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Control Time Machine from the command line with tmutil (

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The ability to control Time Machine from the Time Machine preferences in System Preferences is quite limited. You can choose exclusions, turn Time Machine on or off, and force backups, but that’s about it. Fortunately, a command-line tool, tmutil provides much more control over Time Machine. The man page for tmutil says the following:

“tmutil provides methods of controlling and interacting with Time Machine, as well as examining and manipulating Time Machine backups. Common abilities include restoring data from backups, editing exclusions, and comparing back-ups.”

For example, you can compare backups to see what has changed from one backup to another, inherit a backup (which you can do from the Time Machine menu, when you set up a new Mac and want to use a backup from an older Mac), or set up fixed-path exclusions (excluding items at a specific file path).

Check man tmutil to see all that you can do with this comma …

Create a QR code with your contact info (

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1. Go to:
2. Select “Contact Details”
3. Select vCard & fill in your info

This QR code will add your contact info to people’s address books if they scan it. You can create QR codes that can do lots of things. For example, you can create codes that will direct people to follow you on Twitter, like a page on Facebook, or compose an email to you.

[kirkmc adds: Another hint from robleach. I haven’t tested this.]

Create a QR code bookmarklet (

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Have you ever been reading a web page and find you have to leave, but would like to continue reading on your phone? Here’s a handy bookmarklet you can use to transfer the URL to your phone:'',%20'Scan%20Me',%20'toolbar=0,scrollbars=0,location=0,statusbar=0,menubar=0,resizable=0,width=110,height=130');qr.document.write('%3Cimg%20src=\'|0&chl='+document.location+%20'\'%20/%3E%3Cbr%20/%3E%3Ca%20href=\'javascript:self.close();\'%3EClose%20Me%3C/a%3E'); 

Copy this to a new bookmark. I named mine “Send to Phone.” It pops up a little window with the URL of your current web page encoded as a QR code. Simply scan it directly off your computer screen with your phone’s QR …

Use HTML signatures with Mail on iOS 6 (

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With iOS 6, you can now add different signatures for different e-mail accounts, but you can also add logos, links and styled text.

If you have an HTML or styled signature in Mail on OS X, do the following:
1. Send an e-mail to your account with the signature from OS X.
2. Open the e-mail on your iOS device, then tap and hold the signature text.
3. Select all the text and images of your signature, and then copy it.
4. Go to Settings > Mail, contacts and Calendars > Signature. In the text field, tap and hold again to display the Paste menu and paste your signature.

Only styled text (bold, italic or underlined), plus images and links will be copied. Text colors or font sizes will not.

[kirkmc adds: We had a hint giving a much more complex way of doing this back in April. This is very easy to do, requires no third-party software or futzing around with backups. Though, to be …

Re-Enable Apple provided Java applet plug-in (

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If you installed the Java for OS X 2012-06 update, you’ll have found that it does the following:

“This update uninstalls the Apple-provided Java applet plug-in from all web browsers. To use applets on a web page, click on the region labeled “Missing plug-in” to go download the latest version of the Java applet plug-in from Oracle.”

If you wish to re-enable the original Java applet plug-in – which is not uninstalled, as claimed above, but simply disabled – Apple has published a technical note explaining how to do this. There are a few Terminal commands, including creating a couple of symlinks. The technical note also explains how to disable Java Web Start.

The technical note also gives a URL where you can download the Oracle Java 7 JRE, which will be the futur …

Spotlight keyboard shortcuts (

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When viewing Spotlight search results, there are a number of shortcuts you can use to quickly perform actions or your search or its results. Simply move your cursor over an item, or use the arrow keys to navigate, to select items.

  • View the search term in Dictionary: Command-D
  • View the search term in a Quick Look “look up” dictionary window: Command-L
  • View the search term in Wikipedia: Command-W
  • Perform a web search for the search term: Command-B
  • View a selected result in a Quick Look window: hover cursor over an item
  • Reveal selected result in Finder: Command-R
  • Open the Top Result: Command-T
  • Open a selected result: Command-O, or Enter, or Return
  • Display a Finder Info window for a result: Command-I

[kirkmc adds: Any others? I listed this as 10.7, but I’m not sure they all work in Lion; I know some of them do.]

Add URLs to Reading List automatically from e-mails (

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This is an update to this hint, Automatically add links from Emails, Twitter or Google Reader to Reading List . I found the solution posted there to be insufficient. The script only allows URLs to be on their own full line, whereas my solution scans the entire message for links everywhere. As long as they are separated by a space the script should find them. WebKit users can even set their own browser.

I hope this helps replace some “read later services” by Reading List.

Save the script below to ~/Library/Application Scripts/ and assign it to a new Mail rule.

An easier way to send yourself links is by adding +reading to your mail address. If your normal address is, it would become:

The beauty of this is that you can add this address to your Contacts and give it a …

Have iPhone New Mail alert vibrate only (

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Sometimes you want to be alerted when you have new e-mail, but you don’t want an audible alert. Here’s how you can do it.

If you take a silent audio file, when you install it as a new silent ring tone and set it for the New Mail alert, your phone will vibrate only. Since the iPhone lowers any audio currently playing, you want to make this as short as possible (.1 sec), so the audio dip will be at a minimum.

[kirkmc adds: It so happens that I have a bunch of silent MP3 files on my website, in an article about adding silence to iTunes playlists. I added a .1 second file, as well as a .1 second ringtone to the zip archive.

I set up the ringtone on my iPhone, but I wasn’t able to test if it works or not. I happen to be part of the 1%; that is, the 1% of people whose iCloud e-mail has been down for more than 24 hours, and none of my ot …

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Create custom keybindings (

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If you’d like to easily type some non-standard glyphs, adding a custom keybinding might prove useful.

The keybindings file is located in ~/Library/KeyBindings/ (You will probably have to make this directory and then add a file named “DefaultKeyBinding.dict”.]).

The syntax for these keybindings are:

"[keycombination]" = ("insertText:", "\[unicodenumber or actual character]");


"~*" = ("insertText:", "\U0215"); /* the times-symbol "×" */

In this “Keycombination” field:
@ = cmd key
$ = shift key
~ = option key
^ = ctrl key
# = keys on number pad

More on the keybinding syntax at

[kirkmc adds: We’ve also got a 2006 hint that goes in …

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Add default fonts to Notes (

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Notes only offers three default fonts, and there is no GUI option to change these or add others. You can, however, add fonts by editing a plist file.

Open /Applications/ (or the equivalent for the language you use), and you’ll see three sets of text like this:

	<dict> 		<key>FontName</key> 		<string>Noteworthy-Light</string> 		<key>Size</key> 		<integer>15</integer> 	</dict>

Copy one of them, paste it at the bottom of those there sections, and add your preferred font and size. Note that you can specify the weight with “-Light,” “-Bold,” etc. Save the file, relaunch Notes, and choose your new default font from Format > Font > Default Font.

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