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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.]
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10.8: AppleScript to close iCal Alerts System 10.8
I'd just installed OS X 10.8, and booted to find the right side of my screen covered in Birthday and Calendar notifications! Since installing I've clicked 'Close' on way too many iCal notification alerts.

Here's a script to close them all for you in one fell swoop. Since I still want iCal to popup a Notification alert for event alarms I've set, I don't want to simply disable all the iCal notifications (or set them to temporary banner alerts).

However, it still occurs that sometimes a small pile of alerts have accrued while I was away from the computer, and I really hate hitting 'Close' a bunch of times.

So, followng is a script to simply close all the piled-up Notification Alerts. The script was put together using these two webpages for inspiration: http://macosxautomation.com/mavericks/notifications/01A.html (most of the nice code comes from here) and http://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/52848/how-do-i-click-a-button-using-applescript (just how to click a button with AppleScript).

on run
 closeNotifications()
end run

on closeNotifications()
 try
  -- This function closes all currently displaying notification alerts. It used to also return the titles of each notification, which I have commented out to disable.
  tell application "System Events"
   tell process "Notification Center"
    set theseWindows to every window whose subrole is "AXNotificationCenterAlert" or subrole is "AXNotificationCenterBanner"
    --set theseTitles to {}
    repeat with thisWindow in theseWindows
     try
      -- Save the title of each alert window:
      --set thisTitle to the value of static text 1 of scroll area 1 of thisWindow
      --set the end of theseTitles to thisTitle
      
      -- Close each alert:
      click button "Close" of thisWindow
     end try
    end repeat --"theseWindows"
    --return theseTitles
   end tell -- "NotCenter"
  end tell -- "SysEvents"
  
 on error errorMessage number errorNumber
  if errorNumber is errorNumber then
   my addAppletToAccessibilityList()
   error number -128
  end if
 end try
end closeNotifications

on addAppletToAccessibilityList()
 -- This function gets the user to enable Accessibility, for scripting the UI interface (hitting buttons etc.)
 set thisAppletFile to (path to me)
 tell application "Finder" to reveal thisAppletFile
 tell application "System Preferences"
  launch
  activate
  
  reveal anchor "Privacy_Assistive" of pane id "com.apple.preference.security"
  
  activate
  
  display alert 
   "Add Applet to Accessibility" message "In order to respond to user clicks on Notification panels and alerts, this applet must be added to the lost of apps approved to use accessibility controls of the OS." & return & return & 
   "To add this app:" & return & return & 
   "1) Click the lock icon (if it is locked) and enter your password." & return & return & 
   "2) If 'SystemUIServer.app' is in the list, check the box next to it's name." & return & return & 
   "Otherwise, if the applet's name is in the list, check the box next to it's name. If it's not in the list, drag the applet (currently shown in the Finder) into the list area." & return & return & 
   "3) Click the lock to re-lock the preference pane, close System Preferences."
 end tell
end addAppletToAccessibilityList


[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one, as I don't run Mountain Lion any more. I remember the problem very well, though. I did compile the script successfully.]
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Create very unique signatures in Preview Apps
You can make signatures in Preview that are pen and ink style drawings.

I don't know if this has been posted yet, or if it is generally known, but I stumbled upon a neat feature of signatures in Preview.app. When you create a signature, if you you don't hold up a piece of paper with a signature on it, and simply smile for a mug shot, Preview will create a signature that is a neat pen and ink style image of yourself, or whatever is in front of the camera. I've created several, that for the right client, can be used as a humorous alternative to an actual signature. I also used a screen capture of the signature on a document and made the image into a Facebook Profile picture.

[crarko adds: Well I didn't know about it. Most folks use Photo Booth to do things like this, I'd guess, but I always appreciate a creative use of a program.]
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Custom margins in TextEdit Apps
There is already an old hint about this topic, but it doesn't really explain it very clearly, only in the comments.

Here's how you can change the margins in TextEdit to your favourite size, so that you can use, for example, the whole space on a sheet of paper when printing.

First, save your document first as a Rich Text file (.rtf), if you have not already done this. To see the effect directly in your document, open it and enable under the Format menu the setting Wrap to Page for your document.

Next open up the TextEdit preferences, switch to the tab Open and Save and check on the option Display RTF files as RTF code instead of formatted text.

Open the document again and you will see the raw code that defines how the document look like. You want to look in the 4th row, where it says:

margl1440margr1440

This defines the left and right margins, thats what the 'l' and 'r' behind marg stand for: left and right.

Now to define customized top and bottom margins you have to add margt and margb, and similarly to before 't'=top, and 'b'=bottom. So add these after the given ones for the side margins, like this:

margl*margr*margb*margt*

Now you can set the margins how you like. You have to replace the stars with the correct number in Twips (1 Twip = 1/1440 inch). Here a few examples:
  • 360 (.25 inch)
  • 720 (.5 inch)
  • 1080 (.75 inch)
  • 1440 (1 inch)
  • 567 (1 cm)
Finally save the modified document and change the preference settings back to what they were originally. Then open the document again and you'll have your custom margins.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. Please note that updating older hints and clarifying them is always a good thing, so don't be shy about submitting ideas that do just that.]
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Low-power mode for Maps.app iOS devices
It's possible to save power when using Maps to navigate in a car. It's an obvious trick once you know about it, and easy too.

When you're navigating with the Maps app, you're probably used to it chewing through battery life. Even on a full charge my iPhone 5 doesn't last more than 2-3 hours when navigating.

To eke out extra life, just press the Sleep button (top of the phone), once you're on your way and are on a long stretch before the next turn/navigation point (i.e. on a freeway for 50 miles). The screen will blank, but the navigation will continue. The phone will briefly wake 10 miles from your next turn/navigation point, to tell you about it, and will wake 2 miles from it and stay awake until you get past it.

To switch back to non-power-saving mode, just swipe as usual to wake the phone.

To be honest this doesn't save a huge amount of battery life in my tests, but it's better than nothing. For long journeys,you really need a USB power source such as those that fit into cigarette lighter sockets.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one, but I will on my next long drive.]
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Hiding Software Updates System
Since the introduction of Lion the system's Software Opdate mechanism has been integrated into App Store.app and the Software Update Preference Pane has been removed and substituted with "App Store".

If you constantly are being reminded to install software updates you don't really want to install, you can right-click (Control+click) the name of the update and hide it, eliminating the reminder.

[crarko adds: I think this is probably known already to many of you, but if it's not it can be a handy trick. I find the whole App Store method for Software Update a lot less pleasant than the old Snow Leopard mechanism where it was separate, but maybe I'm just old fashioned.]
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iOS: Change how Calendar events look in Notifications iOS devices
Long frustrated with how calendar events look within the Notification Center I've discovered a way to change it.

As part of iOS 7.1 Apple improved on the ability to view calendar events by adding a list view button in the Daily view. I have noticed that if you toggle this to list view within the Calendar app then your calendar events within Notification Center will also show as a list.

[crarko adds: Is this actually new? I don't remember having looked for this in previous versions of iOS.]
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10.9: Enable experimental network commands Network
Many advanced network configuration commands can be reached with the scutil command line tool. Launch Terminal.app and run:

ENABLE_EXPERIMENTAL_SCUTIL_COMMANDS=1 scutil --net, then type help and press the Return key to see the available options.

For example:
localhost:~ user$ ENABLE_EXPERIMENTAL_SCUTIL_COMMANDS=1 scutil --net
set "Automatic" selected
> help

Available commands:

 help                          : list available commands
 f.read file                   : process commands from file
 quit [!]                      : quit

 commit                        : commit any changes
 apply                         : apply any changes

 create interface  [  |  ]
 create protocol 
 create service [  |  [  ]]
 create set [setName]

 disable protocol [  ]
 disable service  [  |  ]

 enable protocol  [  ]
 enable service   [  |  ]

 remove protocol  [  ]
 remove service   [  |  ]
 remove set       [  |  ]

 select interface  |  | $child | $service | $vlan | $bond  | $bridge 
 select protocol  
 select service    | 
 select set        | 

 set interface context-sensitive-arguments (or ? for help)
 set protocol  context-sensitive-arguments (or ? for help)
 set service   [ name  ] [ order new-order ] [ rank ( | First | Last | Never) [temp] ]
 set set       [ name setName ] | [ current ]

 show interfaces
 show interface [  |  ]
 show protocols
 show protocol  [  ]
 show services  [ all ]
 show service   [  |  ]
 show sets

 show set       [  |  ]

 update                        : update the network configuration

>


[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. Obviously be careful before using the commands. I'd suggest making a log of any changes made, and understand how to undo them. This would be a good time to do a full system backup.]
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Paste an address and Contacts will parse it Apps
I'm not sure how long this has been the case, but if you copy an address, say from a web site, and paste it into the first address field (street) in Contacts, Contacts will parse appropriately.

For example, try:

1234 Easy St
Pleasantville, CA 43402

When pasted into Contacts it will correctly place the City, State and Zip into the appropriate fields.

[crarko adds: OK, I'll admit I don't know when this was introduced either because I'd long ago stopped looking for it. Nice to know data detectors keeps being improved.]
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10.9: Run sysdiagnose with keyboard shortcut System 10.9
The command-line utility sysdiagnose can be triggered by pressing Cmd+Opt+Ctrl+Shift+Period, and it may take a few minutes to complete. When ready, the output will automatically be revealed in a Finder window (or it can be manually retrieved from /var/tmp).

What sysdiagnose Collects:
  • A spindump of the system
  • Several seconds of fs_usage ouput
  • Several seconds of top output
  • Data about kernel zones
  • Status of loaded kernel extensions
  • Resident memory usage of user processes
  • All system logs, kernel logs, opendirectory log, windowserver log, and log of power management events
  • A System Profiler report
  • All spin and crash reports
  • Disk usage information
  • I/O Kit registry information
  • Network status
  • If a specific process is supplied as an argument: list of malloc-allocated buffers in the process's heap is collected
  • If a specific process is supplied as an argument: data about unreferenced malloc buffers in the process's memory is collected
  • If a specific process is supplied as an argument: data about the virtual memory regions allocated in the process
The man page for sysdiagnose can be found here.

[crarko adds: This seems to be primarily intended for software developers as a debugging aid, but I can see it useful for system troubleshooting at a low level as well. I tried it and found the output (text) file in /var/tmp, as mentioned above.]
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