When syncing photos to my iPhone using iTunes, I've long been frustrated by the order in which the list of photo Events was sorted.
Quite by accident, I discovered that the sort order is set from within iPhoto, with a twist.
If you open iPhoto and select Events, then change the sort order using the View menu, the order will also change in iTunes, but - and this is the actual hint I guess - you have to quit and restart iTunes to see the differently-ordered list. (Not really up to Apple's usual standards of transparent useability!)
[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described.]
As I've been adding photos to iPhoto '11 (9.1.3), it's been getting slower and slower. On Friday, it ground just about to a complete halt, such that even force quitting took about 20 minutes to accomplish.
According to Activity Monitor, there was no CPU activity and no network activity to speak of, which stumped me because I was assuming it was Faces or Spotlight laboring mightily away in the background.
After many trials and errors, I determined that the problem was due to my entries in the Accounts preference. I had MobileMe (times two), Facebook, Flickr, and six other e-mail accounts registered there. About a minute after each launch, iPhoto had been attempting unsuccessfully to connect with at least one of the accounts, which brought iPhoto, Finder, and any other open programs to a screeching halt.
As luck would have it, I was one of the lucky ones hit with MobileMe's latest outage, but after I deleted all the Accounts preference entries, iPhoto sprang back to life.
I subsequently determined that it is normal behavior for iPhoto to attempt indefinitely to connect to services listed in the Accounts preference, with no time-out or notification to the user about what is going on.
If you find yourself in this predicament -- iPhoto open but utterly unresponsive -- you may be able to shorten the time it takes your Mac to return control to you by severing all network connections (Ethernet, Airport, etc.), at which point iPhoto is supposed to detect the lack thereof and stop trying to connect.
[crarko adds: I have not experienced the issue, so I can't test that this fixes it. Sure sounds worth trying if you do, though.]
Dropbox has become my favorite method of syncing files. The one thing I don't really like about it is how it handles the times when multiple computers report new versions of a file. Dropbox decides to keep both, and adds the words Conflicted Copy and some other info to the filename of the one it's not sure about. I got tired of regularly having to manually hunt for such files, so I wrote a script to do it for me.
This AppleScript uses the find command to find the affected files. It opens Finder windows with each file selected so they're easy to find and deal with. I hope this script is as useful to you as it has been to me.
Paste this into AppleScript Editor and save it as an Application. Run it whenever you want to find conflicted copies.
set conflictedFiles to do shell script "cd ~/Dropbox; find -L . \\( -path \"*.dropbox*\" -prune \\) -o \\( -name \"*conflicted*\" -print \\)"
set fileList to paragraphs of conflictedFiles as list
repeat with currFile in fileList
set currPath to (path to home folder as string) & "Dropbox" & POSIX file (characters 3 thru -1 of (currFile as string) as string)
tell application "Finder" to make new Finder window to currPath
Note: I've tried a few different versions of the shell script, but this is the one that's been the fastest for me. If you tweak this script and it runs faster, please post in the comments! I'm always eager to see my scripts made better.
[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described, as far as I can see.]
I just encountered a bug at one of my clients' place that looks a whole lot like a really super-old bug (like from the time when megabytes of RAM made a big difference in price).
The bug, in itself, is insignificant: the first version of MS Office for the Mac had a limit on the number of documents it could handle without quitting, but the problem was that each save counted as a new document, so Office apps would lock up pretty quick.
The same thing seems to be happening now with the newest version of everything involved.
The hint to get rid of the MS Office apps no longer saving is to quit them often, then re-launch as needed. Yes, it's a bit simple-minded, but sometimes that's what you need to do.
And now I'm writing you with a request:
With MacFixIt now gone as an effective service for me, there is no longer a communal memory of these quirks and hiccups.
I think this site need a new side-line in which you discuss common bugs (rather than hints--which, generally being solutions, are at the other end of the spectrum).
Well, that was just a thought from a really really old timer (once hinter) and just a great fan!
[crarko adds: Actually, we already have such an area, the MacOSXHints forums. Are people here generally aware of these? I'll take advantage of the opportunity to put in a plug for them, as they serve the requested function quite well, I think. And it's a more appropriate venue to work on problem solving than here. I urge people who have questions to sign up and post them there. Note that the user databases are separate, so a separate registration is required.]
While recent versions of the MacBook Air ship without Adobe Flash installed, the idea of voluntarily removing Flash from /Library/Internet Plug-Ins got some attention when John Gruber wrote about his technique. Put simply, Gruber removed Flash from its default location, thus trying to force sites to load HTML5 versions of content. For instances when that didn't suffice, he would load the page in Google Chrome, a browser which has the Flash plug-in embedded within it. His add-on trick is to enable the Develop menu in Safari and use System Preferences » Keyboard to map a shortcut for taking a page in Safari and opening it in Chrome.
The underlying logic of such an approach is generally twofold. For one, it helps site developers get a sense of how many folks are viewing pages using Flash-free systems, thus possibly encouraging them to publish content that doesn't rely on Flash. Two, and much more pragmatically, it reduces the system load since Flash on the Mac is known to regularly use a large percentage of the CPU, sometimes even after the user has closed the window (or tab) where Flash content was viewed.
Should anyone pursue a route like this, Google Chrome is obviously an option for when content is only available using Flash. I tried that for a while, but for subjective reasons I didn't much like Chrome, mostly because of its lack of support for system-level features (e.g., the built-in pop-up dictionary), large footprint, and auto-updating behavior. So I went hunting for alternatives. Here's what I've found that works:
InDesign CS4: Perhaps earlier versions have it, too, but this version of InDesign has a Flash-embedded version of Opera embedded within it (I recall it was version 9.x of Opera). I can't speak to the current version of InDesign, now at 5.5, but standalone version 5 does not have Opera. Perhaps it's only installed when a full Creative Suite installation is performed.
OmniWeb (currently v. 5.10.3): Right clicking on this application and choosing Show Package Contents will reveal a PlugIns folder. Simply move or copy the Flash plug-in here (even the one embedded in Chrome) and this browser will handle Flash content.
iCab (currently v. 4.8): This is my personal preference. It has the leanest footprint of the options I've found, and it easily imports (or just uses) things like Bookmarks, History and Cookies from Safari. While it doesn't have a Plugins folder embedded within it, simply creating one called PlugIns with a copy of the Flash plug-in will work.
Perhaps there are other browsers which can be used, but my tests with SeaMonkey, Camino, Firefox, Shiira, Sunrise, and the current Opera (v 11.10) were not successful.
[crarko adds: I tested this on a few of the mentioned browsers, and it works as described.]
One of my biggest pet peeves on my Mac has always been that GeekTool doesn't have the option for anti-aliased fonts. After searching around, I found countless complaints about this on a bunch of web sites and forums, but not any solutions that actually worked.
After a little OS X font research, I found that shadows force anti-aliasing, regardless of the application. This method allows you to reap the benefits of anti-aliasing without having to see a shadow next to all your widgets.
To turn on anti-aliasing in GeekTool widgets, go to the font preferences for the widget and, if you can't see it already, resize the font window so that you can see the shadow sliders. Click the shadow button (the button right before the sliders) and then set the opacity to as close to 0 as it will go, but not 0. Just a pixel above. Then set the other two sliders to 0. This will cause Mac OS X to force antialiasing on your widgets, even though GeekTool doesn't support it out of the box.
[crarko adds: I tried this with GeekTool 3.0, and as far as I could tell it only applied to the 'Image' type Geeklet.]
Changing the default for bulleted lists in Word is neither intuitive nor obvious.
I use Word 2008 as my main text editor. Somewhere along the way, the default style for the bulleted list that arises when you click the bullet icon in the toolbar got completely mangled. The first line was indented a full inch, while subsequent lines in the bullet point were indented an inch and a half. Ugly. I finally figured out the process for changing the default bullet format and I'm sharing in case anybody else has the same issue. I'm assuming similar steps would apply in Word 2004 and 2011, but I don't have them and don't know.
In a new, blank document, Choose 'Bullets and Numbering' from the Format menu
Click on the first option under the 'Bulleted' tab and click the 'Customize' button
Choose the options you want for type of bullet, font, indent, etc. (I use Bullet position of 'indent at .25' and text position of 'indent at 0.38,' but you may prefer different options)
In order to ensure that these options apply in any new document you create, you must add the Bulleted List style to your Normal template.
Choose Format » Style... and click the 'Organizer' button.
On the left of the Organizer window, choose 'List Paragraph' and then click the 'Copy' button to copy to Normal.dotm
Now every document you open should have the default bulleted list style you prefer. You can also create a regular old style for your preferred bullet style to apply whenever you want, but I prefer to be able to just click the 'bullet' button and keep writing.
My insurance company requires me to fill in claim forms in a .pdf form, but won't let me save it once it's filled in (it is password protected). After using virtual printers, utilities, etc. I have found an easier way to bypass the password and save the .pdf (and thus the drudgery of filling in the same info every time I make a claim). Just mail it!
When Preview doesn't allow you to save a file, nor 'Save as PDF' (nor open in Preview) from the print dialog, you can still use 'Mail Selected PDF Document' from the File menu.
Mail will then open a new message with the unprotected document as an attachment. The unprotected document is buried deep inside the private/var folder but can simply be opened in Preview by clicking on it in the mail message and then saved (unprotected) wherever you like.
[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. This strikes me as a bug.]
The built-in Stickies dashboard widget lets you use a few Apple-selected fonts, but the selection doesn't have very many options. I wanted a way to add other fonts to the Stickies widget. By adding two lines to the code that supports the widget, you can add any font on your computer.
The first step is to make a copy of the widget so you're not working on the original. Go to /Library/Widgets and find Stickies. Copy it and paste it into ~/Library/Widgets and name it something else, like StickiesWithFonts.
Close the Stickies widget in your Dashboard; you won't be needing that version anymore.
Next, we begin modifying the code. You'll need a good text editor like TextWrangler or Fraise (both free).
Find the line that goes var fontArray = new Array; (it should be around line 407).
Below it are a few other lines that are similar to each other. They follow the form of fontArray["font name"] = 0;.
Copy the last line of this type (probably American Typewriter) and paste it below itself.
Now, change the line you pasted to this: fontArray["font name"] = 8;.
For the font name, type in the name of the font you want to add. Make the number at the end of the line one more than the line above it.
Save this file and close it.
Now, back in the Package Contents window, open Stickies.html in your editor. This is the second (and final) document we need to modify, in this one, the HTML code.
To start, find the line that goes
<select id='font-popup' class='popup' onchange='fontchanged(this);'> (should be around line 40).
Below, you'll find a few lines that are similar to each other. Each one begins with<option value.
As with the previous file, copy the last line and paste it below itself. Change the line say <option value='font name'>Font Name</option> where font name is the name of the font you added earlier.
Now, restart Dashboard by opening Terminal and typing killall Dock.
Now you're ready to install the new widget you made. Double click on your StickiesWithFonts in ~/Library/Widgets. It will open in Dashboard.
Choose a font how you normally would, and you'll notice your new font in the popup menu. Select it, and you'll be writing in your newly-added font like this.
Repeat this process whenever you want to add another font.
[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. As advised, make sure you edit a copy of the original in case something goes awry.]
I sometimes find myself wanting to make large changes to my Address Book and iCal entries -- the kinds of things that I don't seem to be able to do within the applications themselves. Things like being able to search for a group of iCal events, select them, and then change them all to a new iCal calendar. Using Bento, I can do just that. It is a great way of cleaning up the Address Book, too.
You just open Bento (I'm using version 4 now, but 3 could also do it), navigate to either the Address or iCal source lists, choose the list view, and start editing. Could not be easier.
[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. Bento obviously is not free, but there seem to be a lot of people out there who using it.]