Times have changed since this hint was published nearly six years ago. With the release of OS X 10.5, it became possible to use the Keyboard Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences panel to create custom shortcuts for items in the Services menu. Also notable since that hint was published is the fact that keyboard shortcuts for Services no longer require the use of Command and Shift. In fact, neither of those modifier keys are required, so you can use any combination of Shift, Command, Control, and Option that you prefer.
Since I'm a frequent user of keyboard shortcuts, and always found the Services menu a bit cumbersome with the mouse (especially with its numerous submenus), this feature adds functionality for me. Notable shortcuts I've already become acclimated to using include one for attaching files to e-mail messages from the Finder using the Mail » Send Selection item, and sending a selection to TextEdit (New Window Containing Selection) simply because I prefer these over clippings.
As an added bonus, note that those two Services menu items complete their task without overwriting the clipboard's contents.
After a year with Leopard, I finally decided to look at the Spotlight search field in Open and Save dialog boxes, and I noticed there's a way to make application-specific sidebar items. I haven't seen this documented anywhere, though that may be because I get the impression few people use the Spotlight field in Open and Save dialog boxes.
Setting up app-specific saved searches can be useful if you have certain files or folders you frequently access from within a certain application. For example, I find most of my Photoshop work only goes into a couple of folders, and the same is true for my InDesign files, and web pages I save as PDFs.
From the Open or Save dialog in any application, enter a term in the Spotlight search field. If desired, use the plus (+) sign button to add criteria to your search (the Kind field can be very helpful here for narrowing the search results). When you click the Save button, name this Smart Folder and click the checkbox marked 'Display Smart Folder For This Application Only.'
From now on, you'll see your saved search in the sidebar of the Open and Save dialog within that application. For my tastes at least, the added bonus of these sidebar Smart Folders is that they are not displayed in the sidebar of Finder windows.
Should you later decide to remove one of these items, simply view an Open or Save dialog box in whichever application you wish to change, then drag the unwanted Smart Folder from the sidebar, just as one would in the Finder.
[robg adds: I'll admit to never have tried saving a search from an Open or Save dialog, so perhaps others have overlooked this useful feature as well.]
The Unit Converter Widget is broken in Mac OS X 10.5.6: the left and right pop-up menus do not match, and Apple's code assumes they do. On the left menu, the Australian dollar appears at the top; on the right menu, it's the US Dollar. As a result, conversions come out incorrectly!
To fix this problem, make a copy of /Library/Widgets/Unit Converter.wdgt on your Desktop, Control-click on it and choose Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu, then open the UnitConverter.js file in a text editor. Search for "USD" (with the quotes). There should be only one matching line:
if (a.iso == "USD") return -1;
Delete this line. Then, delete the else at the start of the next line, i.e. change the line from this...
else if (a.name < b.name) return -1;
if (a.name < b.name) return -1;
Save the changes and close the document. I suggest keeping the original widget in /Library/Widgets, and installing the corrected version in ~/Library/Widgets, so that the system's version remains untouched.
[robg adds: When originally posted, I thought this was merely a display glitch, but it's not -- the calculations simply won't work properly with the two lists not being the same. You can test this yourself by converting any number in the default widget as it appears -- enter 55 in the left-side box, for instance, with the left pop-up on Australian Dollar and the right on US Dollar, and you'll see that the result is also shown as 55. Clearly that's not correct. This hint fixes that problem. Sorry for the confusion.]
There isn't a 64-bit RAM disk Mac application that will allow creation of RAM disks larger than 2.2GB (or maybe I haven't found it yet, as Google comes up with nothing useful). So instead, here is a method using the built-in tools in Leopard. I cant find the original post that had the initial RAM disk creation scripting, but I give huge props to the person that initially posted it. It was much more optimized than my own, except that mine uses the maximum allowable RAM disk size, and adds RAID functionality.
Uses: Scratch disk for iShowU and other screen capture programs; scratch disk for any program (especially Shake, Photoshop, After Effects); particle disk cache in Maya; PFTrack, etc. In short, a RAM disk is good for anything that you don't want your hard drive to be involved in --crunching huge numbers, etc.
You can create RAM disks with the $25 ramBunctious, or the free Esperance DV. Esperance DV does the exact same thing as ramBunctious, but for free and with better options and a better interface. However, as far as I know, both programs only allow the disk image to be approximately 2GB, and I have tried everything to make this limit disappear, with no luck. I also can't make multiple RAM disk images with Esperance DV.
So I came up with this method to create a RAM disk larger than 2GB: make multiple RAM disks and RAID stripe them! If you have enough RAM, give this a shot. I routinely use 10GB ram disks on my cluster machines, as it makes things ridiculously fast. I got this idea from running whole Linux distributions booted completely into RAM, and loving the immense speed.
First make sure you have enough RAM for this hint! You computer will slow to a crawl if you don't have enough RAM for the size of the RAM disk you want to make.
This hint is inspired by and uses tricks introduced by the hint Repair Time Machine after logic board changes, and is used for a similar purpose. In this case, I used this hint to re-connect Time Machine after migrating a partition from one hard disk to another one. I know it works with an image copy of your partition.
DISCLAIMER: Do this at your own risk! Have a backup of at least your most important files on a separate medium! Do not attempt this if you are uncertain about any of the consequences or circumstances here! There are no guarantees that the following will work for you!
Start from a different disk if you want to copy the system partition (use the System DVD if necessary). In Disk Utility, select the target disk (which must have been partitioned so your Mac can actually boot from it!), click Restore, drag the target partition to the Target field, and the old partition to the Source field. Don't forget to select Erase Destination, or it will in fact just make a file copy. Progress will then be shown as copying blocks instead of copying files.
The copy will be almost identical to the original -- only the drive ID (UUID) will be different, and that is why Time Machine would try to make a complete backup if we didn't do something to prevent it. I have not tested whether a mere file copy of a partition can be re-connected successfully so that only incremental backups are made. It does seem to work with an image copy, though.
After the image is done, remove the old drive/partition, or otherwise disable it, so that you're not confused by its presence -- all commands that follow will refer only to the new partition, and a change will be made only to a folder in the Time Machine backup.
I just updated to iPhoto '09. Everything went well, except for the ensuing Time Machine backup to my Time Capsule: the estimated size of the backup was over 40GB. I made a byte-by-byte comparison between my backup and my home directory, and found just a few differences, nothing justifying such a big load.
After searching a bit, I found out that iPhoto '09, when first run, updates the access right of all the pictures in the library to add read and write privileges to others. It seems that Time Machine does not recognize a file whose access privileges have been changed, and makes a copy of it. A simple solution would probably have been to remove the old picture library from the Time Machine, but I didn't like the idea.
So I decided to try to get the access right on the backup to match those on my disk. It took the following few steps as root (alternatively, prefix the commands with sudo):
Mount the backup archive.
Temporarily disable ACL on the backup drive: fsaclctl -d -e /Volume/Backupxxx.
Change the rights for the saved library (the X means 'extend search rights to directory, not regular files'): chmod o+rwX path/to/backup/of/iphoto/library.
Re-enable ACL (maybe not needed): fsaclctl -e -p /Volume/Backupxxx.
Unmount the backup.
After that, my backup was only 300 Mb, much more consistent. A similar process should probably work on a locally-hosted Time Machine backup, but I have no way (nor the time) to test it.
However, the built-in VNC server I use on Linux does not support encryption, so Screen Sharing displays a warning message about it without an option to disable it. I guess it would be OK if I just had to click 'Continue' every time I had to initiate a connection, but the warning message keeps popping up after half of my mouse clicks during the connection, making it very impractical to use.
In the end, this did not turn out to be an insurmountable obstacle. Thanks to the method outlined in robg's article on how to find hidden preferences, I found one that turns off the warning message. In Terminal, enter this command:
Under Leopard, the act of launching and hiding apps through AppleScript does not work well (for me anyway!). I have found a simple yet effective way around it that works; I've found that by doubling the commands to activate the individual apps, and also hiding them one by one, they respond better to then being hidden. Here's an example:
tell application "Things" to activate
tell application "Things" to activate
tell application "Finder"
set visible of process "Things" to false
tell application "Mail" to activate
tell application "Mail" to activate
tell application "Finder"
set visible of process "Mail" to false
In my testing, using only one activate entry fails consistently, and doubling them works every time. This also works for the problematic 'Mail not hiding properly at launch time' bug. I know of the application LaunchandHideMail, but it's nice to have it a bit simpler, and in a form such that other launched items can be added.
This tip is for users who use Japanese text input. Because in Japanese it is possible to use unusual characters to represent a particular sound sequence, Mac OS X has a dictionary feature called "Kotoeri" that allows you to add new combinations of sounds and characters to the dictionary. This can also be used to map other characters together. So, for example, on my system if I want to put the macrons over the o's in Tōkyō, I need only enter Japanese input mode and press "o" twice then select ō from the list of suggested characters.
Unfortunately, it is also possible for one's Kotoeri dictionary to become corrupt. If this happens, Mac OS X will not learn the new mappings you add to your dictionary. To solve this problem, use the following procedure.
First open the Kotoeri dictionary application (also known as "WordRegister" and located at /System » Library » Input Methods » Kotoeri.app » Contents » Support » WordRegister.app). From the menu, select Dictionary (Jisho) and Export as Text (Tekisuto ni kakidasu). Save the resulting file somewhere, then delete ~/Library/Dictionaries/ユーザ辞書 (User Dictionary).
Close and relaunch Kotoeri. Select Dictionary and Import From Dictionary or Text (Tekisuto ya jisho kara torikomu). After this, your corrupt dictionary should be fixed, and OS X will once again learn the mapping you teach it.
Having finally got Time Machine to work on my NAS following the other hints on this site, I came across a big problem. I set up Time Machine on my laptop, which is not always connected to my home network. When out on the road, it would try to sync and fail, which was good. However, when I am out and about, I also use my VPN to connect back to my house. This, I found, would allow Time Machine to back up. At first thought, that sounds good ... but doing so when connecting via 3G really doesn't work well.
So I changed the configuration of Time Machine such that it would not automatically backup, but rather do it when I tell it to do so. Go to System preferences » Time Machine, and make sure 'Show Time Machine status in the menu bar' is checked, then turn off Time Machine.
Now in the menu bar at the top of the screen, click the Time Machine icon and select Back Up Now when you want to back up. This finally allows me to back up when I'm on my home network, and not at other times unless I really want to. Of course, this also puts the onus back onto me to remember to run the backup frequently.
[robg adds: The interesting tidbit here (to me, at least) is that Time Machine will run even when it's been set to "off." I'm also interested to see if others have different methods of making sure a machine only backs up when desired -- are there solutions that still allow automatic backup when at home, and manual backup when not directly on the home network?]