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Creating custom shortcuts with apostrophes System
I'm running OS X localized in French and recently started using custom keyboard shortcuts extensively. But I've come across a few menu items for which I could not create a shortcut. I realized that all these items contained apostrophes. Not the same apostrophe as the one on the keyboard though (’ vs. ' which is a single quote, ascii 39).

I managed to find the right char in a *.strings file inside the Ressource/French.lproj folder of the application package (Teminal.app in this case), which I could then copy and paste in System Preferences » Keyboard » Shortcuts.

I know the solution provided here is not very elegant. Maybe you will figure out something better.

[crarko adds: And if someone does have an alternative solution, please share it in the comments.]
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Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes System
I wanted to use Time Machine on my exFAT hard drive, but turns out that these volumes aren't supported from Time Machine! There is a very simple way to use Time Machines on unsupported hard drives, as long as you follow these instructions carefully you shouldn't have any issues at all.

First, connect the unsupported volume (in this case, an exFAT external hard drive.) When it mounts, open the Terminal and type these commands, substituting 'My External HDD Name' for the name of the unsupported volume.

cd /Volumes
cd 'My External HDD Name'


Next, type this code, substituting for your needs:

hdiutil create -size 320g -type SPARSEBUNDLE -fs "HFS+J" MacBook-Backup.sparsebundle
open MacBook-Backup.sparsebundle


Here, a 320GB sparse bundle named 'MacBook-Backup' is being made and mounted. You can change these values as you see fit. From herein, I'll refer to the sparse bundle name as 'MacBook-Backup'.

After you've run these commands, a new volume named untitled will appear on your Desktop. This will become your Time Machine backup volume. If you want, rename it to something else (I called mine MacBook Pro Backup) and run the command:

diskutil list

You should see a list appear of all connected volumes. Find your new volume's name and read along until you find the disk identifier. In this case, my identifier is disk2s2, but yours may be different.

Finally, enter the commands below (entering your password if prompted). Replace disk2s2 with your identifier, and 'MacBook Pro Backup' with the name of your new Time Machine volume.

sudo diskutil enableOwnership /dev/disk2s2
sudo tmutil setdestination '/Volumes/MacBook Pro Backup'


Now, open the Time Machine preference pane in System Preferences, and turn Time Machine on. That's it - you've set up Time Machine with an unsupported volume!

[crarko adds: I'd suggest having a known good backup handy before trying any procedure like this, just in case. If Time Machine recognizes the volume you should be good. The hint resembles what has been done using network volumes. If you do try this out please post your experience to the comments.]
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Hiding Software Updates System
Since the introduction of Lion the system's Software Opdate mechanism has been integrated into App Store.app and the Software Update Preference Pane has been removed and substituted with "App Store".

If you constantly are being reminded to install software updates you don't really want to install, you can right-click (Control+click) the name of the update and hide it, eliminating the reminder.

[crarko adds: I think this is probably known already to many of you, but if it's not it can be a handy trick. I find the whole App Store method for Software Update a lot less pleasant than the old Snow Leopard mechanism where it was separate, but maybe I'm just old fashioned.]
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Screen Sharing: Drag and Drop copy System
Maybe less of a hint, and more of a "I didn't know you could do that!"

If you have connected to a remote Mac using Screen Sharing and don't have a mounted disk, then you can still copy between the two Macs via drag and drop.

Basically, you take a file from the local Finder and drag it to a window of the remote Finder. This will automatically initiate a copy. The reverse is also true. A little experimenting shows numerous applications can act as source, but in all cases a Finder window needs to be the final destination.

[crarko adds: I've done this for ages using things other than Apple's built-in Screen Sharing program, so I don't know when this became available. Did it come along with AirDrop? The full Remote Desktop program has done this since the beginning.]
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Use the Mountain Lion installer behind a Squid proxy server System

When re-installing Mountain Lion from the Recovery Partition, the installer needs to check installation eligibility with Apple's servers. If your computer needs to access the Internet through a proxy server for whatever reason, the installer won't pick up on this; it will attempt to make a direct connection, fail, and tell you to contact AppleCare.

As per my earlier hint (10.7: Get the Lion installer to work behind a proxy server), you could simply use the networksetup command in Terminal to get around this. However, as of 10.8 Apple's software download servers appear to require additional checks to verify machine eligibility which - if you're behind a squid proxy server - may require additional configuration changes to squid itself in order for it to work. You may therefore need help from your network administrator for that part.

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Avoid a cluttered download folder by using /tmp System
First thing I do when I get a new system is to redirect downloads from ~/Downloads to /tmp.

The advantage with this adjustment is that in /tmp files older than a week is automatically deleted (and at every restart). Almost all files I download don't need to be stored, for example:

1. Installers. Run the installer (or dmg) from /tmp and then forget about it and it is automatically deleted within a couple of days.

2. PDFs I just want to read (or possibly print) once.

3. Templates, e.g. expense reports and similar (typically .doc or .xls). I download it, fill it in, generate a pdf and e-mail to the appropriate recipient. No need to keep the original template.

4. Torrents. Download the torrent, add it to your torrent client and then there is no need to keep the original torrent file around anymore. Besides, a lot of the files I download using torrents I just "use" them once so they can be also be downloaded to the same folder as the torrent is stored in, that is /tmp.

If I ever need a file that has been deleted from /tmp I just go to the browsers download history and download it again. Happens me maybe once or twice/year. So much easier than trying to find a file among hundreds of randomly named files in the Download folder.


I also always drag /tmp to the sidebar in the Finder and use it for - ta-da - temporary storage of files I work with briefly. Then I never need to cleanup my Downloads or Documents folder ending up in situations where "Hmm, what is this six months old file? Should I keep it or not?". If I put it in /tmp I know that

The very few downloads I want to store more permanently I just select Save as… when I click the download link and directly store them where they are supposed to go.

I just wished I could change the download folder for applications such as Bluetooth receive file, Skype, Mail.app etc. They still fill up my download folder in a very useless way.
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Applescript to work around a Finder bug in Mavericks System
Mavericks introduced several bugs into the Finder. One of them is that in List View, the Finder frequently loses track of the column widths, and makes the Name column so wide that the other columns aren't visible unless one scrolls the window horizontally.

The following Applescript resets the column widths to something sensible. It uses a couple kludges to work around some *other* Finder bugs that Mavericks introduced.
-- Reset the width of the Finder's Name column to something sensible. 
tell application "Finder"
	set thisFolder to target of front Finder window
	set the current view of front Finder window to list view
	-- In previous versions of OS X, the next line would tell the Finder to set the width
	-- to exactly 300. In Mavericks, the Finder uses it as a *minimum* width.
	set width of column id name column of list view options of Finder window 1 to 300
	-- The following kludge is necessary to get the changes to "take". I got it from 
	-- Dr. Drang at www.leancrew.com/all-this/2013/10/quick-switch-to-big-finder-icons
	close front Finder window
	open thisFolder
end tell
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Mavericks offers an easier way to reveal the user's Library folder System
Since Apple hid the user Library folder in Lion, there have been various methods of displaying, revealing or navigating to it. Apple have introduced a new one in 10.9.

There is an option to reveal the user Library in the Finder -> View Options. It only appears when the view options are selected for a window showing the user's home folder.
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Sync the current loginwindow text to the FileVault unlock screen System
You can use the following command to sync the current loginwindow text to the FDE loginwindow:

sudo touch /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/EFILogin.framework/Resources/EFIResourceBuilder.bundle/Contents/Resources
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Open QuickLook previews in other apps System
In Mavericks, when you QuickLook files, there's an Open In button at the upper right, which lets you open the previewed document in the default app associated with the file in question.

But what if you want to open the document in a different app? For example, you're previewing a Microsoft Word document, but would prefer to open the file in Preview instead.

Just click and hold on the Open In Microsoft Word button, and a list of other, compatible apps appears. Choose the one you're after, and you're good to go.
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