Say you're working in Pages or TextEdit, but you want to change the filename of the document you're editing. In the past, I've done this with File » Save As, but then you wind up with two documents. Recently, I (re)discovered another cool way to rename an active file, one that leaves you with one file, and demonstrates the real-time connection between the file system and the app.
As an example, consider you're editing in TextEdit. Command-click on the title of the current window to see the pop-up menu attached to the title. From there, open the folder containing the file; this will open a Finder window showing that folder. In the opened folder, rename the file and close the window. When you go back to the TextEdit document, you'll see in the title bar that the filename now reflects the renamed file.
[robg adds: This has worked for, well, a really long time, but it's something that those new to the platform may not be aware of.]
As described on Wikipedia, SpeedStep "is a trademark for a series of dynamic frequency scaling technologies (including SpeedStep, SpeedStep II, and SpeedStep III) built into some Intel microprocessors that allow the clock speed of the processor to be dynamically changed by software. This allows the processor to meet the instantaneous performance needs of the operation being performed, while minimizing power draw and heat dissipation."
Apple implements SpeedStep on certain Macs, but not all of them (and if you've built your own Mac, you may not have any SpeedStep support). Here's how to enable SpeedStep on any Mac: Use the xnu speedstep kernel extension. Just download IntelEnhancedSpeedStep.kext.1.4.5.zip, then copy IntelEnhancedSpeedStep.kext into /System/Library/Extensions. Don`t forget to repair permission (in Disk Utility) when done, then reboot your Mac.
Now we can see dynamic frequency and power changes. Also see sysctl -a | grep kern.cputhrottle from Terminal, and read the AutoThrottle wiki for more information. There you'll find the command sysctl -w kern.cputhrottle_targetload=XY. However, you can also edit the TargetCPULoad parameter in /System » Library » Extensions » IntelEnhancedSpeedStep.kext » Contents » Info.plist file.
[robg adds: I haven't tested this one, and would categorize this hint as experimental -- use at your own risk!]
I use Mac OS X while logged in as a non-admin user. The problem with this is that the Software Update notification only appears if I am logged in as a user with administrative rights. In a real multi-user environment this makes sense, because the ordinary user should not be confused with things he's not responsible for.
But what about the situation with the typical single user machine, where the owner uses a non-admin account for normal work? (And everybody should do so!) In this case, the user is the administrator, although he or she is using a non-admin account. In this very common case, the user should get the software update notifications so he/she can react to them. However, even if the Check for Updates option is selected in the Software Update panel of System Preferences, there will be no notifications. You can argue if this is a bug or not, but it's how it works.
To solve this problem, I wrote a little AppleScript (in fact, it's embedded into a launchd plist file, so you only have to care about one file) that checks once per day if there are any software updates available. If there are any, they are displayed in a nice looking Growl notification, if Growl is installed (highly recommended!). Otherwise, they show up in a standard system dialog. Here's the code (note that the latest version can be found in this post on my blog):
Save the above code as de.anderson.sven.updateCheck.plist into your user's Library/LaunchAgents folder (create this folder if necessary). Then logout and login, or enter the following command in the Terminal, to activate the code:
I'm a very keyboard-based person; I use a keyboard shortcut whenever I can. David Pogue tells of KIAFTMA -- the Keyboard Is Always Faster Than the Mouse Association. So the fact that the Eject key is restricted to the optical drive frustrates me.
To solve the problem, I created an AppleScript to make this easy for me. It calls on the disk powers of System Events and Finder; that way, you can eject any disk (except volumes over intranets like a home network) with a keystroke or two. Here is the code I used:
tell application "System Events" -- I don't target the Finder
set diskNames to every disk -- gets the list
set diskCount to count disks -- this is important for list 'triage'
if diskCount = 0 then -- if an empty list
else if diskCount = 1 then -- if one item to eject
tell application "Finder" to eject (item 1 of diskNames) -- gets the first - and only - item of diskNames; Sys Events cannot eject disks; I could have added a line before
else if diskCount > 1 then -- if 2 or more items to eject
set disksToEject to choose from list diskNames with prompt "Select a disk to eject:" OK button name "Eject" with multiple selections allowed
if disksToEject is not false then -- if you didn't cancel; this avoids the system and you confusion
tell application "Finder"
repeat with theDisk in disksToEject -- every disk you chose
eject theDisk -- duh!
-- a whole lot of "end blocks"
(* Ejector by KOMPILEsoft *)
[robg adds: I tried testing this one, but I can't get it to work on my Mac. It works fine on the author's Mac, though, so I'm publishing it under the assumption it's something about my machine. Please post your experiences.]
[robg says: The following hint is presented as it was submitted. As noted in the comments by the hint's author, the introduction is misleading -- your Mac can do real surround sound, assuming the source has an AC3 soundtrack. However, what the author then goes on to describe explains how to convert certain AAC-surround-encoded files to AC3 mode for true surround playback.
I've chosen to leave the hint online, as the hint (and moreso, the comments) contain a wealth of useful information. Just take the intro to the hint with a grain of salt, as it's not the whole truth. I have also modified the title of the hint to more accurately reflect what it's about.]
Your Mac can not do real surround sound from its built-in optical audio port; in fact, not even your Apple TV can. "But Wait!" you say, "Yes it can, Apple even advertise surround sound as a feature of the Apple TV!" or "I can play a DVD and I'm hearing surround sound."
Well, the truth lies somewhere in between these two extremes. First, the Apple TV. Apple supply media to the Apple TV with one of two different options for the soundtrack. It sometimes uses a stereo soundtrack that uses Dolby ProLogic to do surround sound. This isn't "true" surround sound, it's surround information matrix-encoded into a regular two-channel audio stream, and done extremely cleverly.
Other times, and more often on the HD content, it is actually a real 5.1 surround soundtrack, but it's in AAC format. Your surround receiver probably can't decode AAC, and at any rate, the Apple TV won't send it as AAC, it decodes it, mixes it back up as a stereo soundtrack (using Dolby ProLogic) and outputs that. Either way, you're hearing Dolby ProLogic, not Dolby Digital.
Now, for the Mac. Under a certain set of circumstances, your Mac can output a surround stream from the optical output that a surround receiver can decode as proper surround -- this is if the media file you're using already contains an AC3 encoded soundtrack. AC3 is the codec that Dolby Digital uses, so if you've already got a Dolby Digital soundtrack, and your optical port is configured properly (as a digital passthrough), then you may get the AC3 stream output through the optical port, and your surround receiver decodes it. You will have real surround sound from this setup.
If you're watching media that uses, for example, an AAC-encoded multi-channel soundtrack (most of the Apple HD trailers are like this) then it will be like the Apple TV situation above -- your Mac can't send the AAC stream out the audio port, as it's only a two-channel device, so QuickTime player (or VLC or...) mixes it down to stereo and outputs this. If you're lucky, it'll be Dolby ProLogic; if you're not, it will be plain old 2.0 stereo.
Well, after a decent amount of research and tweaking, there is a solution to this problem. I wish you the best of luck getting this to work on an Apple TV, though. It works perfectly on my Mac mini, and the only downside is the manual configuration that needs to be performed.
This is going to be pretty heavy going, and it gets quite technical. If you're looking for a quick fix, you're not going to find it here; at the moment there is no easy solution. What solution there is, we can thank the author of AC3Jack (Jesse Chappell), and the authors of Jack OS X (Stephane Letz, Johnny Petrantoni and Dan Nigrin).
Sometimes I will try to find a program using Spotlight with the wrong input method selected (yes, I can't touch type). An easy way to solve this is to log in as an administrator, and put the app's name, in your often-used language, into the app's Spotlight comments box (press Command-I with the app selected to see the comments box).
Type the app's name as if you were typing in English. So for Mail, a Japanese language user would enter まいl ; a Greek language user would enter μαιλ, etc.
I like to be able to lock my computer with a password, however, I don't like to have the screensaver require a password every time it is turned on. I have found the Lock Screen from the Keychain menu item to be buggy, and I don't like the extra clutter in my menu bar for just the one function.
Hunting around, I couldn't find anything that did quite what I wanted to, so I wrote this AppleScript to allow you to lock the screen. Then, when you come back from that locked session, it returns to normal screensaver functionality. Simply paste this code into Script Editor and save it as a Stay Open application.
Here's a quick and painless way to regain some drive space. When iTunes downloads a new firmware for your iPod or iPhone, the older ones do not get deleted. Since they are quite big (for the iPhone, at least -- about 250MB each for my 2G iPhone), you can easily free up more than 1GB of drive space by deleting the older ones (which you usually won't need anyway).
Just check the file names for the version numbers, and delete the older ones. If you're unsure, you can delete all of them, as iTunes will then re-download the newest one only when it's needed (i.e. a restore of an iPhone).
I'm fairly new to the OS X world, and noticed that I kept forgetting to empty my trash. That's because, with Windows, I got used to using Shift-Delete, which deletes immediately. I figured that it's better to hold on to those files a few more days before throwing them out, though, so I found my self in need of a script to do this.
I started to look around and found two scripts here on this site:
Although these are very useful scripts, I wanted a script that deleted on the basis of time (like the first one), but does not need to run (the first one needs a cron job) when it's not needed (it's fast, but still..). The limitation of not running unnecessarily rules out these two applications as well:
I recently found myself wanting to securely delete a non-encrypted copy of my home directory. No big deal, I thought: I moved the copy to the trash and chose Finder » Secure Empty Trash. After that, I left my MacBook running and returned after a while ... only to find 96,000 files still left. I watched the progress for a bit, and counted roughly one file per second. I did the math and found ... too long!
So I chose the following route: I deleted the file in the Finder, emptied the trash the usual way, and then erased empty disk space with Disk Utility. This did the trick in half an hour.
I chose the fastest method in Disk Utility, i. e. overwriting only once. But frankly, except for the most paranoid this should be safe enough. (Wright, Kleiman and Sundhar have thoroughly debunked the myth about having to overwrite files several times).
It might not even be that the Finder is really inefficient in what it does, but that its default is possibly overwriting seven or 35 times. So changing that default (hidden prefs, anyone?) could then actually make the Finder faster for that purpose than Disk Utility.