There are many hints here and on the net involving changing user defaults by running defaults write or directly editing the .plist files in Library/Preferences. Until 10.9, restarting the program was enough to apply the new defaults.
Since OS X Mavericks, the defaults system is caching the preferences system-wide (i.e. not in the application's process!) to improve performance of the user defaults API. If you use the defaults command, you are fine, since it appears to use the normal user defaults API.
On the other hand, if you edit a preference .plist file with a text or plist editor (even the one included with the most recent Xcode 5 preview), the cache will not be flushed and even after restarting the program in question, it will retain the old preferences.
The API documentation states that the cache is synchronized with the on-disk plist file contents periodically, but does not indicate how often, let alone how to flush the cache manually.
Logging out and back in appears to flush the user defauts cache, but other than that, the defaults command is currently the only way to reliably change preferences without waiting for the timeout.
Want to add a user to a specific group using the command line? dseditgroup is your friend! Add users, or groups, to a group you create or system groups which control access to services.
Make sure to insert your local admin's short name (localadmin) and the user (username) or group (groupname) you're trying to add.
Remote Login (SSH)
User: dseditgroup -o edit -n /Local/Default -u localadmin -p -a username -t user com.apple.access_ssh
Group: dseditgroup -o edit -n /Local/Default -u localadmin -p -a groupname -t group com.apple.access_ssh
User: dseditgroup -o edit -n /Local/Default -u localadmin -p -a username -t user com.apple.access_screensharing
Group: dseditgroup -o edit -n /Local/Default -u localadmin -p -a groupname -t group com.apple.access_screensharing
User: dseditgroup -o edit -n /Local/Default -u localadmin -p -a username -t user _lpadmin
Group: dseditgroup -o edit -n /Local/Default -u localadmin -p -a groupname -t group _lpadmin
-o specifies the operation (edit in this case)
-n specifies the domain (another example is /LDAPv3/127.0.0.1 on an ODM)
-u is the admin user to authenticate with (use diradmin for network domains)
-p tells it to prompt for a password
-a tells it to add a user or group
-t specifies the type, user or group
Though it's come up in a comment in the past, we've never specifically called out a handy, quick way to check how healthy your Mac laptop's battery really is.
If you hold down the Option key before you click on the battery status icon in the menu bar, an additional entry appears in the menu: Condition. You're hoping to see "Condition: Normal." (The Condition line won't appear if you hold down Option after you've already clicked on the menu.)
The other options besides Normal are Replace Soon, Replace Now, and Service Battery, which reflect progressively more serious battery woes. In each of the two Replace modes, your battery is still functioning normally, though it holds less charge than it used to (or significantly less, in the case of Replace Now). But even in Service Battery mode, which may not impact how long the battery lasts but could indicate other under-the-hood problems, you can continue to use your laptop's battery without fear of causing long-term harm.
If you have an OS X developer account, and want to work with OS X 10.9 Mavericks, you may prefer to do so using a virtual machine, in Parallels Desktop or VMware Fusion. However, you won't be able to create a new virtual machine in either of these programs using the Mavericks installer.
For VMware Fusion, the process is quite simple: take an existing virtual machine, running 10.7 or 10.8, duplicate it in the Finder, then launch VMware Fusion. Choose File > Open, then select the duplicate virtual machine. Rename it, then launch it. Fusion will ask if you moved or copied the virtual machine; click I copied it.
After you've launched the duplicated virtual machine, run the Mavericks installer from within that virtual machine.
Note: as always, we will not be publishing hints about using OS X 10.9 until its release.
When you select a zip archive in the Finder, and press the Space bar, the BetterZip QuickLook generator will show a graphical display of the contents of the archive. If you don't want to use the command line, and want to see what files an archive contains, this is a great way to do so.
Agile Tortoise's Drafts is a nifty tool for writing texts and doing things with them on an iOS device. I use it mostly for the more comfortable writing environment, and send texts as emails or tweets, but there's an entire sub-culture that's been hacking Drafts to do many things. (Check out the Drafts actions directory.)
David Sparks posted an interesting use of Drafts (credited to Milosz Bolechowski; I couldn't find the original on his site), together with noodlesoft's Hazel - a tool that automates tasks on your Mac - to put a Mac to sleep. In essence, Hazel looks for a file named "MB sleep" in a the Drafts folder in his Dropbox folder; when it finds that file, it puts the Mac to sleep with an AppleScript.
I think you might be able to do this with folder actions as well, but I'm not very good with AppleScript. So if you can, feel free to post a script in the comments.
You recently published a hint explaining how to open a new Finder window in the same folder as the frontmost window, using an AppleScript. Here is an easy way to do the same thing: no Applescript, no special apps needed.
In the Finder, make sure the Path Bar is visible (View > Show Path Bar). The current path is then displayed at the bottom of each Finder window.
As with any other folder icon in the Finder, Command-double-clicking on any icon in the Path Bar will open a new window to that folder.
The current folder is always displayed last in the Path Bar (even if the Path Bar is to short to display all the names), so Command-double-clicking on the last icon in the Path Bar will always open a new window to the current folder.
A user at Stack Exchange asked an interesting question recently : how can you open a new Finder window in the same folder as the frontmost window? When you open a new Finder window (Command-N in the Finder), it opens to the folder you've set in the Finder's General preferences. There may be some situations when you want to duplicate the current window, such as when you're moving files around among sub-folders in a specific folder.
Another reader, Lauri Ranta, posted a simple AppleScript, that you can use together with a keyboard shortcut, to do just this. When you run the script, it creates a new window at the same location as the frontmost window. Here's the script:
tell application "Finder"
target of window 1
make new Finder window to result
make new Finder window to home
Save this as a script, and use any tool that can apply keyboard shortcuts to AppleScripts. Or save it as an application, drag it to the Finder window toolbar, and it'll be just a click away. (You can move the application to any location you want afterwards.)
I can't find a hint for this on the site, and it's probably not new, but I only just stumbled on this. The Finder toolbar, by default, has Previous and Next buttons that let you navigate back and forth in folders. If you click the Previous button, you'll go back, one window at a time, to all the folders you've visited in that Finder window. But if you click and hold that button, you'll see a list of all the folders you've visited, and can jump to any of them by selecting one. This is a good way to get to a folder you've used but that's far from where you are in the file system.
The Accessibility pane of System Preferences holds a number of interesting adjustments you can set to make your Mac easier to use. One of them is the ability to change the size of the cursor; the pointer you see on your screen.
Go to System Preferences > Accessibility, then click on Display. Drag the Cursor Size slider from Normal (smallest) toward Large. Find the size you want to use, and close the preference pane.
I have a 27" Thunderbolt Display, and I find the normal-sized cursor a bit small, so I've set mine to be a bit larger. You may find this to be a useful tweak as well.
Note that some applications may not use the changed setting. Feel free to post in the comments any apps that don't inherit this setting.