetyNet.kext/Contents/MacOS/bypass rm -rfv /Volumes/[disk]/Backups.backupdb/[path]

Terminal will display a list of the files as they are deleted.

Found on Stack Exchange. Note that I haven't tested this with Lion.
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Selective quoting with iOS Mail app iOS devices
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.]
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Create "sticky" Time Machine exclusions System
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!]
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