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10.6.7: Set up encrypted Backup in Time Machine for FileVault System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintThis is how to set up Time Machine to work with FileVault, producing a proper incremental backup of each file in your home folder, and have that backup encrypted. If you use this technique, you should also have a second backup, preferably a clone of your hard drive.

Throughout this hint, replace $computername with the name of your computer, $username with the short name of your FileVault user, and $backupdrive with the name of your hard drive.

[crarko adds: Please treat the following process as experimental, and be dead sure you have a complete backup of any system you try this on.]
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10.6: Install Battery Update 1.4 under Snow Leopard System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintAs of April 30, 2011, Apple is selling MacBook battery model A1185, which has a known but correctable flaw that affects the battery's ability to maintain a charge when the Mac is turned off, as new in Apple Retail Stores with the following specs:

Model Information:
  • Manufacturer: DP
  • Device name: ASMB016
  • Pack Lot Code: 0002
  • PCB Lot Code: 0000
  • Firmware Version: 0110
  • Hardware Revision: 0500
  • Cell Revision: 0102
Battery Update 1.4 is designed to rectify a defect in MacBook battery model A1185 that causes the battery to prematurely lose charge capacity. After the battery firmware update is successfully applied, the Pack Lot Code is changed to 0003.

Battery Update 1.4 is designed to only run under OS X 10.5.5 or later EXCLUDING 10.6+. This means if you are running Snow Leopard and you buy a new battery from the Apple Store, your battery will not perform properly and will suffer the defects that Battery Update 1.4 is designed to resolve due to inability to update the battery firmware.

It would be great if Apple would release Battery Update 1.4.1 to make it compatible with 10.6, 10.7, etc.

To resolve the issue, manually install and run Battery Update 1.4 via use of a third party utility like Pacifist. Repair permissions, reboot, and voila! Your battery firmware is now updated to Pack Lot Code 0003.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one, nor have I verified that the defective model is still being sold. I have a different battery lot in my MacBook than the affected model. The Apple KB article referenced above describes how to check this.]
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10.6: Use the pcastaction command to manipulate video files System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintThe command pcastaction is a tool included in Snow Leopard to manipulate QuickTime and MPEG movies in a lot of ways: trim, append, extract soundtrack, watermark, and so forth.

The command is used by Podcast Capture to handle video to send to a MacOSX Server (Podcast Producer) but can also be used standalone. It is written in Ruby and uses Apple QTKit.

A few preliminary notes:
  • All paths must be absolute (start from /). You can use `pwd` (with back quotes) in a shell to specify current directory path (see examples below).
  • Most commands create 'reference movies' (with references to other files) which are not self-sufficient and can break if you move the original files. You should 'flatten' these with pcastaction or open them in QuickTime Player and save them to get a fully independent movie.
Here are a few examples usage of the command:
  • Get info
    pcastaction qtinfo --prb=`pwd` --input=`pwd`/movie.mp4
    pcastaction qtinfo --prb=/Users/john/Movies/ --input=/Users/john/Movies/movie.mp4
  • Extract soundtrack to 'movieaudio.m4a' file:
    pcastaction extracttracks --prb=`pwd` --input=`pwd`/movie.mp4 --output=`pwd`/movieaudio.m4a --type=audio
  • Extract soundtrack to file: movie.m4v:
    pcastaction extracttracks --prb=`pwd` --input=`pwd`/movie.mp4 --output=`pwd`/movie.m4v --type=video
  • Put an audio track in a video:
    pcastaction addtracks --prb=`pwd` --tracks=`pwd`/movieaudio.m4a --input=`pwd`/movie.m4v --output=`pwd`/movie_av.mp4
  • Extract a png image from movie at time (in seconds, with decimals possible):
    pcastaction getposterimage --prb=`pwd` --input=`pwd`/movie.mp4 --output=`pwd`/movie_pic.png --time=120.20
  • Trim a movie (times in seconds with decimals):
    pcastaction trim --prb=`pwd` --input=`pwd`/movie.mp4 --output=`pwd`/movie_trimmed.mp4 --start_time=10.10 --end_time=1250.30
  • Join (put one after the other) movies (if sizes don't match the biggest size will be used and the smaller video wil be put in top left corner):
    pcastaction join --prb=`pwd` --input1=`pwd`/movie1.mp4 --input2=`pwd`/movie2.mp4 --output=`pwd`/movie_joined.mp4
  • Flatten (make a self-contained movie):
    pcastaction flatten --prb=`pwd` --input=`pwd`/ --output=`pwd`/
For more options you can type in the Terminal:

pcastaction help (lists all subcommands)

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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10.6: Create new AppleScript document Service System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintI got tired of copy-pasting AppleScripts I found online into the AppleScript Editor, so I made a simple Automator Service to do it for me.

Just launch Automator, choose new service (that receives text), add the Run AppleScript action and replace the script body with this:
on run {input, parameters}
  tell application "AppleScript Editor"
    if contents of document 1 is "" then
      set contents of document 1 to (input as string)
      make new document with properties {contents:(input as string)}
    end if
  end tell
  return input
end run
Save it as 'New AppleScript Document with selection' or whatever name you prefer.

Activate it under System Preferences » Keyboard » Keyboard Shortcuts » Services » Text » "New AppleScript Document with selection" if it does not show up in the contextual menu when you have selected some text.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. If you have the Developer Tools installed it has a Service called Development » Make New AppleScript that does the same thing. It is disable by default so you'd need to turn it on using the Keyboard System Pref as described above. This hint provides a customizable alternative.]
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10.6: Dictionary Wikipedia Bug Fixed in 10.6.7 System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintJust a note that the 10.6.7 update fixes this previously mentioned Dictionary bug in which the Wikipedia section had a scrolling issue:

When you try to scroll down for more info [of a Wikipedia entry within Dictionary] there will be no scroll bars. Likewise if you enlarge your window you will get only white space.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. Nice to see noticeable bug fixes in an update.]
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10.6: Gather Finder Items with a new Service System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintI am trying to wean myself from numerous utilities that add System and Finder functionality and replace them with Services wherever possible. One indispensable (for me) feature of Unsanity's FruitMenu is the 'Gather Items in New Folder' Contextual Menu Item.

I tried to replace this with vanilla AppleScript and Automator, but AppleScript doesn't like letting you play around in certain directories, especially the Trash (.Trash) folders.

Other hints here approach this task with varied techniques; i found none that played well in trash or named folders automatically and uniquely to my tastes.

One example of why I need to these unique abilities is, after updating iOS apps, they all land in the Trash, and, in case I wish to revert to these older versions (c.e.: Twitter v3.3), I make a practice of opening the trash, gathering all .IPA files into a new folder, and moving that folder to a safety archive for easy retrieval.

This service is also exceptionally useful for cleaning up the Downloads folder, Pictures, Desktop, etc.; anytime you have a selection of Finder objects (files and folders) you wish to gather into a new folder.
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10.6: An AppleScript to compress a Finder selection System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintI use my faithful Butler to run Finder's usual operations, like copying, moving, and deleting files, making both my mouse and trackpad completely useless devices. As a keyboard-only user, I also wanted to add some other Finder operations, such as file compression.

Here is a small AppleScript, to be run from Butler (or any other script-launcher utility), that will compress the current Finder selection into a .zip archive, with the same name and within the same location. You can launch this script from Butler, triggering it with an abbreviation or a keyboard hotkey.

My script is based on this hint and turns it into a Finder-selection script.

I didn't test any compression levels, as my only point was to be able to compress a Finder selection directly, using ditto.

Also, it was tested in 10.6.5 only.
tell application "Finder"
  set theItems to the selection as alias
  set theItemsprops to properties of theItems
  set itemPath to POSIX path of theItems
  set destFold0 to (container of theItems) as alias
  set destFold to POSIX path of destFold0
  set itemName to name of theItems
  do shell script ("ditto -c -k --sequesterRsrc --keepParent " & itemPath &  " " & destFold & "'" & itemName & "'" & ".zip")
end tell

[crarko adds: You should also be able to make this into an Automator Service, and assign a keyboard shortcut to produce the same effect.]
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10.6: Scroll through apps with Exposť and Tab key System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintThis tip combines the use function of scrolling through applications as if you were using the Command+Tab keys and use of Exposť. Just how you can activate Exposť then select an application from the dock to only see the windows from that app. You can also activate Exposť then hit the Tab key to scroll through windows from that app.

[crarko adds: This usage is mentioned in the comments to this hint but it's useful enough to stand on its own. And it makes it a little easier to search for.]
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10.6: Google search in Terminal contextual menu System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintSafari installs a Service which lets you use text selected in any application as a search query in Google. If you've enabled it in System Preferences » Keyboard » Services, normally the service appears in the contextual menu option when you Control-click on some text. However for some reason it doesn't show up in the contextual menu in I found a way to enable it in Terminal as well.

Right click and select 'Show Package Contents' on Safari. Then edit Contents/Info.plist inside the package. Find the section with the types of data accepted by the service:
Then add another string, 'public.utf8-plain-text', so that it now reads:
Now restart Safari, and refresh the Services list by running:


The 'Search with Google' option should now appear in the context menu in

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. Note that the Google Search Service does already show up in the Services menu in Terminal without performing this change. As always, when making these changes internal to a code-signed application package, make sure you have a clean backup. I often just make a zip archive of the application before making edits to the original. Time Machine backups work, as long as you have one that predates the changes.]
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10.6: Using the Purchases Tab in Mac App Store System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintWhile looking through the App Store, I stumbled upon something useful about the Purchases tab. If you use the same Apple ID across two or more computers, you may logically want apps purchased with the same Apple IDs installed on those computers as well. You can do this.

Select the Purchases tab in the App Store. You have a complete list of every app you have purchased using the current account. If there are apps you've downloaded on one computer that you'd like on another computer, simply click Install and it will download on that computer.

Simple, yes, but it took me a while to discover this. It comes in handy often.

[crarko adds: This is one feature of the Mac App Store that I really do like. Along with the effective Family license scheme it implements, since I have five systems to maintain.]
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