Holding down the option key while perusing the Finder menus reveals some neat options for manipulating windows. OmniWeb also reveals several options which are not otherwise available directly from the menus.
I guess these are some of the little things that Jobs said wouldn't be found for a while, but show the detail put into the interface. I tend to agree.
If you use the Address Book application, there are some pretty nifty things you can do with it. While reading this month's MacWorld (pick it up if you don't have it yet; they have some great OS X info in this edition!), they mentioned one tip I hadn't run into yet.
Open the address book, and click and hold on the little "person" icon next to any name. You'll see a mini business card appear, which can be dragged anywhere. Drag it onto the desktop, and a little "virtual business card" appears - simple double-click access for anyone's address. Drag it into a Cocoa application, and the field names and values for that card will be pasted as text. I'm sure there are more tricks, but those two are quite useful all by themselves. I haven't spent much time with the Address Book (keeping my fingers crossed for Palm!), but it's a handy little application.
I had been getting really sick of my puck mouse when I downloaded Toon Boom Studio, and found it came with a Wacom tablet driver that isn't available, as far as I could tell, from Wacom. Be warned though. This driver proves that OS X isn't entirely crash proof, it can and probably will bring down the whole OS a couple times.
Reader 'brodie' sent this one in a couple of days ago, and I missed it in the queue...
If you have mail rules which conflict with one another (for example, anything that doesn't contain 'email@example.com' in the "To:" field gets moved to a "spam" folder, but you also want to move everything to 'firstname.lastname@example.org' into a "pending" folder), then all you need to do is drag the rules into the proper order within mail's rules panel. In this example, you'd drag the "doesn't contain my username" rule to the top, followed by the "move to pending folder" second. This way, your spam would get filtered first, and then remaining mail would get moved to the "pending" folder.
Rules are created and managed in the Mail -> Preferences menu item.
I recently stumbled upon a very nice minimalist launcher app for OS X. It seems to be from the OPENSTEP days and has now made its way to Apple's latest consumer OS. It's set up so that you just hit command-space and then start typing in the name of what you want to launch, then press retrun when it's selecting what you want. Very fast, very minimal. It's called LaunchBar and can be found at:
I didn't realize just how useful the Console app is until I noticed the Open Log... item in the File menu. This allows you to choose the log file for any running service and monitor it in real time. (This is just like running 'tail logname' from the command line, but the Console app does the work for you. In fact it uses tail to do its thing.)
Turn on FTP access in the Sharing Pane of System Preferences.
Open the Console (in Applications/Utilities).
Choose File - Open Log... (It should take you to /var/log automatically, but if it doesn't, enter /var/log in the Go to field.) Select ftp.log.
Open the Terminal (also in Applications/Utilities).
Type ftp localhost at the prompt.
Watch the messages which appear in the console window. Very cool!
The really nice thing is you can monitor any number of logs in this manner, as each will open in its own window.
The Stickies note database lives in ~/Library/.StickiesDatabase. Since the database is named with a dot as the first character of its name, its invisible in the GUI. So if you're using the Finder to move pieces of your home directory around (say in preparation for a new hard drive), make sure you grab the Stickies database in the terminal in order to save your notes. From the terminal, simply:
cd ~/Library cp .StickiesDatabase /path/to/new/location/.StickiesDatabase
This will copy your Stickies database to its new home. As you use OS X, there may be other "dot files" placed in your home directory, so it may be worth an occasional glance in the terminal if you're planning on moving stuff around. Use ls -al to show the dot files in a terminal directory listing.
Although I usually only post usability tips within applications, if I find a particular application I think is interesting, I'll post about the actual program.
DesktopCalendar, freeware by Takashi T. Hamada, is just such a program. It doesn't do all that much, but what it does, it does very well. It simply places a fully configurable floating calendar anywhere on your desktop that you want it. You control the font sizes and colors, placement of the month, year, and calendar, and the degree of transparency.
Although you can use the included Clock application, DesktopCalendar seems much more elegant in its functionality. And since I keep a clean desktop in X, there's plenty of room for it (I have it just below the menu bar, at screen top right).
Worth a look-see if you're interested in having a calendar floating about on your desktop!
Just a little quickie (but the little ones are usually the nicest!)...double click on the square just above the scrollbars but to the right of the message header titles (e.g. Date & Time on my std install), and Mail toggles from Preview Message to List view (or I guess more accurately, toggles preview off and on). Same happens if you double click on the separator bar between the lists and the preview.
Still a little light on functionality, and a bit slow when you have more than one mailbox (try 6+), but hey it's only a Beta oops i mean 1.0 release.
If you use custom Terminals for various tasks such as one terminal to telnet or ssh, and one terminal to tail a log file, etc. you can edit the .term file for each custom terminal to keep the shell you'd like to use -and- to also start up any default program or script you'd like.
If you'd like to set custom terminals with custom commands and still use your default shell, read the rest of this hint.
[Editor's note: This is similar to a tip that has been previously published, but it's a nicer wayto accomplish the same objective, so I've published it as a new hint]