Playing with Skype and iChat, my Mac froze and I had to force shut down. At the login window prompt, I typed my username and password and pressed Enter as usual, yet only the Time Machine Desktop screen (the one with the galaxy-like picture and stars of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard) showed. It stayed like that forever. Eventually I found that pressing Command-Option-Esc and waiting some 30 seconds returned me to the login screen. From there, the story repeats.
Yet that was handy to reboot or shut down without forcing shut down. Repairing disk and permissions, running DiskWarrior, resetting PRAM, etc. did not help. I even trashed the preferences for Finder, Desktop and Dock. Even replaced the full Library and Desktop folders inside the user account suffering the issue from the latest Time Machine backup. Resetting the login password (after booting from the Mac OS X DVD) did not help either. The issue remained, but amazingly only on the standard booting account, but not on another extra account created for troubleshooting. In such a case, the Mac booted fine. Weird!
Logging in with the troubleshooting account, I found that right at the time of the failed login from the standard account, Console said something about Keychain. Indeed, some caches were corrupt, but Cocktail could not fix them.
Generally I have found that added keyboard shortcuts for the drop-down menu in the Print dialog (such as in this hint) only work only for the items above the dividing line. As Apple notes, "you can create keyboard shortcuts only for existing menu commands." And all the commands below the dividing line are transient menu items, as they are there only because they are in the PDF Services folder, in the Library folder of the user or the system. If you take them out of there, they will disappear from the Print dialog drop-down. Hence it seems that they are not considered available for keyboard access by the system.
Except there is one way that I have just now discovered to get this to work.
You can use the Tab key to cycle through to the drop-down menu. Now you can use the down arrow to open the menu. At this point, you can use your shortcuts for items below the line. Two things to note when using this method are that the drop-down will not be highlighted as are the other items in the Dialog. However, you can see the highlight move to all the items before and after the drop-down, so you can tell by default when it is selected (four tabs works for me). Also, the shortcuts will not work only by selecting the drop-down, you need to use the down arrow first.
I have, in fact, cobbled together an Automator workflow to automatically download a batch of open tabs or windows using these ideas in an AppleScript along with Automator. Works great -- I did a year's worth of online articles from the fifties in under eight minutes.
[robg adds: Your experience will probably vary by application. In Firefox, for instance, the PDF button (and the others at the bottom of the dialog) aren't included in the Tab cycle, so you can't select it via the keyboard. If you have the expanded print dialog in a given app, it will take more than four tab presses to reach the PDF button.]
I have been always extremely annoyed by the fact that one cannot resize the windows on Mac OS X using all four edges of the window. In fact, that is one of the most aggravating things for me about using a Mac. Another issue is that one cannot use the keyboard to move and resize the windows. I was aggravated enough to write a tool to address just those issues: MoveResize (free and open source). The MoveResize tool requires that System Preferences » Universal access » Seeing » Enable Access for Assistive Devices is checked.
How it works:
The implementation uses AppleScript to get the frontmost window and its bounds. It sends the bounds rectangle to a server implemented in Java over a socket connection. The Java server takes the screen shot of the full Desktop and uses it as the Image label (a JLabel with ImageIcon) as the content pane of an undecorated JFrame which has the same bounds as the Desktop.
A JPanel with semitransparent background and a dark rounded rectangular border is given the same bounds that were received over the socket. This JPanel is added to the PALETTE_LAYER of the JFrame's layered pane - which makes it appear floating in front of the front window.
A Mouse and a Key listener added to the JPanel allow moving and resizing of the JPanel. When the user presses the Enter key, the JFrame is hidden and the new bounds of the JPanel are sent back to the AppleScript over the socket connection, which moves and resizes the frontmost window. You can also directly enter location (x,y) and/or size (width,height) in the text fields, and then press Enter to move and/or resize the window.
[robg adds: I tested this and it works, though it requires that the MoveResize app is in the main Applications folder. Other solutions I'm aware of, both free and non-free, include Zooom/2, this AppleScript-based hint, MercuryMover, and MondoMouse -- though I'm sure there are others.]
Enter fuse-ext2, a new similar project which indeed does work with recent distros, both in Mac OS X 10.4.x and 10.5.x, on Intel and PowerPC machines. It also works with VMware Fusion virtual disks. So far, it's been reliable in read-only mode, but in the future, there should be better read-write support and also a preference pane to control it.
Note that it requires MacFUSE to work. Promising, indeed...
If you copy information from styled pages -- web sites, documents, etc. -- you're aware that if you then paste that information (Command-V) in a style-aware application, the style gets pasted, too. Most of the time this is just annoying. The workaround is to use Paste and Match Style (Shift-Command-Option-V) instead. However, it's a pain to do this every time.
Yesterday on Twitter, a solution made the rounds: just use the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the System Preferences panel to set Paste and Match Style to Command-V. Open that panel, click the plus sign, leave the first pop-up set to All Applications, enter Paste and Match Style in the Menu Title box, type Command-V in the Keyboard Shortcut box, then click Add.
An anonymous tipster submitted a command-line version of this modification, in case you want/need to run it remotely or push it out via Apple Remote Desktop:
defaults write .GlobalPreferences -dict-add NSUserKeyEquivalents "Paste and Match Style" -string "@v"
After changing the shortcut via either method, Command-V will do a Paste and Match Style in any application where it's possible; in others (such as Excel), Command-V will still paste as usual. There is, however, a downside.
If you're trying to paste copied images (such as into iChat), Command-V won't work at all. So as cool as this solution is, I don't use it myself, as I do this quite a bit. Instead, I simplified the Paste and Match Style shortcut (in 10.5) to Command-Option-V. This requires much less in the way of finger gymnastics, making it nearly as easy to use as Command-V. As an alternative, you could add a second shortcut for Paste as Command-Option-V (or whatever you like). Then, when you need to paste an image somewhere, use Command-Option-V instead of Command-V.
Recently, I noticed that whenever I right-clicked in any program, the beach ball would show up, and Force Quit would be my only option to close the offending app. After some digging, I figured out that the problem was with the DropBox contextual menu plug-in. I never use it so I just deleted it, but a later test showed that a reinstall also fixed the problem.
If you'd like to disable it on your system while troubleshooting contextual menu issues, you can find it here: ~/Library » Contextual Menu Items.
[robg adds: I've heard other reports of issues with the DropBox plug-in, so thought this might be worth sharing.]
When working with a search results window in Finder, if you select one of the found files and press Command-Up, it will open the enclosing folder for that file.
[robg adds: This normally wouldn't be a hint -- Command-Up Arrow is listed in the Go menu as the shortcut for Enclosing Folder. However, when looking at a search results window, this menu item is grayed out, and can't be selected. Because of that, I'd been using the Finder's Open Enclosing Folder contextual menu item, not even thinking to try the shortcut. But it seems the shortcut is independent of the menu item's status, because it works perfectly.]
I store all my photos (iPhoto) and music (iTunes) on an external FireWire drive. Normally the drive is attached to my iMac, but when I travel, I take the external hard drive and hook it up to my laptop. I want to have my iTunes work whether or not the drive is attached, and have it work automatically.
The quick summary of my solution is:
Move ~/Music/iTunes to ~/Music/iTunes.local
Move ~/Pictures/iPhoto Library to ~/Pictures/iPhoto_Library.local
Make a link from ~/Music/iTunes to ~/Music/iTunes.local
Make a link from ~/Picutres/iPhoto_Library to ~/Pictures/iPhoto_Library.local
Write a script to change the links to the appropriate library upon mount
Write a script to change the links to the appropriate library upon unmounting the external disk
Use Lingon to make my mounting script run when a disk is mounted.
Use Lingon to run my unmounting disk when the mount point changes.
A friend buzzed me with an icon problem this morning: all of his zip icons had incorrect icons. Not just one wrong icon, but three different types of icons, none correct, and all on zip files (see an example at right).
I hadn't ever heard of this issue before, and I wasn't sure what to suggest as a fix. Almost on a lark, I asked him to rebuild the LaunchServices database, which traditionally is used to fix duplicate entries in the Open With menu. (If you're not yet running 10.5, you need this version of the hint.)
Surprisingly to me, this fixed the problem for all his zip files (and he noticed a few other files' icons had been corrected as well). So, perhaps common knowledge, but rebuilding the LaunchServices database can help with wrong icon associations as well as Open With menu issues.
I've now taken my own advice from the original hint and added an lsrebuild alias to my .profile file, just to make it simpler to rebuild when required.
Occasionally one has to use an annoying PDF that one can't re-save, but can only print. My sister had this situation dealing with some obnoxious state-run Microsoft system that didn't allow the user to save a completed form, only to print it from a browser. The individual administering the system apparently flipped the wrong bit, as last year, the form could be saved.
Here's a workaround, various versions of which can allow you to save the PDF:
Turn off the print queue for the printer by going to Printer Setup Utility.
Print the file, but don't reactivate the printer -- choose the Add to Queue option.
Go into the terminal and su to root. (If you haven't enabled root, use sudo -s to start a root shell.)
Type cd /var/spool/cups, then identify the file you just printed. Do this by matching the queued file's time stamp to the time you printed the file (ls -l; the file of interest should be at the bottom).
Copy (don't move) that file out of the spool folder: cp filename ~/Desktop. I don't know what a move (mv) will do to the print system.
Type cd ~/Desktop to move to your user's Desktop folder.
Type chown myaccount:myaccount filename to make sure the Finder in your user space will play nicely with the file.
Peek inside the file and determine whether it's a postscript or PDF file -- you can drop it on TextEdit to see its contents. If it's a postscript file, rename the file to filename.ps. If it's a PDF file, rename it to filename.pdf.
Confirm the above by dropping the file on Preview. If the file is a postscript file, you can then save it as a PDF file from Preview.
[robg adds: I haven't tested this one. This older hint suggests an alternative method of saving a non-savable PDF from Safari by dragging the page's fav icon to Safari's Downloads window.]