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Comprehensive summary of Mac Metadata System
I found a great article that someone, who I am not sure, is compiling on OSX/Apple metadata that is beyond comprehensive, not an Apple TechDoc and easy to read/understand. Since many of these topics come up, it seemed like a useful pointer.

The premise is that it seems that not all metadata is archived by every archiving tool available for Mac OS X, and tools that claim to be able to archive a piece of metadata may not do so with full fidelity.

[crarko adds: There's a lot of good stuff in the article; it's better you go read it for yourself (over at the Google Code Wiki). There are also some experimental results included. It's a great find.]
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Automatically delete Mac OS X dot files from MS-DOS filesystems System
I often use a USB flash drive on my Mac that's formatted with an MS-DOS filesystem. I usually copy JPGs and MP3s onto it for use with my household DVD player. When I plug the flash drive into the DVD player's front-panel USB port, I can view the files on my TV. The problem is that the DVD player is very simple and it shows all the dot files that Mac OS X puts on it, like .Trashes and a .DS_Store in almost every folder.

I wanted to prevent Mac OS X from writing those files to MS-DOS filesystems at all, but I couldn't find a way to do that. My second thought was to write an AppleScript that would execute whenever the eject operation was requested, deleting the dot files, but I couldn't find a way to do that, either. So, being an old UNIX guy, I decided to try going down to that level and writing a wrapper script for umount, the program that does a lot of the work when ejecting (or 'unmounting') a filesystem.

This has worked out for me very well, but this solution might not be for everybody. This hint will explain how to install a umount wrapper script, but great care must be taken while doing so. You'll be using Terminal.app, working as the root user, and moving important OS utilities. A mistake in these steps could cause a lot of trouble for you.
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Spotlight’s search keywords are localized System
Today I needed to filter search results using Spotlight and remembered that you can use keywords to narrow down the search. In my particular case I wanted to find all emails I had received from a specific contact that I had in my Time Machine backup going back over years.

I had a frustrating time with reindexing and whatnot, because the keywords that were mentioned everywhere on the net didn't work for me and always yielded absolutely zero results. After spending way too much time I thought I'd share my discovery here, because I only found this out by accident.

It turns out that Spotlight's search keywords are localized! So in my case (German) I can't use keywords like:

kind:mail from:johndoe

But using the German words everything works as it should. In our example this means:

art:mail von:johndoe

This goes for all the keywords as it seems. I hadn't thought of that at first, because I'm used to doing other Spotlight searches (i.e. in applications) alternatively in English or German. For example I can search for 'keychain' or 'schlüsselbund' and both will get me Keychain Access.app.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. You can go into System Preferences » Language & Text » Language and then change the order for your preferred language. It makes sense to me that Spotlight would respect this, and use the appropriate dictionary.]
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Spaces peculiarity System
Often when I opened the spaces-overview rapidly in succession I noticed that windows were consolidated in my current space. I always considered this a bug, but now I'm starting to doubt it.

If you rapidly press the Spaces button four times all your windows will be on your current active space. Apparently you can then select any of these windows and do what you want with them, e.g. resize them, hide them.

Afterwards if you press the Spaces button again, all of your windows will be at their original location, but any changes will still be executed. Unfortunately Exposé to view all windows won't work.

Whether this has any practical use is of course a different question, if anyone has suggestions, please do comment.

[crarko adds: I have a tough time reproducing this. I'm pretty sure this is a designed behavior of Spaces for doing window management, but can't be sure either.]
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Fix Focus on Menu lock up after switching Spaces System
There is a bug that locks up the Focus on Menu shortcut if you switch Spaces.

When any application is in focus on one Space and you switch to another Space that has no focused application, it defaults to the application from the previous Space but has no windows or focus. (This happens only when using Control+numbers or arrows. It doesn't happen if you reveal all Spaces and choose one.) The System Preferences » Keyboard » Keyboard Shortcuts » Move focus to the menu bar shortcut locks up.

I believe there are other causes, but this one is consistent. Actually, no keyboard shortcuts respond in a new Space with no open window in that app, but Focus on Menu is the only one that stays locked up even when switching back to other Spaces. Worse, it locks up in all Spaces, all applications.

Just knowing the cause helps avoid it; never switch to a Space with no active apps. Also, if you do switch to a blank Space, you immediately switch back to the original Space and engag the shortcut.

If you continue on to another Space, all applications lock up.

To fix this you have to return to the original Space and application where the glitch occurred and engage the 'Focus on Menu' shortcut. It comes back for that application and all other programs.

Having a dozen applications open, as I always do, presents a problem. So I wrote the following script. Interesting note: Command+Tab switches between the two most recent applications. That wouldn't work in this script. Shift+Command+Tab does not: it rotates through all open applications. This discovery allowed me to write a script that moves through all of the applications. Note that key code 122 is F1, which is what I use for Focus on Menu. If you used a different keystroke you'd need to replace it with the corresponding key code.

Here's the AppleScript:
tell application "System Events" to get name of every process whose visible is true
set allApps to result

repeat count of allApps times
	tell application "System Events"
		keystroke tab using {shift down, command down}
		delay 1
		key code 122
		delay 1
		key code 122
	end tell
end repeat

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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Shortcut to Home Folder System
I accidentally found a new shortcut to the Home folder in Snow Leopard.

In Finder, I have always used Command+Up arrow to go up one level to go through my subdirectories very quickly, especially when developing and am traversing the same directory sections.

So, today (having just upgraded to Snow Leopard a few days ago; I know I am late), I used this same shortcut but up popped a new Finder window for my home directory. I had to check to understand how I did that.

I was not in the current Finder window. Instead, I had clicked on the Desktop. I have tested this and you can have either nothing selected or anything selected and it still works. It appears the Desktop now works exactly like a Finder window for this. This is a little easier than clicking the Command+Shift+H to get there.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. I also tried it in 10.5 and it worked there too, so this isn't a new thing in Snow Leopard, but just one of those little peculiarities of the Finder that we all know and love. It's in the Finder 'Go' menu as 'Enclosing Folder' and the fact that the Desktop is also a folder inside the Home directory is what causes this behavior, so it probably goes back even further.]
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Cannot empty trash because item is in use System
Sometimes it is not possible to empty the trash because an item is in use. There are many possible causes for this; here is one thing to try to eliminate the error.
  • Go to Finder and select Finder » Secure Empty Trash.
  • If this operation gets stuck, open the Activity Monitor utility and force quit the Locum process.
    Enter your admin password when requested.
  • Go back to Finder and select Finder » Empty Trash.
This fixed it for me.

[crarko adds: I found this thread in the MacOSXHints forums where the Locum process is discussed. It references a good source for finding out more information about this process. By the way, the word 'Locum' means 'place-holder' or perhaps 'temporary proxy' is more applicable in this case. Apparently it fills in for the Finder in the background while emptying the Trash. It also can consume quite a bit of memory while doing so with a large number of files.]
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Manually set extended attributes on arbitrary files System
Files downloaded using Safari have their source URL recorded within the file's metadata in the form of the com.apple.metadata:kMDItemWhereFroms extended attribute. In particular, this is convenient because the information is available in the Finder (using 'Get Info') or can be used as the basis of Spotlight searches.

Unfortunately, the feature is not widely supported among other browsers and not at all for files received directly from other people.

While not as convenient as having it available as a built-in function, users of other browsers can still enjoy the organizational benefits of this feature by manually writing 'where from' information for files of their choosing.
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Merge keychains easily System
Normally when copying Keychain items from one to the other, the Keychain Access program will ask you for your password for each and every item. Here's a time saving workaround.

First, have the destination keychain (which may be the login keychain) and the source keychain, which you want to merge the items from, both opened up in /Applications/Utilities/Keychain Access.

Now change the password of the destination keychain to be empty. You can do this by selecting the keychain, going to the Edit menu, and choosing the item to change the password. You will need the current password (probably your login password) to change this.

The Keychain Access program will probably complain that the new empty password is not secure enough; but you can override this by holding the Option key and clicking OK.

Next, select all items you want to copy to your destination keychain and drag them over. Since there is no password set, you can just click allow for each item. Huge time saver.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. Since it is the destination keychain that you removed the password from, remember to reset it (back to whatever you had to type in to edit the password) when you are through.]
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Set per-computer Dock placement System
I have a mobile account set up where my user account synchronises files and settings between my MacBook and my desktop Mac. Since the desktop Mac has a dual monitor setup, I put the Dock in the bottom position, so it's closer to the middle of the two monitors. On the MacBook Pro's widescreen display, though, I prefer the Dock on the left, to give more vertical height for the other windows.

Unfortunately, due to the account synchronisation, whichever preference I set on one Mac automatically gets set to the same value on the other Mac. However, there's a way to solve this with the use of the Mac OS X defaults system.

What is needed is a preference setting which is specific to a certain Mac, which can be synchronised but will not apply to the other one. Technically, we need to set the preference in the preference domain for the current host, rather than for any host, which is the default (For more details, see Apple's docs). This can be done from the command line by giving the -currentHost flag to the defaults command, like so:

defaults -currentHost write com.apple.Dock orientation bottom

This will write a preference setting specific to the Mac you're working on.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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