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My Favorite Mac OS X Hacks and Tips --

01 Jun 2005  |  Tags: ,

My PowerBook just got back from AppleCare after almost a month due to a parts shortage… usually it’s back in like 1 or 2 days, this was the first time I’d been a bit upset! Anyway, so today I’ve been getting things set back up to my liking and I have a few tips for Mac users… some I just learned about and some that are simply overlooked.

1. Customize the Finder to Show More Information

Normally, the Finder is a little boring. Especially on the Desktop. Let’s change that.

  1. Open a Finder window and press Apple+J to bring up the “View Options”.
  2. Select these options:
    Label Size = Right, Show Item Info (check this box), Keep Arranged By (check this box, too.)
  3. Then, go back to the top and select: “All windows”.

There, now all of your Finder windows are a bit souped-up. Feel free to adjust the options a bit more. (Note: Icon Size can be pushed to like 128x128 pixels — that’s pretty damn big and really allows you to see the detail)

You can also adjust the view options for Desktop to produce similar results:

2. Enable “Hidden Transparency” on the Dock.

Normally, there’s no way to tell the difference between hidden and visible applications, but this trick fixes that so applications that are hidden appear somewhat ghosted.

To enable this feature, open the Terminal (it’s located in the Utilities folder inside your Applications folder, in your hard drive) and enter this command: (copy and paste it)

defaults write com.apple.dock showhidden -bool true

You can then see the results by rebooting the Dock with the following command:

killall Dock

Ta-da. If you’d like to turn it off, run both commands again, but change the “true” at the end to “false”. Notice how my iChat icon (the speech bubble with the camera in it) is faded away automatically by the OS:

3. Put those iTunes Arrows to better use!

I know very few people that actually like to click those obnoxious arrows in iTunes to visit the Music Store. Run this command in the Terminal (see tip #2 for opening instructions) to make those arrows automatically search your local library instead of the store:

defaults write com.apple.iTunes invertStoreLinks -bool YES

Make sure you do this while iTunes is not open. (change the “YES” to “NO” to restore the original functionality)

Quit and re-launch iTunes to see the effect in action.

4. Enable the ‘Safari’ Debug Menu.

There’s a lot of great functionality hidden in Apple’s Safari browser… you have to enable the Debug menu to harness the power! My favorite feature is the “User-Agent spoofing” sub-menu that lets you fool web-pages into thinking you’re using a different browser… such as Internet Explorer for Windows, or Netscape.

To enable the Debug Menu, quit out of Safari and enter this command in the Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDebugMenu 1

Change the ‘1’ to a ‘0’ and run the command again to turn the menu off. The next time you launch the browser, you’ll be presented with all sorts of goodies:


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