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Menu item to change display modes in Mountain Lion System 10.8
If you are missing the menu bar item that lets you change the display modes in Mountain Lion, there's an app for that.

Display Menu is free from the Mac App Store, and it seems to work. I really don't understand why Apple removed the menu bar item in the first place...
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New Poll: Will You Buy an iPhone 5? Site News
Now that Apple has presented the iPhone 5, will you buy one? It's an evolution, not a revolution, and many people won't see the need to upgrade. In addition, lots of iPhone owners get subsidized phones and are stuck with contracts. What about you? Vote in the iPhone 5 poll.
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Put a digital clock in a corner of the screen with GeekTool Apps
Since Lion, I love using my always-open apps (Chrome and iTunes) in full-screen mode, but I want to know what time is it without using the mouse or keyboard. I figured out a way to do it using a widget with GeekTool.

Making the widget
Open the application and drag a new Shell element onto the desktop. Edit it in the Properties window in this way:
In the Command section, insert date + followed without spaces by one of these commands:
%R or %H:%M to have a 24h clock;
%l:%M to have a 12h clock (put " "%p after your text if you want to show am/pm).
After that, check Keep on Top and set 1 (or less frequent value) in the Refresh every X s text field.
Now you can customize all the other properties as you want, like font, color and background; I like to use it in Lucida Grande 14 pt (the same as the system digital clock in the menu bar).

Download the widget
If you want, you can download my Geeklet by right-clicking on this text and selecting "Save link as...". It has enabled a white shadow that makes it visible over dark pages without having to set a opaque light background.

[kirkmc adds: Back in the day, I used GeekTool a lot. I didn't know it was on the Mac App Store, so if only for that, it's worth looking at. It's come a long way since I last used it, with some really interesting possibilities and much easier configuration.]
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Have iPhone New Mail alert vibrate only iOS devices
Sometimes you want to be alerted when you have new e-mail, but you don't want an audible alert. Here's how you can do it.

If you take a silent audio file, when you install it as a new silent ring tone and set it for the New Mail alert, your phone will vibrate only. Since the iPhone lowers any audio currently playing, you want to make this as short as possible (.1 sec), so the audio dip will be at a minimum.

[kirkmc adds: It so happens that I have a bunch of silent MP3 files on my website, in an article about adding silence to iTunes playlists. I added a .1 second file, as well as a .1 second ringtone to the zip archive.

I set up the ringtone on my iPhone, but I wasn't able to test if it works or not. I happen to be part of the 1%; that is, the 1% of people whose iCloud e-mail has been down for more than 24 hours, and none of my other accounts work with push e-email.]
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See Cover Flow framerate System
I stumbled on this useless but curious "defaults write" trick for the Finder that displays the frame rate when you flip through files in Cover Flow. I've only tested it in Mountain Lion.

The following will show the cover flow frame rate (as frames per second) within the Finder alongside each filename when flipping through files. On my system I get around 58 FPS consistently; try and beat that! I'm interested to see how retina MacBook Pros do, and, as such, this could be a useful if non-scientific benchmarking trick:

defaults write IKImageFlowShowFrameRate 1;killall Finder

To get rid of it:

defaults delete IKImageFlowShowFrameRate;killall Finder

[kirkmc adds: I, too, get 58 fps on my Mac mini, the same on my retina MacBook Pro. (Actually, it looks like it peaks at 58.87.) This suggests that there's something in the system that is limiting it, or that it simply can't go any faster.

I'll agree with the terms "useless but curious," but I'm sure someone will find something interesting to do with it.]
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Create Outlook-like reminders for Mail System 10.8
I wanted Mail to remind me to follow up on a given e-mail, as Outlook does. I realized that Reminders and Mail can do just that.

If you want to set a reminder to follow up on an e-mail, just open Reminders, and without even switching back to Mail, drag the e-mail you want to be reminded about to Reminders. It will create a new task with a link to your specific e-mail. You may add an alert, and you will never forget to follow up on an email again.

[kirkmc adds: This isn't very different from this hint, but it puts it in a different context. I hadn't used Outlook in ages, but its Follow Up menu item (in a contextual menu when you right-click on an e-mail) is very practical.

I'm still amazed that there is no direct link between Mail, Reminders and Calendar. This hint seems a good way to connect them, though it requires several steps. In Outlook, you have a number of default follow up times, whereas here you need to set the date and/or time of the reminder manually. Note to automator experts: I tried to create a workflow that would do this, but it wouldn't let me set a time. Feel free to try and build something useful.]
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Color a message background in Mail Apps
Although it's handy to be able to flag an important e-mail message in Mail, there is a more eye-catching method. Click to select a message, then open the Colors window by pressing Command-Shift-C. Choose your preferred color, and it will be applied to the message's background in your inbox or in a folder.

[kirkmc adds: Interesting; I see this hasn't been hinted before. In Lion, you have to actually drag the color from the top section of the window - that shows the selected color in a rectangle - onto a message. In Mountain Lion, just click on a color.

This sets the color of the background of a message; if there were a way to set the color of the text of a message, that would be interesting. I use the latter in a number of Mail rules to make specific senders and accounts stand out, and you can set the background color of messages in rules as well.]
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Fixe Camino 2.1 for compatibility with web sites Web Browsers
If you use Camino 2.1.2, you'll see warnings about it being an "out of date" browser or that there are incompatibilities with code, even though it uses a recent version of the Firefox Gecko engine. GMail notably displays these warnings. This fix solves the problem without "spoofing" the user agent to look totally like Safari or Firefox.

We want websites to know that we use Camino so they'll continue to support it. There's a simple change that will let you keep "Camino" as the user agent while enhancing compatibility.

  1. In the Camino address bar, type "about:config". If necessary, click OK to be allowed to edit the settings.
  2. In the search bar at the top of the settings list, type "user". This will shorten the list.
  3. Double-click the setting called "general.useragent.extra.notfox". At this point, it probably has the value "(like Firefox/3.6.28)"
  4. Edit that value, changing it to say "(like Firefox/13.0)"
  5. Save, quit and restart Camino.
On my machine, this changed only the last part of the browser's agent string, from:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.7; en; rv: Gecko/20120308 Camino/2.1.2 (like Firefox/3.6.28)


Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; U; Intel Mac OS X 10.7; en; rv: Gecko/20120308 Camino/2.1.2 (like Firefox/13.0)

This fixed our problems with GMail and Blogspot.

This works because Camino 2.1.2 truly has the same core version of the Gecko web browser engine as Firefox 13.0. And Firefox 13 is modern enough for nearly every site on the Internet today, while Firefox 3.6.28 looks ancient.

Hopefully the maintainers of Camino will address this soon. But if you're having trouble with Camino, try this fix before switching to Safari or Firefox.

[kirkmc adds: I didn't test this; I don't use Camino.]
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Share iTunes library with remote iOS device via VPN Apps
In Mac OS X 10.7, installing the Server app, enabling the VPN service, and connecting remotely with an iOS device using VPN did not provide Bonjour discovery of any home shared iTunes libraries.

A number of Bonjour redirector apps were available but none of them worked for me. So, I could not watch the movies in my home iTunes library while away from home.

Now, in Mac OS X 10.8, everything "just works." I did a fresh install of Mac OS X 10.8, installed the Server app, setup the VPN service, added my movies (stored on a Time Capsule) to iTunes (without copying the movies to the server; no need to duplicate what's already in Time Capsule), and enabled home sharing. When I connect to the server from my iPad (using a VPN connection) the native iOS "Videos" app shows my home library and I can play my movies from anywhere. It's nice to be able to play any of my movies when I'm at school or work.

My ISP only gives me a 50 Kbps upload speed, so movies play for a while, then stop, hit play and they play for another bit, then stop again. I can see this working well with maybe as little as 100 Kbps.

[kirkmc adds: I haven't tested this. Though 100 kbps isn't enough for HD movies. It's hard to know exactly how much bandwidth is needed. When I stream to my my Apple TV, it uses over 3 MBps, but that's because it's getting as much data as it can to buffer a movie.]
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Calm that bouncing dock icon System 10.8
Are you tired of apps bouncing Dock icons for attention? I've noticed that, with Aperture and Word 2011 in 10.8, if an icon bounces in the Dock for attention, and you want it to stop but don't want to switch to the program, you can just hover your mouse over the app icon in the dock. The bouncing stops.

[kirkmc adds: It was hard for me to get an app to bounce a Dock icon to test this, but I was able to do so with Word, and it works as described. I have to say that I don't see many bouncing Dock icons any more, perhaps because of Notification Center.]
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