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Control auto-opening windows on mounted Volumes System
I think that most of you know that some volumes, like the OS X Install DVD or downloaded disk images, automatically open a Finder window when mounted. I use an external FireWire drive with lots of different partitions on it, and one of them holds a clone of the OS X Install DVD for faster installations. Since it's cloned, it acts the same way as the DVD: it auto-opens in the Finder.

After quite some time, I got annoyed by this enough to seek a solution -- I didn't want to see this window every time I connected the drive. So I asked on the forums here for help, and user biovizier pointed me in the right direction. Thanks!
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Use built-in PDF tagging feature to help organize files System
I save dozens of web pages every week as PDFs. This allows me to store the information locally, keep the source URL, eliminate any risk of the site disappearing and me losing access to the content, and the saved documents are searchable. The issue I've been mulling for a while is how best to tag and organize the files I've accumulated.

I've looked at all the tagging and organizing applications I could find (Yojimbo, Tags, DevonThink, etc.). For my tastes, they all suffer from one of a few common limitations, all of which ruled them out for me: some applications duplicate files, some require a background process, and some had an interface I simply didn't like. Perhaps worst for me was how the applications stored tag metadata. The most common methods are an application-specific database or, worse, Spotlight Comments. The database method means all my tagging is dependent on one file, and the Spotlight Comments method has numerous instances when the metadata doesn't transfer if files are moved, such as when e-mailing files.

Snow Leopard, like Leopard before it, allows you to add keywords to a PDF when using the Print » Save as PDF feature. The big advantage of this method is that the metadata is stored in the file. Snow Leopard, though, adds a new feature that's very helpful. It now remembers previously-used keywords. If you use Print » Save as PDF to add the keyword macosxhints to a file, the next time a PDF is being saved with the Print » Save as PDF button, this keyword will be an autocomplete option if the text being entered matches. Note, though, that the autocomplete feature only seems to be available in the Print » Save as PDF dialog, though keywords added using any method in one application (e.g., TextEdit) will be available in another (e.g., Safari).

Keyword tagging can also be applied in Microsoft Office documents via the File » Document Properties dialog. TextEdit can have them added via the File » Show Properties dialog. Photoshop also allows this via the File » File Info command. InDesign and Illustrator do, too, but this metadata is not accessible by Spotlight. There are probably other applications that work, but that's what I've tested so far. Note that for any file which has keywords which Spotlight can read, the information can be seen in a Finder Get Info window by looking in the More Info section.
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One possible fix for a Mac that won't sleep its display System
A little while back i started noticing that my MacBook Pro's display wasn't going to sleep. My Energy Saver settings were configured to put the display to sleep after 15 minutes, but it wasn't happening, even after hours of idle time.

After quite a bit of hunting and head scratching, I finally figured out what was going on. I'd been working on the website for my iPhone game (HexaLex), and I'd opened the Convertbot website in a Safari tab as a source of inspiration.

The Convertbot site has an embedded QuickTime movie demonstrating their user interface. It turns out that this QuickTime movie was preventing the display from sleeping, even though it wasn't in the frontmost tab. Closing that tab solved the problem.

So if your Mac's display isn't sleeping, be sure to check your browser tabs for embedded movies!
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Set up Windows 7 'Aero Snap' workalikes in OS X System
You may know about the Aero Snap feature of Windows 7 which allows a user to "resize to half" a window by dragging it to the left or right side of the screen, or to maximize it by dragging it to the top edge of the screen (or by using shortcuts).

With a few AppleScripts and the shortcut manager Spark, you can get this feature in Mac OS X -- at least via shortcuts, though not by dragging to a screen edge.
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Set files' modification time from Finder System
This hint is about touching files from the Finder to update their mod time, much as you can do in Terminal with the touch command. Here's how:
  1. Select files to be 'touched' in the Finder.
  2. Press Command-Option-I to open the multiple item info inspector window (File » Show Inspector).
  3. Toggle/activate the Open With pop-up menu. You needn't select anything, just click to activate the menu.
The file's modified timestamp will be updated to now time; tested in 10.6.2.

[robg adds: In my testing, I didn't have any luck with the time changing just by merely activating the menu; I had to select the currently-active option for the chosen files. If I selected files with different Open With settings (such that the pop-up menu reads Not Applicable), I couldn't change the modification timestamp at all via this method.]
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Add Quick Look Support for MKV Files System
First download and install the Perian QuickTime codec package, if you haven't done so already. Then download NicePlayer, and drag it to your Applications folder. Once that's done, launch NicePlayer and then quit it. Now open a new Terminal window and type the following to reload the Quick Look server:
qlmanage -r
Once you've done that, you should be able to open any MKV file in Quick Look. At this point, you can delete NicePlayer if you want, as it's already served its purpose. I've only tested this in Snow Leopard, but I assume it would work for Leopard as well, as NicePlayer only requires 10.4 or higher. On the off chance it doesn't work, though, you can try this QuickTime hack.
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Change the user on networked Time Machine backups System
When I first set up Time Machine over the network, I realized that I didn't want the backup to happen using my regular user account, so that I could change my personal password at will. This hint quickly lists the steps you need to go through in order to make the change to an existing sparsebundle, so that you can keep doing incremental backups. It avoids the pain of a full backup after changing the user.

This setup assumes the following: Mac Pro with connected FW800 external drive and MacBook Pro laptop. Mac Pro backs up locally along with the MBP storing a sparsebundle over the network onto the same disk.

First, turn off Time Machine for the device associated with the sparsebundle you are changing. At a high level, the steps are:
  1. Create a new user on the Mac Pro called backup.
  2. Recursively change the permissions on the sparsebundle to include backup.
  3. Check whether the mount works correctly from the MBP.
  4. Turn Time Machine back on.
Read on for the detailed walkthrough...
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Uninstall an AppleScript application from within Itself System
If you make tiny apps that you distribute to friends and family who aren't particularly Mac-literate, you might find this snippet of code helpful:
set theUNIXPath to path to me as alias
set thePosixPath to (POSIX path of theUNIXPath) as string
set thePosixPath to (items 1 thru ((length of thePosixPath) - 1) of thePosixPath)
		
do shell script "sleep 1 &> /dev/null &
mv " & thePosixPath & " ~/.trash/YOURAPPNAMEGOESHERE.app"
return
Basically, any app with that code inserted (and properly activated based on response to a user's action) moves itself to the trash.

How it works: it calls sleep 1 with a bash redirection command &> /dev/null &, which initiates the script, but returns to the app immediately. The effect is that your AppleScript app will exit before the second command moves the app to the trash.
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Move the cursor during Page Up, Page Down scrolling System
When you hit Page Up or Page Down in certain OS X programs (TextEdit for one), the cursor position normally doesn't move; only your scroll position does. As a result, typing or using an arrow key will zoom you back to the cursor position. If you prefer to move the cursor position too, hold Option along with Page Up or Page Down. You can add in Shift to select the text, too.

[robg adds: This won't work in every app; I couldn't make it work in Mail in 10.5, for instance. It worked in TextEdit in both 10.5 and 10.6, though.]
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Transfer a Time Machine disk to a disk image file System
What if you have a local hard disk being used as a Time Machine backup, and you want to move it to a server, to encrypt it, or otherwise make it more easily moveable? However, you'd like to continue to use it as a Time Machine backup store without losing your history.

One way to achieve this seems to be to copy the Time Machine hard disk to a disk image (optionally encrypted), which can then be copied, moved around, and used for continuing Time Machine backups.

It is done in three steps in the terminal:
  1. Create an image (optionally encrypted) of the same size as the Time Machine hard disk. You can use the script from this hint, or simply copy and execute the relevant parts of it. With the script, the command would look something like this:
    mkBackupImage.sh -p /path/to/disk/image -s nnn
    Replace the nnn with the size of the original Time Machine disk (and replace the path bit, too).
  2. Mount the new image:
    open /path/to/disk/image
  3. Use asr to make a block copy of the hard disk to the image:

    sudo asr --source /Volumes/TM_backup --target /Volumes/mounted_image_name --erase
Read on for a quick example, and a cautionary note on restoring from the new disk image backup.
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