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10.6: An Automator Service to enter special characters System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintHere's how to use Automator-based Snow Leopard Service along with an AppleScript to present a popup window from which you may choose from a list of special character symbols to input. The Service gives you quick access to OS-related (or other) characters for quick entry into documents.

Do these steps:
  • Launch Automator.
  • Select Service as the type of Automator template.
  • Change input to 'none' and 'all applications.'
  • Add a 'run Applescript' action.
  • Paste in the AppleScript code from below, and save the Service. Give it a name you'll remember.
  • Use the Services item in the Keyboard prefpane to set a keyboard shortcut (I used Command+Shift+7).
  • Open a document window, such as a new TextEdit document window.
  • Trigger the Service with your shortcut key.
  • Select a character from the list, and click Insert.
Here is the AppleScript code:
tell application "System Events"
	set frontApp to name of first process whose frontmost is true
end tell

set theCommand to źdata utxt2318╗ as Unicode text
set theControl to źdata utxt2303╗ as Unicode text
set theOption to źdata utxt2325╗ as Unicode text
set theShift to źdata utxt21E7╗ as Unicode text
set theEscape to źdata utxt238B╗ as Unicode text
set theTab to źdata utxt21E5╗ as Unicode text
set theReturn to źdata utxt21A9╗ as Unicode text
set theEnter to źdata utxt2324╗ as Unicode text
set doubleTab to tab & tab

tell application frontApp
	choose from list {theShift & doubleTab & "Shift", theControl & doubleTab & "Control", theOption & doubleTab & "Option", theCommand & doubleTab & "Command", theOption & theCommand & doubleTab & "Option+Command", theEscape & doubleTab & "Escape", theTab & doubleTab & "Tab", theReturn & doubleTab & "Return", theEnter & doubleTab & "Enter"} with prompt "Pick the symbols you want:" OK button name "Insert" with multiple selections allowed
end tell

if result is not equal to false then
	set pickedSymbols to result as string
	set displaySymbols to ""
	if pickedSymbols contains "Shift" then
		set displaySymbols to displaySymbols & theShift
	end if
	
	if pickedSymbols contains "Control" then
		set displaySymbols to displaySymbols & theControl
	end if
	
	if pickedSymbols contains "Option" then
		set displaySymbols to displaySymbols & theOption
	end if
	
	if pickedSymbols contains "Command" then
		set displaySymbols to displaySymbols & theCommand
	end if
	
	if pickedSymbols contains "Escape" then
		set displaySymbols to displaySymbols & theEscape
	end if
	if pickedSymbols contains "Tab" then
		set displaySymbols to displaySymbols & theTab
	end if
	if pickedSymbols contains "Return" then
		set displaySymbols to displaySymbols & theReturn
	end if
	if pickedSymbols contains "Enter" then
		set displaySymbols to displaySymbols & theEnter
	end if
	
	tell application "System Events"
		tell process frontApp
			set the clipboard to displaySymbols
			keystroke "v" using {command down}
		end tell
	end tell
end if

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. I used BBEdit to test it.]
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10.6: Verify Time Machine Backups System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintBy pressing the 'Option' key while opening the Time Machine menu bar icon you see two new options, 'Verify Backups' and 'Browse other Time Machine Disks.'

The Second option is from 10.5 but as far as I can tell the Verify Backups option is new.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. I didn't know about this one. I also checked on 10.5 and the Verify option is indeed absent there.]
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10.6: Create a shortcut to move files in Finder System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintMany ex-Windows users are frustrated by the fact that (in a standard Snow Leopard installation), there is no way to move files/folders using only the keyboard. In Windows, this is a Ctrl+X/Ctrl+V keystroke pair. In OS X, the Command+X equivalent is not enabled in the Finder.

I have developed an easy way to get equivalent functionality for free using by creating an Automator service in OS X 10.6.

There are some shareware utilities to enable 'Command+X' -- but for relatively minor functionality, they are big RAM hogs. Besides, I think that cutting and pasting a file is illogical and not directly connected to what the you are doing - you are really moving the file!

My Automator workflow is called 'Move Selected Items.' I have bound it to the keyboard shortcut of Command+Control+M.
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10.6: Single User Mode and Bluetooth keyboards System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintIt used to be that a USB keyboard was needed to start my iMac in Single User Mode - that has changed.

Today my iMac 27" shut down while I was out. I restarted holding down Cmd+S on my Bluetooth keyboard, but forgot to plug in the USB. Lo and behold, the iMac started in SUM anyway, so I'm guessing that the feature was introduced in 10.6.6 - I haven't seen mention of it anywhere.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. It is a long-needed and welcome improvement and it's good to see it finally implemented. I never got a Bluetooth keyboard because of limitations like the one mentioned here. I may change my mind about that now.]
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10.6: Unknown file extensions search App Store System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintIt may seem obvious, but if you have an unknown file extension and try to open the file, you will now be presented with an option to search the App Store to locate an application. I realized this when I tried to open a kdb (a keypass database file) and was presented with this new option.

[crarko adds: This is obviously only available in 10.6.6 and later. Just for fun, I looked to see if Spotlight would search the Mac App Store. It doesn't, yet, but I won't be at all surprised to see that integrated in 10.7.]
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10.6: Automate Internet Sharing revisited System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintThis hint provides AppleScript code that will turn Internet Sharing on or off automatically. Internet Sharing is useful for turning your Mac into a Wi-Fi hotspot for connecting iPads or other Wi-Fi devices that cannot connect to the Internet via Ethernet or cellular data networks.

I wanted an AppleScript application to turn Internet Sharing on and off without having to click through System Preferences and the dialog panes. This script is a variation from an old Panther hint from this site and a modification posted by Hwee-Boon. This script will turn Internet Sharing on or off but does not turn AirPort off.

The following code can be saved as an application in AppleScript Editor to quickly turn Internet Sharing on or off. This is very useful if you want to create a quick Wi-Fi hotspot from your Mac that is connected to the Internet.

Paste the following code into AppleScript Editor and save it as an Application.

Double-clicking on the resulting application will turn the state of Internet Sharing on or off. Drag the icon to the Dock for quicker access to the application.
tell application "System Preferences"
  activate
end tell

tell application "System Events"
  tell process "System Preferences"
    click menu item "Sharing" of menu "View" of menu bar 1
    delay 2
    tell window "Sharing"
      click checkbox 1 of row 11 of table 1 of scroll area 1 of group 1
      delay 1
      if (exists sheet 1) then
        if (exists button "Turn AirPort On" of sheet 1) then
          click button "Turn AirPort On" of sheet 1
          delay 1
        end if
        click button "Start" of sheet 1
      end if
    end tell
  end tell
end tell

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. The script acts as a toggle so running it a second time will turn Internet Sharing off. It's slick how it also clicks the confirmation dialog. There are several older hints that are similar; I'm not sure which one was the starting place for this one, but this is a pretty simple and elegant script.]
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10.6: Keyboard shortcut for switching between input sources System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintIf you type in more than one language, and you are constantly switching back and forth between these languages it can get a bit tedious to use the mouse. Even though Mac OS X comes with a shortcut, which is Command+Space and Command+Option+Space, it is disabled by default because Spotlight shares these shortcuts. So here is how you enable it.

You don't need to do this first part, but since I like to see a little flag of my input source in the menu bar, so first you go to System Preferences » Language & Text then select the Input Sources tab. At the bottom of the window check the 'Show Input menu in menu bar' option.

Go back to the main System Preferences window by clicking on the Show All button at the top of the window, then select Keyboard » Keyboard Shortcuts. From the left list select the Spotlight option, then from the right list uncheck the option that says 'Show Spotlight Window.'

Next from the left list select Keyboard & Text Input, then from the right list check the option that says 'Select next source in Input menu.'

Close the System Preferences window and now you can use Command+Option+Space in any application to switch between your input sources.

Note: I dont know if this works in previous OS X releases, I only tested it in 10.6.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described, in 10.6.6.]
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10.6: Reset the Printing System System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintI encountered a problem recently where Word would not save, and Photoshop and other applications would not launch after an upgrade to 10.6 from 10.4.

Essentially what I needed to do was reset the printing system. While this was easily achieved in 10.5/10.4 it's not so easy in 10.6 especially when CUPS would not launch.

There was no access to the Print & Fax prefpanel or to the local webpage at http://127.0.0.1:631 so after a bit of hunting I found the following fix.

To reset the print system without using the Print & Fax system preferences, you can follow these steps in the Terminal. This can be done either locally or by logging in remotely via an SSH session.
  • Stop the CUPS daemon with the following command:
    sudo launchctl stop org.cups.cupsd
  • Rename the old CUPS configuration file:
    sudo mv /etc/cups/cupsd.conf /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.backup
  • Restore the default settings file:
    sudo cp /etc/cups/cupsd.conf.default /etc/cups/cupsd.conf
  • Rename the printers file:
    sudo mv /etc/cups/printers.conf /etc/cups/printers.conf.backup
  • Restart CUPS:
    sudo launchctl start org.cups.cupsd
That should resolve the issue; it did for me when I tried it.

[crarko adds: I did the steps, and it appears to do what it says. I didn't have the original problem so I don't know if this really fixes it.]
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10.6: Re-enable missing fonts System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintAfter upgrading to Mac OS X 10.6.2 (Snow Leopard) from Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard), I found that the Tahoma font was not displayed by any Office 2004 or Office 2008 application.

Surprisingly, the Tahoma font and many others were at ~/Library/Fonts Disabled instead of being at ~/Library/Fonts.

Just moving all fonts from ~/Library/Fonts Disabled to ~/Library/Fonts fixed the issue.

Additionally, I used Control-click over the fonts in Apple's Font Book utility to resolve duplicates. Finally, I used FontDoctor and Font Finagler to fix any remaining font issues. So far, so good.

[crarko adds: I do recall there being a few font issues after doing the Leopard » Snow Leopard upgrade. I did remind me why I thought Font Book was not a particularly great utility. What has been the experience of others with Font Book and upgrades?]
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10.6: Show creation and modification dates in search window System 10.6
Snow Leopard only hintThe Snow Leopard Finder search window you get after using Spotlight or pressing Command+Shift+F (to search for files names) or Command+F (to search inside files) does not show the creation and modification dates of items on Mac OS X 10.6.4. At least not by default.

To change this, Control click inside any of these search windows (there's no need to type or search for any specific keyword) and select Show View Options. Select the desired options like creation and modification date and then close the window. From that moment, all search windows will show the creation and modification column tabs.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. You can set the View Options for any Finder windows from the 'View' menu, but it appears that doing this for the search window was introduced in 10.6. Looking at it in 10.5.8 it said there were no View Options for the search window.]
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