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A script to resize windows to their vertical maximum Desktop
I don't really like the "Green Plus" for window maximization: it seems random and unpredictable, and is not available with a keyboard shortcut. I wanted a way to maximize a window vertically, in particular Terminals and Finder windows, with a simple keystroke. So I came up with this AppleScript (my first!).

It is fairly inelegant in that it requires you to hard-code your vertical display height (I couldn't find a simple way to query for that, the number is for a 15" PowerBook). It works by finding the current application, coming up with an appropriate Y-size, and setting the foremost window bounds with it.

Sadly, every app seems to mean something different by the window bounds, rather than simply the outside bounds of the window and titlebar. In fact, the Finder is the biggest offender -- the bounds mean something different depending on whether the toolbar is visible or not. I have explicitly coded around the Finder's non-consistent behavior, but other apps may have the same flaw.

To bind it to a keystroke, I use a QuickSilver trigger to run the script, after spending many wasted hours trying to understand why this hint wouldn't work (until I read the comments). I find it most useful in Mail new message windows, Finder windows, and Terminal windows (above all). It doesn't work for X11 windows (which I'd love), and a few non-Apple apps I tried (does nothing for PowerPoint, and messes Word's windows up). I suspect something similar could be done for horizontal or full screen maximize.

Comments, suggestions and improvements welcome.
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10.4: Get Info / Inspector usage on multiple files Desktop
Tiger only hintIn Mac OS 10.3, if you wanted to view the total amount of disk space that a selection of files used, all you had to do was select those files and do a Get Info. The Get Info window that came up would give you the total for all files you'd selected. If you do the same in 10.4, it will give you separate Get Info windows for each and every file, and so you will not have a display of the total.

Instead, select all the files and then Control-click to bring up the contextual menu. Now holding down the Option (Alt) key changes 'Open With' to 'Always Open With' and 'Get Info' changes to 'Show Inspector.' Choose Show Inspector, and it will give you the Get Info window for the total of all the selected files.

[robg adds: The fast way to get the Inspector is to just hit Command-Option-I with the files selected. It does appear, though, that the behavior of Get Info/Inspector has indeed changed (again!) with 10.4. I verified that 10.3's Get Info is for the combined selected files, whereas 10.4 brings up separate boxes unless you use the Inspector. I think this is a good change, as it makes it easier (for instance) to compare a bunch of files quickly, when each is in its own box ... and since the Inspector still works for the aggregate, no functionality is lost.]
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10.4: Remove Dashboard Widgets Desktop
Tiger only hintAccording to Apple's Dashboard help:
You cannot remove widgets from the Widget Bar or change their order.
There is no way to remove widgets from the GUI, but you can do it in Terminal.app. Launch Terminal and type (the $ is the prompt, and the line below is just a comment to explain the command):
$ cd /Library/Widgets/
/* to move to the widget directory */

$ ls
/* list the installed widgets */

$ rm widget_name.wdgt
/* remove the named widget */
You may have to wait a minute before the changes show up in the widget bar. Also, any open widgets that you removed will remain running until you close them with the X.

[robg adds: Widgets are typically installed in the user's own ~/Library/Widgets folder -- if you use Safari with its default settings, this will happen automatically when you download a widget (from Apple's Widget page, for instance). To prevent automatic installation, disable the Open "safe" files after downloading option in the General section of Safari's preferences.

Note that you do not need to use the Terminal to remove widgets. Assuming you're logged in as the administrator, you can remove system-wide widgets (and your own, obviously) directly from the Finder. Just navigate to /Library/Widgets (or your user's ~/Library/Widgets folder), and drag the unwanted widgets out. If you're thinking of removing any Apple-provided widgets, I'd recommend keeping them in an "Unused Widgets" folder elsewhere on your drive, just in case you ever want them back.]
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10.4: Remove the Dashboard icon from the Dock Desktop
Tiger only hintIf like me, you don't want the Dashboard icon in the dock, click and hold on it select the new 'Remove from Dock' option. You can still use the F12 key to pull up your Dashboard, so no functionality has been lost.

[robg adds: You can also just drag and drop the icon off of the dock, as in previous OS X releases. This was one of the first things I did; I'm glad Apple put an icon there for the new users, but I'm also glad they made it easily removable. Yes, this is a simple hint, but I warned you all that I'd be running some relatively basic stuff just to make sure the knowledge was out there...]
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10.4: Remove extraneous Dock menu options for folders Desktop
Tiger only hintA new feature in Tiger is that folders in the dock have some additional Dock Menu items. Well, I don't need a menu item for Remove from Dock, etc., and it just gets in the way of the items I want to select in my special folder (where I have aliases to numerous frequently used apps, directories, and what not).

Based on thjs older hint about removing items from the Apple menu, I did some sleuthing and found where those Dock menu items are spawned:
/System/Library/CoreServices/Dock.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj/DockMenus.plist
Located therein are a number of items. The one I'm interested in is entitled folder.
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Drag and drop print jobs to specific printers Desktop
It is now well known that when you drag and drop a file to the Printer Setup Icon installed in the Dock, it is printed immediatly ... but to the default printer without opening the application.

If you first open the Printer List window of the Printer Setup Utility, and then drop the file onto one of the printers in the list, the file will print on the chosen printer (local or not, inkjet or laser, etc.). Not that this doesn't work with PageSender Fax).

[robg adds: Although this method works, if you do a lot of drag-and-drop printing to different printers, you'll probably just want to use the Printers -> Create Desktop Printer menu item to make a desktop printer for each printer you normally use. After that, you can store these desktop printers in either the sidebar, the dock, or the toolbar for very quick access via drag-and-drop.]
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Set an all-white desktop background Desktop
OS X's Desktop & Screen Saver panel includes a "Solid Color" selection, where you can choose from one of 10 different solid colors. But what if you want an all-white background? It turns out there are actually 11 solid colors on that panel; the 11th is all white, and is positioned just after the last light-blue panel. It's highlighted in the image at left (larger version) with a dotted outline, but you won't see that nice visual aid when you use the actual panel. And it won't work if you click on just any white space in the color area; you need to click directly in the box-sized area outlined.

[robg adds: I'm not sure why Apple hasn't highlighted the white box, as most people (myself included!) probably won't even realize it's there. An older hint explains a different techique (check the comments for further enhancements) for getting any solid color you wish as a desktop background...]
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Print multiple files without opening them Desktop
Printing files in OS X is easy, and there are often a number of ways to do it. Personally, I would either print while the document is open or I would drag and drop a bunch of files from the Desktop or Finder to the Desktop printer. Well, there is yet another way to do it without dragging and dropping files on the desktop printer and without having documents open.

There is a contextual technique to print explained on Apple's web site: Printing from the Desktop (Without a Desktop Printer. I read this, and it raised my curiosity. At first thought, this is a good tip, but you have to press several keys before you get to the Printer Setup Utility where you can print your documents. Then I thought that this same feature would be neat if you can do the same thing at the stroke of a hotkey. A one-stroke hotkey to print multiple documents, without drag and drop, and without a desktop printer; how neat is that!?

Inspired by one of my Mac friends, I thought about writing an AppleScript that does the same thing without all the hassle of clicking a bunch of buttons to get to the Printer Setup Utility application. This AppleScript that I put together does the same thing as described in the above-linked article. Copy this script, save it as an application without the startup screen, give it a hot key in your favorite switching utility such as Butler, QuickSilver, DragThing, etc.

Select the documents in the Finder or the desktop that you want to print, hit the hotkey, and they will automatically print for you without opening up the documents. This is a good technique if you just want to quickly print small reports or daily log files. You can also you the script from the search results of the Finder. You will achieve the best results if you already have a default printer selected. It will print the documents with the printer's default settings such as name of printer, orientation, copies, etc. If you are into the Terminal, you can print the files the same way using this command:
open -a /Applications/Utilities/Printer\ Setup\ pathtofiles
Using the open shell command with the Printer Setup Utility in the Terminal is not published on this site, so this is yet another way to print documents without drag and drop and opening up the files. So now you have yet another tough choice; print either using drag and drop, or print via hotkey. Choose your poison.
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Keep a single partition mounted when ejecting others Desktop
I have a very large external Firewire drive with multiple partitions. Most of the time, i only want the Scratch partition mounted. But if I drag any one partition to the Trash to eject it, all partitions on the volume will unmount.

To prevent this, I could use certain applications to just unmount the unneeded partitions, use a utility to just mount that particular partition, or I can keep open a file on the Scratch partition when ejecting the others. So, I keep a simple AppleScript open at the top level of that partition. The script unmounts the partitions and quits. Because the script is open, the Scratch partition won't eject.
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Fix a possible 'disappearing file on Desktop' bug Desktop
I was copying some files to my friend's Desktop folder, and noticed that one of the files disappeared. I used Terminal's ls command and saw that the file was still there, but not visible in the Finder. After playing around a bit more, I found that files were disappearing and appearing quite consistently.

After trying to set the files' visibility with the SetFile command (included with Developer Tools), I thought maybe the folder was corrupt. So I backed up all the data in his Desktop folder, and then did a rm -rf ~/Desktop to remove the Desktop folder and its contents completely.

I then relaunched the Finder to allow the OS to recreate the Desktop folder. On relaunch, the problem was gone -- and he'd been dealing with this for a year. I couldn't find anything on this in the archives or on Google; hope this helps someone.

[robg adds: Please heed the backup warning -- rm -rf is forever, as they say. I haven't heard of Desktop folder corruption issues, nor did I realize the OS would automatically recreate it if it were missing...]
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