Like old PowerPC versions of OSX, the BootX boot loader in 10.5 can be edited to change the start-up gray Apple into whatever basic 128x128 image you'd like. The BootX file hides the image itself as a .raw from hex address $1B7E4 to $1F7E4. The color index table is saved as an .act file from hex address $1F7E4 to $1FAE4.
Manually editing the image requires you to first extract the colour table, by copy/pasting it out of the BootX into a new .act file with a hex editor. Then, with your desired 128x128 image, set it to indexed colour in Photoshop. In the following dialog, choose a custom colour table and load the .act colour index table you'd extracted from the BootX. If it looks bad when you load in the .act colour index, revert and try to simplify with the image before trying to index it again. Once successful, save the result as a .raw file with no header.
The final .raw file should be exactly 4000 hex characters, which then gets pasted into the BootX file in place of the original ($1B7E4 to $1F7E4). Double-check all the file lengths; the BootX should be the same length as when you started. When you're done, you should be able to reboot and see your new image at startup. I've tested it myself manually, and it works. I haven't installed Leopard on any Intels yet, but I don't expect much luck from them.
(If you're having trouble editing the BootX file, use the Terminal and enter sudo chflags nouchg /System/Library/CoreServices/BootX to make it editable. Just make sure to relock it afterwards by entering sudo chflags uchg /System/Library/CoreServices/BootX.)
[robg adds: I would not advise trying this unless you're quite comfortable with the minimal instructions provided above (and you should have a good backup; if you mess up the BootX file, booting will be difficult, to say the least!). As for modifying an Intel Mac's startup image (in EFI), it's apparently possible, though with more restrictions than on a PowerPC machine. At least, it's possible according to this detailed blog post. I have not tried this myself, nor do I have any intentions to do so.]
New in Leopard is the ability to see the time while the screen saver is running. In the Desktop/Screen Saver pane of System Preferences, on the Screen Saver tab, is a new option: Show with clock. When checked, now the time shows up in the screen saver large enough that you can see it across the room.
[robg adds: Historically, I probably wouldn't have chosen to run this hint if it were just me making the decision. However, the macosxhints readers reviewing the queue (see this post for more details) felt that it was worth pointing out, given how useful it is and that some may not have discovered it. So here it is!]
The first of these causes all Dock items to spring-load. That is, if you hover over it while dragging, the item will open and be shown. So if you hover over an app, it comes to the front and you can drop things onto its window. If you hover over a folder, you can drop into it. If you hover over a file, it will open the file and bring that window to the front. You could, for instance, drag an HTML page onto a web browser, and then to a previous tab to load that page in that particular tab. Or, you could drag an image file to drop into a rich text document at a particular location all in one fell swoop. This is really cool!
To enable this option, type this in Terminal:
$ defaults write com.apple.dock enable-spring-load-actions-on-all-items -boolean yes
$ killall Dock
The second pref causes the dock to draw a highlight hover effect for the grid view of a stack -- it's a sort-of white gradient thing that appears as you mouse over each icon in grid view, as seen in the image at right. It's kind of cool, but not really at all useful.
To implement this one, type this in Terminal:
$ defaults write com.apple.dock mouse-over-hilte-stack -boolean yes
$ killall Dock
To reverse either command, repeat it with no at the end instead of yes, then kill the Dock again.
Upon upgrading to Leopard via upgrade install, I couldn't get to my Test webserver on my localhost. I got a 403 error, that I wasn't allowed to access my directory. Going to Finder and doing a Get Info on the Sites folder told me that I had read and write privileges, but a user (Unknown) had read privileges. I couldn't remove this user. Clicking the + symbol would crash Finder, every time.
The fix to this is to go into Terminal, and from your home folder, type:
$ cd ..
$ chown -R :staff name_of_home_folder
Where name_of_home_folder is the name of your user's home folder. This will stop Get Info from crashing, but it won't fix the 403 error. Now that 403 error is occurring because Tiger ships with Apache2 and activates it by default, ignoring Apache1.x configuration files -- thanks for making that clear, Apple!
To solve that, all you have to do is type this into a Terminal...
cp /etc/httpd/users/*.conf /etc/apache2/users/
Then stop and start personal web sharing, and you should be able to see your sites again. Note that if you messed with your old /etc » httpd » httpd.conf file, then you'll have to move those settings to /etc » apache2 » httpd.conf. Phew. Having this hint would have saved me a few hours, so I hope that it helps you.
Here's one for the keyboard navigation lovers among us. After hitting Control-F3 to highlight the Dock, you can now go straight to the icon of your choice by typing its first letters (i.e. type "it" to jump straight to iTunes). You used to have to hit the arrow keys till you got there (ugh).
I love this -- I always thought it was missing in Tiger!
[robg adds: You'll need to have full keyboard access enabled -- press Control-F1 if Control-F3 doesn't seem to do anything. I honestly don't remember if 10.5 ships with this enabled or disabled by default.]
There is absolutely no trick to using this feature in Leopard, but it is new and undocumented in the 300 features that Apple lists, so I thought I ought to mention it. Leopard supports the A2DP Bluetooth profile. This profile allows for the transfer of high-quality stereo audio over Bluetooth. In previous versions of the Mac OS, the only Bluetooth audio profile supported was headset, limiting output to low data-rate mono sound. I successfully paired my Plantronics Bluetooth headphones with my MacBook in Leopard. Leopard creates two audio devices after pairing, one of which is labeled "headset" and uses the headset profile, the other is labeled "headphones" and uses full A2DP Stereo.
In addition, Leopard supports the AVRCP profile, which allows for remote control functions to be used on audio devices. For example, I can use the built-in controls on my headphones to control iTunes. I have not yet found any way to specifically configure this feature (for example, to remap controls). However, with my headphones, the back and forward buttons do advance iTunes back and forward through the song list, just as it should.
I have encountered a couple glitches so far. The big one is that there seems to be a bit of a problem with my Apple Bluetooth keyboard and my Bluetooth headphones interfering with each other (or using too much Bluetooth bandwidth, or something). My keyboard sometimes loses its connection when audio is playing, and audio likewise sometimes cut out momentarily. If I disconnect one of these devices, the problem vanishes. The second is more minor: at least on my headphones, the stereo is reversed, so I've taken to wearing them backwards until I can find a solution.
So it's not perfect, although I'm hoping both of these issue have simple solutions. It saves me having to use the bulky audio jack adapter with my headphones, though.
Now that I have to live without Fruit Menu (nothing Unsanity writes is yet Leopard-compatible) I found myself missing a cascading System Preferences menu.
To replicate it, I made a folder and dragged in aliases to all my frequently used preference panes. The panes are located in each of these locations (for some reason, some panes appear multiple places):
I created a folder (I keep it in my home directory, but it can be anywhere) called System Preferences to hold these aliases, and I dragged that folder to the right side of the Dock. Lo and behold, a cascading System Preferences menu. Right-clicking on the Stack lets you decide if it should be a fan or a grid (though a fan is limited in how many icons it shows).
The icon of a Stack is literally a stack of the icons of the first few items in the folder; in my case, it was the layered icons for the preference panes for Accounts, Appearance, and Bluetooth. I found that ugly so I made an alias to the System Preferences application itself in the folder, too. I put a space at the start of this new alias's name so it would alphabetize first. Now the icon for the Stack is still a stack, but the top icon on the stack is System Preferences itself.
If you want to have all your mounted disks/shares -- actually the content of the /Volumes folder in one stack, you have to drag the /Volumes folder onto the Stacks area from the dock, but the /Volumes folder is invisible.
However, you can reach invisible folders in the Finder with the Go -> Go to Folder menu command (Shift-Command-G). Use that menu, then enter /Volumes in the dialog box that appears. When the folder appears in the Finder, drag it to the right side of the dock to create a Volumes stack.
[robg adds: Of course, this would be much more useful if you could then navigate the pop-up drive list as you could in 10.4.]
I noticed that 10.5 doesn't like my GUID anymore (the one with the same name as my username), as apparently 10.5 doesn't use such groups anymore. But I wasn't sure if it was still on the system or not, so I wanted to find a list of GUIDs. But it turns out /Applications » Utilities » NetInfo Manager.app is no more, and all the ni* applications are gone from Terminal as well.
Thus, we must now use the ds* (directory services) applications in Terminal. As of right now, I don't know of any GUI application equivalent of NetInfo manager, only the applications like dscl, dscacheutil, dsenableroot, and so forth. As an example, here's how to print out all the user accounts:
dscacheutil -q group
Hopefully there will be some GUI interface to these tools developed as time goes on.
One of the cool new features of Mac OS X Leopard is the search field in the Help menu of each application. Entering a search term in this field will pull up not only help topics related to your search, but anything that appears in the current application's menus (this includes history and bookmarks in Safari).
As you highlight each menu item in the search results (using the arrow keys), that menu item gets pulled down automatically and highlighted with a colored floating pointer. You can then hit enter to activate that menu item. When I first saw it, I wondered if there was a shortcut key for the help menu, so I didn't have to use the mouse (like hitting Command-Space to do a Spotlight search). Well, there is: Command-? (i.e. Command-Shift-/).
This shortcut key is documented in the Mac Help system (under Mac OS X keyboard shortcuts), but it is so awesome, I had to submit it.
[robg adds: You can also customize this shortcut in the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences panel. Some may dislike the floating blue arrow that highlights the menu items, but the motion really helps my eye find it in the clutter of a complex set of menus.]