When the rainbow pinwheel spins over a specific application's window, but changes to a pointer or cursor or finger etc. over every other applications' windows, I figure that app has frozen. I'll usually give it a minute or two to see if it'll thaw on its own. If not, traditionally, I would get my Force Quit window open before I start clicking around on any other app's windows for fear that the freeze might spread. But recently I tried something that has also worked for me a few times since, even with entire system freezes.
However, for reasons that will become obvious in the hint, I can only recommend you try this with a MacBook, MacBook Pro, or MacBook Air. Though you may have success with desktops by inducing a similar state; I have not tried.
Simply close the computer. Wait for it to go to sleep, as indicated by the pulsing light on the front of the case. I will usually wait a bit longer (around 5min).. I find that the more desperate i am for it to work, the longer i'm willing to wait. When I open it back up the rainbow pinwheel is gone. I'll often find an alert window wanting me to confirm an error or stop some unresponsive script or something, but without having having to Force Quit anything. I've got control back, and/or I didn't lose anything except some minutes -- sometimes.
I don't expect this trick to work for every freeze, and neither should you. But it's worked for me enough times that it's worth a try every time.
[crarko adds: I remember doing this sort of thing all the way back to the PowerBook 5300, and it's always been about 50/50 with success. One thing that does happen when putting the machine to sleep is that AirPort also goes inactive, leading to the method of this hint. I might try that first before putting the machine to sleep.]
Looking to turn your holiday music off, but don't want to spend an hour clicking and scrolling through your iTunes library?
If you have an extensive collection of holiday songs in your iTunes library like I do (750 and counting) and it's time to turn the cheer off, here's an easy way to do it.
Assuming you have the songs all listed as 'Holiday,' do a search in iTunes for 'holiday.'
That will bring up only those songs. Select all of the songs found, then hold the Command button and click in the check box of any song. This will deselect ALL of them. Clear the search and you have your total library back, with Bing, Nat and the MacKenzie Brothers taking a well-earned rest. No more 'Grandma got run over by a Reindeer' till next Christmas!
[crarko adds: Simple but effective. Judicious use of playlists can accomplish the same feat.]
I've been using Word for the Mac since v1.0, so I have a lot of older documents created in early versions. At some point I discovered that Word (I forget which version) dropped support for the earliest document formats -- you could retrieve the text, but that was it. I complained to Microsoft and was basically told 'tough patooties.'
So it was a very pleasant surprise when I went to open an early document, resigned to the prospect of extracting the text (the file was so old it had even lost its type and creator codes and looked like a Unix file to the Finder; I had to choose 'Open any file' to select it) and Word opened it with all formatting, styles etc. completely intact!
Okay, so maybe this doesn't qualify as a hint, but it is sure nice to know.
[crarko adds: I don't have any ancient Word documents left to try this out with, but a hint with 'tough patooties' in it seems like the perfect way to start the new year.]
If you were one of those (as I was) who followed the hint regarding session-only cookies in Safari, then you are possibly still being prompted for your password in iTunes, at least in Lion.
I discovered, after trying every hint I could find without success, that if the user permissions for ~/Library/Cookies/ is still set to read only for the user, then you will still be prompted for your password the first time you activate iTunes after a login.
The file, ~/Library/Cookies/Cookies.binarycookies is not being created/updated.
[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. It seems clear if a user doesn't have write access to a directory in their own Library it could cause problems like this. If somebody who has used the previous hint mentioned and is still on 10.5 or 10.6 can comment on whether they are affected by this, it would be appreciated.]
When an attachment's icon is highlighted in the message section of Mail, choosing Forward creates a message with the attachment as its only content.
When I needed to send someone just the file I got by mail, I used to remove the text body of an email message by hand and add some nice text. Recently, after having opened a file I went back to Mail's main window where the attachment was still selected. I hit Command+Shift+F and the new message contained only the Subject line, a short 'start of new message' text and the attachment.
[crarko adds: It's been generally true in Mail that selected text in a message is all that would be included in a reply/forwarding of that message. This special case of that rule is perhaps worth noting, given its usefulness and the fact that not everyone may be aware of it.]
Just discovered this by accident. While in Preview.app when you when you slide three fingers down on your track pad you can get a preview of the top most recent documents opened in a Cover Flow-like menu along the bottom go the screen.
[crarko adds: This is another of those things I wasn't able to reproduce with the Magic Trackpad, so I don't now if this is the result of some setting or perhaps a third-party utility I don't have. Try and see if you can make this work, and please post your results in the comments if you do.]
One of the nice navigation features in many web-browsers is that a long click on the Forward and Backward buttons brings down a list of the next and previous sites in sequence so one could jump back two sites, for example.
It turns out that the Finder sports the same ability. A long click on the arrow buttons in the toolbar brings downs a menu with the previous and the next directories visited in that Finder window. This works in Mac OS X 10.7. I think I tried it with 10.6 as well as 10.4 before I upgraded to Lion and it did not work, but I am not sure.
[crarko adds: I did try it in 10.6 and it wasn't there.]
OS 10.7 Lion seems to have brought about a renewed interest in AppleScript User Interface Scripting. A big part of the difficulty in getting a GUI script to work is figuring out how exactly to address the controls in an applications window.
Apple's Accessibility Inspector.app, which comes with Xcode, is some help with this, but in my hands, it's always been awkward to use for figuring out what code I need to write
to click a particular check box in say, a System Preferences Pane.
Here's a bit of AppleScript I wrote years ago that delivers up easy to understand and correct lists of an application's window and menu items in a format that may easily be cut and pasted directly into Scripts.
-- Entire Contents Demo - mini
-- BP ages ago or so
-- This'll get all the controls and structures associated with an App's window and menus
-- In a form which is easily pasteable into your own scripts
-- and show them in the result pane below.
-- Copy that into a text editor and change commas to returns to get an easily readable list.
-- The script can take a long time if there are LOTS of window items, such as
-- in the "music" pane of iTunes. It may even time out if you have a huge iTunes library
-- The script'll process most App's UI structures in under a minute
set appname to "System Preferences" -------------------------- Set this to the App you want to look at
set winstuff to "defaultval"
set menustuff to "defaultval"
tell application appname
tell application "System Events"
tell process appname
set winstuff to entire contents of front window
set menustuff to entire contents of menu bar 1
--return winstuff & "rrrr" & menustuff -- comment this out to get just winstuff
return winstuff -- comment this out too to get just menustuff
Pointing the code at 'System Preferences' with the 'Desktop & Screens Saver' pane open will return, along with 128 other UI objects, this line describing the slider which controls the delay before the screen saver activates:
slider 1 of group 1 of tab group 1 of window "Desktop & Screen Saver" of application process "System Preferences" of application "System Events"
With the proper form of address in hand, it's a simple matter to construct an AppleScript that changes the delay before the screen saver is activated:
tell application "System Events"
set value of slider 1 of group 1 of tab group 1 of window "Desktop & Screen Saver" of application process "System Preferences" to 180
The script will return information on whatever application window is frontmost, be it a document window, or an obscure dialog box.
I've looked for similar code online, and it doesn't seem to be commonly available.
[crarko adds: I tested some of this out; as mentioned, be prepared to do some massaging of the data that is returned (in AppleScript Editor's Results window) to make it readable.
Note: comments indicate this also works in versions before Lion.]