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Option-click Airport menu to launch Wi-Fi Diagnostics Network
A hint last year mentioned Wi-Fi Diagnostics, an application hidden in /System/Library/CoreServices. It turns out that you can also access this by Option-clicking the AirPort menu in your menubar and choosing Open Wi-Fi Diagnostics.

[kirkmc adds: This was available under Lion, but wasn't in the original hint, so it's worth posting.]
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Create custom keybindings System
If you'd like to easily type some non-standard glyphs, adding a custom keybinding might prove useful.

The keybindings file is located in ~/Library/KeyBindings/ (You will probably have to make this directory and then add a file named "DefaultKeyBinding.dict".]).

The syntax for these keybindings are:
"[keycombination]" = ("insertText:", "\[unicodenumber or actual character]");
"~*" = ("insertText:", "\U0215"); /* the times-symbol "" */
In this "Keycombination" field:
@ = cmd key
$ = shift key
~ = option key
^ = ctrl key
# = keys on number pad

More on the keybinding syntax at

[kirkmc adds: We've also got a 2006 hint that goes into some detail about similar keybindings.]
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New poll: Which is your preferred ebook reader? Site News
With Amazon due to present new Kindles today, I thought it would be an interesting poll topic to discuss which ebook reader you prefer (assuming you use one).

You may have more than one - I have a Kindle Touch and an iPad. (I also have an iPhone and iPod touch, but don't consider them practical for reading books.) But which one do you use most? Which do you really prefer?

For me, I like the Kindle Touch because it's a lot lighter than the iPad. However, the lack of a backlight is limiting, so I do use my iPad from time to time. And for this reason, an iPad mini or iPad air would suit me quite well for reading.

Vote in the poll. And feel free to post any comments here or on the poll page.
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Disable Go to Folder in Finder's Go menu System
You may be familiar with the Go > Go to Folder menu item in the Finder. You can use this to go directly to any folder in your Mac's file system. But on some Macs, you may not want users to be able to access that menu item. For example, Macs in public places - such as schools or libraries - or Macs that your kids use. OS X Daily recently posted a method for hiding this menu item. Run the following command in Terminal:
defaults write ProhibitGoToFolder -bool true ; killall Finder
Not only will the menu item be gone, but the Command-Shift-G shortcut that brings up the Go to Folder dialog will no longer work.

Want to get it back? Just run this command:
defaults write ProhibitGoToFolder -bool false ; killall Finder
Note that this command does not prevent access to the user's Library folder; if you press the Option key while displaying the Go menu, you'll see Library show up as an option, between Home and Computer.
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Quickly eject all disks from the command line UNIX
Instead of using the following to eject all disks:
osascript -e 'tell "Finder" to eject (every disk)' 
I've found that this is much faster:
find /Volumes -maxdepth 1 -not -user root -print0 | xargs -0 diskutil eject 
Run this command from Terminal, or in a shell script, to eject all your local disks.

To eject network volumes, this code works:
find /Volumes -maxdepth 1 -not -user root -print0 | xargs -0 umount 
[kirkmc adds: The problem with this hint is that each line of code works for different types of volumes. If you have both local and network volumes, you need to use both; you could, of course, stick them together with a semi-colon separating them so they are, in effect, a single command.. In my tests, it's not really faster than the osascript code above, but I'm posting it because some may find it useful. If you have different results in speed or efficacy, please post in the comments.]
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Display Notification Center Alerts from command line and AppleScripts System 10.8
Using the Automator action from this recent hint, it is easy to post notifications from AppleScripts or the command line.

To set this up, simply do the following:
  1. Download and install the action.
  2. Create a new workflow in Automator containing only the Display Notification Center Alert action.
  3. In the variables section at the bottom of the workflow construction area in Automator's window, create three variables named title, subtitle, and message.
  4. Give message a default value like "Notification sent." You can leave the default values other two blank.
  5. Drag each variable to its corresponding field in the Display Notification Center Alert action.
  6. Save the workflow as Display Notification.wflow. A good place to save it is in ~/Library/Workflows (create the folder if necessary).

Now you can display a notification from the command line using the following command:
automator -D title='Title text' -D subtitle='Subtitle text' -D message='Message text' ~/Library/Workflows/'Display Notification.wflow'

To display notifications from AppleScripts, paste the following handler into your script, and call it using the form notify("Notification title", "Notification subtitle", "Notification message")

on notify(title, subtitle, message)
	if title as text is not "" then set title to " -D title=" & quoted form of (title as text)
	if subtitle as text is not "" then set subtitle to " -D subtitle=" & quoted form of (subtitle as text)
	if message as text is not "" then set message to " -D message=" & quoted form of (message as text)
	do shell script "automator" & title & subtitle & message & " ~/Library/Workflows/Display Notification.wflow"
end notify
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Force Word and other apps to use retina display for text Apps
I found this hint on Reddit. This might interest anyone using a Retina MacBook Pro.

What you need to do is add a key to Word's Info.plist file. After you've made a backup of Word, right-click on its icon and choose Show Package Contents. Open Info.plist with a text editor, and add the following to the end of the file, just before the ≪/dict> line:
Save the file. When you launch Word, OS X will attempt to run the app at Retina resolution, but since it won't find any Retina graphics only Retina fonts will be substituted.

Getting this to work is a bit tricky, and causes some glitches (at least in Word), but it's worth checking out. I think it's interesting that a plist entry in the Info.plist tells the OS whether an app supports Retina or not.

See the original post on Reddit: Force Word to use Retina Display for Text! This might also work on other programs. Click through from there to see a page with screen shots explaining the entire procedure.
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Display Notification Center Alerts with Automator System 10.8
It would be great if you could be alerted in Notification Center when your Automator workflow is done. Here is an Automator action I created for displaying notification center alerts. It can be set to display a title, subtitle, and message. See the website linked above for screenshots.
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Use Sopcast with external video player Apps
Finally, popular P2P streaming player Sopcast is available for OS X. Some may prefer using an external video player like MplayerX or VLC instead of the embedded mplayer; here's how you can do that.

The Sopcast OS X application is basically a package of the streaming server (sp-sc-auth) and a video player (mplayer) together with a simple GUI. The mplayer part is a very basic instance without keyboard shortcuts, so some functions like setting aspect ratio are missing. One may prefer to use the full MPlayerX application or VLC as the video player. Using Terminal it's possible, the only drawback is the missing convenience of clicking on sopcast: links in browsers. The link should be copied into a terminal command:
$ /Applications/ sop:// 3908 8902 > /dev/null
sop:// is the sopcast: link from browsers, xxxxx will be a Sopcast channel number. When the stream is working (Mbits of upload and download traffic), start MPlayerX or VLC and open the URL:
Sometimes for some reason the video players can't pick up the video stream, they need to be restarted. To stop the streaming server, press Ctrl-C in Terminal.

[kirkmc adds: I didn't test this. I had never heard of Sopcast before either.]
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Listen to podcasts on Mac at faster or slower speed Apps
Following a discussion on Twitter a few weeks ago, Jeff Porten shared with me an AppleScript he uses to listen to podcasts on his Mac at faster or slower speed. The script lets you choose a playlist, then choose whether you want to listen at 75% or 150% of the normal speed. It then opens the podcasts in QuickTime Player and plays them.

It's a nifty script, and if you like to speed up podcasts on your Mac, as you may do on an iOS device, this makes it easier to do so. It's a bit more sophisticated than the script in this hint from 2006, as it can keep going through a playlist.
iTunes FastPodcast 1.2, by Jeff Porten

Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0)

tell application "iTunes"
	set setupNeeded to false
	--fetch prior selected playlist name and playback rate
		set targetPlaylistName to do shell script "defaults read com.jeffporten.fastpodcast SelectedPlaylist"
		set playbackRate to do shell script "defaults read com.jeffporten.fastpodcast PlaybackRate"
	on error -- probably first run of script
		set setupNeeded to true
	end try
	if setupNeeded is false then -- confirm using last settings
		set userReply to button returned of (display dialog "Play playlist \"" & targetPlaylistName & "\" at " & playbackRate & " speed?" buttons {"Cancel", "Change...", "OK"} default button "OK")
		if userReply is "Change..." then set setupNeeded to true
	end if
	if setupNeeded is true then -- set up new settings
		set listPlaylists to the name of every playlist
		set targetPlaylistName to (choose from list listPlaylists with prompt "Which playlist to play?" without multiple selections allowed and empty selection allowed) as text
		set selectedSpeed to button returned of (display dialog "Playback rate to use?" & return & return & "(X and 2X correspond to iPod playback speeds, actually 75% and 150%)" buttons {"Custom", "X", "2X"})
		if selectedSpeed is "2X" then
			set playbackRate to 1.5
		else if selectedSpeed is "X" then
			set playbackRate to 0.75
			set playbackRate to text returned of (display dialog "Enter a playback speed. (1.0 is normal speed, 2.0 is true double-speed, 0.5 is true half-speed.)" default answer "1.0")
		end if
	end if
	--store settings in a non-AppleScripty way
	do shell script "defaults write com.jeffporten.fastpodcast SelectedPlaylist " & (quoted form of targetPlaylistName)
	do shell script "defaults write com.jeffporten.fastpodcast PlaybackRate " & (quoted form of (playbackRate as text))
	--actually do the playback in QuickTime Player
	set targetPlaylist to playlist targetPlaylistName
	set trackList to tracks of targetPlaylist
	repeat with i from 1 to count trackList
		set thisTrack to item i of trackList
		set podcastName to album of thisTrack
		set thisLoc to location of thisTrack
		set thisDuration to duration of thisTrack
		tell application "QuickTime Player"
			open thisLoc
			play document 1
			set rate of document 1 to playbackRate
			--if some podcasts should never be rate-altered, delete last line and use this instead
			--if (podcastName does not contain "Onion") then set rate of document 1 to 1.5
			--or for multiple podcasts, add as many of these as you like before "then set rate":
			--and (podcastName does not contain "someOtherPodcast") 
			set nextTrack to false
			set j to 0
			--if the QTP player is manually ended by dragging the slider to the end, automatically starts next podcast
			--if QTP player is closed, script errors out of existence
			--otherwise, when playback is finished, script will close the QuickTime Player document and open the next track in the playlist
			repeat until nextTrack is true
				delay 2
				if current time of document 1 ≥ duration of document 1 then set nextTrack to true
			end repeat
			close document 1
		end tell
		--mark the track as played
		set played count of thisTrack to (played count of thisTrack) + 1
		--I use this AppleScript line to set the rating of the podcast track to one star, which I delete later from a smart playlist
		--set rating of thisTrack to 20
	end repeat
end tell
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