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Mousecape – Customize Cursors on OS X

Tue, 07/22/2014 - 15:00
Mousecape is a new open source Mac App which is available on GitHub to finally allow you to create and use your own mouse cursors, or 'capes' as the app calls them.

Once you download the app, there is a remastered version of the Svanslös cursor set created by Max Rudberg which is retina-screen ready.

Mousecape is as non-instrusive as possible, never asking you for your password for anything. It works by using private APIs created by Apple to register system cursors so it has no performance hit at all.

Capes, or cursor sets, are applied for as long as display state doesn't change, meaning until you change resolution, monitors, sleep your computer, reboot or logout. However, inside of the application is a helper application that will detect when the cape is reset and will apply it again.

Mousecape is available for free, open source and with no obligations. ...

Make iWork 09 the default and avoid update nagging

Fri, 07/18/2014 - 15:00
Many people continue to use iWork 09 apps, because they contain features missing in the newer versions. However, having the older apps on your system mean a constant nagging from Apple to update to the newer versions. If you do download the newer versions, then it is impossible to make the older apps the default for your documents. The old Get Info » Change All trick doesn't work.

Here's what to do to remedy that.

First, make a backup. Then install the latest iWork apps. Your older versions get moved to a subfolder called iWork 09. That's why you have the backup.

Next, move the NEW apps to an external disk or other partition. You can then restore the 09 apps to the /Applications folder. Or leave them in the subfolder if you prefer.

Having the apps on different volume from the system disk lowers their priority, so the 09 apps in your /Applications folder remain the defaults for your documents. What is more, any fu ...

10.9: Update OS without creating a user on a new Mac

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 15:00
This is my take/an update on las_vegas' hint I found here awhile back for running OS updates without creating a user on a Mac. It is applicable to any system 10.5 and up.

This can be helpful if you have a Time Machine backup that's on a newer OS than your install media, or if you're selling/donating your Mac as it saves the new user having to update things.

First things first, wipe your drive (and zero it if you don't trust the end user of this computer) and reinstall your desired OS.

Once your OS is installed, boot to your install media or the Recovery Partition if available. Open Terminal from the Utilities option in the menubar. In the new Terminal window, type the following:
resetpassword
This will bring up the Password Reset utility. Click Macintosh HD or whatever your HDD is called. You'll notice the only user account that's avail ...

Name Faces in iPhoto efficiently

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 15:00
I've become somewhat obsessed with the faces feature in iPhoto. Currently, I have about 7000 unidentified faces in my library. I knock out a few hundred here and there. It's oddly satisfying, but I go to a lot of large events - events where a lot of people look familiar because they are regulars, but I don't know them. This makes finding faces rather cumbersome, especially since the method of ignoring faces requires the mouse. Everything else can be done with the keyboard. Plus, doesn't track repeatedly ignored faces, so the same faces keep showing up. Well, I've discovered a way to work around these cumbersome limitations.

Doing everything with the keyboard makes things go a lot faster. If you're using the Find Faces feature and skip faces you don't know (because you don't want to pause to use the mouse), the next time you click on Find Faces, you'll be presented with those same unknown faces over and over again. They build up and always get presented in the same order, s ...

10.9: Terminal text shortcuts still work in Safari

Fri, 06/27/2014 - 15:00
I should have stumbled on this one years ago but I have just realised typing in Safari's address bar and unconsciously doing Ctrl+a to go to the start of my query, that it works.

We recall these life saving Unix text editing shortcuts:
  • 'Ctrl+a' : go to start of the line
  • 'Ctrl+e' : go to the eol
  • 'Ctrl+k' : delete all chars to the right of the cursor
I have tested those with success in various standard Dialog Boxes, TextEdit windows andin Safari's address bar; it seems to be a relatively system wide standard. Of course no luck with MS apps, they use their non-standard Alt+arrows (when most other Mac apps use the widely known Ctrl+arrows).

First my sincerest apologies to all those who knew and if there ever was a similar hint since 2003 in the DB. [crarko adds: At the time this hint was originally submitted the site's search function was not working.]

Ever watchful of posting eti ...

Automatically restart Logmein Hamachi

Tue, 06/24/2014 - 15:00
If you are having trouble with Logmein Hamachi starting up correctly, the following script will check to see if the connection is up. If it is, it will attempt to restart and then send you an email when it's done.

You'll need to update these variables with your own data: email_address='XXXXXXX@gmail.com'
hamachi_network="xxx-xxx-xxx" Also update the machine names and IP address (e.g. test_ip_address) in the case statement.

You can use the command hamachi list (from a Terminal window) to get your network ID and IP addresses.

Once you set this up, you can run this from any of your connected machines and it will try to connect to the other machine. If it cannot, it attempts to get Hamachi working again.

Here's the script: ...

Placeholder info for AppleTV in Profile Manager

Fri, 06/20/2014 - 15:00
While importing a placeholder for some iPads into Profile Manager I was peeking through profilemanager.log, when I found this gem. [351] [2014/05/22 16:17:21.942] I: Imported placeholder device "MH-Gary Ho_iPad Mini45", SerialNumber=F7NMXXXXXX84, IMEI=, MEID=, UDID=, DeviceID=, AirplayPassword= What I did next was add a new column AirplayPassword= to the placeholder CSV file and put a password in. I then uploaded the placeholder for an AppleTV and it added the Airplay password to my AppleTV Device in ProfileManager.

Just yesterday I added 20 AppleTVs to Profile Manager, I could have saved a few steps with this hint.

[crarko adds: If you don't know about Apple Profile Manager for OS X Server ...

10.9: Convert gitolite managed git repositories to Xcode Server

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 15:00
So you finally want to take the plunge and convert from gitolite managed repositories and Jenkins to doing everything with Mavericks' Xcode Server? It turns out it's actually not that hard.

Disclaimer: I just figured this process out, everything appears to work (pulling the repository, committing/pushing back to the repository after making changes. I think that everything should be working properly outside of my very basic tests, but they were very limited.

Converting gitolite repositories for Xcode server.
  • Find your repositories folder (for me i had a special 'git' user so the repositories folder was in /Users/git/repositories).
  • Create a tarred gzip file (as admin with following settings) to create carbon copies of the directories preserving ownership and permissions:

    sudo tar cpz -P --exclude .DS_Store -f repositories.tgz /Users/git/repositories
  • ...

Bypass Chromes SSL/certificate blockades

Fri, 06/13/2014 - 15:00
There's something with Chrome (and Firefox as well) that has driven me crazy for some years: when browsing the web via a proxy server while at work I can't access some pages via the HTTPS-protocol.

Chrome and Firefox are showing error messages like this one and this one (sorry, both are in German). Safari just shows a blank page and I'm not able to open that specific web site although I'm sure that this site is not going to harm my computer or myself. For example this problem appears when I try to access my router at home or some other sites having problematic certificates - but they play fine when I'm at home.

Finally I found a solution for the problem.

Unfortunately there's neither a visible setting to set Chrome to warn me but allow the warning to be ignored, nor is that one in about:flags. But you can start Chr ...

We're back

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:00
As I'm sure most of you have noticed, MacOSXHints was not in action since mid-May. There was an issue with the site software, but I'm really happy to say that is now fixed, and I look forward to resuming publication of new hints. This is especially pleasing as the Public Beta of OS X Yosemite approaches, and the new goodies in iOS 8 as well.

I'll just say it's good to be back.

Craig A.

iOS: Maps wrong destination Work-around

Wed, 06/11/2014 - 15:00
It just so happens that the building where I work has no street address, as it is part of a university campus. When I asked Siri where I was, it gave me an address, which I put as my work address in my contact card. However, whenever I asked Siri to give me directions to work, it would lead me astray - about a mile down the road. Yet when I double-checked by asking Siri where I was, it aid I was at the address previously reported. I also discovered that if I manually touch the address in my contact card and touch Directions to here I would get directed to the correct spot! I played around with Siri today and figured out a work-around so that I could ask Siri for directions to work and get there properly.

I believe this is all due to some sort of Apple Maps bug. Manually touching to get directions versus asking Siri for directions to the same address should give you directions to the same place. I suspected that Siri was using different address mappings than Maps was ...

Creating custom shortcuts with apostrophes

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 15:00
I'm running OS X localized in French and recently started using custom keyboard shortcuts extensively. But I've come across a few menu items for which I could not create a shortcut. I realized that all these items contained apostrophes. Not the same apostrophe as the one on the keyboard though (’ vs. ' which is a single quote, ascii 39).

I managed to find the right char in a *.strings file inside the Ressource/French.lproj folder of the application package (Teminal.app in this case), which I could then copy and paste in System Preferences » Keyboard » Shortcuts.

I know the solution provided here is not very elegant. Maybe you will figure out something better.

[crarko adds: And if someone does have an alternative solution, please share it in the comments.]

10.9: Disable App Nap System Wide

Fri, 05/09/2014 - 15:00
The Finder/Get Info checkmark for preventing App Nap sometimes disappears, seemingly at random. Maybe the app updates itself, or just writes something to the application directory and the checkmark is gone. The next day your overnight render is at 10%. So in Terminal, type: defaults write NSGlobalDomain NSAppSleepDisabled -bool YES This seems to prevent App Nap completely, looking at the Activity Monitor » Energy » App Nap column. Running programs need to be restarted for the change to take effect.

[crarko adds: I tried the command; not sure if it's really made a difference. I don't do overnight renders, but if people who do leave lengthy processes going care to comment, we care to listen. I'm really curious about the check box resetting itself.]

10.9: Assigning Tags by keyboard shortcut in Finder

Mon, 05/05/2014 - 15:00
I'm not sure if this has been covered sufficiently already, but I've heard lamentations by various writers about the lack of a keyboard shortcut to bring up the file-tagging popup in the Finder. While none is provided by default, one can easily be set up.

In previous versions of OS X, the File menu had Label: followed by the row of colored cells. In Mavericks, the row of tags is still there, but the un-selectable Label: has changed to the selectable Tags…, which opens the tagging popup menu next to the selected file.

This process may already be familiar to MacOSXHints readers. Go to System Preferences » Keyboard » Shortcuts » App Shortcuts and click on the + button.

In the window that appears, set the Application to be the Finder, and enter Tags… in for the Menu Title. (To type the ellipsis character, use Option+semicolon, rather than three periods.) And then, of course, set your preferred ...

Creating a kill switch for the OSX VPN client

Wed, 04/30/2014 - 15:00
I live in China so I have to use VPN all the time if I want any kind of stable connection to sites in the west. Unfortunately the VPN will at times randomly disconnect and then all traffic will immediately start going over chinese Internet again. While this is not a big deal really, I would just prefer not to be logged in to Facebook or Gmail and have my traffic open to be sniffed by the great firewall. It also occurred to me that many people use VPNs in the states in order to safely torrent.

I know some VPN providers have 'Internet kill switches' for their VPN that will cut your Internet connection incase of a disconnect and make sure you are not leaking anything. The problem with these is that they are almost all using openVPN, while I use L2TP over IPSec for my VPN. I searched for a long time for a way to do this and could not find one so I thought of a way to do it on my own. The following is how I set my system up. Please keep in mind that I am not an experienced Term ...

Automator Service to toggle the alias bit

Tue, 04/29/2014 - 15:00
Aliases in OS X are identified to the system by an attribute referred to as the alias bit. This hint provides a very simple way to be able to toggle the alias bit of selected files within the Finder.

There may be some need to be able to toggle the alias bit of files from within the Finder. For example, I found that using Bittorrent Sync to keep files synchronized across multiple devices is very useful and a real time saver, but suffers from a bug in the OS X version, that causes aliases to lose their status as aliases. I traced the problem to the alias bit not syncing and though the developers continue to promise to fix it, I got tired of waiting.

So I put together an Automator action that installs as a service in OS X. It adds a Service to the contextual menu that will toggle the alias bit on any file or folder in the Finder. It works on multiple files at once. Just select what you want, right click, and choose 'Toggle Alias Bit.' I made it a toggler rather than ...

Add Multiple URLs to a Calendar Event

Fri, 04/25/2014 - 15:00
I frequently want to add multiple URLs to Calendar events. Of course, you can put them in the Notes section, but given that there's a URL field, it seems a little kludgey. This solution is kludgey too, but perhaps a bit less so.

Drag the additional link(s) to the Finder to create a .webloc file; then drag that file to the attachment field for the event.

You can double-click the file to open the link, which is better than the link being non-clickable in the Notes field, where you would have to highlight and right-click (Control+click). The URL won't appear in the body of an email when you send an event to someone, but it will be in the attached .ics file.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]

Create a Fusion Drive with a Recovery Partition

Wed, 04/23/2014 - 15:00
There are many step-by-step guides on the internet that explain how to add an SSD to an existing Mac, and create a 'Fusion Drive' that has the speed of an SSD, but also the capacity of a Hard Drive. All these guides fall short in one way that was important to me.

Creating the Fusion Drive the way these walkthroughs say (including OWC's exceptional guides), destroys the Recovery Partition that exists on the drive. Without a Recovery Partition, you cannot enable FileVault2, and will need some other external boot drive if you ever need to perform maintenance on your internal drives. For a laptop computer that might be far from home, not having a Recovery Partition was unacceptable to me. Also note that if you buy a Mac from Apple today with Fusion Drive, it DOES come with a Recovery Partition, so it is indeed possible to do.

It turns out that Apple's Core Storage technology is more flexible than these walkthroughs give on. You can enroll an individual partition of a ...

Using Time Machine on unsupported volumes

Thu, 04/17/2014 - 15:00
I wanted to use Time Machine on my exFAT hard drive, but turns out that these volumes aren't supported from Time Machine! There is a very simple way to use Time Machines on unsupported hard drives, as long as you follow these instructions carefully you shouldn't have any issues at all.

First, connect the unsupported volume (in this case, an exFAT external hard drive.) When it mounts, open the Terminal and type these commands, substituting 'My External HDD Name' for the name of the unsupported volume.

cd /Volumes
cd 'My External HDD Name'

Next, type this code, substituting for your needs:

hdiutil create -size 320g -type SPARSEBUNDLE -fs "HFS+J" MacBook-Backup.sparsebundle
open MacBook-Backup.sparsebundle

Here, a 320GB sparse bundle named 'MacBook-Backup' is being made and mounted. You can change these values as you see fit. From herein, I'll refer to the sparse bundle name as 'MacBook-Backup'. ...

10.8: AppleScript to close iCal Alerts

Tue, 04/15/2014 - 15:00
I'd just installed OS X 10.8, and booted to find the right side of my screen covered in Birthday and Calendar notifications! Since installing I've clicked 'Close' on way too many iCal notification alerts.

Here's a script to close them all for you in one fell swoop. Since I still want iCal to popup a Notification alert for event alarms I've set, I don't want to simply disable all the iCal notifications (or set them to temporary banner alerts).

However, it still occurs that sometimes a small pile of alerts have accrued while I was away from the computer, and I really hate hitting 'Close' a bunch of times.

So, followng is a script to simply close all the piled-up Notification Alerts. The script was put together using these two webpages for inspiration: http://macosxautomation.com/mavericks/notifications/01A.html (most of the nice code comes from here) and ...