You may have problems deleting large files. In my case, with OS X 10.3.9, I could not delete a 2.49 GB database file created by Entourage. It would cause a kernel crash, which can be very disheartening.
The problem may be journaling, that useful file system tool that keeps your data relatively safe from major corruption. It turns out that it cannot handle large files. Turn journaling off temporarily by opening Disk Utility (normally in the Utilities sub-folder of the Applications folder). Select the partition on which the large file has been "trashed." Then, under File select the Disable Journaling item, or just type Command-J to disable it. If there is an Enable Journaling option under File instead of Disable Journaling, then journaling is not your problem, and this hint won't help.
Return to the Finder and try emptying the Trash again. You can re-enable journaling by returning to Disk Utility, and selecting Enable Journaling under the File menu again, or by typing Command-J.
I do not not know whether there is some inherent limit to the file size, or whether the problem is that journaling needs enough free disk space to copy the file. In my case there was roughly 2.7 GB of free space available, more than the 2.49 GB file size, but not by much.
Several people want to use FileVault-type protection on less than their entire home folder. I do this to use the same type of protection but for a single folder.
1. Using Disk Utility (in Applications > Utilities), create a sparse disk image using AES-128 encryption. I made mine the size of a DVD so it would never become too large to back-up to a DVD. Also, I saved mine at the top level in my home directory.
2. When creating the password, be sure to leave "Remember Password" checked, so that your keychain can open your disk.
3. Go to the Accounts preference pane (in Applications > System Preferences), and under Login Items, click + to add a login item.
4. Navigate to your 'xxxx.sparseimage' file and add it to the login items list. Now it will auto-mount every time you login.
The only down-side to this hint that I can come up with is that the user must be proactive about where he or she places files. Also, if you place a file in the wrong space, be sure to use 'Secure Empty Trash' to dispose of the non-encrypted version.
[kirkmc adds: There have been several hints about FileVault and other ways to achieve the same functionality, including this hint. It is obvious that if you just want a single folder, or disk image, it's simple to create it from Disk Utility. (In fact, I wrote it up back in 2004 for Macworld.) It's useful to know about this, though, whether you want to use it for many files, or simply to lock down a selection of files.]
Growl is a system-wide notification system -- it sits there silently in the background, watching any number of things, waiting for an event to occur. When an event occurs, Growl then notifies you via a customizable pop-up window, which appears and then vanishes after a set amount of time. And just what is an event? An event is something that a supported application tells Growl about. For instance, in Transmit, when an upload complete, Transmit will inform Growl of that fact, and Growl will then show an "upload complete" window. There are a large number of programs that include native Growl support; in addition to Transmit, the list includes Skype, Adium, Colloquy, and many others. Other programs, such as Camino, Firefox, and Safari can have Growl support added by way of their own Growl notifiers.
So why would you want to be notified about events? I'll give you a couple examples of how I use Growl. I use the GrowlMail extra (in the Extras folder on the Growl disk image) to pop up a small message showing the sender, account, and subject of the message when I receive a new email in Mail, as see in the image at left. If I click in the window, that message will open in Mail.
I use GrowlCamino in place of Camino's built-in Downloads window (there's a similar Growl add-on available for Firefox, and a Safari add-on is included in the Growl distribution). When a download starts, a window pops up to let me know. When the download completes, another window appears -- and with a simple click in that window, the downloaded file will be opened (i.e. the disk image will mount). The add-on will also notify Growl if Camino blocks a pop-up window.
I was looking to solve the mysterious auto-creation of a file creation of profiles.bin in my Home folder. I found this hint useful for deleting the file with AppleScript. In that hint, the author attributes the file to non-English versions of Microsoft office. I did a bit of poking around and was able to find another solution and information about the source on this post on the Macitynet.it forums.
The page is in Italian, but for those of you who can't read it, clever user 'faxus' explains that Microsoft Office is most likely only part of the problem. He continues to explain that there is problem with the Display profiles being out of sync with certain applications, and profiles.bin is therfore created by necessity upon restart. User 'marcodal' notes then that creating a new Display profile on the affected machine solves the problem.
Therefore, following his example, I went to System Preferences » Displays » Color » Calibrate, and accepted all of the default settings for my MacBook Pro 2.4; this created a new Display profile called "Color LCD Calibrated." After a few restarts and running of different Office programs, I do not see the profiles.bin file being created any more.
I can't say if this is useful only for the Italian version of Office. Obviously Italians are having the issue, but my own version of Office is English language.
This previous hint showed how to set up an AppleScript droplet to modify the creation date of a file. But what if you want to sync the modified date and Creation dates instead? This AppleScript has been created to do just that. It has evolved from one Daniel A. Shockley provided in a comment to the previous hint, and has been extended to fit this purpose.
To set your files' modified date to be the same as the creation date, use the AppleScript as a droplet application. Copy and paste the text into a new script in Script Editor, and then save it as an application. Run the application to bring up a requester, or drop your files (not folders) on the application directly.
Software Update has a 'quirk' in which non-admin users will never get prompted to install updates, even if the administrator sets them automatically download. So the problem is that if you have multiple machines in a mostly unmanaged environment, updates only occur if an admin logs in or if users run Software Update manually, and in either case the process must be authenticated with an admin password
But partially no more! If you edit the sudoers file, you can allow the CLI version of Software Update (i.e. softwareupdate) to be executed by your users.
Edit the sudoers file /etc/sudoers. Use the command sudo visudo; this will drop you into the default visual editor (usually vim).
Add ALL ALL= NOPASSWD: /usr/sbin/softwareupdate to the file. Placing it at the bottom is OK. Be sure to add comments on your change by using # as the first character. Do not comment out the actual sudoers directive you just added, however. Save and exit the editor.
Run softwareupdate -ia from Terminal in a non-admin user (any) account and watch the show.
I don't think this action will prompt for a restart, so the system will be running in an indeterminate state. Be sure to restart right away if you are trying this on a reboot-needed update. You have been warned.
Real world uses
With this hurdle covered, you can now add a cron/launchd job to download updates for sure (softwareupdate -d). I have been thinking about seeing if I can work this into the logouthook function. If so, then shutdown -r now will also need to be in sudoers. It has also been suggested to use an osascript command to issue a Finder restart to allow users the normal warnings.
Trying to convert RTF-formatted text on the clipboard to plain text is a nightmare. There are many solutions out there, some of which cost money, and others which are free but don't work reliably. So here's an AppleScript that will do the job:
set the clipboard to string of (the clipboard as record)
on error errMsg
display dialog errMsg
Turn it into a run-only AppleScript, bind that AppleScript to a keyboard shorcut with a utility like Keyboard Maestro (my personal favorite), and never look back again. Note that the code above is adapted from the script "clip2pure_text" found at the bottom of this blog post.
[robg adds: In the comments to this older hint, an alternative method was provided -- just do a pbpaste | pbcopy, if you happen to be working in Terminal when you need this done.]
So you've bought a new Mac, but your old Mac is up-to-date with the latest software updates from Apple. Or you're doing a fresh install from your older install disk to a new drive, and plan on migrating from your old drive. Chances are your new Mac may NOT have all the current Mac software updates on it. Certainly your fresh install won't. Here's how to do migration sanely.
When asked if you are going to migrate your stuff from another Mac or partition, say no, and proceed to enter your user information -- make sure that your shortname is the same as on your other Mac or existing install. When you finish that, create a temporary account via System Preferences » Accounts.
Next run Software Update to bring the new Mac or install up to date. Run it again until it says there are no more updates, as some updates rely on others being installed before they will be available. Then log out of your account and into the temporary one. Now you are ready to migrate your original user and applications, and stuff from your old Mac or drive. Migration Assistant is located in /Applications » Utilities. Take the family out to dinner or a movie while your files are copied to the new Mac.
If you like to use the random screen saver option in the Desktop & Screen Saver System Preferences panel, you might find the .Mac screen saver somewhat annoying: unless you've configured slide shows in its Options panel, the default view is a bunch of Apple products fading in and out of your screen -- and when in random mode, the .Mac screen saver can appear at any time.
Someone on the Macworld forums asked about disabling it, and I thought of two possible solutions. First, you could go into the Options screen for the .Mac screen saver and uncheck the Public Slide Show option. This will cause the saver panel to show a message stating you need to pick at least one public show before using the .Mac screen saver. However, I don't know if this will prevent the .Mac screen saver from showing in the random rotation -- it's not an easy thing to test!
The second solution, and one that's guaranteed to work, is to remove the .Mac screen saver from the list. Screen savers are stored in the /System » Library » Screen Savers folder, but if you look there in the Finder, you won't see the .Mac saver listed. That's because its name starts with a period, which means the Finder believes it to be invisible.
So instead, quit System Preferences, open a Terminal, and execute these two commands, pressing Return after each and providing your admin password when asked:
$ cd "/System/Library/Screen Savers"
$ sudo mv .Mac.slideSaver .Mac.slideSaver.old
That's it; the .Mac screen saver is now disabled. To get it back in the future, just use these two commands:
$ cd "/System/Library/Screen Savers"
$ sudo mv .Mac.slideSaver.old .Mac.slideSaver
I did test this solution, and it works -- as one would expect, since we're just renaming a file.