I have gotten used to downloading certain PDF files and then viewing them in a Preview session started by Firefox. When I upgraded Firefox to 3.5.2, this stopped working. What I got instead was a tab with a blank screen and the name of the file in the tab header. Where was my dialog box? How do I get the document?
Well, it turns out that selecting File » Save Page As will open a dialog box allowing me to save the PDF file. Then going to Finder and opening the file with Preview gets me to the place I was before. I suspect that this drop in functionality is simply a temporary bug -- but if it's bit you, too, this is how I worked around the problem.
But the good news is that my PDF issue pointed me to another hint here about viewing PDFs directly in Firefox via a plug-in. So for the cases where I don't want an archived copy of the PDF (like the monthly schedule for my local ice rink), I'll use the plug-in.
I just discovered (by accident) what the VerifiedDownloadPlugin is. My Safari app was completely broken, as I couldn't always download. This had become quite annoying, so I started looking around. I then found the /Library » Internet Plug-Ins folder, and within that, an old Speed Download plugin which was causing my Safari issues.
However, I also found something else called VerifiedDownloadPlugin.plugin. I took both of them out, and my Safari worked quite well again. The bonus from this change is that I actually got rid of all those dialogs that tell me that the files I downloaded came from the internet -- well, I know they came from the internet; I just downloaded them! Even plain HTML files can't be opened without clicking that stupid OK button.
But now I'm feeling so much better. It's much easier to use my Mac. Of course, there's some reason for Apple to put the safety warning there, but ... if you know downloaded the files, because you wanted to open them, why not just get rid of that dialog box once and for all?
[robg adds: I've confirmed that removing the plug-in removes the warning dialog. However, I don't know if there are any other side effects, so proceed with caution. Personally, I put up with the annoying dialog, though I wish there were some user control over when it would appear (for instance, opening said HTML files shouldn't evoke a warning dialog). I've marked this hint 10.5 Only, as I think that's when this plug-in was added; please correct me if I'm wrong.]
Strong warning: Based on some comments below and feedback via email, note that disabling this plug-in exposes you to potentially all sorts of nastiness. Keep in mind that the purpose of macosxhints is to share knowledge, and some of that knowledge is potentially dangerous. It's up to each person to make the go/no-go determination themselves for any given hint, though I try (as I thought I did above) to note which hints seem particularly dangerous.
I'm often annoyed by the confirmation dialog that pops up in Safari 4 when I try to close a window with multiple tabs open. ("Are you sure you want to close this window?") But I don't want to turn off that message altogether (by checking its "Do not warn when closing multiple pages" box). Too often, I hit the close button by mistake when minimizing windows, so that warning is sometimes nice to have. Instead, I've discovered I can bypass that warning by holding down the Option key when clicking on the close button.
As a (primarily) Firefox user, I read of the recent release of Firefox 3.6a1 (known as Namoroka), and downloaded the alpha for testing. Note that this release isn't targeted for typical users, as it's far from feature complete and may crash. For instance, the Advanced and Privacy prefs don't seem to work at all on my Mac Pro.
One feature in 3.6a1 (which was originally slated for 3.5, I believe) is a visual tab switcher. Much as you can use Command-Tab to switch applications via an onscreen palette in OS X, you can use Control-Tab to switch tabs visually in Firefox 3.6a1. (This same shortcut works in Firefox 3.5, but without any visual aids.)
As shipped, Firefox 3.6a1 ships with the tab preview feature disabled. To enable it, type about:config and agree to be careful to get past the warning screen. In the search box on the config page, type tab.previ; this should then display only one matching preference, browser.ctrlTab.previews. Double-click that preference entry to change its value from false to true, then close the config page.
From now on, Namoroka will show you the tab preview panel when you press Control-Tab. I'd guess this will be enabled by default in the final version of Firefox 3.6, but for now, you'll have to manually activate the feature to get it to work. I've been using the previews for a couple days now, and haven't had any issues with them (though I think the default sizing is too large, but the design isn't yet finalized). Please keep in mind that Namoroka is only an alpha at this stage, so you may run into other bugs, glitches, and crashes. If you do see such things, make sure you send feedback to the Mozilla team, so they're aware of the issue(s) you had.
[robg adds: This works as described, and is quite handy for capturing full web pages as images, if you occasionally need such a thing. The first time you use it, Firefox will display a dialog asking if it's OK to send the request to Paparazzi; say yes and check the box so Firefox doesn't ask you again.]
This is a fairly simple hint, and a variation on this previous hint, that gives you quick access to the contents of a Finder's folder (eg: Downloads) from Safari via a bookmark.
Simply add a new Bookmark entry (Bar or Menu, your choice), with the desired file:///-type folder path as described in the prior hint, but then append .DS_Store to the path like so:
Clicking this bookmark will open the linked folder in Finder, displaying its contents. The reason we've linked to .DS_Store file here and not the folder itself is to force Safari to open the destination folder. Without the hidden invisible file at the end, Safari will reveal the location of the specified folder within its containing folder. When you link to a file within the folder, Safari will actually open the folder.
The advantage of linking to the invisible .DS_Store file is that since Safari cannot open that file type, it simply opens the containing folder in its previous view state (being invisible, .DS_Store cannot be highlighted in Finder, as would be the case if you link to a visible file).
If we link to a file that Safari can open (html, jpg, pdf, etc.), Safari will of course display that file in a browser window. Also, most (all?) folders contain a hidden .DS_Store file, unless you've strippedthemout, so you can be reasonably certain one will exist.
Caveat: Unlike the previous hint, you will not get the folder's icon in your Bookmarks menu. Instead, the .DS_Store file's generic-file icon is shown. I'm not sure if you can give .DS_Store files a custom icon to remedy that.
[robg adds: This hint is mainly for those who use list or icon view. The previous hint merely selects the specified folder in Finder, but in column view mode, that means you get to see the contents of the folder in the next column. Icon and list view, though, need to point to a file within the folder to get it to open automatically.]
This follows up on an older hint about changing Safari's RSS appearance. If you find it hard to distinguish between unread and read articles in Safari's RSS feeds, or if you're just tired of looking at pastel shades of blue, you can change the appearance of RSS pages fairly easily. All you need to know is a little CSS. For example, if you want unread articles to be highlighted in an easy-to-spot sage green color, make a plain text file with the following text and save it with a .css extension:
Save that file somewhere convenient, open Safari preferences, choose the Advanced tab, and use the "Style Sheet" pull-down menu to select the new file as your style sheet. After you restart Safari you'll see the new colors.
There's a lot more you can do, if you want to experiment a bit. For instance, this code will change the highlight color of unread items, and also change the blue header bar to whatever image you have in path/to/an/image:
You can look through that to see what elements of the RSS pages you can modify. You could modify that file directly, as it suggests in the older hint, but it's easier and safer to make a separate file and set it as your style sheet.
Unlike most browsers, Safari doesn't have a setting to use WPAD (web proxy auto-discovery) in OS X. However, there is a way to ask Safari to automatically detect the network's proxy settings, but only if your network administrator has configured WPAD on your network.
This auto-detect feature works through DNS. The browser looks for a host named "wpad" and if it exists, loads its settings by accessing a file named "wpad.dat" via HTTP. To use DNS-based WPAD with Safari on OS X, follow these steps:
In Safari, choose Safari » Preferences
Click on the Advanced icon
Click on the Proxies » Change Settings button
In the Configure Proxies dropdown menu, select Using A PAC File
In the PAC File URL field, enter http://wpad/wpad.dat
Click on OK
Click on Apply
Again, this is only helpful if your network administrator has set up a proxy to be auto-configured. If you're on a network that doesn't have such a setup, Safari will still work but much, much slower. To find out if your network supports proxy auto-detection, visit http://wpad/wpad.dat in your web browser. If your network supports WPAD, then your browser will download the file "wpad.dat" (which you can just delete). If it's not supported, you'll get an error message.
I've written a tutorial (in Portuguese; English version via Google Translate) on how to enable the multi-touch gestures in Firefox 3.5 so that users of Apple's latest laptops can switch tabs via twisting.
[robg adds: In case the original ever vanishes, here's the condensed version of the how-to:
Enter about:config in the Firefox 3.5 URL bar. If you get a warning about voiding your warranty, click the "I'll be careful , I promise!" button to continue.
In the Filter box, enter browser.gesture.twist. You'll see a few entries, including the two you need to modify: browser.gesture.twist.left and browser.gesture.twist.right.
Double-click on browser.gesture.twist.left and enter Browser:PrevTab in the dialog that appears. Double-click on browser.gesture.twist.right and enter Browser:NextTab.
That's all you need to do; close the config window and you're done. I've tested this on my MacBook Pro, and it works as described.]