Jeff Frey provided a tip in this ResExcellence article on how to add additional highlight choices to the set provided with OS X.
The highlight choices are stored in a plist file buried in your System folder, and this file can be edited (most easily) in OS 9.0, and additional colors added by simply specifying RGB color values and a name.
In the interest of thoroughness, I thought I'd post this "world's most obvious tip" on using the dock. You can resize it quickly and easily by dragging on the vertical bar that separates the two portions of the dock - up to grow, down to shrink.
I'm sure every OS X beta tester on the planet knows this one, but it's going into the database so future new users will be able to find it!
UNIX includes a program named 'cron' to handle the execution of tasks on a specified schedule, regardless of whether the user is logged in or not. Cron does this through a series of simple text files known as 'crontabs' which control the scheduling of jobs.
The cron daemon is used by the system for scheduled daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance, and can be used by users to run various programs at set intervals, such as to handle my site backup program as described elsewhere on this site.
Read the rest of this article if you'd like a simple overview of what cron is and how it can be used.
In an earlier item, links were posted to Jordan Miller's site on altering the images used by the LoginWindow app. If you want, you can carry this bit of fun to more of an extreme.
First, you will have to register as a developer and download the OS X developer tools (instructions are elsewhere on this site). Don't be afraid, you can do a bit of interesting stuff with Interface Builder if you are careful. You can change the size of the image, the colors/styles of the fonts, placement of the buttons, etc. You can see an example of this in the screenshot above. The original screen is at 1280x1024. The image is of the wonderful David Hockney work, Kyoto. It calms me down before I login.
If you'd like to know how to edit the login window extensively, read the rest of this article!
[P.S. -- Are there any Cocoa programmers out there that can tell me what loginwindow is doing that makes the purple background not be captured when I try to capture the screen content? Is it drawing the background directly to video memory? Is there a way to capture the whole shebang?]
You can open any of the standard GUI applications (such as Mail, Explorer, Address Book, etc.) from a terminal session. Although this may not have great benefits in day to day use (why not just click the dock icon?), it does imply that you could write a shell script to open a GUI app, and then use the UNIX cron program to schedule the 'open' to happen on a shedule. If the GUI app you open then had some command it executed at startup, this might prove to be a worthwhile trick.
In any event, to open a command in the terminal, just type
For example, to launch the Calculator or the game, type one of the following:
open /Applications/Calculator.app/ open /Applications/GrabBag/chess.app
As I said, I'm not completely certain about why or how useful this is, but it is somewhat interesting. It even opens the application in the background, so you don't switch out of your terminal window.
When in column view in OS X, the final column is designed to present a 'preview' of whatever file is highlighted in the previous column - text, image file, whatever. I've found that its behavior in the PB is somewhat unpredictable - sometimes you see a preview of an image file, sometimes you don't; text files seem to work regularly. Tonight, though, I noticed for the first time that Quicktime previews work really well. If you highlight a Quicktime movie in column view, you get a mini Quicktime player in the next column with audio and video controls. Easy movie browsing without launching anything!
When this feature is ironed out in the final release, it could be one of the nicer usability touches in the OS.
I just stopped by The Computer Store, and had the sales rep look up Mac OS X in the Apple system. As of today, Apple has entered the part number in their systems, meaning that resellers can now take orders. So I reserved the very first copy at the Beaverton store.
I asked if they were going to do "Midnight Madness" for OS X. The rep told me he's not sure yet when they'll be opening on the 24th. He told me they opened at midnight for the OS 8 launch, and that was fine with Apple. But he also said they got in "a lot of trouble" with Apple over the iMac launch. I asked if they opened at midnight that evening as well. He said, grinning, "Well, it was midnight on the east coast!"
On a side note, they had one of the new G4 Titanium machines. This was my first chance to see one up close and personal. Incredibly thin, amazing screen, solid keyboard, and reasonably light. And the white apple on the cover glows with the light from the screen on the other side when the machine is on - a very impressive effect. Tempting, even though I have absolutely no need for one.
[UDPATE 2/2: As reported on the net, Apple has rolled out a PB rebate program; here's the text of the email that I just received:
"Thank you for being one of the pioneers who beta tested Mac OS X. Your feedback has helped make Mac OS X the world's most advanced operating system. To show our appreciation, we are offering you a $30 discount on the final version of Mac OS X.* You will also be among the first to receive Mac OS X when it ships on March 24, 2001. Again, thanks for helping to make Mac OS X the world's most advanced operating system."
I'm called (the online store system didn't work as described in the email) and ordered my $99 copy today, and will purchase a $129 version for work on Saturday the 24th - I'll keep the local dealer happy, and get a usable copy as quickly as possible!]
Is is possible to tar the active OS X system (as with LinuxPPC)?
Has anyone determined which files/directories are best to backup in case of a system corruption? By this I mean if you just "tar czf / backup.tgz" you get all disks and loads of stuff you could easily reinstall.
I would like to move my install to a new machine, which I have a clean install of OSX on, but not reconfigure everything as I have spent a lot of time setting things up! I would like to take my tar from the old machine and install/overwrite the new install. Any ideas what will happen?
I have seen the discussion about re-blessing the System, but I don't think it applies if you are going straight from OS X - OS X.
[Editor's note - See the comments for a discussion on the options...]
If you click the expand icon in OS X (the green "+"), it's default behavior is "zoom to fit," where it will zoom the window only as large as needed to fit the text. 'applenut' over on the AppleInsider OS X forum pointed out that if you hold down option and hit the zoom button, the window will zoom to fill the screen.
Cool trick, and I hadn't even tried it in three months of use with the PB. Well-behaved apps (I tried IE 5) will leave enough room at the bottom of the screen so that you can reach the bottom edge of the window without activating an auto-hidden dock.
This one's fairly old, and may or may not work when 1.0 ships, but it's kind of fun. Over on this AppleInsider forum, there's a discussion on dock and poof hacking. Out of that are a set of instructions on how to change your dock's 'poof.' I've detailed the method in the remainder of this article, in case you're interested.
Out of that discussion, this page, created by Synoptic and others, contains a selection of pre-modified docks and poofs, ready for use with OS X. If you want to see what's possible with just a little bit of work, check it out and download some of the alternatives!