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Rearrange your menubar icons [10.1] Desktop
In OS X 10.1, there are a number of menubar widgets, including some or all of a clock, Airport indicator, sound control, monitor control, and battery life indicator. If you hold down the command key and drag on any of these widgets, you can place them in any order you wish on the right-hand side of the menubar.

For example, you may wish to put the monitor or sound widget in the corner, in order to make it easier to hit with the mouse on the fly.

Click here to see a brief movie, courtesy of Andrew Welch at Ambrosia.
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There's more important news... Desktop
Although some of America's icons may have been damaged in the terrorist attack of September 11th, our spirit is intact, as shown in this photo by Thomas E. Franklin (AP Photo/The Record). My thoughts go out to all those directly impacted by this tragedy, and to those working in critical public service roles -- firefighters, police officers, doctors and nurses, volunteers, etc. May you all be safe and successful with your respective assisgnments. has set up a Red Cross Donation Page, and they are waiving ALL their fees and giving 100% of the funds to the Red Cross. So far, they've collected in excess of $1,000,000. This is but one small way you can help with the relief efforts, even if you're not local to the affected areas.

In the now-trivial category of site-related information, I have emptied out the 'pending' queue from the last 36 hours. Due to a bug in Geeklog, these will not show as "new articles", but there is new stuff posted. Make sure you read the rest of the home page for all the new stories. After today, I will be out of town through Sunday evening without web access, which means that site updates will not return to a normal schedule until Monday the 17th.

Take care and be safe, and please, donate what you can (blood, money, supplies, time, thoughts) to help those who have been affected by the events of September 11th.

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Quick fix for list view opening below files Desktop
A friend and myself have run into this one at different times...

if you have a window in list view, with a large number of items, scroll down (page down, whatever) to near the bottom, close the window, the next time you open it, it remebers where you were, which is good. now if you trash or move most of these files, close the window, then open it again (sometimes or all the time), it opens with no files visible, and you have to scroll up/page up to see the files

I've found a fix to get it sorted out again...change how it's sorted (instead of by name, change it to by date) after you have scrolled up to where you want it to open (for example, at the top of the list), now close the window. next time you open it, it should open where you last set it to.

I've seen this bug happen in both my downloads folder, and my mp3 folder, in both MacOS X 10.0.3 and 10.0.4. If this isn't clear, just ask me to try and re-explain it again =)
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Use Sherlock to arrange your files Desktop
[Sumbitted by brodie]

If, like me, you have loads of mp3's, or .sit(s) .bin(s) all downloaded into one folder, or several diferent folders, you can throw them all together in one clean move without having to find them all and drag them painstakingly one at a time.

Just open up your destination folder, open Sherlock and search for their common property (ie their name or .sit suffix). Select them all and drag them into the desitination folder. You can then, if you need to, delete all your partially downloaded mp3's by opening the folder in list view, select size to arrange and delete ...etc.

[Editor's note: Not specific to OS X, of course, but a good organization speed-up tip in general]
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Quick access to your home directory Desktop
You know how the Desktop folder is inside your home directory under Mac OS X? Well, if you select the desktop and Cmd-Up Arrow it will open a window to your home directory.

A quick short-cut for those "old dog" Mac users like myself that haven't yet gotten used to the browser...

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Pop-up folder substitute Desktop
Here's a substitue for pop-up folders. It works best with Finder windows, but can be applied for others.Take a window, resize it to a small size but so that you can still see the name of the window, and drag it to the bottom on the screen (should only see the title bar). Now hitting zoom will reveal the window in full. Hitting zoom again will return the window to the bottom of the screen. This is easier to use when the dock is is located on the side of the screen. Enjoy.
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Keep a folder in a standard state Desktop
If you want to keep a folder in a standard state (for whatever reason) then the following is one way of doing it (I'm sure there are others). Making the folder read only is another way, but this may not be what you want to do.


Create a list of the files in the directory that you want to keep standard e.g. the root level of your hard drive ( '%>' represents the prompt):
%> cd /
%> ls >/filelist
This creates a file at the top level of your hard drive called 'filelist', which we'll use to compare contents to. If you are using this to keep the top level of your hard drive clean then run 'ls >/filelist' twice so the 'filelist' file does not get deleted or moved!).

Now if you execute the commands:
%> cd /
>%> rm -r "`ls | grep -v -x --file=/filelist`"
it will delete all files and folders in root except those listed in the file called "filelist".

or (a safer way to go about cleaning the top level of the hard drive!)
%> cd /
%> mv "`ls | grep -v -x --file=/filelist`" ~/Documents/
which will move all files and folders not listed in the filelist from root to the current logged in users 'Documents' folder (or any other path you care to specify).

One use for this is to make the last example into a shell script that would run at startup (discussed elsewhere on this site) and this would then move all files that had been saved loose on the HD (root) to the users Document folder, thereby keeping the hard drive tidy.
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Using Get Info the easy way Desktop
Until now I had been using Get Info the hard way, open and close for each file, but recently, I noticed by accident that by not closing the "Get Info" window and just clicking on a drive, a file, folder, or an application ... I noticed that the information was updated on the fly.

I'm sure this is old news to some but for me it saves a few key strokes and was a nice touch. :-)

[Editor's note: The one-window Get Info interface has both pros and cons ... this tip is the "pro" side; the "con" side is that it's very hard to compare more than two files at once. If you have just two, it's pretty easy to click back and forth and note the difference. If you have three, it's just tedious. Personally, I'm hoping for an option for multiple Get Info windows at some point in the future]
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Changing a dockling's displayed name Desktop
I downloaded and started using the Prefling dockling (as suggested in a comment to my story on direct access to preferences). However, one thing I liked about my method was the rollover name in the dock was something meaningful to me. "Prefling" just didn't strike my fancy.

So I tried renaming the dockling in the Finder and then dragged it to the dock. No go; the rollover name was still "Prefling". A little experimentation found the solution, and it's fairly easy and should work for any dockling.

Make sure that the dockling to edit is not running - drag it out of the dock before you start. In the Finder, navigate to the dockling you wish to change; mine are in the standard Applications/Dock Extras folder. Control- or right-click on the dockling application itself and select "Show Package Contents". In the new window that opens, you should see (at least) a folder named "Contents". Open this, and you'll find "info.plist".

Open this file in a pure text editor (BBEdit lite, jedit, or use vi in the Terminal), and look for the following lines (these are from the Prefling dockling, but they'll be similar in all the docklings):


Change the text between the <string> tags and save your changes (make sure you save as text only!). Drag the app back to the dock, and you should see that the rollover now has the name you gave it.

To be safe, make sure you make a copy of the dockling before you start, just in case something goes wrong.
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Making movies with Snapz Pro for OS X Desktop
In case you missed it, Snapz Pro for OS X has been released by Ambrosia Software.

If you don't own an LCD monitor and a video camera and have been looking for a way to make OS X movies, Snapz Pro is one solution. Making movies is quite straightforward - after installing the software (no restart required, of course), hitting shift-command-3 will activate Snapz Pro from any application.

Once activated, simply click on the large MOVIE button, and then move the highlighted area to the portion of the screen you'd like to film. Drag the corners to expand or shrink the area to be filmed. You can also set a 'camera type' and target FPS in the bottom of the dialog box prior to starting.

Once you're ready to film, double-click inside the region. You'll hear "Action!" and your mouse actions are now being recorded. When you're done, hit shift-command-3 again and you'll hear "That's a wrap!" and recording will cease. Set the quality level you desire and save your QuickTime movie (by default, it goes in your Pictures directory).

Although the frame rates for large screen movies will not match what you can achieve with a separate video camera and LCD monitor, Snapz Pro does an admirable job with a heck of a lot less effort.

In addition, Snapz Pro makes taking pictures of the entire screen, a region of the screen, or (very cool) objects on the screen completely trivial. Ambrosia has written a very solid OS X application, and they'll be getting my shareware fee shortly!
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