The following is not a hint, really, but an observation of a cool non-publicized Snow Leapord feature.
While flying home from the west coast this holiday season and changing the time zone on my MacBook, I noticed a new feature on the map that you see in the TIme Zone tab of the Date & Time System Preferences panel: The map of the Earth changes based on the time of the year.
For example, if you set the month to August in the Date & Time tab of the panel, the map will display a lush green northern hemisphere. Setting the date to December changes the northern hemisphere to the appropriate snow cover.
When using a desktop Mac under Mac OS X, I have had trouble (in the past) saving energy (by sleeping the computer and display after ten minutes of inactivity) because there are many iPhone applications, along with sharing applications, that I use which require that my desktop Mac be awake and available on the local wireless network. I have found a perfect, yet simple solution to my troubles: Snow Leopard's new "wake for network access" feature.
One example of an app for my iPhone that I use is FileMaker's Bento. It syncs wirelessly (on my local network) with my Bento database on my desktop Mac. With this app, I can view and edit my entire business database, all from my iPhone. Anyhow, in order to sync the changes I make on my iPhone back to my Mac, the same wireless network needs to be active on both my iPhone and desktop Mac, which both need to be on and running.
However, for years I have been using the option (in the Energy Saver section of System Preferences) to sleep my Mac after 10 minutes of inactivity. If my Mac (not necessarily my Mac's display, however) is asleep, it cannot accept incoming network connections (which the Bento iPhone app needs to sync). I have always had to move my Mac's mouse to awaken it, so I could make the connection. Another example is my iPhone's 2Do app. It's a wonderful app, however, to properly sync connections with iCal and Mail's To Do function on my Mac, it also needs to make a network connection with my Mac via my local wireless network.
My solution: One new and relatively unpublicized feature of Snow Leopard: "Wake on Demand." Wake on Demand it allows your Mac, using your Airport or Time Capsule Base Station and Bonjour, to wake for network access. Just check the "Wake for network access" button in the Energy Saver panel of System Preferences.
Not only does this help with my iPhone app synchronization problems, but it works beautifully for iTunes music sharing, printer sharing, Back to My Mac (MobileMe), screen and file sharing, and more, all using just your local AirPort or Time Capsule Base Station. I am disappointed that Apple has not made this function more popular with the release of Snow Leopard, but it's there, and it works.
The Quicktime X player in Snow Leopard cannot scale its window smaller than the width of the floating control bar. I often want to watch small movies created from screen grabs, and Quicktime X is useless for this -- the resulting playback is fuzzy, having been scaled unnecessarily.
To quickly view a movie without this restriction, I drag it into a new mail message. The player used in Mail has the old-style controller at the bottom, and plays the movies at the correct size.
[robg adds: Another solution is to install and use QuickTime 7, which you can do with the Snow Leopard install disc (customize the installation to see it). QuickTime X is, for me, one of the major disappointments in Snow Leopard. I'm sure it's a foundation for more to come, but compared to its predecessor, it's a very feature-poor cousin with an annoying and useless interface.]
This hint describes how to create an extra, encrypted FAT-32 partition on a MacBook Pro running Boot Camp with Snow Leopard and Windows 7 already in place. This partition can be accessed with read/write permissions from both the OS X and Windows side of the system.
Notice! This hint deals with partitioning and formatting, so you are at all times in a risk of losing your data. Please, create backups before you start to do anything!
When a program wants your attention, one way it can get it is to bounce its Dock icon.
In previous versions of the system, you had to make the Dock visible (assuming you kept it hidden) by moving your mouse into the Dock area before clicking on the bouncing icon.
Now in Snow Leopard, you can catch icon while it is "in the air." I know that this may not be the most useful hint, but this new behavior may not have been noticed by everyone yet. I like it; I find it much more intuitive.
As a professional translator, I was looking for a way to substitute highlighted text with existing translations in any kind of document I was working with. With the new way of creating Services in 10.6, this was easily achieved.
Create a new service in Automator and select 'Service receives text in any application' and check 'Replaces selected text' in the header of the Automator window. Then drag the action Run Shell Scrip to the workflow. Set the 'Pass input' pop-up to as arguments. Copy the following two lines of code into the Automator action:
The first service (AnteTransFeed) feeds the dictionary file with a new line containing the original text and the translation. The highlighted text should be of the format Tisch x0x desk, where x0x serves as the separator between the original text and the translation of that text.
Control-clicking on the highlighted text brings up the context menu containing the AnteTransFeed service, making it simple to add new translations to your dictionary -- the new line is appended to the dictionary file AnteTrans.txt.
The second service (AnteTransRead) searches for the highlighted text in the dictionary file and substitutes it with the translation(s) found. It's also a Service in the context menu of the highlighted text. You can assign keyboard shortcuts for both services for faster usage.
[robg adds: These worked as described in my testing.]
Screen capture on Mac OS is a fantastic way to take information around with you on a mobile phone. Of course, if capturing many different items, you need to label them. This hint shows how to use Automator and AppleScript to make this a one click process.
First, build an Automator workflow (choose Application from the template chooser) as follows:
Finder » Find Finder Items: Search Desktop for Name -- begins with -- Screen Shot
Finder » Rename Finder Items: Set this to Make Sequential, then set it to create a new name (Picture), with Place Number 'after name' and Start Numbers At set to '1'.
Utilities » Run Applescript: Replace all the editable script with the script below, including the run as, etc.
Now when you screen grab anything which appears as Screen shot xxxxx on the Desktop, just double-click the application you created. You will be asked for a name which will become the prefix for each file, and multiple files will be suffixed with a number in time sequence. I stuck my application in the Toolbar of my Finder window.
Do you miss the ability to download and keep software updates directly from the Software Update application? I sure do. So I wrote a Service (81KB download) for Snow Leopard that will download and keep a copy of all updates recommended by the Software Update app.
The service will download the updates, then copy them to a folder called Updates in your home folder. It will then launch Software Update and allow you to install the updates without re-downloading them. The Service itself is just two steps, and you can open it up and look at it yourself in Automator.
If you'd like to recreate this yourself instead of downloading, the two steps are:
Ask for Confirmation -- put in any message you'd like displayed before the updates download.
Run Shell Script -- contains the following code:
softwareupdate -d -a
rsync -PavE /Library/Updates/ ~/Updates
open /System/Library/CoreServices/Software\ Update.app
Save that as a Service and you're ready to go. Alternatively, download from the above direct-download links, unzip, and copy to your user's Library/Services folder; it should immediately show up in the Services menu of any application.
[robg adds: I created a local mirror of the download file (81KB download), and added the source code to the hint for handy one-stop shopping. More details are available in the author's blog entry on the topic.]