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Apple Mac OS X Tips

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Terminal Tips and Tricks For Mac OS X

These are from Mike Wagner, thanks Mike!

Summary of recent TUAW post:

Your desktop: CMD-SHIFT-D Your computer: CMD-SHIFT-C Your home folder: CMD-SHIFT-H Your desktop: CMD-SHIFT-D Computers on your local network: CMD-SHIFT-K Your Utilities folder: CMD-SHIFT-U Your iDisk: CMD-SHIFT-I

You can also bring up a dialog box to specify a path to a specific folder on your hard disk by typing CMD-SHIFT-G.

Fundamental stuff, but easily forgotten (at least partially in my case). The last one is great for quickly accessing areas the Finder doesn't typically allow access to (e.g., /private/var/root, /etc).

Also, in Open/Save dialogs, you can type CMD-D to quickly target your desktop for saving.

I used a screen capture utility called "Skitch" to do the mark up on the iPhone screen shots (it can mark up it's own taken screenshots or images from other sources). It's in free beta now and I find it very useful on a regular basis:

Check these sites out: is a good resource for under-the-surface/bsd/apple services, sys admin related things

here is a good article on apple cron replacement, launchd. cron still functions in 10.5 alongside of launchd. you can do some cool stuff with launchd you can't do with cron easily or at all. it's along the lines of suns rc replacement is THE site to find anything mac/apple software related. find "lingon" here for a friendlier interface to launchd. i broke down and signed up for their premium service this year after years of not. it lets you build a list of software for you to be alerted on when it's updated.

"shimo", found on macupdate easily, is a very nice replacement GUI for the cisco VPN binaries. it has support for the cisco VPN, OpenVPN, etc. unfortunately, at v2.0 the developer began charging for it. v1.x still works fine as a cisco front-end replacement though. i'll send you that if you want it.

i use "little snitch" as what you would call a "reverse firewall". it alerts me of any outbound net activity and gives an option to "allow it until app quits", "always allow on this port to that site" or "allow any activity for this app". I find it nice to keep tabs on all of the traffic leaving my laptop.

"textexpander" is a nice tool that will "expand" text you type into something else. for example, I have it auto fix any "teh" I type anywhere to more elaborate things like setting up my entire unix environment on machines i have not done so on. i.e., when I log into a linux server at work, i type "ell" and textexpander types out very quickly what would normally be in my .profile, etc. I also have my contact info in there so i can slam that into emails or whatever quickly. i had a site once where i had to type "http://" in front of urls peopel entered, so i set up a shortcut in TE of "hht" to do that for me (yeah, i could have fixed the web app's code, but that would have been too easy).

i use a free utility "istat menus" to show me my combined CPU use (of all cores) in my menubar at the top of the screen as well as various temperatures of components. it's a super slick utility. you can click the CPU use icon at any time to see a "top" output to see what is giving you grief

"flip4mac" and "perian" (macupdate) provide video codec extensions that are not included with Quicktime. Use VLC as an all purpose video player.

"onyx" lets you tweek a lot of things to speed up the OS GUI, etc. you can use it to set a verbose startup so your macbook looks like it's booting linux/bsd instead of a happy mac overlay ;)

(16:33:32) Mike Wagner: if you end up needing a usb<>serial adapter for the macbook, i read the "Keyspan" brand of them works best and has the best/most compatible kernel modules

(16:34:16) Mike Wagner: the Prolific chipset ones apparently have bunk OSX drivers though there is an open source driver alternative for it. Keyspan has made apple specific stuff for years, so i'd trust them more

(16:36:09) Mike Wagner: here's some good info on that topic:

Native (not web) iPhone app to access Sharepoint portals:


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Page last modified on August 13, 2010, at 08:24 AM EST