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Use a cron job to prevent hard drive spindown System
There has been reported problems with second hard drives (e.g. Maxtor) that repeatedly spin down and then freeze the system for >5 - 6 seconds before they come back to life. This is very annoying. However, it is easy to work around this by creating a "cron job". This will keep your drive up and alive ( sleep).

If you'd like to learn how to use 'cron' to keep your second drive occupied and awake, read the rest of this article.
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Security update and 10.1 reinstall issue! System
As noted on MacFixIt and a couple of email lists I receive, the recent Security Update seems to carry a very heavy penalty with it:

This article states that you cannot reinstall OS X 10.1 over an existing installation if the security update has been installed. Instead you must reformat the hard drive before reinstalling OS X 10.1! There's a reader report on MacFixIt that claims success in reinstalling 5G64 (the pre-security-fix build) over 5L14, but it's unconfirmed by anyone else at this point.

I have to agree with the majority here - this is amazingly bad. It used to be that an easy way to fix an unfixable OS X problem was to re-run the installer; it would repair the existing installation without touching anything. Now, instead, it appears we have to reformat our drives in order to reinstall. I, for one, would not be happy about having to backup and restore some of the more 'deeply rooted' programs I've installed such as mySQL and SAMBA. So instead of a quick "install in place", I'd be looking at the time loss from not only backing up and restoring my normal user and applications folders, but also reinstalling and configuring all of my more complex UNIX installations ... some of which took considerable time to get working.

Apple needs to fix this problem, and quickly!
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Customize the menubar icons System
Tired of the boring black and white menubar icons for AirPort, monitors, sound, etc? You can customize the colors by using a combination of Photoshop and Preview -- this thread on the MacNN forums has a general overview of the process.

Basically you need to edit the icons in Photoshop, save them in Photoshop format, then open and convert to TIFF files in Preview. Replace back into the application bundle for the particular menubar item, and you should get a colored version the next time you drag it to the menubar.

Update: In the spirit of keeping everything in one thread, here's a relocated article on the airport menubar icon...

I guess I spend too much time customizing my Mac OS X system, but turning the AirPort Menu Item to all orange was a dead give away for me :) All the images representing the various states of the AirPort network have been modified to be a light or dark orange.

If you'd like to colorize your Airport menubar icon, read the rest of the article...
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Wake from sleep help in 10.1 System
Prior to the release of 10.1, my G4 with an Adaptec card would not sleep at all. It was greyed out in both the Energy Saver and the Apple menu. With 10.1, though, it's now possible (although this is still not the 'deep' sleep of a non-Adaptec machine).

Sometimes though, especially if the machine has been sleeping a long time (overnight), when I return and try moving the mouse or hitting the keyboard to wake the machine up, nothing happens. The first time this happened, I thouhgt I'd crashed so I went and pressed the power button on the front of the machine. I didn't hold it in long enough, though, so I was about to press it again when I saw the screen come back to life.

So if you have an apparently dead sleeping machine, try touching (briefly) the power button and see if it awakens your machine. This has worked for me every time I've used it, and it also worked on a friend's G4 (also with an Adaptec card). It seems that sleep mode puts our USB keyboards and mice so far into sleep that they aren't even listening for activity. The power button, though, gets the machine's attention.

This fix may not work for everyone who's having wake from sleep issues, but it's at least worth a try.
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The many modes of the dock's trashcan System
The trashcan icon in the dock (but not on the desktop, if you've implemented that hack) has many different faces, depending on what's being dropped on it. I was quite familiar with the standard "trash" function, of course ... and I'd gotten used to the Eject symbol when a removable drive was dragged onto the trash. But the Burn symbol and the scissors were new to me.

You see the burn symbol when you drag a recordable disc onto the trash (I guess I use the contextual menus too much, as I'd never seen it!). A dialog then pops-up asking if you'd like to cancel, burn, or eject. The scissors were pointed out in an email on the Omnigroup's OS X Talk mailing list. You get the scissors when you drag an icon from the Finder toolbar to the trashcan, I suppose to represent you cutting the icon from the toolbar.

Any more trashcan states that haven't been identified here?
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Change the default paper size to A4 System
This was emailed to me by Peter P., and I think it's been published a few other places now. If you don't want "US Letter" as your default paper size, here's how to change it.

If you want your page layout to default to A4 size, instead of letter, just paste this into Terminal. It will copy the British resources to the (American) English location:
sudo cp[space]
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: I've broken this onto SEVERAL lines to keep the story narrow enough to read! Do NOT copy and paste the entire section. Replace the '[space]' words with an actual space character, and enter this on one line. There are ONLY two spaces in the entire string after "cp", as shown above.
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Add a second command key to your PowerBook System
Have a PowerBook or iBook with only one command key? Wishing that the enter key could be used as a second command key instead, even in Mac OS X 10.1?

Well now you can!

There's a kernel extension written by Michael Baltaks on his homepage that remaps the enter key to perform as a command key.

Check it out.

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Open Firmware passwords and non-US keyboards System

Apple included an Open Firmware Password application on the MacOS X 10.1 CD, which allows you to prevent you Mac from being booted from another volume, so people cannot bypass the authorizations defined on your drive. If you want to use this application, you will have to read this macfixit report and also this Tech Info article from Apple.

People who are using non-US keyboards should be aware that MacOS X will use your currently active keyboard (in the keyboard menu) to set the password. However, Open Firmware does not, because keyboard mapping is loaded much later in the boot process. As a consequence, your password will probably not be recognized by Open Firmware at boot time. To work around this, you can use directly Open Firmware to set your password, or you can select the US keyboard from the keyboard menu before setting your password in the Open Firmware Password application.

NOTE:SecureMac revealed a security hole in the password protection.

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Netinfo and root user security hole System
I found this interesting discussion on the MacNN forums talking about a Netinfo security hole and the root account.

When you have the Terminal in the recent applications menu, and Netinfo Manager in the foreground, launch the Terminal (from the Recent Items Apple menu) and you will be logged in as the root user. The person who posted said that he didn't even have the root password enabled.

I tried this (I do have the root password enabled) in 10.1 (5G64) and the same thing happened.

[Editor's addition: The MacNN forums go on to pinpoint the cause (Netinfo Manager essentially runs as root while it's running) as well as a workaround - disable excecute permissions for those who aren't members of the Admin group. However, exactly HOW to do this is not listed. You should be able to do this in the terminal:
sudo chmod o-x "/Applications/Utilities/NetInfo Manager"
This removes the execute bit for "others", leaving it for "user" (root) and "group" (admin, which your normal user is a part of). I switched mine, and my admin user continues to be able to use NetInfo Manager, but I don't have a non-admin user to test with at the moment.]

[NOTE: Above recommendation reflects comments listed below - thanks all!]
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Add browsers to the Internet prefs panel System
A while back, I published an article titled Retaining OmniWeb as the default browser. This hack has changed a bit with the release of 10.1, and I thought I'd add information on how to make other browsers appear in the "Web" pop-up portion of the Internet preferences panel, and to set any one of them as the default.

The article might also be of interest if your "Web" setting seems to have amnesia - you change it, but then it randomly changes back to IE. I'll explain how to eliminate all choices except for your favorite, which (at least for me so far!) seems to prevent the "IE amnesia" from recurring.

So if you'd like to see more browser choices in your Web pop-up, or just prevent the Web pane from forgetting your preferred choice, read the rest of this article.
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