Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Mount Ext2/Ext3 Linux volumes in the Finder System
There have been different possibilites to mount Linux Ext2/Ext3 volumes in the Mac OS X Finder: 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...
  Post a comment  •  Comments (4)  
  • Currently 2.58 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (12 votes cast)
[101,360 views]  View Printable Version
Make 'paste and match style' the default behavior System
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.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (21)  
  • Currently 3.07 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (15 votes cast)
[45,859 views]  View Printable Version
A possible solution for contextual menu crashes System
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.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (0)  
  • Currently 2.10 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (10 votes cast)
[6,233 views]  View Printable Version
Open parent folder from search results in Finder System
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.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (12)  
  • Currently 2.11 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (9 votes cast)
[10,305 views]  View Printable Version
Share a music/photo hard drive between two systems System
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.
Read on for the scripts I use...
read more (237 words)   Post a comment  •  Comments (12)  
  • Currently 1.82 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (11 votes cast)
[10,782 views]  View Printable Version
Repair broken icon-file type associations System
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.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (5)  
  • Currently 1.67 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (12 votes cast)
[14,057 views]  View Printable Version
Save non-savable PDF files System
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:
  1. Turn off the print queue for the printer by going to Printer Setup Utility.
  2. Print the file, but don't reactivate the printer -- choose the Add to Queue option.
  3. Go into the terminal and su to root. (If you haven't enabled root, use sudo -s to start a root shell.)
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. Type cd ~/Desktop to move to your user's Desktop folder.
  7. Type chown myaccount:myaccount filename to make sure the Finder in your user space will play nicely with the file.
  8. 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 If it's a PDF file, rename it to filename.pdf.
  9. 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.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (12)  
  • Currently 2.22 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (9 votes cast)
[17,636 views]  View Printable Version
Reduce CPU workload while cloning boot drive System
Before cloning your boot drive to another drive ... add that other drive to Spotlight's Privacy list. That saves a lot of CPU cycles during cloning.

In hindsight, this seems obvious, but it wasn't at the time.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (7)  
  • Currently 1.22 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (9 votes cast)
[7,526 views]  View Printable Version
Restore the Windows partition to the Startup Disk list System
If you use NTFS-3G, a known problem with it is that you cannot see your Windows partition in the Start up Disk System Preferences pane. The following will enable you to get your Windows partition back under Start-up disk.

Click on System Preferences » NTFS-3G. Under Volume Options » Mounted NTFS-3G Volumes, select your Windows volume and then check 'Disable NTFS-3G for this volume.' This will enable the Mac's own NTFS utility to mount to your Windows volume and you will see your Windows partition back in your Start-up Disk pane.

It had been bugging me for some time that I was no longer able to start up my machine in Windows by directly selecting it from Start-up Disk, doing the above fixed it. Thought this may help others in the same situation as I was...

[robg adds: On the NTFS-3G site, they list this as a known issue, probably not solvable, and offer workarounds: use the Option key at boot time, or install rEFIt for better control over the boot process.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (0)  
  • Currently 1.78 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (9 votes cast)
[9,954 views]  View Printable Version
Use the Apple Remote to show the boot drive menu System
Did you know that you can use your Apple Remote to active the boot drive switcher? While booting your Mac, hold down the Menu button on the Apple Remote; this will bring up the boot drive selection. This saved me when my keyboard was half-dead and the computer was booting into a broken Windows install!

[robg adds: This was originally posted as a comment to this hint, but I felt it worth posting as a full hint. I've credited it to GanjaManja, the author of the original comment, though I've edited it somewhat to make it work better as a standalone hint.]
  Post a comment  •  Comments (0)  
  • Currently 2.22 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (9 votes cast)
[2,797 views]  View Printable Version