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Mac OSX Mt Lion - Tips, Tricks and Tweaks you should know.

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Mac OSX Mt Lion - Tips, Tricks and Tweaks you should know.

Written by Jason Baggs on

I want to share some apps and tweaks that you may find useful if you do not like the way Mt Lion works/looks/feels out of the box...

MacPilot 5.0.1 (paid)

Used to tweak most of the stupid default settings that Mt Lion (and SL and Lion) come with... one most notably, show ALL hidden files and folders, suppress creation of .DS_Store on local and networks. (in case you don't know, .DS_Store is a hidden file that is created on literally every folder you open with a mac, including folders on networks, regardless of OS platform that the network machine uses... the purpose is, you go to the folder, change the size, view, etc...you open it again and presto!! it's exactly the same. Nice for your own machine... however, when many people are accessing the network drive, whoever the last person to view the folder and tweak the window wins... very annoying. For admins, we just configure the folder, suppress the creation of all .DS_Store on networks on all Workstations and no more issues... I know TMI but still, this is annoying :)

Mountain Tweaks (free)

Another tweak tool, much less robust then Macpilot but free...one nice feature that I used it for (ok, the only one I used it for) was the "Remove leather from Contacts/Calendar"...I hate that "feature" so this makes it look like the familiar aluminum color

TotalSpaces (paid)

This is to replace the Mission Control with a more SL familiar Spaces grid pattern feel of your desktops. This was sadly one of the biggest hangups for me upgrading to Mt Lion. Note: you need to disable Mission Control and all hotcorners, shortcuts, etc to use this properly.

Meraki (free)

This is a cloud based free Mobile Device Management (MDM) / Asset Management tool to allow you to have wider control of your slew of iPhones, iPads, Mac OS, PC's, Android's, etc that you own because lets face it...most of us own more then one. It has location mapping of all devices added, it's easy to deploy (setup) on all the devices, and has extended functionality for controlling, finding, wiping, locking, remote controlling, etc of all of your devices...

Lock Screen Plus (paid)

Handy little tool for locking your Mac screen when you are away. You can set a timer to lock it automatically, set a password to unlock (password is stored by the application, not part of the OS) and displays the local weather. It is theme-able, and you can have a shortcut key to enable it. Nice if you are in an office and don't want people snooping around...

Little Snitch (paid)

Great tool for truly and fully controlling what comes in and goes out on the interweb. You can set how often something is allowed access, etc... Note: This tool is not for the faint of heart

iStat Menus (paid)

If you are like me and a total nerd and want to know as much about what your computer is doing at a glance as possible, then this tool is for you :)

MagicPrefs (free)

More control over what you can swipe, tap, twirl, slide, etc with your multi-touch mouse, trackpad (external or laptop)...

gfxCardStatus (free)

Handy little tool to allow you to force your laptop (or desktop I think) to use the Intel built-in GPU or the more powerful (and more power consuming) GPU

QuickSilver (free)

Replacement for Spotlight and oh so much more powerful

PathFinder (paid)

Finder replacement that is again, oh so much more powerful

TuxeraNTFS (paid)

Allows a Mac to write to NTFS formatted drives. It also allows formatting of NTFS (currently my experience with the version that I have is the formatting of NTFS from a Mac wasn't working very well... I think there is an update that I will seek out today)

RCDefaultApps (free)

Very handy for changing your defaults for which application opens what type of file... yes granted, you can select the file, Get Info, change the default application, and then check the box for always open with... but that is time consuming and involves too many steps that are replicated for each file type you want to change... this app does it from one nice little spot in System Preferences...

AirDisplay (paid)

This app is actually designed for extending your display onto your iPad or iPhone as a second monitor...however, one awesome, probably unintentional cool thing it also does is allow a headless Mac (Mac Mini server, etc) to retain a display setting/size other than super damn small. Mac's will default to the lowest resolution if a display is not connected as a way to ensure that no matter what you plugged in, it will display the video feed...Mac's assume that you obviously weren't stupid enough to boot the machine without a display attached so it must mean that I, the Mac, simply can't detect it...so it must be older then God...who is blind, and therefore I must allow God to see my screen, so I set myself to God-is-blind mode.... yeah you get the point...

CarbonCopyCloner (free with ads)

Super awesome backup tool for cloning stuff

ChronoSync (paid)

Also a backup tool but has a lot of other features for scheduled, incremental, syncing of folders, etc

Stuffit Expander (paid)

un-zip, rar, 7z, tar, etc...

Cocktail (paid)

Heavyweight cron tool for maintaining various aspects of your Mac on a regular basis, or manually

Jumpcut (free)

Basically makes a history of clipboard entries that you can go back and select from. Absolutely critical if you're developing code.

f.lux (free)

Adjusts the color temperature of your screen at night to match the ambient room light.. saves your eyes.

Simplepastie (free)

An app by Kyle Browning, allows one to copy/paste to github or pastie.org. Useful for sharing bits of code without having to switch apps.

BetterTouchTool (free)

Lets one configure gestures (e.g. three finger swipe, two left finger to 1 right finger tap, etc.) and associate them with key commands. Handy for switching tabs in chrome, closing windows, etc.

Pacifist (free with annoyances)

Nifty little app for allowing you to install embedded apps within an installer file, as an individual file.

Tips and Tricks.. if you think the size of the font on the sidebar of Mail is too big, you can make it smaller...

System Preferences > General > "Sidebar icon size:" > Change it to "Small"

Tips and Tricks.. Apple decides to integrate Facebook into the Mt Lion OS in version 10.8.2…but they for some reason forgot to include it as a direct option in Messages.app…. here's how you fix it

Open your web browser and go to: https://www.facebook.com/sitetour/chat.php If you haven't logged in already, do so In the middle of the page click on iChat - Mac under Supported Clients In the window that pops up, it gives you the instructions… Now open Messages.app On the Mac menu bar, click Messages > Preferences Click on Accounts Click the + button at the bottom of the left list Under Account Type: select Jabber Username: Password: Click Done You're all set! If you want to initiate a chat to a FB friend, just use the new message button and start typing their name…several options may come up (depending on if you also have them in your address book)…select the one that says @chat.facebook.com