Yesterday I pointed out that OS X Leopard actually looks BETTER on old hardware because some of the fluff is turned off. This obviously implies that there is some hidden internal setting for controlling the fluff. Well, someone has found that setting! With a simple terminal command you can now get the nice solid Menubar on any Mac. Just fire up a terminal and enter the command (all on one line):

sudo defaults write /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/ 'EnvironmentVariables' -dict 'CI_NO_BACKGROUND_IMAGE' 1

You can only do this from an administrator account and you’ll have to enter your password. The command won’t have an immediate effect. You have to reboot your Mac to see your new and improved Menubar. I’ve tested this on my G5 PowerMac and my MacBook Pro, it seems to work flawlessly.

You can get more details in this ars technica article.

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Unlocking Hidden Features in OS X

Filed Under Computers & Tech on August 25, 2007 | 1 Comment

Tinker Tool & Tweak Freak LogosAs a Windows user I was always a huge fan of the program Tweak UI which let you easily mess with some hidden settings in Windows. This week I’ve been experimenting with two similar apps for OS X, Tweak Freak and Tinker Tool. I experimented with both and really I can only recommend Tinker Tool.

[tags]Apple, OS X, Tweak UI, Tweak Freak, Tinker Tool[/tags]

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I’m probably a very rare beast, a Mac user who uses Thunderbird rather than Apple Mail. The reason I use Thunderbird is because I don’t like lock-in. I’ve had my same mailboxes on Windows, Linux and Mac, so I know that as long as I use Thunderbird I can move to any OS I want at any time and keep all my mail, contacts and settings completely effortlessly. I’d just have to copy one folder. It can certainly be argued that Thunderbird is less polished looking than Mac Mail and it has a few less features but on the whole it’s a very capable client that works well.

I’ve been using the basic features for years but of late the sheer volume of mail I have to deal with at work has led me to start experimenting with ways of making my life easier. The first optimization people generally think of is message filters so I’m not going to talk about those because I think they are pretty obvious and people are used to using them. Instead I’m going to give two hopefully less obvious tips.

[tags]Mozilla, Thunderbird, Email, To Do, Organise[/tags]

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Many people seem to go to bizare lengths to get colour ls working on OS X and end up doing things like building their own ls from source or getting fink or darwinports to build a new ls for them. This is utterly pointless as the ls that comes with OS X 10.3 and higher has colour support built in!

So, how do you enable it?

For some reason best known to themselves the clever people in Apple decided that the flag for colour on ls should not be –color like it is on just about every other OS on the planet but instead the rather bizarre choice of -G!

So, to enable colour ls all you have to do is add the following to your .bash_profile file:

alias ls="ls -G"

If, like me, you like to have a black background on your terminal you may also want to set the colours so that folders are an easy to see yellow instead of an eye-hurting dark blue. To do this just add the following to your .bash_profile too:

export LSCOLORS=dxfxcxdxbxegedabagacad

Don’t ask me what the letters means, all I know is it works!

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