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.]
A user came to me the other day with a Mac mini. They weren't having any problems but they noticed that normally, clicking on 'Sleep' from the Apple menu took just a few seconds or so but recently, was taking up to thirty seconds or longer.
Naturally, I looked at their Energy Saver settings; runaway processes in Activity Monitor, etc. to find a cause for the behavior but nothing seemed out of the norm.
I ran Terminal and input pmset -g pslog (to view the Power Manager log in real time) and found that their were lots of slow responses. However, the one that I noticed right away was the printer/fax timeout. I opened up the user's printer queue and sure enough, three documents waiting to be printed even though the printer wasn't connected in days. Cleared them out, selected 'Sleep' again and within 1-2 seconds the machine was sleeping.
[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. We've mentioned useful applications of pmset before; here's yet another.]
Press Command-Tab to bring up OS X's application switcher. Keep holding down the Command key. Press Tab to cycle forward through open applications, the tilde (~) key (just above Tab) to cycle backward, the arrow keys to move back and forth, or the mouse to point and choose an app. When you release the Command key, whichever application's icon was selected is made active.
However, without leaving the application switcher, you can quit or hide/unhide applications. Select the icon of the program you want to quit or hide, and press 'Q' to quit and 'H' to hide. Select the program you want to go to (for me, usually just the one I started in), and release the command key. This method also works for unhiding apps, just press 'H' again.
This is a great way to quit and hide applications without changing focus, and you can do it all with the keyboard. I've found it much faster than using the dock or switching, quitting, switching back.
Also, (I believe this has been noted here before) hold down option before dismissing the switcher and the selected application will come to focus and open the most recently minimized window, or, if there are no minimized windows, make a new one.
[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. I think this has been around quite a while and may well have been mentioned here before as a keyboard shortcut, but shortcuts are always appreciated by the newer readers.]
Due to a issue with Safari crashing I had to perform an Archive & Install OS repair. I recovered my user account from Time Machine but there isn't enough space or time to download all the pictures, movies and installers. So I figured I'd just move them from the old account folder. Only the finder wanted to copy the folders not move them. It would move the files. So I wrote an AppleScript script to force it to move the folders. Remember this is only for moving folders on the same partition.
tell application "Finder"
set theSource to choose folder with prompt "Source"
set theDestination to choose folder with prompt "Destination"
move items of theSource to theDestination
[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. There was an earlier hint about moving (rather than copying) and some of the comments there presented other alternatives.]
The keyboards on Mac notebooks, and now desktops, too, have no number pad. It used to be that notebook keyboards had a numlock key, and you could use the letter keys on the right hand side of the keyboard as a number pad, but that feature seems to have vanished. It can, however, be brought back with AppleScript. [crarko adds: You can get it by pressing and holding the 'fn' key, which is also cumbersome.]