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10.7: Drag a calculation from Spotlight System 10.7
I used to be disappointed that I couldn't copy the calculation results from Spotlight if I'm doing a quick math problem in it. Well, now with Lion, since you can drag everything else out from the Spotlight results menu, you can also drag calculation results.

It will drag into any text editor or I'm assuming anything that accepts text. Still would be handy to be able to copy it, but this is a huge time saver.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. I also tried it in 10.6.8, and as indicated, it does not work there. It seems to be best to click on the little calculator icon in the Spotlight menu and drag that. I used both TextEdit and BBEdit as targets for the drop.]
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10.7: Use Quick Look from Stacks System 10.7
In Lion, you can access Quick Look from Stacks without ever opening Finder.

Click on a stack in the dock. Hover over an item, and press space. A popup will appear with a preview, similar to Quick Look from Finder.

Click for a screenshot.

This works in Fan and Grid views.

[crarko adds: I recall this as being an asked-for feature in Snow Leopard. Nice to see it's there at least to some extent in Lion.]
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10.7: Close Connect to Server window with Escape key System 10.7
In previous versions of Finder that featured the 'Connect to Server...' choice in the 'Go' menu (Command+K), closing the window opened by selecting that command required either clicking its close box or pressing Command+W.

In Lion you can close the 'Connect to Server' window by pressing the Escape key.

[crarko adds: A small thing, but it is new. Apple now treats this window (properly I think) as a dialog box, so the use of Escape is consistent.]
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10.7: Slow down the entering of Mission Control System 10.7
Pressing Ctrl+Shift+Up-arrow will animate the entering of Mission Control in a slow, smooth fashion.

In Lion, the keyboard shortcut to enter Mission Control is Ctrl+Up-arrow. This will quickly show you all your windows and spaces. If you add Shift to the keyboard combo, the animation goes much slower, almost like a presentation transition. Not sure why this would be useful other than to slow down productivity.

[crarko adds: This hint presumes you haven't remapped the default keyboard shortcut for Mission Control in System Preferences. Use of the Shift key to put these kinds of animations into slow-motion has been around for quite a while. Not surprisingly, it applies to Mission Control as well.]
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10.7: Disable Secure Virtual Memory System 10.7
At least in the MacBooks the Secure (encrypted) Virtual Memory is enabled by default. The option to disable it has been removed from the Security & Privacy General preference panel. One may check if it is enabled by running in Terminal the following command:
$ sysctl vm.swapusage
vm.swapusage: total = 64.00M  used = 0.00M  free = 64.00M  (encrypted)
To disable it from Terminal on previous OS X versions one could issue the command
$ sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ UseEncryptedSwap -boolean no
But that doesn't work anymore. It seems that 'UseEncryptedSwap' has been replaced with 'DisableEncryptedSwap.' So to disable the Secure Virtual Memory in Lion, one should issue the command:
$ sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ DisableEncryptedSwap -boolean yes
And then reboot. Checking again the secure virtual memory status one gets:
$ sysctl vm.swapusage
vm.swapusage: total = 64.00M  used = 0.00M  free = 64.00M 
Which means the encryption has gone.

To re-enable it run the command:
$ sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/ DisableEncryptedSwap -boolean no
And then reboot.

The advantage should be just a slightly less overhead on the page in & out process. Personally I disabled it because I am having massive page outs just running safari, and I want to test if the situation improves. Maybe disabling the secure memory bypasses some bugs. Still it is here for reference.

[crarko adds: It is just here for reference. I expect 99.9+% of people should leave encrypted VM active. Otherwise things such as your passwords can be found in plain text by searching the swap file(s).]
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10.7: Show Bluetooth signal strength System 10.7
It's often useful to know the signal strength of a Bluetooth connection. For instance, my Magic Trackpad becomes much more responsive when it's on the left-hand side of my MacBook Pro, rather than the right. It took me some time to figure this out, and it would have been a lot easier if I could have easily measured the signal strength myself. Until now OS X hasn't given any easy way to show the signal strength.

But 10.7 adds an easy display of the signal strength! Go into System Preferences » Bluetooth. The window show a list of all your connected Bluetooth devices, one per line. Click on a device and then press the Option key, and a bar graph and number will appear on the right showing the current strength. These are displayed and recalculated as long as you hold down the Option key. Like Wi-Fi signal strengths, the number is a negative integer, and numbers closer to zero are better. For instance, -50 indicates a strong connection, while -80 is very weak.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. I also verified this is not available in 10.6.8.]
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10.7: Enable Time Machine on unsupported network drives System 10.7
Changes in network protocols in Lion broke Time Machine access to some legacy network drives. This hint shows how to restore it.

As I discovered with dismay Apple implemented a new version of networking protocols in Lion, which made that my network drive could no longer be accessed via Time Machine. Apple published a work-around for devices using AFP, see this KB article for that procedure.

In my case this did not help as I was accessing the network drive via SMB. Finally I found yesterday the following site which published a method which allows you to use Time Machine with legacy SMB services. I made my first Time Machine back-up last night and it worked. Here is the link.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one. I looked over the SMB method given at the linked site and it involves replacing the Apple backupd library with a custom-made version. There's source code available so you can build it yourself, if you wish. Comments to the post have indicated pretty good success, and the author seems to be responsive to questions. Nevertheless, if you're not comfortable with low-level system hacking and have a full known good backup, you should proceed with extreme caution.]
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10.7: Move Computer to top of the Finder Sidebar System 10.7
While it's possible to move a folder or drive to Favorites in the Finder Sidebar there's no obvious way to put your Computer in the Favorites section.

I like to have my Computer at the top of the Sidebar. Here's how using Terminal and TextEdit.

Convert ~/Library/Preferences/ to XML and open it:

plutil -convert xml1 ~/Library/Preferences/
open -a TextEdit ~/Library/Preferences/

Find Computer. It should look something like this:


<string>NeverVisible</string> to:


Then quit TextEdit (it auto-saves the file now) and relaunch the Finder:

killall Finder

You should notice your Computer's name in the Favorites section of the sidebar.

Finally hold command and drag your Computer name to the top of the Favorites list.

[crarko adds: As usual, be sure you have a backup before making these changes. TextEdit will let you save the old version prior to editing.]
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10.7: Set Finder Labels from the keyboard System 10.7
At one time you could hack the Finder to assign keyboard shortcuts to assign labels to selected files and folders. Then that useful functionality was lost in the course of Mac OS X Finder development. Hope glimmered briefly with hints such as this:

Create a keyboard-shortcut for Show Package Contents
10.5: Add a Show Package Contents keyboard shortcut

But inspiration struck with this hint about adding the Labels button to the Finder toolbar:
10.7: Set Label toolbar icon to your choice of colors

So here's how you too can be keystrokes away from color-coding your Finder's files and folders as much as you wish:
  • Add the Label button to the Finder toolbar. Not sure how? In the Finder select View » Customize Toolbar... and drag the Labels button to a desirable location on your toolbar.
  • Open up the Keyboard System Preference pane and select the Keyboard Shortcuts tab.
  • Highlight Application Shortcuts and click the + button.
  • Select Finder from the Application: drop down menu
  • For menu title enter the text color name of the label you want to assign a keyboard shortcut for. For example, Red.
  • Enter your desired keyboard shortcut. I opted for Control+Shift+(1 through 7) and Control+Shift+~ for no labels.
Note that the behavior seems a little inconsistent. First and foremost, you have to use the Label button once in a window before the keyboard shortcut you assign becomes available. It also doesn't work on the Desktop proper because there is no Label button available. Likewise, it doesn't work when the toolbar is hidden.

If you can accept those caveats, and used to frequently use labels to classify files and folders, then this will give you a good shortcut for doing so.

[crarko adds: I tested this, and it works as described. Pay attention to the caveats, though. Also note that it changes the default color of the Label button in the Finder Toolbar to whichever color you applied most recently.]
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10.7: Enable Motion Blur in Exposť animations System 10.7
A new, albeit buggy, visual effect cropped up in OS X Lion.

In Mission Control, pressing Command+M enables motion blur for all Exposť animations within Mission Control and Exposť in general.

It's a fun effect, but probably a little heavy for older Macs. Besides please be warned that the effect is obviously disabled for a reason: it's really buggy, and will likely crash your user account by logging out without any warning. Thankfully it's OSX Lion, so logging back in will recover everything.

Disable the effect by pressing Command+M in Mission Control again, or by logging out or rebooting your Mac.

[crarko adds: It's there, minimally, on my old MacBook. A couple of people submitted this hint (one anonymously) and I've combined them a bit here. It was a split decision between them that this may also apply to Launchpad; I didn't notice anything when I tried it there.]
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