I just noticed purely by accident that after invoking Exposť's All Windows mode, I can roll the scroll ball on the Mighty Mouse and the selection 'cursor' (the one showing which window will become active) moves about the available windows in a predictable, if not intuitive, manner.
The settings in the Desktop & Screen Saver System Preferences panel are among several that don't stick when you move an OS X startup drive to a Mac that you've never connected the drive to before. These settings are at ~/Library » Preferences » ByHost » com.apple.screensaver.0011aa2233cc.plist, where 0011aa2233cc is the Ethernet ID of the Mac's primary Ethernet port (en0), also known as the MAC (Media Access Control) address, which is a number unique to each Mac.
The ByHost folder will gather a collection of plists for other preference panes, applications, etc., all with names containing the Ethernet ID specific to every Mac it's seen. One purpose for this is to allow you to have your user folder stored on a network, letting you have different preferences for each Mac that accesses that home folder. However, this makes it inconvenient when you have a utility drive that you connect to any number of Macs that those Macs haven't seen before. For instance, you'll see that the screen saver kicks in after the default 15 minutes of idle time after you start up the drive on the next Mac, regardless of what setting you chose when the drive was connected to the last Mac you used it with.
I've always wanted to have a fully encrypted memory stick which when plugged in, OS X would automatically ask me for a password before mounting it. As far as I know (and from what tests I carried out), it's not possible to create an encrypted disk image and overwrite the entire device with it.
My solution involves placing a hidden encrypted disk image on a device, hiding the volume itself so it doesn't show up in the desktop, and applying a Folder Action to the /Volumes folder which takes care of mounting the encrypted image when the device is plugged in, and unmounting the device when the encrypted image is ejected.
No Terminal access necessary: an AppleScript droplet for preparing the device, the Folder Action AppleScript, and an AppleScript for restoring the device are provided here.
The scripts are tested in 10.5.1, but they really should work in Tiger as well. Only known issue: if you hit Cancel when asked for the password to mount the encrypted image, you will have to unmount the device through Disk Utility, as it's not accessible via the Finder. However, it's not hard to create a 'cleanup' AppleScript that does this.
[robg adds: Typically, I'd host these scripts on macosxhints as well. In this case, however, due to their complexity and the chance of their changing in the future, I'm leaving them linked via the external site. I haven't tested these scripts. One other solution to do this came up just yesterday -- TrueCrypt is a free program that's now available for OS X. Using TrueCrypt, you can apparently encrypt an entire USB memory stick, for instance. I haven't tested it, however (I believe it uses MacFUSE to do some of its magic).]
I accidentally found this bug today. I was in TextEdit and hit my F11 (Exposť - Show Desktop) key by mistake when I was reaching for the Delete key. So I hit the F11 key again to bring back my work, and found out that if you hit the F11 key and then hit any qwerty keys (including the Delete key) it will affect any document, or even text input areas in a web browser.
I tested this in TextEdit, Safari, Adium, and Word on 10.5 and 10.4. So if you use F11, be careful not to press any qwerty keys while in that mode.
Those who manage large installed bases of Macs need to maintain one or more local administrative accounts on the machines, for remote administration, maintenance or troubleshooting. But, it can be undesirable to list an obvious administrator account in the Loginwindow; that same account hangs in the Fast User Switching menu, and in the Accounts Preference Pane. What to do?
Much experimentation, and some lucky finds on the Internet, have turned up the configuration to hide a user account on 10.5, and in later versions of 10.4.
In early versions of Tiger, it was easy to hide an administrator account. As per this hint, adding the array HiddenUsersList to com.apple.loginwindow with the account or accounts to be hidden was enough. But, with Leopard, this is no longer sufficient. Accounts can be hidden well enough using a HiddenUsersList entry, but the login window and Fast User Switching menu will contain an entry for "Other...," advertising the fact that one or more hidden user accounts is lingering on the system. How to get around this?
Recently I re-intalled Tiger from scratch on my old iBook G3. I let Apple's Software Update download all the relevant updates, and after the necessary restarts, I tried to mount a disk image. To my surprise, both the Finder and the Disk utility came up with an error (0xe00002c9) and refused to mount the disk image. I tried other disk images with the same result.
After some googling and searching in the Apple support forums, I came up with the following remedy: you need to manually download and install the latest Security Update (009 as of this writing) and then restart (naturally). I can only guess that this is an issue of a corrupt download from Software Update, since this security update was already installed automatically.
[robg adds: You can find the Security Update on Apple's Support Downloads page. This doesn't seem to be a universal problem (or else there would have been a major uproar about it), but there are quite a few matches to a Google query on the error code -- so hopefully this fix helps someone else out of a jam.]
I've recently discovered the NTFS-3G/MacFuse plugin that allows you to both read and write to NTFS disks. This was a great joy, as I was able to use it along with this hint to resize and restore a big windows partition.
However, as others have found, it is not possible to select your NTFS Windows partition as a startup disk. One workaround is to simply make the partition non-writable, as described in this hint, but that defeats the purpose.
Below is an AppleScript cobbled together from bits and pieces on the internet that works around the problem. Note that you have to change the first two lines to match your system.
When you use Disk Utility to create a new disk image, it defaults (at least in 10.5) to setting the Volume Format to 'Mac OS Extended (Journaled).' Normally, this isn't an issue, and it's the best setting to use. However, if you're creating a small disk image -- perhaps a 10MB encrypted image to hold your financial records -- it can be a problem. That's because the journaling information takes up about 8MB on the disk image. Add in the space lost when formatting, and you wind up with only 1.7MB of usable space.
So if you really need at least 10MB of usable space, create a 20MB disk image instead. Alternatively, you can change the Volume Format to 'Mac OS Extended,' and this will disable journaling on that image. Of the two choices, I've chosen to go with larger images with journaling enabled for those times I need a smaller disk image.
MacFuse and NTFS-3G (blog) is a great combination for those needing to have read-write access to NTFS-formatted volumes from Mac OS X. For example, with a Boot Camp Windows XP or Vista drive. Of course, this drive should also be selectable from the Startup Disk preference pane in System Preferences, as indeed happens with Apple's built-in (but still read-only) NTFS driver.
But sadly, as of now, the only way to have the Boot Camp volume show up in the Startup Disk System Preferences panel with NTFS-3G installed and active is to have it mounted by Apple's integrated NTFS driver. (NTFS-3G can still mount other available NTFS volumes read-write, of course: indeed, this hint is useful in such cases. Otherwise, one shouldn't really need NTFS-3G, or should use it with the current restriction of no Startup Disk integration). To do so, open a Terminal window and do this:
$ cd /Volumes/NameOfYourBootCampDrive
$ sudo pico .ntfs-readonly
Then save the file with the usual Control-O, Enter, Control-X. Finally, unmount and remount (with Disk Utility) your Boot Camp partition. This creates an (invisible from OS X) .ntfs-readonly file at the root of your Boot Camp volume, thus telling NTFS-3G to bypass this volume and let it be mounted by Apple's read-only driver. Of course, you will have read-only access to the Boot Camp volume, but it will still show up in Startup Disk.
Let's hope they'll eventually fix this in better ways (see full read-write integration between NTFS-3G and Startup Disk)...