One missing element of Time Machine has been the ability to encrypt the backups. There have been suggestions of ways this can be done to an AFP connected network share using a sparse disk image, but not on a directly connected device. The method below shows how to accomplish this on a local volume.
One of the occasional irritations of working with launchd is that it doesn't naturally expand shell wildcard characters (~,*,?,...). This means that full paths have to be spelled out for all files: an annoyance at best, and an obstacle when commands need to select specific groups of files or do work across different home folders. For example, a command to clean certain files from a user folder when any user logs in, which is simple enough to write in the shell -- rm -f ~/Folder/*.xxx -- fails when written into a launchd plist.
Occasionally the bluetooth process can decide it doesn't want to connect to any devices. Turning bluetooth off means you can't re-enable, but with Bluetooth Explorer, you can force it to do so.
When in this broken Bluetooth state, trying to connect to any Bluetooth device will cause an error. I usually try turning off Bluetooth when it has issues, but in this state it will refuse to turn back on (the menu bar option for 'Turn Bluetooth On' is greyed out). I'm sure a restart would fix, but I've found that if you have the Developer Utilities installed, Bluetooth Explorer.app will do the trick.
Simply start up the app, located in /Developer/Applications/Utilities/Bluetooth/, and it will give you a message about turning on the controller -- ignore this, as it doesn't seem to help. Once it's started, go to the 'Utilities' menu and select 'HCI Controller Selector'. In most machines, I think you'll just have one 'Apple Inc, Bluetooth USB Host Controller.' Select the controller, hit 'Activate', and Bluetooth goes back to normal.
[crarko adds: I don't know if this is just 10.5 specific. I've never encountered the issue. However, the Bluetooth Explorer utility can provide a wealth of information about not just your controller, but any Bluetooth device it can detect. Go to Devices» Show Device Discovery and then select a device and click 'Get Device Info...' It's a handy little app.]
Mac OS X users have not needed the ability to defragment their hard drives. Most defragging is done in the background by the OS. There is one caveat: OS X does not defragment files larger than 20 MB. Quite often, many game files are easily larger than 20 MB. Fragmentation of game files will negatively impact performance of games, particularly FPS games.
Valve has included a defragmenter in the Steam client. Each game installed can be selected and right clicked to bring up the properties box. Once in the Properties box, select the Local Files tab and click Defragment Cache Files to begin defragmenting the game.
The author's blog has some screenshots of the process.
[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. Here and here are some good discussions on the 'Hot-File-Adaptive-Clustering' method Apple uses in HFS+, and its effectiveness. On the whole it's been quite good. The 20 MB file size limit mentioned is one of the limitations, along with the number of extents used. I don't know if you still need to be wary of defragging a FileVault home folder, but I'd err on the side of caution and make sure I had a known good backup before trying it.]
iStat is a great program for keeping track of your system by displaying menulings showing CPU usage, memory usage etc. In Mac OS X menulings (also called menu extras) are managed by a program called SystemUIServer.
iStat appears to have a memory leak where over time, the REAL memory used by SystemUIServer grows basically without bound. Memory usage that should be around 40MB balloons to 300MB then to 1.3GB over a few weeks of never rebooting. This would be bad enough if it was the virtual address space that was being used up this way, but this is real memory, causing real memory pressure and real swapping.
Obviously the ideal would be for Bjango to get on the case and fix this bug. Since they appear unwilling to do so, I have come up with a workaround.
The availability of software like Perian and Flip4Mac that make non-Apple video formats available to QuickTime and players like VLC and MPlayer means that many of us have files in formats like Flash and Windows Media Video that Mac OS X's Spotlight metadata subsystem recognizes as 'Movies' but for which it cannot determine video-specific metadata like dimensions, codecs, duration, and bitrate. It is possible to fix this in Leopard by duplicating and modifying a piece of the base OS, but in Snow Leopard it takes a bit more effort.
(This hint is also useful for 10.5 and probably 10.4, but 10.6 adds a special twist.)
If you're a frequent user of Spaces, you'll often find yourself moving windows between spaces, however, if you like to have your large windows properly centered (e.g. in Safari or other browsers) you'll find it difficult to properly center the window when moving between spaces, leaving part of the window off-screen, and needing to be adjusted.
The solution is simple, all you have to do is enter Exposť from the spaces overview, and then move the windows between spaces. Once you exit Exposť, you'll find the window will be in the exact same location on the screen it was in the previous space.
[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. On my MacBook I just used the default keyboard settings of F8 to get into the Spaces overview, and then F9 to bring up Exposť in 'All windows' mode. If you've changed those key bindings, use your correct ones, or you could combine the two using this hint.]
I dislike the Windows-like arrows in the lower left corner of alias icons. Ever since Panther came out, I'd been using the technique described in this hint to get rid of them. After updating to 10.5.8 the pesky arrows were back, I had a little trouble locating the tip for 10.5, because it is categorized for 10.3, and updated information for Tiger users is only presented at the end of the comments. This method works for Leopard [crarko adds: and Snow Leopard] as well. Hence, this version summarizes (and slightly elaborates on) the Tiger-specific instructions from the original submission.
Recently I installed several hundred fonts in one fell swoop. This was a mistake, because all my apps slowed down (especially Microsoft Office). While the fonts are useful, and I needed to keep them, I needed them only for DTP. My mistake was to install them to the computer, rather than just the user account I use for DTP.
I tried using various font management apps to move them across to the user account but I wasn't sure which fonts were the new ones, compared to the old or System fonts.
The solution was to dig into /Library/Fonts/ and sort the files by date. Sure enough, the new fonts had the same creation date and I was able to manually drag them across to my own ~/Library/Fonts/ folder.
After a quick flush of the font cache, everything is back to normal and my system speed has been restored. Other user accounts now work perfectly.
[crarko adds: I've had to do similar things for clients of mine, and yes it can be a pain. This hint covers clearing the font cache for Leopard and Snow Leopard, and this one is for Tiger. There are also a number of third party utilities that can do this.]