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Create distributable slideshow screen savers System
I like to create slideshow screen savers, and I do so using OS X's .slideSaver package format. The advantage of using this format is that you can redistribute your slideshow among friends or family -- that's why I tried my hand at it. Now, making a screen saver is a bit less easy in 10.6 because you have to add the LANG.lproj folders, but here's the rundown for creating these packages.

To make a slideshow screen saver, you do not need a separate application to compile. All you need will be right here. (You might want Property List Editor from the XCode developer tools to build the .plist files, but you can use TextEdit to do that.)

First, create a folder in any convenient place. Title it the name of the screen saver (Car Pictures, for example) and press Return.

To understand the package contents, you must have three files in that folder: an Info.plist file to identify it, a version.plist file to identify the version, and a folder called Resources to hold the pictures. Start by opening the screen saver's folder, and create the Resources folder.
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Create a live music visualizer desktop System
I've always wanted to have a desktop image that was a live music visualizer. This is how I did it. As far as I can tell (by Googling the techniques that have been detailed elsewhere), this is the only start-to-finish instruction to accomplish responsive music visualization on the desktop.

Before you begin, note that the major issue with this hint is that it requires you have the visualizer running in iTunes in order for the desktop visualizer to work. I have a Quad dual-core, so I don't notice a hit in performance, but I'd prefer this to work cleaner. Read on for the how-to if you'd like to see how I did it...
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Add Quick Look support for WordPerfect form files System
OpenOffice will open WordPerfect files, regardless of their extension. Quick Look will allow you to preview .wpd files, as long as you have the WordPerfect.qlgenerator package installed in /Library/Quicklook. However, one cannot Quick Look Wordperfect files with other extensions, such as .frm, which is a name given to Wordperfect form files.

In order to make Quick Look recognize the .frm file type, control-click on the OpenOffice.org.app and select Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. In the Contents folder, double-click the Info.plist file (assuming you have XCode installed). Add a new child under the Exported Type UTIs key. Enter the following information (some of the keys will be there by default, others you will need to enter manually):
  • Conforms to UTIs (array)
    • Item 0 (string): com.corel.wordperfect.doc
  • Identifier (string): com.corel.wordperfect.frm
  • Equivalent Types (array)
    • public.mime-type (array)
      • Item 0 (string): application/vnd.sun.xml.writer
    • public.filename-extension (array)
      • Item 0 (string): frm
If you're working with an editor that edits raw plist files instead of Property List Editor's pretty version, here's how the above would look:
<dict>
  <key>UTTypeConformsTo</key>
  <array>
    <string>com.corel.wordperfect.doc</string>
  </array>
  <key>UTTypeIdentifier</key>
  <string>com.corel.wordperfect.frm</string>
  <key>UTTypeTagSpecification</key>
  <dict>
    <key>public.mime-type</key>
    <array>
      <string>application/vnd.sun.xml.writer</string>
    </array>
    <key>public.filename-extension</key>
    <array>
      <string>frm</string>
    </array>
  </dict>
</dict>
Save Info.plist, open a Terminal window, and type touch /Applications/OpenOffice.org.app/. Your .frm Wordperfect files should now be previewable in Quick Look. Implemented on 10.6.2. (This is an extension of this older hint.)
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Convert high-def DVR files to regular DVDs via Automator System
This hint descrbies a method I've developed for converting high definition (HD) video captured by my Hauppauge HD-PVR into a high-quality standard DVD format using a series of Automator workflows and additional software.

The combination of the Hauppauge HD-PVR video capture and conversion device and Elgato's EyeTV 3 software provides the only method of which I'm aware for capturing high definition video (1080i resolution) from any compatible source.

I do it this way because the issues of cost and portability for routinely preserving video captured at HD resolution make standard DVD format the best choice for me. I also believe that this method gives me a higher quality result, in terms of time and effort spent, than any I could achieve through exporting to iDVD or Toast or anything else that I can afford. Also, I don't believe there's any other way to preserve 5.1 audio when converting video with these specifications to standard DVD format.

I've written a set of detailed instructions for this process. The instructions cover downloading, configuring, and installing the open source software tools needed to make the workflows work, in addition to the Automator workflows themselves.

[robg adds: This hint ran last year, with all the detailed instructions posted here. However, the workflows and process are constantly-evolving, so rather than have an out-of-date method posted here, I've decided to simply link to the instructions. While this means that if the source site vanishes this hint is useless, it was pretty much that way already, given the updates to the workflows that weren't reflected in the hint.]
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Control third-party menu bar icon order via Automator System
I have a few applications launch on start up that include menu bar icons (Delibar, Dropbox, Adium, etc). I noticed their placement in the menu bar related to their on-boot order. Even when ordered them in my preferred order in the Login Items tab of the Accounts System Preferences panel, I couldn't get the icons to come out in that order due to application launch times.

Tonight I created a simple Automator script that adds a pause (the Pause action in the Utilities (10.6) or Automator (10.5) Library) before launching an application. For example, I added a seven-second pause before launching Dropbox, so that it's menu bar icon would load after that of Delibar.

I then call the delayed launcher(s) in the Login Items panel to control the load order.

[robg adds: Another alternative, as covered in this hint, is to put all of your login items into an AppleScript, and use timing and order in that AppleScript to control launch order.]
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Clear just one type of Recent Items from the Apple Menu System
The Apple Menu's Recent Items menu has a Clear Menu command, which clears out all the entries in that menu. But what if your want to clear just one category -- just Documents, for example?

You can clear just one type of Recent Items by going to System Preferences » Appearance, and temporarily setting the 'Number of recent items' for the category you want to clear to None. That category will be cleared out, and then you can reset it to the number of items you usually keep (the items previously there will not reappear). This works for in 10.6 and probably earlier, but I never discovered it before.

(If you have the Recent Items Stack in your Dock, and you clear the category that the stack is currently showing, it will disappear, although it will still take up a Dock space. In other words, it's a Stack with nothing in it. If you click on that empty-looking space, your Dock may restart -- at least mine does. Don't be alarmed; no harm is done.)
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Easily hide files or folders from users in the Finder System
I'm surprised I couldn't find this anywhere on the site yet, but it seems to be the easiest way to hide files or folders from the Finder. This is particularly useful, for example, for hiding a user's Library folder from a less computer-savvy user, as you're afraid they might mess something up in there. To hide a user's Library folder, just type the following code into a Terminal window:
chflags hidden ~/Library
Of course, you can replace the path to the Library folder with any other folder or file you would like to hide. This will only make the folder hidden from the Finder under normal browsing; it can still be accessed through the Terminal or by using the Finder's Go » Go to Folder menu option.

If you want to unhide the Library, type the following code into a Terminal:
chflags nohidden ~/Library
[robg adds: chflags hidden was discussed in this hint about hiding Time Capsule. The other way to hide files and folders is to use SetFile, as explained in this hint. Note that SetFile requires the Xcode Developer Tools be installed.]
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Fix a 'Could not set indexing status for volume' Spotlight error System
I have read several forums which discuss the "Could not set indexing status for volume" error message from mdutil, but none of the responses explain why this happens. There are several reasons for getting this error message from mdutil, the tool for changing Spotlight settings. Here are a few of the reasons, and the remedies...
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10.6: Remove time/date stamp from screen shot filenames System
Snow Leopard only hintI upgraded my system to Snow Leopard from Tiger, and noticed that Snow Leopard adds a date and time stamp to screen shots' filenames. I really don't care about this new feature, and wanted to remove it. After a bit of a search, I found the solution.

Type (copy) into Terminal:
sudo /Applications/TextEdit.app/Contents/MacOS/TextEdit /System/Library/CoreServices/SystemUIServer.app/Contents/Resources/English.lproj/Localizable.strings
After you type your password, TextEdit will come up and it will open a text file (Localizable.strings) with root editing powers. Search for these lines:
/* Format screencapture file names */
"%@ %@ at %@" = "%1$@ %2$@ at %3$@";
Between the quotes on the right side of the equals sign is the date and time addition. Just edit it, something like this:
/* Format screencapture file names */
"%@ %@ at %@" = "Screen Shot";
Make sure to not leave this empty! Using the above example, the first screen shot file will be named Screen Shot, and then Screen Shot 1, Screen Shot 2, etc.

If you are using a system language other than English, change the Terminal command as needed. For example, French.lproj, German.lproj, etc. When you are ready, use Save (not Save As) in TextEdit and quit. If you want to see the result immediately, restart the SystemUIServer in Terminal:
killall SystemUIServer
Note that I tested this only on Snow Leopard.

[robg adds: I imagine this will break code signing on the SystemUIServer app...but I'm not sure what impact that may have on daily use. I have not tested this one myself.]
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How to fix programs that were improperly added to the Dock System
In the Spotlight (last page) article in the January 2010 issue of Macworld, John Gruber briefly mentions that he has many friends who have improperly installed applications by dragging the disk image (DMG) file directly to the Dock. However, the Spotlight article did not mention how to fix this problem.

My brother in-law had this problem, and was totally confused why, every time he clicked on his Dock icon, OS X mounted the disk image and showed him the install folder, and then moved on to open the program. For those new to the platform, here's how to solve the problem. (Be sure to back up any program-specific files you'd like to keep before doing this.)

The first thing to do is to remove the Application's icon from the Dock. This is done by dragging it off the Dock until it disappears in a puff of smoke. Now do a Spotlight search (Spotlight is the magnifying glass at the top right of the screen) with the name of the specific troublesome application, and then click on the Show All option at the top of the list.
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