Submit Hint Search The Forums LinksStatsPollsHeadlinesRSS
14,000 hints and counting!

Is there an OS X hosts file that I can edit? System
[Editor's note: Please see the comments for the proposed solution]

I'm using OS X Public Beta as my primary web development environment - that is I develop the html/code using my OS X box. Now, my web servers and my desktops are behind a firewall and DNS hosting has been outsourced to AT&T, so resolving my webservers' URLs "within" my network isn't possible without modifications being made to a desktop's hosts file. Under Windows and Mac OS 9 its easy -- just make the changes to the file. But the hosts file I found in "/etc" under OS X says it "isn't used" and modifications don't take hold.

Does anyone have a suggestion or know the right way to go about doing this?
  Post a comment  •  Comments (4)  
  • Currently 1.33 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (9 votes cast)
[72,901 views]  View Printable Version
Viewing preference files UNIX
If you're curious to see how preferences are stored in OS X, you can use the command "defaults." To see which programs the system knows about, type
defaults domains
in a terminal session. This will list (in a not very elegant way) every application for which the system has stored preferences.

To view the prefs for a certain application, just type
defaults read [appname]
where [appname] is a name as specified in the output of the first command. For example,
defaults read
will show your Finder preferences. You can also (as the tips on changing the dock elsewhere on macosxhints demonstrate) change preference values with
defaults write...
However, this is not recommended unless you really know what you're doing! Most apps, of course, give you full access to their settings from within the program, which is the preferred way to go about changing them!

A good reading of "man defaults" is also suggested before you change anything!
  Post a comment  •  Comments (0)  
  • Currently 1.89 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (9 votes cast)
[5,409 views]  View Printable Version
IE filename length bug Apps
If you find that a downloaded package is not behaving as expected, and you used IE under OS X, check the filename.

For some reason (OS 9 legacy would be my guess), downloaded filenames are truncated to 31 characters. As a result, downloaded files may not be expanded as you expect.

For example, WebGrabber from Epicware, is named "" on their website. However, after downloading in IE, the download manager shows the name as "".

I had to rename the file to add the "z" back in the terminal, and then was able to use OpenUp to expand the download as usual. Without renaming, though, even File -> Open from within OpenUp couldn't see the file.


This issue arose due to a problem that drboss discussed in a MacFixIt forum; see the link in the comments for the whole story.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (1)  
  • Currently 1.55 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (11 votes cast)
[6,202 views]  View Printable Version
How to make PDFs in OS X System
User 'rjzak' asked in a Help Me submission:
i'm wondering how to make PDF's in OSX. i checked the apple help, but it points to a website and i dont have internet access under OSX. whats the answer? how do i make PDF's in OSX?
I've taken the opportunity to turn the question into a how-to. Here's what help says when you enter PDF in the search box, and then pick "Save a PDF version of a document" (I've paraphrased it a bit):

To make a PDF file of any document, open that document in the original application, select 'File' -> 'Print', and then hit the Preview button. This will open the Preview application.

Once Preview has launched, pick 'File' -> 'Save as PDF' to create the PDF file.

I just tried this with Explorer, and it worked great! It's probably obvious, but I had no idea this was built into OS X...very cool!

Note: rjzak, I'm not sure why your help file is trying to connect you to the internet -- any thoughts, anyone?
  Post a comment  •  Comments (3)  
  • Currently 1.50 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (10 votes cast)
[7,673 views]  View Printable Version
Multiple OS 9 system folders Classic
I noticed brief article on the Macfixit forums mentioning that you can use OS X's System Disk utility (which runs on OS 9) as a means of running more than one OS 9 version on the same partition.

For example, you could keep a "Work" and a "Games" OS 9 system folder on the same hard drive, and use the System Disk to specify which to use at startup.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (0)  
  • Currently 1.67 / 5
  You rated: 1 / 5 (9 votes cast)
[5,305 views]  View Printable Version
Color-coded 'ls' output UNIX
Some variants of UNIX offer a 'color' option on the ls (directory list)command; OS X doesn't by default.

Chen Jake Zhou has made a version of ls with the color option available on his site.

The program can be downloaded and installed as with any OS X program, but then you'll have to make it executable from a terminal session...
chmod +x ls
...from within the directory where the 'new' ls is installed. You can then test the output by typing...
./ls --color
...from within that same directory. If you like the output, and want to make it permanent, then Read the Rest of this hint for detailed instructions.
read more (186 words)   Post a comment  •  Comments (6)  
  • Currently 2.00 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (10 votes cast)
[47,971 views]  View Printable Version
Customize the system icons System
If you're unhappy with the system icons (trash, folders, etc.), head on over to, and read this article on how to change them.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (1)  
  • Currently 2.09 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (11 votes cast)
[6,301 views]  View Printable Version
mount points UNIX
[Editor's note: See the comments for discussion on this doesn't appear there's a resolution, at least in the PB]

Can someone tell me how to get macosx to mount secondary (slave) hardrive on first IDE chain to mount point /User/. So user homes is on one drive and system on other.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (2)  
  • Currently 2.30 / 5
  You rated: 5 / 5 (10 votes cast)
[5,350 views]  View Printable Version
Quicktime Streaming Server Preview 3 System
[Editor's note: See the comments for some recommendations!]

Are there any good tutorials on this? I''m looking into this right now... and am having difficulties finding info on RTSP and Poster Movies / Embedding the Quicktime in web pages... I heard a term today... packetizing?

Any good sources of info on this stuff? Does anyone think Apple will bundle this with OSX 1.0?

that'd be waaaayy cool.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (2)  
  • Currently 1.70 / 5
  You rated: 3 / 5 (10 votes cast)
[6,371 views]  View Printable Version
Transparent Terminal Apps
Terminal windows can be made transparent simply by typing the following text at the command line:
defaults write TerminalOpaqueness '0.85'
The amount of transparency can be adjusted by using values between 0 and 1 (with 1 being completely opaque).

You will need to open a new terminal window to see the result.
  Post a comment  •  Comments (15)  
  • Currently 1.58 / 5
  You rated: 4 / 5 (12 votes cast)
[41,956 views]  View Printable Version