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Disable Caps Lock, or at least get a warning when it's on System 10.8
Few of us ever REALLY want Caps Lock turned on; when we do hit it, we do so accidentally. There are workarounds.

You can just disable the key entirely, of course. To do so, go to System Preferences, and choose Keyboard. Then click the Modifier Keys button at the lower right of the Keyboard tab. Finally, set Caps Lock to No Action (or, alternatively, have it pull side duty as a bonus Control, Option, or Command key).

That's a great solution for those of us who only ever trigger Caps Lock unintentionally. But what about folks who genuinely want the option to quickly enter a mode for NONSTOP CAPITALIZATION, yet still want to avoid entertaining said mode accidentally? For those troubled typists, the solution is a free utility called CapSee. It displays an unmissable on-screen indicator when you're in Caps Lock mode. ISN'T THAT GREAT?
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Delete files without emptying the Trash System 10.8

Long ago, we detailed a (rather scary) way to delete files without needing a stop in the trash can. A recent thread on StackExchange brought the issue up again, and some folks there provided other, less scary approaches.

Why would you want to delete a file without needing to choose Empty Trash? Here’s one example: You have some files in the Trash on your Mac that you’re not ready to pull the trigger on forever. Now you connect a USB drive and have files on it that you wish to dispose of. If you drag those files to the Trash, you have to select Empty Trash to do it—which means deleting the files from both the drive and your Mac itself.

Most Hints readers know about the rm Terminal command, which lets you remove files instantly and without a trip to the Trash. But that’s always the most convenient approach. One tip at StackExchange suggests wrapping that Terminal command in an Automator action, which you could then store in the Dock or add as an OS X Service for easy access from the Services menu. You can see the Automator action at StackExchange.

There are also third-party apps like Trash X and Trash Without that help you accomplish the same goal.

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Developers: Prevent GateKeeper 'Damaged application' warning on Java apps System 10.8
If you create an application bundle to start a Java application as a regular Mac app, you will get a message that the application is damaged when you try to run it on Mac OS Mountain Lion with GateKeeper active.

The error is caused by the fact that the Java stub application is signed by Apple, and Apple's signature will not be valid for your application.The codesign tool will give the following message:

codesign -d MyJavaApplication.app
MyJavaApplication.app: invalid signature (code or signature have been modified)

The best solution is to sign your application with your Apple Developer key, but if you do not have one you can still sign your application with an ad-hoc key, and replace the Apple signature that will cause this message. To do so run codesign with the following options:

codesign -s - --force MyJavaApplication.app

The user will still have to allow running the application the first time by using the right-click (Control-click) -> Open approach, but at least the user won't see the (incorrect) message that the application is damaged.

Lex adds: I haven't tested this one.
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How to use Command-Tab to escape screen sharing System 10.8
Since OS X 10.6, when you're screen sharing and looking at a remote Mac's screen, you cannot successfully use Command-Tab to switch out of a screen sharing window, because the command is sent to the remote machine instead.

I recently found a way around this by using Quicksilver. With Quicksilver installed, the key combination is not sent to the remote machine, but rather to your local Mac instead—once you've summoned Quicksilver. When the Quicksilver window shows up, focus goes to local machine, and Command-Tab is also sent to the local machine.

Lex adds: And that's just the tip of the iceberg. In his testing, my colleague Dan Moren found the same behavior works with Alfred; he could trigger Alfred's shortcut while screen sharing, and the app would launch on his local Mac, and thus Command-Tab would begin working on the local Mac instead.

I'm a LaunchBar guy, though, and when I tried to trigger LaunchBar on my Mac—which I've set to use the Command-Space shortcut that defaults to Spotlight—it triggered Spotlight on the remote computer instead. But that gave me an idea: I instead switched to using my Spotlight keyboard shortcut (which I've set to Control-Space). That in turn launched Spotlight on my local Mac, at which point I too could use Command-Tab to switch away from my screen sharing window via the keyboard.
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Click the Apple and Notification Center menu items more easily System 10.8
This hint is an oldie but a goodie, and we could only find it mentioned in comments on older hints. If you don't know it, you'll want to; if you already knew it, pay it forward to Mac users who are spending too much time fussing with the mouse.

The Apple menu sits at the top left of your menu bar, and the Notification Center icon sits at the top right. For years, though, OS X has made clicking menu items in either position simpler than it might appear. You needn't move the mouse cursor to precisely the slim confines of either icon when you want to click on them. If you slam your mouse all the way to the top left corner of the screen, well beyond the perimeter of the Apple icon, and click—you'll still successfully trigger the Apple menu.

The same trick works with the Notification Center menu at the upper right: Move the mouse all the way to that corner, fretting not about whether your cursor is actually atop the icon, and your click will still register as desired.

Thus, in keeping with the tenets of Fitts's Law, you essentially have an infinite amount of clicking space to access either menu.
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Checking for Mac App Store system updates from a non-Admin account System 10.8
In OS X 10.8.3 and later, Apple seems to have changed the behavior of the Mac App Store: It will no longer automatically check for System Updates if you are running from an account that does not have administrator privileges.

A simple work-around: Select the Updates tab in the Mac App Store. From the Store menu, select Reload Page (Command-R). The app will now prompt you for an administrator's credentials. Then the app will search and (in my experience) find system updates if any are available. Updates can now also be installed from your non-admin account.

Lex adds: I haven't tested this one.
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Fix for missing "Assign to..." Mission Control bug in 10.8.x System 10.8
Having originally upgraded to 10.8 from 10.7, all of my applications' desktop assignments in (now) Mission Control were already set. I recently decided to wipe and install a fresh copy of OS X 10.8.3, and discovered that, for many of my apps, the option to "Assign to..." particular desktops or to all desktops was missing. After roaming through forum after forum I finally found a workaround for this bug.

Thankfully it's relatively simple. If you right-click on the Dock icon of a running application and you find that the "Assign to..." option is missing from the "Options" sub-menu (and of course you have multiple desktops setup in Mission Control first), if you launch the application from LaunchPad, the option to assign the application to a particular desktop will a) magically appear, and b) continue to use that assigned space regardless of how it is launched in the future.

Hope this is helpful. I spent a few good afternoons trying to fix this. Supposedly there is a bug open in Radar at Apple about this issue since the 10.8 release but it still has yet to be fixed as of 10.8.3.

[kirkmc adds: I use Spaces; um Mission Control, or whatever, and haven't seen this. The only time I have issues is when I update an app via the Mac App Store and launch it. It then doesn't go to the assigned desktop, even though the Dock menu shows that it is, indeed, set to stay on that desktop. But when I move it, it stays there after the next reboot.]
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10.8: New Notes App Service System 10.8
I put together a simple Automator action that takes the selected text from any application and creates a new Note. This sort of thing should have been in the Services menu to begin with, but this powerful feature of OS X is often unsung and underused. Hope it helps.

Open Automator and create a new Service. Set the Service to receive selected text in any application from the drop down menus.

Drag Copy to Clipboard from the Utilities library into the workflow. Drag Run AppleScript from the Utilities library into the workflow.

Paste the below text in place of (* Your script goes here *):
tell application "Notes" to activate
tell application "System Events"
 click menu item "Notes" of ((process "Notes")'s (menu bar 1)'s ¬
  (menu bar item "Window")'s (menu "Window"))
 click menu item "New Note" of ((process "Notes")'s (menu bar 1)'s ¬
  (menu bar item "File")'s (menu "File"))
	keystroke "v" using {command down}
end tell
Save the Service with a name like New Note. Now when you right click on selected text you can find the New Note service in the Services contextual menu. When selected it creates a new note out of the selected text.

[crarko adds: I compiled the script and it seemed to work. I didn't test the Automator Service.]
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10.8: A fix for slow shutdown times System 10.8
At first my MacBook Air would shut down in one or two seconds. A year or so ago it started taking thirty seconds or more. Annoying but hardly fatal. Anyway, I found a trick that helped me:
  • Shut down with Reopen windows when logging back in CHECKED.
  • Turn the computer back on.
  • Shut down with Reopen windows when logging back in UNCHECKED.
This returned the Mac to an almost instantaneous shutdown.

[crarko adds: This makes sense, and if you have a lot of open window states to be saved that would obviously impact the shutdown time. Still, sometimes the obvious is worth pointing out. This tip should probably apply to 10.7 as well.

Hello again, I'm filling in once more this week while Kirk is otherwise occupied -- Craig A.]
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Turn on hidden Siri feature in OS X 10.8.3 Stickies System 10.8
Apparently Apple has included a pre-release version of Siri in 10.8.3. While I've gotten Siri to work in Stickies, it doesn't seem to be accessible from any other OS X apps. This may be a mistake; it may be testing code that was not removed from the final release, and this may explain why 10.8.3 went through so many betas.

To turn on Siri in Stickies, run the following Terminal command:

defau1ts write com.apple.stickies personalAssistant -bool true

After you run this command, launch Stickies, and, while pressing the Option key, press the fn key twice. A small popup will appear in the current note with an icon similar to the Siri icon on iOS. Speak into your Mac's microphone - either an internal or external mike - and Siri will do your bidding.
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