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10.6: See time zone map change based on seasons System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintThe 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.
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10.6: Fix an Apple Software Restore font issue System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintApple Software Restore (ASR) has a font issue when used from the command line (asr), or from Disk Utility (Restore tab) in 10.6.

When booting off the imaged drive, upon first log in to each user account, a message pops up stating that the Lucide Grand font has been changed and restored. There are two ways to fix this issue:
  1. Run Disk Utility from the 10.6 install disc: this insures that all caches are in sync.
  2. In Terminal, do this: rm -rf /Volumes/some_drive/private/var/folders/*: this removes the font caches from the users' accounts.
Hope this helps someone else.
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10.6: Use wake-on-demand to help conserve energy System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintWhen 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.
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10.6: View small movies at the correct size in Snow Leopard System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintThe 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.]
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10.6: A temporary fix for non-working F8-F12 keys System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintIt's really been bugging me that, since updating to 10.6, my F8 through F12 keys sometimes won't work after a period of time. Recently someone told me how you can see when this happens.

Open Console, make sure the log list is visible, and then search for BUG in libdispatch using the search box. If you see this...

/System/Library/CoreServices/[1291]: BUG in libdispatch: 10C540 - 1676 - 0x4

...then you probably have non-functional F8 through F12 keys. To make them work again, open Terminal and type killall Dock and the keys will work again.

I didn't discover this myself, but though it worth sharing the solution.

[robg adds: I did a bit of digging with Google, and some other reports reflect that this may be restricted to those using the Chinese Input Method. I haven't seen it myself.]
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10.6: Create a shared Boot Camp/OS X encrypted partition System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintThis 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!
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10.6: Catch a bouncing Dock icon System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintWhen 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.
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10.6: Define and replace translations on the fly System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintAs 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:
echo $* >> /Users/your_name/desired_path/AnteTrans.txt
echo $* | grep -oE x0x.+ | tail -c +5
Replace the your_name and desired_path values with those you'd like to use. Save the workflow as AnteTransFeed.workflow.

Now create a second service, with all the same settings, including the Run Shell Script action. Replace the code with this one line:
grep -i "$*" /Users/your_name/desired_path/AnteTrans.txt | grep -oE x0x.+ | tail -c +5
Save this workflow as AnteTransRead.workflow.

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.]
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10.6: Rename screenshots with Automator and AppleScript System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintScreen 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:
  1. Finder » Find Finder Items: Search Desktop for Name -- begins with -- Screen Shot
  2. 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'.
  3. Utilities » Run Applescript: Replace all the editable script with the script below, including the run as, etc.
    on run
    Replace Text In Item Names
    This script is designed to replace text in the names of specific files and/or folders in the front window of the desktop. 
    If no folder windows are open, the script will affect files and/or folders on the desktop.
    Copyright  20012007 Apple Inc.
    You may incorporate this Apple sample code into your program(s) without
    restriction.  This Apple sample code has been provided "AS IS" and the
    responsibility for its operation is yours.  You are not permitted to
    redistribute this Apple sample code as "Apple sample code" after having
    made changes.  If you're going to redistribute the code, we require
    that you make it clear that the code was descended from Apple sample
    code, but that you've made changes.
      --set the source_folder to choose folder with prompt "Folder containing items to edit:"
      -- get the path to the folder of the front window
      -- if no windows are open, the desktop folder will be used
        tell application "Finder" to set the source_folder to (folder of the front window) as alias
      on error -- no open folder windows
        set the source_folder to path to desktop folder as alias
      end try
      set the search_parameter to "File Names"
      -- display dialog "Replacing Picture  with your text in File names:" buttons {"Cancel", "OK"} default button 2
      set the search_string to the "Picture"
        display dialog "Enter replacement text:" default answer "" buttons {"Cancel", "OK"} default button 2
        set the replacement_string to the text returned of the result
        if the replacement_string contains ":" then
          display dialog "A file or folder name cannot contain a colon (:)." buttons {"Cancel", "OK"} default button 2
        else if the replacement_string contains "/" then
          display dialog "A file or folder name cannot contain a forward slash (/)." buttons {"Cancel", "OK"} default button 2
          exit repeat
        end if
      end repeat
      display dialog "Replace " & the search_string & " with " & the replacement_string & " in every item name?" buttons {"Cancel", "OK"} default button 2
      set the item_list to list folder source_folder without invisibles
      set source_folder to source_folder as string
      repeat with i from 1 to count of the item_list
        set this_item to item i of the item_list
        set this_item to (source_folder & this_item) as alias
        set this_info to info for this_item
        set the current_name to the name of this_info
        set change_flag to false
        if the current_name contains the search_string then
          if the search_parameter is "Folder Names" and 
            folder of this_info is true then
            set the change_flag to true
          else if the search_parameter is "File Names" and 
            folder of this_info is false then
            set the change_flag to true
          else if the search_parameter is "Both" then
            set the change_flag to true
          end if
          if the change_flag is true then
            -- replace target string using delimiters
            set AppleScript's text item delimiters to the search_string
            set the text_item_list to every text item of the current_name
            set AppleScript's text item delimiters to the replacement_string
            set the new_item_name to the text_item_list as string
            set AppleScript's text item delimiters to ""
            my set_item_name(this_item, new_item_name)
          end if
        end if
      end repeat
      beep 2
    end run
    on set_item_name(this_item, new_item_name)
      tell application "Finder"
        set the parent_container_path to (the container of this_item) as text
        if not (exists item (the parent_container_path & new_item_name)) then
            set the name of this_item to new_item_name
          on error the error_message number the error_number
            if the error_number is -59 then
              set the error_message to "This name contains improper characters, such as a colon (:)."
            else --the suggested name is too long
              set the error_message to error_message -- "The name is more than 31 characters long."
            end if
            tell me to display dialog the error_message default answer new_item_name buttons {"Cancel", "Skip", "OK"} default button 3
            copy the result as list to {new_item_name, button_pressed}
            if the button_pressed is "Skip" then return 0
            my set_item_name(this_item, new_item_name)
          end try
        else --the name already exists
          tell me to display dialog "This name is already taken, please rename." default answer new_item_name buttons {"Cancel", "Skip", "OK"} default button 3
          copy the result as list to {new_item_name, button_pressed}
          if the button_pressed is "Skip" then return 0
          my set_item_name(this_item, new_item_name)
        end if
      end tell
    end set_item_name
  4. Save the workflow as an application.
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.
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10.6: A Service to 'install and keep' software updates System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintDo 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:
  1. Ask for Confirmation -- put in any message you'd like displayed before the updates download.
  2. Run Shell Script -- contains the following code:
    softwareupdate -d -a
    rsync -PavE /Library/Updates/ ~/Updates
    open /System/Library/CoreServices/Software\
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.

If you need more info, you can read about how it works on my blog. So far I've found this to be extremely handy.

[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.]
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