All Hands on Leopard

All Hands on Leopard

LEOPARD TOP TRICK NO. 2 - HACKS FOR STACKS

Apple giveth and Apple taketh away. In Tiger, you could place a folder in the Dock, click and hold on it, and then navigate hierarchically through its contents. Not so with Leopard’s less-capable Stacks. You can, indeed, drag a folder into the Dock, but you can’t navigate through multiple levels without opening a Finder window (choose View > Show Path Bar to make it easy to retrace your steps). Here are some ways to get around some of Stacks’ other annoying limitations.

 

1. Winnow Your Options. The number of items that can show up in Stacks’ grid view is limited by the size of your display. On a 20-inch display, for example, only 107 items can be displayed, with the 108th being a back-arrow icon that, when clicked, opens a Finder window that contains all that folder’s items. If this chock-full-o’-nuts folder is your app-stuffed Applications folder, you’re going to want easier access to your commonly used apps. Easy: Create another folder, fill it with aliases to your most-used apps, and drop it onto the Dock instead of your full Applications folder.

 

If you have a ton of apps, a Dock-based Applications folder is ridiculous. Create a folder of aliases to your favorite apps, instead.

 

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2. Put on a Happy Face. The icon that graces a folder in the Dock is the icon of whatever item is first in the folder’s search order. (To sort, click and hold on the folder, then choose Sort By in the menu that pops up.) While this may be useful for displaying your latest download, it’s not conducive to instant recognition of folders that change frequently. To stabilize your Dock folders’ appearance, create a square JPEG that’s large enough to look good in Cover Flow view (500 by 500 pixels is sufficient for a 20-inch display). When you name it, use a space as the first character of its filename so that it will be first in a Sort By > Name sort. Drop that JPEG into the Dock-based folder, and that image will appear in the Dock to identify that folder - you’ll always be able to find your Home, Applications, or whatever folder, even if you change its contents.

 

Here are newly decorated Dock folders (from left): Applications, a Top Apps folder that contains aliases to most-used apps, a Home folder decorated by the user’s mug, and the Downloads folder.

 

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Help Wanted: Leopard fixes that need attention

Whenever Apple rolls out another iteration of Mac OS X, every Mac lifer worth his or her salt wants to either improve it or to restore some feature that didn’t survive the transition. To help, plucky programmers fire up their copies of Xcode (the integrated development environment, or IDE, that’s included on Leopard’s installation DVD) and hack away. Here’s our list of things we’d love their help with.

 

> Why can’t we use our mouse’s scrollwheel to zip back and forth through time in Time Machine? We should.

> Maybe we all don’t want our menubar to be translucent. Could someone please make it opaque again?

> Using the arrow keys to switch between Spaces requires two hands - one for the arrow keys and another for the modifier key. How ’bout fixing it so we could skip the modifier key when we want to?

> If we could set a different Desktop image in each Space, it’d be a heck of a lot easier to tell in a glance which Space we were in.

> Pre-Leopard application icons look all jaggy in Cover Flow view. Surely it shouldn’t be hard to make a tool to enlarge them.

> Not everyone thinks that Time Machine’s spacelike interface is cool. Some Core Animation jockey should be able to supply us with some less-cheesy alternatives, right?

> When a Stack that’s sorted by the filename pops up into fan view, its alphabetical order is reversed. That’s just wrong.

 

When we learned the alphabet, it started with “A” - did something change and we didn’t get the memo?

 

11

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Anonymous

I have a problem with hot corners in Leopard. Suppose I have multiple x11 windows open in one space, and I want to switch to another window. What do I do? I put my cursor in the appropriate hot corner to see all the windows and then I select the one I want to be on top, right? Ok, this works fine. I can now see the window I want on top, but when I go to work in this window by placing my cursor, the previous window I had reappears. Obviously, hot corners is worthless if this happens as I have to now move windows out of the way to find the one I want. Does this happen to anyone else? If so, do know of any fixes?

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Anonymous

**yawn***

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Josh

Changing the menubar will require an administrator password and you will need to restart the Mac for changes to take effect.

sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.WindowServer 'EnvironmentVariables' -dict 'CI_NO_BACKGROUND_IMAGE' 1
Remove translucency in menubar, turns it white.

sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.WindowServer 'EnvironmentVariables' -dict 'CI_NO_BACKGROUND_IMAGE' 0
Removes translucency in menubar, turns it grey.

sudo defaults delete /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/com.apple.WindowServer 'EnvironmentVariables'
Reverts back to default translucent menubar.

http://macosxtips.co.uk/index_files/category-terminal.html

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Anonymous

The alphabetical order on the fan view is reversed because your mouse pointer is closest to the bottom of list when you activate it. When you click on the dock icon, the shortest distance to "a" is one step up. As you move upward with your mouse, you get to "b", "c" and so forth.

As a long time Mac user who has experienced many OS changes over the years, this is the first time I have had to 'hack' the dock to get it to do what I want. Personally, the fan feature is useless, and the grid pop up is annoying and hard to navigate through. I have found a way to get the hierarchal type icon folder back through freeware, but this denies the ability to drag and drop items into that folder from the finder. Annoying! Most of these annoyances are overcome with spotlight as I can now launch programs by typing in the first few letters of the application and hit the 'return' key.

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s2

absolutely agree on having multiple desktop pictures to orient ourselves.

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Mike Jaes

Agreed that the new Dock takes some getting used to, and some mods.

To me, "Quick Look" is the coolest new feature. The way I work, (on web sites, for example) I have a "prep" folder for each site, containing PhotoShop documents, images, XHTML files, text files, etc.. The ability to quickly scan through a folder and to even see rendered XHTML pages in a Finder window is a HUGE time-saving feature.... (No apps to open)

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Michael Dunlop

Uhhhh.... the search thing with the "save" search and all that jazz is a Tiger feature.....

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Anonymous

Yeah, but could you save searches in the sidebar? Where could you save them?

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Anonymous

I'm using Tiger right now and looking at saved searches in the sidebar

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