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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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Select lines by numbers in TextEdit Apps
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
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Turn on hidden Siri feature in OS X 10.8.3 Stickies System 10.8
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:

defau1ts write com.apple.stickies personalAssistant -bool true

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.
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Prepare iOS device to give or sell iOS devices
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.
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Change volume and brightness in quarter-step increments System
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.]
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Quick Look files in Open window System
If you wish to view files in an Open window, you can use Quick Look. Just select a file and press the space bar to view it. (This works only with those files that Quick View can display.) You can also move around and view other files using the arrow keys.

[kirkmc adds: I had assumed this would already have been on the site, but I only found this hint which offers a workaround. So I wonder when this was added to OS X.]
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Tidy up launchpad in Mountain Lion System 10.8
Mountain Lion's Launchpad is pretty good but it's still hard to get something out of it after you put it in if you didn't get it at the Mac App Store. If Launchpad Control is overkill for you, this might help.

Drop one or more application icons onto an AppleScript droplet created from the script below to have those items' Launchpad entries eliminated. You can drag items or be prompted to select them when the AppleScript runs if you don't want to save it as an application. There is some error checking and information in the script. It doesn't do anything to the apps themselves.

You can test it on the app itself. In AppleScript Editor, save it as an app, drag the app's icon onto Launchpad, activate Launchpad, launch the app, then drag the app's icon into the window and press return when prompted.

on open the_items
	my Lighten_LaunchPad(the_items)
end open

on Lighten_LaunchPad(the_items)
	repeat with the_item in the_items
		set the_item to the_item as alias
		--try
		tell application "Finder"
			set nameString to name of the_item
			set sost to (my get_the_name(nameString)) as string
		end tell
		display dialog "Are you sure you want to remove \"" & sost & "\" from the Launchpad? The app itself won't be deleted."
		try
			set my_command to "sqlite3 ~/Library/Application\\ Support/Dock/" & "*.db \"DELETE from apps WHERE title=" & (quoted form of sost) & ";\";osascript -e 'tell application \"Dock\" to quit'"
			do shell script my_command
		on error the error_message number the error_number
			activate
			if the error_number is not -128 then
				if the error_number is 1 then
					set the error_text to "Error: " & the error_number & ". " & "You probably have too many old versions of the LaunchPad database file." & return & return & " To fix that, move some old ones out of ~/Library/Application Support/Dock. You can safely move any file with a name that ends with \".db\" or \".db.backup\" except for the most recently modified one." & return & return & "Do you want me to open that folder for you?"
					display dialog the error_text buttons {"Yes, please open it.", "Cancel"} default button 1
					if button returned of the result is "Yes, please open it." then
						do shell script "open" & space & quoted form of POSIX path of (path to application support folder from user domain) & "Dock"
					end if
					error number -128
				else
					set the error_text to "Error: " & the error_number & ". " & the error_message
					display dialog the error_text buttons {"Cancel"} default button 1
				end if
			else
				error number -128
			end if
		end try
	end repeat
	display dialog "All done!" buttons {"OK"} default button 1
end Lighten_LaunchPad

on get_the_name(nameString)
	tell AppleScript
		set olD to text item delimiters
		set text item delimiters to "."
		set reqItem to -1
		if last item of nameString = "." then set reqItem to -2
		set theName to text item reqItem of nameString
		--try
		set theNameNoExt to ((text items 1 through (reqItem - 1) of nameString) as string)
		set text item delimiters to olD
		return {theNameNoExt}
	end tell
end get_the_name

on run
	set the_items to ((choose file) as list)
	Lighten_LaunchPad(the_items)
end run

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