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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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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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