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View the Desktop as a list to help with cleanup Desktop
This is so simple that maybe it isn't so obvious ... since the Desktop is often on the receiving end for so many images, downloads, and quick saves, that to clean it up I take the non-graphical approach.

Instead of trashing or dragging items from the desktop per se, I periodically open a Finder window and view the Desktop folder as a list that can, of course, be sorted by name, date, and so on. Try it; view your Desktop normally then switch to a list view. If your Desktop looks like mine, I guarantee you will find items you overlooked.
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Create interesting backgrounds with iTunes' visualizer Desktop
Looking for backgrounds for use in various media projects, or images for your desktop? Here is a simple way to make some great backgrounds or desktops. Open iTunes and play a random group of songs. Open Visualizer in window mode, and select the Grab utility or your favorite capture utility. With the Visualizer running, capture a window -- you could use the built-in Shift-Command-4 plus Space Bar, for instance.

Select the visualizer window and hold down the mouse button. Hold it down until you get just what you want onscreen, then let it go. It's all a matter of timing. If you're a Photoshop user, add some texture or other artistic effects, and raise your images to a new level.

[robg adds: You could also enter full-screen mode via Command-F and then use a full-screen capture (Shift-Command-3), which would probably be the best way to capture a desktop background. You might also want to press ? to read about the keys you can use to change the visualizer -- and don't forget, there are a few hidden keys as well. I seem to recall older versions of iTunes would set the full-screen resolution to 800x600 or lower when invoked, but when I tested it this morning, that's definitely no longer the case, at least on the Mac Pro.]
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Another way to Force Quit the Finder Desktop
Here's another way to Force Quit an application:
  1. Click the Apple Menu
  2. Hold Shift, and notice that the 'Force Quit...' menu item has changed to 'Force Quit [frontmost app name].'
  3. Select 'Force Quit [frontmost app name]' to force quit the Application.
This method allows you to Force Quit (Relaunch) the Finder without opening the Force Quit application window or using the Finder's Dock menu.

[robg adds: Beyond relaunching the Finder, I can't think of many situations where this would be useful: typically if an application is stuck so badly that you wish to force quit it, it's not going to respond to menu clicks when it's the frontmost application.]
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Highlight the selected text in text clippings Desktop
In this previous hint it was noted that it is possible to make and copy a portion of a text clipping. The task is made more difficult, however, because you can't see what you're selecting (there's no highlight). I have figured out that it is possible to make some changes so that you go get feedback of what is actually selected before you copy it.

We will need to modify a Finder's file, so take the usual precautions: back up your stuff! In short:
  1. Edit the objects.xib file, found at /System » Library » CoreServices » » Contents » Resources » your_language.lproj » ClipWindow.nib » objects.xib.
  2. Change this line:
    <boolean name="noSelection">TRUE</boolean>
    <boolean name="noSelection">FALSE</boolean>
    Then save your changes.
  3. Restart the finder.
Read on for a more detailed walkthrough...
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Display Flickr collections as desktop backgrounds Desktop
Have a friend or family member who posts images to Flickr that you continuously visit? Are you a member of a Flickr group and want to see what's new? This hint uses the RSS feeds from Flickr and Photocasting in iPhoto to display images as your desktop background. To do this, go to your favorite Flickr collection and copy the RSS feed URL. Then, open iPhoto and select File/Subscribe to Photocast...

Enter the URL, and you will see the collection appear as a photo album in the left sidebar (just like a .Mac Photocast). Now, go to System Preferences » Desktop and Screen Saver (or right-click on the desktop and choose Change Desktop Background). Scroll down until you see the name of the subscribed account and select it. You will see the photos from Flickr, and you can now select your favorite image! iPhoto does not need to be open to access the images, but it does need to open at least once to update the image collection. Enjoy!

Note: Currently, OS X does not support the Change Picture and random select features for iPhoto albums, but I hope to find a way around this soon. Also, image resolution depends on the source image, so be prepared for some pixelation if the source is of low quality.
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Send attachments from Finder via Folder Actions Desktop
This hint allows you to drag files to a Finder folder and have them instantly emailed to a pre-configured address, simply by attaching a Folder Action to the folder. It's a great way to get files off your Desktop and backed up offsite. This very brief screencast shows the end result, not the steps, whereas this screencast shows all the steps.

To use this on your system, start by downloading the script (226KB download). Mount the disk image, then double-click the script to open it in the Script Editor. The sender and recipient are specified near the top of the script. Change the address in quotes after theSender to your email address. Change the address in quotes after recipAddress to the address you want to send attachments to. You can also set a common name and text for the email message body. If you want to change the subject, just change the text in quotes after the word subject.

Save the file. The proper place to save it is /Library -> Scripts -> Folder Action Scripts, but you can save it anywhere.

Now create a folder; you'll probably want it on your Desktop. Control-click the folder and click Configure Folder Actions. Use the plus sign button at bottom left to designate the folder you created. Use the plus sign at bottom right to designate the script you edited. Alternately, just click Attach a Folder Action after control-clicking the folder to attach your script. If you don't have the Attach a Folder Action menu, just Control-click any Finder folder and select Enable Folder Actions.

There is also a script (10KB download) that prompts for a subject before sending the attachment. This would be useful for archiving files in your Gmail account. Drag files to the folder, enter a meaningful subject in the pop-up, and you can always search Gmail to find the file later.

[robg adds: If you have multiple email accounts, you could create multiple versions of the script, and attach each to a different folder.]
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Minimize all Finder windows at login via AppleScript Desktop
I like to leave a few Finder windows open, for easy access to projects I'm working on. However, I don't leave them all visible because they cover the desktop. Minimizing to the Dock is a great solution, except that they don't stay there after logging out. So each time the computer starts up, they're all over the desktop and I have to "option-click" the Minimize button on one of the windows to get them all into the dock.

I wanted to automate this process on login, so after tinkering around with PreFab UI BrowserP, I came up with this little AppleScript:
activate application "Finder"
tell application "System Events"
  tell process "Finder"
    -- GUI Scripting statements:
    keystroke "`" using {command down}		
    keystroke "m" using {command down, option down}
  end tell
end tell
Enter it in Scrpt Editor, and save it as an Application (Run Only), then add it to your login items. I found that sometimes after logging in, no Finder window had the focus, and that could make the "Minimize All Windows" command not work. So the first keystroke, Command-backtick (Cycle Through Windows), is used to get a focus on one of the windows.

(It would be even nicer if OS X remembered the state of the Finder windows between logins. Interestingly this was also the case in OS 9 -- it too didn't keep windows 'tabbed' at the bottom of the screen between startups.)
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Drag path of Finder item to text fields in Cocoa apps Desktop
Not sure if this is well known, but it surprised me ... I often drag a folder from the Finder to the browse space in a Save As dialog box, so the current folder switches to the dropped folder. However, today I accidentally dropped the folder onto the Save As text field, and noticed the that the text path of the folder was pasted there instead.

I've been using OS X forever and never spotted this. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised, as I also routinely drag Finder items into the Terminal. This seems to apply to most Cocoa text fields that haven't had their drop behaviour changed.
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An AppleScript to tidy up the Desktop Desktop
I often let a lot of junk accumulate on my desktop, making it hard to find things. In order to keep the clutter under control, I made folders for each of the kinds of things that end up on the Desktop (music, video, documents, etc.), and then wrote a simple AppleScript to sort files on the Desktop into the correct folders. The script recognizes file types by their extension. Though the file types and destination folders are hard coded, they are set at the top of the script and should be trivial to change.

I run this script from Quicksilver when I feel my Desktop is getting out of control, but there's no reason you couldn't run it automatically as a folder action instead.
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Make complex Finder selections with glob patterns Desktop
I wrote an AppleScript app called lselect that lets you select things in the Finder that match a glob pattern, such as what you would use to list particular files with the ls utility in Terminal. I find it useful when I want to quickly select a large group of files with similar but not identical names that aren't necessarily listed consecutively with any sorted Finder list views. Unlike the Find command, the selected results appear alongside the files that didn't match, making it easy to drag the selection to an application or folder in the same directory.

More information about the script (including how to use it) is available from the above link, and you can also view/use the raw source of the script.

[robg adds: I tested this one, and it works as described...]
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