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Getting Java client apps to run the way you want Apps
I sometimes find the Java setup on my various Apple devices to be a mystery.

Recently, I was trying to get a Java applet to run in the same way on 2 iMacs and my MacBook Air. The applet is a simple vpn client from Juniper that lets me access a Citrix Desktop from any Mac that I can install the Citrix receiver client on so I can work on 'Company stuff' from a large screen iMac when I'm sat at home or from my MacBook when I'm on the road (it works fine over 3/4G).

The first thing is that you have to do some configuring of both Java and Safari to get the applet to run at all.

Once that was all done, I could log in from all my Macs, fire up the applet and establish a secure connection.

On two of the Macs, as soon as I fired up the Citrix app, the Java vpn window would show 'error'. The console showed a Java crash. But on the third Mac, everything worked fine. I made sure that the Safari and Java preferences were set the same on each machine but still no joy. Then I remembered that I had done some Java development in the past and installed various jdks from Oracle so I ran:
java -version 

in Terminal on each machine. I keep everything up to date via the Java control panel (currently 1.7xx soon to be 1.8) so was surprised to see this:
java version "1.6.0_65" 

That was on the working Mac. Then I remembered the difference between 'System' Java, Java plugins, and Java development kits. Simply put, you can have multiple versions of Java in different places. What was happening on the not-working Macs was that the jdk versions were being used, and the Juniper vpn client won't work with them.

To fix things for the moment I simply removed the jdk folders.
sudo rm -fr /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/* 

And then checked that the reported version of Java was 1.6 on each Mac. Web applets still use the up to date, secure version 1.7 plugin.

[crarko adds: I believe Oracle has said that eventually Java will no longer support applets at all, on any platform.]
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10.8: Open a specific browser based on the URL Apps
Usually I want to open Gmail in Chrome and URLs pointing to my development server in Firefox. For everything else I use Safari.

There is this nifty free app called LinCastor that enables you to register your own handler for an URL. Although it had beed designed to register your own non-standard URL schemes, it can intercept standard http and https as well.

In LinCastor (which you need to double-click twice to fully open for editing):
  • Add a new URL scheme
  • Choose AppleScript handler
Paste the following code in, (replacing the stub code at the bottom):
on handle_url(args)
  if (|URL| of args starts with "https://mail.google.") then
    tell application "Google Chrome"
      open location |URL| of args
    end tell
  else if (|URL| of args starts with "http://") then
    tell application "Firefox"
      open location |URL| of args
    end tell
  else
    tell application "Safari"
      open location |URL| of args
    end tell
        end
       return 1
end
Obviously you should customize the code to suite your own specific needs. You can validate the script right in LinCastor before saving/activating it. I use the same mechanism to launch 'site specific browsers apps' created by Fluid. For example I have a JIRA app wrapper which looks for anything staring with http://issues.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. LinCastor requires OS X 10.8 or later. I tried it in 10.10 beta 2, and it also worked there. There's not much documentation for it, so tinker around a bit to get the result you want.]
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Mousecape – Customize Cursors on OS X Apps
Mousecape is a new open source Mac App which is available on GitHub to finally allow you to create and use your own mouse cursors, or 'capes' as the app calls them.

Once you download the app, there is a remastered version of the Svanslös cursor set created by Max Rudberg which is retina-screen ready.

Mousecape is as non-instrusive as possible, never asking you for your password for anything. It works by using private APIs created by Apple to register system cursors so it has no performance hit at all.

Capes, or cursor sets, are applied for as long as display state doesn't change, meaning until you change resolution, monitors, sleep your computer, reboot or logout. However, inside of the application is a helper application that will detect when the cape is reset and will apply it again.

Mousecape is available for free, open source and with no obligations. Users can create and share their own capes that are animated and bring new flair to the operating system.

[crarko adds: For 10.8+, including Yosemite.]
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Make iWork 09 the default and avoid update nagging Apps
Many people continue to use iWork 09 apps, because they contain features missing in the newer versions. However, having the older apps on your system mean a constant nagging from Apple to update to the newer versions. If you do download the newer versions, then it is impossible to make the older apps the default for your documents. The old Get Info » Change All trick doesn't work.

Here's what to do to remedy that.

First, make a backup. Then install the latest iWork apps. Your older versions get moved to a subfolder called iWork 09. That's why you have the backup.

Next, move the NEW apps to an external disk or other partition. You can then restore the 09 apps to the /Applications folder. Or leave them in the subfolder if you prefer.

Having the apps on different volume from the system disk lowers their priority, so the 09 apps in your /Applications folder remain the defaults for your documents. What is more, any further updates will update the newer versions on your external drive, leaving your 09 apps untouched.

[crarko adds: I rather wish I had done something like this before updating. Maybe rolling back tp the 09 suite from Time Machine and then following this procedure will work.]
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Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently Apps
I've become somewhat obsessed with the faces feature in iPhoto. Currently, I have about 7000 unidentified faces in my library. I knock out a few hundred here and there. It's oddly satisfying, but I go to a lot of large events - events where a lot of people look familiar because they are regulars, but I don't know them. This makes finding faces rather cumbersome, especially since the method of ignoring faces requires the mouse. Everything else can be done with the keyboard. Plus, doesn't track repeatedly ignored faces, so the same faces keep showing up. Well, I've discovered a way to work around these cumbersome limitations.

Doing everything with the keyboard makes things go a lot faster. If you're using the Find Faces feature and skip faces you don't know (because you don't want to pause to use the mouse), the next time you click on Find Faces, you'll be presented with those same unknown faces over and over again. They build up and always get presented in the same order, so you end up spending a lot of time skipping them before you get to new faces.

To avoid this, just name all these unknown faces 'Unknown' (or some other word with an uncommon starting letter). Then all you have to do to ignore a face (once you've tabbed to it) is type a 'u.' After you've labeled a bunch, open the 'Unknown' face album and bulk-confirm all the unwanted faces. Now the next time you use Find Faces, you'll get right to the new faces.

A few other time-saving tips:

You can create a smart album containing unnamed faces, open the album and hit the info button, then start tabbing and naming. The photos with unnamed faces will disappear as you update them. This allows you to have a good idea of your progress.

Not naming a face when the person's name is on the tip of your tongue, can make them rather hard to return to when their name pops into your head. I find it useful to name them something like '?Alan's Wife' or some other memorable note. All such names will be at the top of your Faces album listing (because of the question mark), and you can change the name of all occurrences simply by renaming the album.

Let auto-complete do most of the work. Most times, the first few letters are all you have to type before iPhoto fills in the rest of the name. Note, iPhoto uses Facebook, your contacts, and your previously named faces for auto-fill, but it skips contacts' middle names and does not include nicknames.

When confirming faces, if you come across a different face that you know, you can right/control-click and name it. Plus, sometimes all it takes to remember a name is the context of the photo, but the Find Faces feature does not let you zoom-out to see the whole image. Yet, when confirming faces, you can unzoom/zoom with the switch at the top-right of the window. I find that the confirm-faces interface is a faster way to find new faces than the Find Faces feature and I was methodically going through each face album to find new faces this way before I discovered the smart album trick mentioned above.

[crarko adds: Faces is not a feature I use very much, but this might get me to start. By the way, sorry about the slow July. I've been on vacation a bit, and the hint queue is pretty bare at the moment. I'll be putting up a couple of polls related to Yosemite as we await the public beta. Things will probably remain slow until that release.]
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10.9: Terminal text shortcuts still work in Safari Apps
I should have stumbled on this one years ago but I have just realised typing in Safari's address bar and unconsciously doing Ctrl+a to go to the start of my query, that it works.

We recall these life saving Unix text editing shortcuts:
  • 'Ctrl+a' : go to start of the line
  • 'Ctrl+e' : go to the eol
  • 'Ctrl+k' : delete all chars to the right of the cursor
I have tested those with success in various standard Dialog Boxes, TextEdit windows andin Safari's address bar; it seems to be a relatively system wide standard. Of course no luck with MS apps, they use their non-standard Alt+arrows (when most other Mac apps use the widely known Ctrl+arrows).

First my sincerest apologies to all those who knew and if there ever was a similar hint since 2003 in the DB. [crarko adds: At the time this hint was originally submitted the site's search function was not working.]

Ever watchful of posting etiquette, I did Google to make sure I was on to something greater than being ridiculed. Alas, after some efforts, I did find a full reference elsewhere. Still I post this stale and quasi 'hint', feigning to take comfort I may help some (one or two ?) and trying to find pitiful schadenfreude at the same time.

[crarko adds: Cute. There are plenty of older versions of this notion, this being a handy one. Now that the site's search feature is back up I'm sure there are others. Nevertheless, there are enough Mac users around who are new since 2001 that a little refresher isn't all bad.]
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Bypass Chromes SSL/certificate blockades Apps
There's something with Chrome (and Firefox as well) that has driven me crazy for some years: when browsing the web via a proxy server while at work I can't access some pages via the HTTPS-protocol.

Chrome and Firefox are showing error messages like this one and this one (sorry, both are in German). Safari just shows a blank page and I'm not able to open that specific web site although I'm sure that this site is not going to harm my computer or myself. For example this problem appears when I try to access my router at home or some other sites having problematic certificates - but they play fine when I'm at home.

Finally I found a solution for the problem.

Unfortunately there's neither a visible setting to set Chrome to warn me but allow the warning to be ignored, nor is that one in about:flags. But you can start Chrome with the flag --ignore-certificate-errors. That's not very comfortable but it works (last tested with Chrome 34).

Assuming Google Chrome is in your Applications folder, go to the Terminal and type following command:

/Applications/Google Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google Chrome --ignore-certificate-errors &> /dev/null

That will open Chrome as usual but lets you browse any HTTPS site that has a problematic certificate and was blocked before.

I wouldn't do online banking this way; there I would be encouraged when Chrome tells me that there's something wrong with the site.

Maybe not many people will need this hint. I guess this problems only exist in rare circumstances with some proxy servers between your computer and the Internet.

[crarko adds: Yes, this probably is a rare case, although I've seen a lot of weird behavior out of Chrome lately. At first glance this sounded like a firewall/proxy config where the submitter worked, but that must not be where the proxy server is. I assume this only works for the specific session you launch using the command, but I'd make sure before using it. I don't use a proxy so I could not properly test this.]
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Add Multiple URLs to a Calendar Event Apps
I frequently want to add multiple URLs to Calendar events. Of course, you can put them in the Notes section, but given that there's a URL field, it seems a little kludgey. This solution is kludgey too, but perhaps a bit less so.

Drag the additional link(s) to the Finder to create a .webloc file; then drag that file to the attachment field for the event.

You can double-click the file to open the link, which is better than the link being non-clickable in the Notes field, where you would have to highlight and right-click (Control+click). The URL won't appear in the body of an email when you send an event to someone, but it will be in the attached .ics file.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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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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