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.
You may know that you can enter Time Machine through the GUI and delete a backup. In some cases, under Mountain Lion, this results in an error, with a message saying "The operation can't be completed because backup items can't be modified."
In some cases, deleting backups from the Finder won't work; you also may not be able to use the rm command to delete these backups, because they are handled in a special way. Finally, even if all goes well, you may want to delete backups on a remote Mac's Time Machine disk.
There is an executable accessible from the command line that lets you delete these backups. To use this with Mountain Lion, run the following command:
You can exclude certain files and folders from your Time Machine backups from the Time Machine pane in System Preferences; you can also do this from the command line. Run this command:
sudo tmutil addexclusion [path]
where [path] is a file or folder. For example, if I want to exclude my Downloads folder from Time Machine backups, I would run the following:
sudo tmutil addexclusion ~/Downloads
The tmutil addexclusion command has an interesting property: it's sticky. When you do this, the item you exclude remains in the Time Machine exclusion list even if you move it, which is not the case when you exclude items from the Time Machine preference pane. If you use the above command with the -p flag, then it will not be sticky, and will be the same as an exclusion you add from the GUI.
[kirkmc adds: Updated to correct an error in the post. I've removed the comments that pointed out the error. Sorry!]
You can use modifier keys, together with F keys, to change volume and brightness by quarter increments. To do this, press Option-Shift-F1 or Option-Shift-F2 to change the brightness by quarter steps. For volume, press Option-Shift-F11 or Option-Shift-F12 to change by quarter steps.
[kirkmc adds: This isn't new; we have a hint about this when it returned to Mac OS X 10.7.4; it had existed prior to 10.7, but was removed in the early versions of Lion. But it seemed useful to remind readers about this, and point out that it works for both volume and brightness.]
If you wish to view files in an Open window, you can use Quick Look. Just select a file and press the space bar to view it. (This works only with those files that Quick View can display.) You can also move around and view other files using the arrow keys.
[kirkmc adds: I had assumed this would already have been on the site, but I only found this hint which offers a workaround. So I wonder when this was added to OS X.]
The ability to control Time Machine from the Time Machine preferences in System Preferences is quite limited. You can choose exclusions, turn Time Machine on or off, and force backups, but that's about it. Fortunately, a command-line tool, tmutil provides much more control over Time Machine. The man page for tmutil says the following:
"tmutil provides methods of controlling and interacting with Time Machine, as well as examining and manipulating Time Machine backups. Common abilities include restoring data from backups, editing exclusions, and comparing back-ups."
For example, you can compare backups to see what has changed from one backup to another, inherit a backup (which you can do from the Time Machine menu, when you set up a new Mac and want to use a backup from an older Mac), or set up fixed-path exclusions (excluding items at a specific file path).
Check man tmutil to see all that you can do with this command.
If you use Spotlight to look up Dictionary definitions, you may find it annoying that they show up near the bottom of the list. While you can change the order of most Spotlight categories from the Search Results tab of the Spotlight pane in System Preferences, Dictionary isn't in that list.
However, there is a hack, involving some simple editing of the ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.spotlight.plist file. A recent post on Stack Exchange explains what to do. You open the file with Xcode, then add a Dictionary item, which will allow you to move the Dictionary category to where you want in the Spotlight results. See the post linked above for full details, or see this blog post in Chinese explaining the procedure.