Thoughtful, detailed coverage of the Mac, iPhone, and iPad, plus the best-selling Take Control ebooks.

 

 

Pick an apple! 
 
Springy Dock Tricks

If you drag a file and hover over Dock icons, various useful things happen which are similar to Finder springing. If it's a window, the window un-minimizes from the Dock. If it's a stack, the corresponding folder in the Finder opens. If it's the Finder, it brings the Finder to the foreground and opens a window if one doesn't exist already. But the coolest (and most hidden) springing trick is if you hover over an application and press the Space bar, the application comes to the foreground. This is great for things like grabbing a file from somewhere to drop into a Mail composition window that's otherwise hidden. Grab the file you want, hover over the Mail icon, press the Space bar, and Mail comes to the front for you to drop the file into the compose window. Be sure that Spring-Loaded Folders and Windows is enabled in the Finder Preferences window.

Visit plucky tree

Submitted by
cricket

 
 

ChangeShortName Simplifies Name Changing

Send Article to a Friend

Unsatisfied with your identity in Mac OS X? Bothered that the person being asked to provide an administrator password isn't really you? You can always open the Accounts pane of System Preferences and change the Name field that holds your full name. But the Short Name field below it remains frustratingly immutable, even after you click the lock icon, making you think, perhaps, that Mac OS X is being unnecessarily over-protective.

This is backwards. Your full name is what you can't escape, the one inscribed on your birth certificate. But short names, whether they're chosen, assigned, or merely accidental, are more malleable. My late grandfather Orville was known to his friends as Barb, a seemingly inexplicable nickname for a powerfully built farmer who could fix electric fences without turning off the heat. It was finally explained to me that it was short for "barbarian," a reference to his football and boxing prowess at Cornell University in the 1930s.

Had Grandpa accidentally set his short name in Mac OS X to "orville" when he would have preferred "barb", the ChangeShortName utility from James Bucanek and Dan Frakes would have come in handy. It is possible to change a short name in Mac OS X with appropriate incantations at the command line and gestures in Apple's NetInfo Manager, along with edits to configuration files. But it's a tedious process involving so many steps that not even Apple's official instructions are complete. It's also prone to errors: if you mess up, you're looking at significant recovery efforts.

ChangeShortName makes this process far easier and more foolproof by encapsulating all the steps necessary to change an account's short name. All you have to do is select an existing name, enter the new name, and click a button. Plus, if you've tried and failed to change a short name on your own, it can also repair some of the damage. It requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later, and is free, though donations are requested. Even with ChangeShortName, changing your short name isn't the sort of thing to do lightly, so be sure to read the included documentation before using it. It's a 424K download.

 

READERS LIKE YOU! Support TidBITS by becoming a member today!
Check out the perks at <http://tidbits.com/member_benefits.html>
Special thanks to Dave Shaw, Dave, Thomas Barry, and Thomas Gaynor for
their generous support!