Make Hidden Apps Translucent in Mac Dock

I had no idea that you can make your dock icons transparent when you hide an app. In fact, I didn’t even know you can ‘hide’ apps….I always just either used ‘alt+tab’ to switch between apps, or minimized them.  So I learned something!

To make your hidden app icons turn translucent in the Dock, all it takes is a simple Terminal command:

defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool YES

Then, you need to restart the Dock, which you can do using

killall Dock

To reverse this setting, simple run “No” instead of yes

defaults write com.apple.Dock showhidden -bool NO

Oh, and also the keyboard shortcut for hiding an app is “cmd+H”

credit here

How to link to a Google+ post

So this seems so basic, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it from the browser.  If anyone knows how to do it in the browser, please share!  So here is what I did.

In the Google+ app (Android and iOS shown below)  if you click on the ‘card’ for a post, it will open the post and its comments.  Then hit the ‘three dots’ menu button (or the hardware menu key), and you’ll see an entry for ‘Link’.  Clicking that will copy a link to the post to the clipboard.  I emailed it to myself to get the link on my computer.

Google – there has got to be a way to link to a post from the browser? Anyone?

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Quick search other sites in Chrome omnibar

Nifty little trick.  If you want to search for something on Amazon, YouTube, or any other major site, here is a shortcut.

Start typing the name of the site you want to search in the Chrome omnibar:

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As the instructions say, press tab and you get this prompt:

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Now simply type your query and you’ve saved a few steps!

Oftentimes I would google ‘amazon’, then click on the first link to go to amazon.com, then do my search on amazon. This is way faster!

Reduce the size of Time Machine Backups

I found this great blog post by Hawk iMedia that details a very simple utility to compress or compact your time machine backups.  If you’re like me, Time Machine is way overkill.  I just want one viable backup that is fairly recent.  Not daily/hourly backups until my entire 3TB backup hard drive is full, as Time Machine will do by default.  So I roll with automatic backups turned off, and just manually backup occasionally.

Anyway, the Time Machine backup file (.sparsebundle) was taking up 1TB on my Time Capsule drive, even though my Macbook Pro only has a 500GB SSD hard drive.  So based on the aforementioned blog post, here is how to reduce the size of your Time Machine backup by compacting or compressing the .sparsebundle file.

Its basically just calling a “hdiutil compact” command on the sparsebundle file.

First, open Finder (or my favorite replacement, TotalFinder) and navigate to the folder where you’re sparsebundle file is located. Or in Terminal you can use the “ls” and “cd” commands to navigate through the folder structure. The “cd ..” command moves up one folder.  Here is what my Terminal commands look like:

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If like me one of the directories or folders has spaces or special characters in the name, this nifty trick will help you navigate to that folder.  Now you also need to be root to run the “hdiutil compact” command, so sudo into root.  You will need to enter your admin password.  You should be aware that if you run the wrong commands in root, it is possible to mess up your system.  However, just type in the commands directly and you’ll be fine.

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And, you’re done!  So easy!  Now, I know that it shows “0 bytes reclaimed” on my system.  But after I ran this command on both mine and my wife’s sparsebundle backup files and got that message, I checked my Time Capsule and found that it was reclaimed 800GB of free space!!  So it definitely works.  Try it out!

Terminal Directories with Spaces or Special Characters

I’ve been trying to reduce the size of the Time Machine backup on my Time Capsule with a nifty trick that I’ll share in the next post.  In the process I learned something very useful in dealing with Terminal commands, in particular with directories.

The name of the directory I was trying to ‘cd’ into had spaces as seen below.  I used the “ls” command to show a list of drives in /Volumes.

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If I simply type “cd /Andrew Cockerham’s Time Cap” it will give an error “no such file or directory”.  So to get into that directory, the easiest way is to wrap it in quotes:

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You can ignore the fact that I’m in ‘root’ to do this method, you do not need to be in root for it to work.

The second way to do it is using backwards slashes, ‘\’, before each space in the directory name:

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Note also that back slashes must be in front of the special characters, in this case the apostrophe.

Now this leads me to the next trick.  Typing out this long directory name with all the back slashes can be tedious, so a great shortcut is to simple start typing the first few letters of the directory, and then pressing the “Tab” key, and it will autocomplete the directory name for you, automatically adding the back slashes where need.

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and autocomplete…

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I love neat little keyboard shortcuts, especially in Terminal.

Hope you found it useful!