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Change default Calendar alert and time System 10.8
You can change the default calendar event sound and all day event time. These settings are stored as part of each individual calendar.

Locate and open in TextEdit:
~/Library/Calendars/UUID.calendar/LocalDefaultAlarms/EventAllDayAlarms.icsalarm ~/Library/Calendars/UUID.calendar/LocalDefaultAlarms/EventTimedAlarms.icsalarm

The default all day event time can be changed to 6 am, for example, instead of 9 am:

You can change the default event time to values not available in the preferences. This can be a positive or negative value, for instance 3 hours before:

The alert sound can be specified (without a file extension) using anything in your user or system sound folder:

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Resolve Mac App Store download issues by removing cache folder Apps
I've occasionally seen issues where Mac App Store downloads failed, with a message saying "The product distribution file could not be verified. It may be damaged or was not signed." Topher Kessler writing at CNET showed a way you can resolve this issue.

When this download problem occurs, it is generally the result of a corrupted file in a cache folder. If you run this command in Terminal:
open $TMPDIR../C/
a folder will open in the Finder showing a number of cache folders for different applications. Delete the folder, then quit and relaunch the App Store application and try the download again.
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Enable the adaptive firewall in OS X Server OS X Server
Apple recently published a technical note explaining how to enable the adaptive firewall in OS X Server. This is a type of firewall that automatically creates temporary rules according to certain events. For example, a number of failed login attempts will cause the adaptive firewall to create a temporary rule to block the IP address attempting to log in.

To do this, run the following commands as an administrative user:
sudo pfctl -f /etc/pf.conf
sudo /Applications/ enable
sudo /Applications/ -f
Then, edit /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ using the following commands:
sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ ProgramArguments '(pfctl, -f, /etc/pf.conf, -e)'
sudo chmod 644 /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
sudo plutil -convert xml1 /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/
Another technical note explains how to resolve an issue where packet rules do not load.

For more information, see man afctl and this post on the techorganic blog.
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Workaround problem saving photos from Mountain Lion Mail to iPhoto System 10.8
Apple recently published a technical note about a problem saving photos from Mail to iPhoto in Mountain Lion. I actually came across this problem recently, and there was no feedback suggesting that the photos were not saved. Fortunately, I had a Time Machine backup of the email containing photos in question.

The fix is simply this: launch iPhoto, then drag the photos - one by one - from the e-mail onto the iPhoto icon in the Dock.
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Use an SSD boot drive and keep Users on an encrypted data drive System 10.8
Recently I became so sick of the slowness of my MacBook Pro (late 2011 model), which has a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5 with 16 GB RAM running Mountain Lion 10.8.2, that I decided to buy a 120 GB Kingston SVP 200 SSD drive for my boot drive and put my previous 500 GB Hitachi HD in place of the DVD drive.

I left my old system in place on the old drive and did a clean install of Mountain Lion 10.8.2 on the SSD. I then set up my main user account with the same name and password as before. In the Users & Groups preference pane, I right-clicked on my account name and selected Advanced Options, and set the location of my user account to be my old user account on the secondary drive now named Data HD. Obviously, for all permissions to work correctly you need to keep the new user names and passwords the same as the old ones. That all worked fine, and when I rebooted and logged in to my account, all my Users are on the Data HD. I then used Migration Assistant to pull over all my Apps to the SSD boot drive.

Encryption of Data HD

Control-click on a disk in the Finder to encrypt to encrypt it (in a Finder window, the Finder sidebar, or on the Desktop). Choose Encrypt "disk name" and enter a password. You’ll have to enter the password a second time, and you won’t be able to go any further unless you also enter a password hint. I tried this method and it didn’t appear to work properly so I used the Terminal approach.

Prepare a disk by converting

You encrypt disks with the diskutil command, but first, you have to convert them to a format called CoreStorage. Start by running the diskutil list command, which returns a list of all your disks, like this:

Vinces-MacBook-Pro:~ vince$ diskutil list



0: GUID_partition_scheme *120.0 GB disk0

1: EFI 209.7 MB disk0s1

2: Apple_HFS Macintosh SSD 119.2 GB disk0s2

3: Apple_Boot Recovery HD 650.0 MB disk0s3



0: GUID_partition_scheme *500.1 GB disk1

1: EFI 209.7 MB disk1s1

2: Apple_HFS Data HD 499.8 GB disk1s2



0: GUID_partition_scheme *500.1 GB disk2

1: EFI 209.7 MB disk2s1

2: Apple_HFS CCC Backup 499.1 GB disk2s2
The disk I want to encrypt is Data HD and to the right of the name you can see the identifier which is disk1s2. With that information I could convert that disk the CoreStorage format with the following command:
sudo diskutil corestorage convert disk4s1
Terminal will request your administrator’s password, then will begin the conversion process.
Vinces-MacBook-Pro:~ vince$ sudo diskutil corestorage convert disk1s2
Started CoreStorage operation on disk1s2 Data HD
Resizing disk to fit Core Storage headers
Creating Core Storage Logical Volume Group
Attempting to unmount disk1s2
Switching disk1s2 to Core Storage
Couldn't unmount disk1s2; converted volume won't appear until it's unmounted
Core Storage LVG UUID: 5896188D-5D8C-4A8D-95BB-3D0DC892CBF4
Core Storage PV UUID: 9A70E1FB-5FEE-445B-8E92-04EC42C32D5E
Core Storage LV UUID: EB1BD441-D493-4C2B-B6E4-A646667D79C0
Finished CoreStorage operation on disk1s2 Data HD
Encrypt the disk

The important information above is the LV UUID, or logical volume universally unique identifier. Using that information, you can then run the command to encrypt the disk, as follows:
Vinces-MacBook-Pro:~ vince$ sudo diskutil corestorage encryptvolume EB1BD441-D493-4C2B-B6E4-A646667D79C0 -passphrase password
Started CoreStorage operation on disk2 Data HD
Scheduling encryption of Core Storage Logical Volume
Core Storage LV UUID: EB1BD441-D493-4C2B-B6E4-A646667D79C0
Finished CoreStorage operation on disk2 Data HD
Replace password with your password. The next step will ensure that the Data HD gets mounted during the boot process so that your accounts are available. For this you need the excellent program Unlock by Justin Ridgewell. Full instructions for installation are on his page.

His script runs as follows:
Vinces-MacBook-Pro:~ vince$ curl | bash
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100  2853  100  2853    0     0   1277      0  0:00:02  0:00:02 --:--:--  1971
Attempting to re-run as root...
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100  2853  100  2853    0     0   1486      0  0:00:01  0:00:01 --:--:--  1864

  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100   509  100   509    0     0    314      0  0:00:01  0:00:01 --:--:--   385
  % Total    % Received % Xferd  Average Speed   Time    Time     Time  Current
                                 Dload  Upload   Total   Spent    Left  Speed
100   139  100   139    0     0     80      0  0:00:01  0:00:01 --:--:--    99
100 27900  100 27900    0     0   7686      0  0:00:03  0:00:03 --:--:-- 76438

Do you want to unlock Data HD at boot? (y/N)
What is the passphrase used to encrypt Data?
*Enter passphrase for Data HD*
Following conversations with Justin, it is probably worth checking that you have an entry for Unlock: Data HD in the System Keychain. Also the script will be installed at /Library/LaunchDaemons/name.ridgewell.unlock. He also advised setting up another Admin account on the SSD in case one ever needed to do an decrypt the Data HD in case anything goes wrong. The command for that, using the example of my Data HD above, is:
diskutil cs decryptvolume EB1BD441-D493-4C2B-B6E4-A646667D79C0 -passphrase password
Obviously a bit of clean-up is necessary. For instance, all the Application icons in the Dock will be referencing the Applications on the original hard drive, so you need to delete each one and replace them by dragging the Applications to the Dock that were moved to the new SSD. Finally, I used Carbon Copy Cloner to copy the user folder from Data HD to another drive, re-formatted the Data HD to remove all the Applications and System files, and then cloned the User folder back to the Data HD. Then I tested all my Applications to make sure everything was working. So far so good and the performance increase is well worth the effort. Boot time is down to 10 seconds and all Applications open instantly!

[kirkmc adds: I wrote a Macworld article about disk encryption a couple of months ago. This hint uses that process, but goes a bit further.]
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Add URLs to Reading List automatically from e-mails Internet
This is an update to this hint, Automatically add links from Emails, Twitter or Google Reader to Reading List . I found the solution posted there to be insufficient. The script only allows URLs to be on their own full line, whereas my solution scans the entire message for links everywhere. As long as they are separated by a space the script should find them. WebKit users can even set their own browser.

I hope this helps replace some "read later services" by Reading List.

Save the script below to ~/Library/Application Scripts/ and assign it to a new Mail rule.

An easier way to send yourself links is by adding +reading to your mail address. If your normal address is, it would become:

The beauty of this is that you can add this address to your Contacts and give it a nice name like “Add to Reading List”. The previous hint required editing e-mail subject lines in a predefined way. Apps like Reeder are able to send to a default mail address. With this, set the +reading address to be your default address, share via e-mail, tap Send, and it's done.

Set up a new rule with the following options:

  • Rule: “any recipient contains ‘+reading’”
  • Actions:
    • “mark as read”
    • “execute AppleScript” (this script)
    • “delete message"
    • “stop evaluating rules”

Here’s the script (you can also get it on GitHub):

Add to Reading List

Script for Apple Mail to find http and https links in emails and add them to Safari's Reading List automatically.

Best practice: setup with "any recipient contains '+reading'". 
Actions "mark as read", "execute AppleScript", "delete message", "stop evaluating rules"

Created by Andreas Zeitler on 2012-10-07

using terms from application "Mail"

    set theURLs to {}

    on perform mail action with messages theMessages

            set theMessageCount to count of theMessages
            repeat with theMessageIndex from 1 to theMessageCount
                set theMessageContent to content of (item theMessageIndex of theMessages)

                -- find URLs in messages
                set cmd to "echo \"" & theMessageContent & "\" | egrep -o -e 'http[s]?://\\S+' | sed 's/[<>]//'"
                set theURLs to do shell script cmd

                -- make URLs a list
                set theURLs to paragraphs of theURLs

                -- add URLs to reading list
                my addToReadingList(theURLs)

            end repeat
        end try

    end perform mail action with messages
end using terms from

on addToReadingList(theURLs)

    -- set your preferred browser. Use "Safari" or "WebKit"
    set myBrowser to “Safari”

    using terms from application "Safari"
        tell application myBrowser
            repeat with theUrl in theURLs
                add reading list item theUrl as string
            end repeat
        end tell
    end using terms from
end addToReadingList
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Delete a podcast that won't go away on iOS device Apps
I recently tried to download an episode of a podcast on my iPhone, but the download failed. Nevertheless, the podcast was listed on my iPhone, with one episode, but trying to play that episode did nothing. There was no way to delete it. When I deleted it from within the Podcasts app, it seemed to go away, but when I deleted the Podcasts app to use the Music app for listening to Podcasts, it was still there.

I tried turning off syncing of podcasts in iTunes, syncing, then turning it back on, but it was still there. There was no obvious way to delete this "phantom" podcast.

I finally tried going into Settings > General > Usage > Music, and saw the podcast listed in the Podcasts list. A swipe to the right on its name, a tap on the Delete button, and it was finally gone.
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View hidden web passwords Web Browsers
Have you used your keychain to store your passwords? Do you wish there was an easy way to see what the password for a specific site is? Here are two different ways to accomplish this task without leaving your browser!

Both of these methods utilize the same functionality: they change the type of text box a password is entered into from a "password" box (masked with asterisks or •) to a "text" box, displaying its contents.

The first method can be done in Safari or Chrome (since they're both WebKit). Right-click or Control-click on the masked password field and select Inspect Element. Within the Inspector, you'll find the input HTML tag is highlighted. One of the attributes there will be type="password". Simply clicking on password will allow you to change it; type in text and, without closing the Inspector window, look at the password field to see your password revealed.

The second method is even easier, and does what is described above, just using Javascript. Drag the text below to your Bookmarks bar or menu. Whenever you're on a page with a password field whose text is hidden, click on it or select it to reveal the password.

[kirkmc adds: A couple of points. First, you can find your passwords in Safari 6's Passwords preferences. Check Show Passwords, and enter your user account password, and the'll all display. However, sometimes you're on a website where you have several logins, and it can be useful to see which one is getting entered by the keychain.

Second, bear in mind the security risk here. Assume you add this bookmarklet to your Safari bookmarks toolbar; anyone who comes to your computer could eventually click on it if they're on a page where your keychain has entered a password. Of course, they'd already have access to the page, if your keychain was unlocked, but them seeing the password could be more serious, if you tend to use the same password on multiple sites.]
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Copy and paste Calendar events in text form Apps
If you use Calendar (née iCal), you can copy all visible events in any view and paste them in text form into any application. For example, if you're in Day view, you can copy all your events and paste them in an e-mail to send to someone, to show them your schedule. Press Command-A to select them all, then Command-C to copy them.

The name of the event will be in bold, and the date will display like this:

scheduled October 5, 2012 from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM

Calendar will warn you if you are copying repeating events that only the currently visible event will be copied.

Unfortunately, this doesn't work with my calendar application of choice, BusyCal.

H/t ThomasWoodrowWilson on Reddit.
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How to back up an iOS device to iCloud iOS devices
Following yesterday's hint about fixing an iOS device that wouldn't launch third-party apps, I realized that it would be useful to back up my iPhone via iCloud, in case I have a problem away from home. I looked around, and saw that we don't have anything about this on the site, so I thought I'd write a brief primer.

You can turn on iCloud backups in iTunes: connect your iOS device, then, on the Summary tab, in the Backups section, click on Back Up to iCloud. However, when you sync your device, it won't back up to iCloud. The only away for this to happen is, according to Apple, when a device is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, connected to a power source, and has its screen locked. And, this only happens once a day.

However, you can force a first iCloud backup on the device by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage & Backup, then tapping on Back Up Now. (You can also turn on or off iCloud backups here; this has the same effect as the iTunes setting.)

It's worth noting exactly what gets backed up to iCloud. Apple has a technical document explaining this in detail. Note that iCloud backups don't back up content synced via iTunes: music, movies and TV shows not purchased from the iTunes store; podcasts; audiobooks; and photos synced from your Mac. However, any purchased content is backed up (technically, it's just a list of the content), and this content isn't counted against your iCloud storage quota. What will take up the most space in your iCloud backup is photos and videos on your device, so if you're tight on space, think of downloading these to your computer, or uploading them to some other storage service.
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