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Fade your Finder window background pictures Desktop
As a graphic designer, I couldn't stand those window pictures in icon view. Since windows with long lists make the picture cut off at the end, it creates a huge contrast difference from a sunset over the Pacific Ocean to a hard white space and just plain files or folders; it looks pretty ugly.

Well, I don't know if anybody has figured this out yet, but I have for myself, and it works great! Here are a few steps in getting your window pictures to actually look nice. (Requires Photoshop or the like)

Read the rest of the article for a quick how-to on fading your background images nicely away...
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Change the format of the menubar date display Desktop
The following was contributed by "Silver", who writes:

"I have been getting annoyed that the date format of the menuling (the date which displays when you click on the menubar clock) is forced on us as American, no matter what the international preference pane promises to store it as. So I fixed it, with a little help from a friend who told me about the chown UNIX command."

This is probably one of the most popular questions I've received here lately. So if you'd like to set the format of the menubar date to your personal choice, read the rest of the article. While not strictly required for this hint, having the Developer Tools installed will make it easier.
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Replace the stock Finder toolbar icons Desktop
This was compiled in the Macworld OS X Forum, and I thought it may be of some use to everyone. If you'd like to replace the stock Apple toolbar icons with your own, here's how to do it.
  1. Find the icon you want and then launch Icongrapher, use the Open Icon command to open the icon and then pick "Save as" a .icns file.

  2. Log in as the root user [Editor: You could also use the Terminal to work around having to login as root]. In the Finder, navigate to /System/Library/Core Services/ and then control-click on the Finder icon and select "Show Package Contents".

  3. Navigate through the "Contents" folder to the "Resources" folder. You will see all the icons easily named (computer.icns, delete.icns, etc).

  4. Remove the file of the icon you want to change [Editor: A better suggestion may be to rename the original file in case you want it back!], and replace it with the one made by Icongrapher.

  5. Log out and login, and VOILA, new toolbar icons! [Editor: You could also force quit the Finder to make it restart and read your new icon files, although logging out and in is certainly a cleaner way to do this!]
Editor's caution: Any time you're mucking around in the system applications as root, you can potentially do great damage to your machine. Be careful and always have a backup! Consider yourself cautioned!
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Customize your boot screen Desktop
With the help of Keaka (creator of the sweet little LoginBackground app which allows you to change the background of your login screen), I figured out how to change my boot screen as well. It's a pretty simple move:

1. You need to have root access
2. You will need to be able to create and save an image in .pdf form.

All I did was create an image in Photoshop with a size equal to my screen resolution, and saved it as "BootPanel.pdf". Put it in:

/System/Library/CoreServices/SystemStarter/QuartzDisplay.bundle/Resources/

Then reboot the machine. It worked great. Couple of things worth mentioning:
  • Obviously you want to make a backup of the default BootPanel.pdf file. Good form you know.
  • The screen reverts to it's default blue color for a second between the boot screen and the login screen, so it's not quite seemless.
  • When you are creating your image, keep in mind you need to set aside some space in the middle for the progress bar and boot-strings(which retain their size and function).
Also, if anyone knows how to set a different font color for the boot-strings I'd love to hear about it. My background preference is black, so it kinda blends in.

If anyone knows how to edit the screen at a deeper level, so that you are editing the actual background, and not just stretching the panel over the top of it, I'd be thrilled :)

-Storm
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Restore vanished icons Desktop
You can download thousands of icons from sites such as xicons to replace your existing file, folder, and drive icons.

Using the standard copy/paste procedure to paste an icon from one Info panel to another, you'll sometimes find that the paste operation fails, and you're left with a blank / transparent icon on the target, rather than the icon you intended to use. In my experience, this usually happens when replacing hard drive icons.

Whether this is a bug in individual icons or in Apple's icon rendering system is unclear, but the fix is simple: Re-open the Info panel on the target, select the (now blank) icon well, and press Delete. The default system icon will be restored. This doesn't get you the icon you wanted, but it's better than an invisible / missing icon.

[Editor's note: I believe I've also read that if you logout and login, you may then see the 'invisible' icon you just pasted. Unfortunately, I don't recall where I read this and can't really test it until this evening...]
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Full keyboard access dock nav shortcut Desktop
i found another keyboard shortcut. make sure you have full keyboard access enabled in the system prefs (Keyboard - Full Keyboard Access tab)

now, hit control F3--or whatever custom key combo you have assigned to highlight the dock. notice if you use the tab or arrow keys, the highlight cycles through each dock icon, one by one.

but if you hold down control and hit the tab, you'll notice the highlight jumps between the apps, docs, and trash sections of the dock. cool.

this shortcut begs the eternal dock dilemna ... to hide or minimize, that is the question...
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An extra efficient means of using column view Desktop
Column-view would be the fastest way to peruse your files if it weren't for the delay each time the finder generates the preview. Most of you know the trick of eliminating the preview-pane in column view. Just in case, here is a very brief refresher: open the file com.apple.finder.plist in your Preferences folder in a text editor. Find the following lines and set ShowPreview to false as shown:
<key>ShowPreview</key>
<false/>
Anyhow, the problem is that now you can't see the file size, type, version, etc. However, the Show Info window (Command-I) does all this. Even better, it will automatically update as you select different files.

So, disable the ShowPreview, then keep an Info window open next to your Finder window to see the full-size icon, size, dates, etc. If you need to see the preview, just switch to the preview panel in the Info window! Scroll-wheel works nicely for switching panes. Now column view works very quickly, and you only generate previews when you need to see them.
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Put icon dividers in the dock Desktop
maybe this tip is already known. if so just forget it. i found a solution to make separation marks in the dock to create segments like utilities, communication, graphic-design etc.

first create a new icon featuring a separation line of your choice (a nice tool to do that is icon brush...). now copy the icon and paste it to a newly created folder via the show info box. don?t think you are ready, you are not :)

dragging this folder in the dock makes it jump to the right, because only apps can be aliased on the dock's left side. to trick the dock is easy: just name the folder .app at the end. you can still drag the folder only on the right side but on release it pops to the left and you can put it where you want!

unfortunaly each separator has to be a new folder, but that?s not that bad; you can name them like the kind of stuff they separate. now in the dock it gives the name of the following separation via help rollover...

this makes my day for sure :)

[Editor's note: I'm not sure about the separator functionality, but tricking the dock with the '.app' extension is pretty slick!]
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Copy and paste filenames without delays Desktop
I've always copy and pasted file and folders names into documents (well I'm a lazy typist and poor speller, especially with some designers' bizzare naming conventions). In OS9, I used to single click and wait for it to highlight (as if I was trying to rename the file). It still works in X but here's the killer bit. You don't have to wait until the name is in its change state (which BTW takes forever in X or another single click). But in X, just highlight (even in column mode), copy and paste ahoy. This could be old news but it helps lazy people like me bigtime.

[Editor's note: This is probably a side-effect of the new Finder copy and paste files trick, with this side-benefit of making it easier to copy and paste one or more filenames into a document.]
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Make audio CDs invisible Desktop
If you want to see data CDs, but are sick of the uninformative "Audio CD" icon and name wasting space, simply use the SetFile tool (see this hint). In the terminal, type:
sudo SetFile -a V /Volumes/"Audio CD"/
Now, any and all audio cd's will be invisible... but everything else, assuming you haven't named it "Audio CD", will appear.

[Editor's note: Changed 'su' to 'sudo' per the comment; I haven't tried this hack myself, but sudo should certainly work.]
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