The Robservatory

Robservations on everything…



Yosemite’s constant clattering clutters Console

For those who aren’t familiar, Console (found in Applications > Utilities) is an application that shows you what’s happening beneath the lovely skin of OS X. Open the application, and you’ll see a combination of status and error messages from any number of sources.

If you’ve never looked at Console before, you might be surprised by just how much stuff gets written there. But with the release of Yosemite, things have really taken a turn for the worse—the amount of stuff written to Console is greater than I recall for prior OS X releases.

As a test, I set up a new Yosemite virtual machine, installed ScreenFlow (and nothing else), then launched and interacted with a number of Apple’s apps for two minutes while recording the screen. The results are quite sobering; here’s what two minutes of Console logging looks like, reduced to a 10-second movie:

As you can see, there are a lot of Console entries in just two minutes.


Yosemite: An alternative zoom-to-fit action

As you’re probably aware, Apple changed the functionality of a green button click in Yosemite: it not longer “zooms to fit” (which could have different behaviors per app), but instead it enters Full Screen mode (if the app has one; otherwise, it does zoom to fit). If you want zoom-to-click, you can option-click the green button; there’s no apparent way to toggle these two functionalities.

But today, I discovered a second zoom-to-fit shortcut: double-click the window’s title bar. This is easier to do, as you don’t have to hit the small green button target; just get the mouse anywhere in the title bar, and double-click.

Note that this won’t work if you have “Double-click a window’s title bar to minimize” enabled in the Dock System Preferences panel.

Yosemite: Tweaking Safari’s URL bar settings

Safari in Yosemite is a familiar yet new beast. Among the interface changes, I really didn’t like the way the URL bar behaved. In particular, these things bugged me:

  1. Not being able to see the full URL.
  2. The width of the URL entry box.
  3. The drop-down that appears when you click in the URL bar (when you have a page loaded).

Thankfully, the fixes for these three issues are easy, if not completely obvious.

Full URL not visible in URL bar

By default, Safari truncates URL to just the base “dot” address, regardless of where you are on a site. So if you’re reading my hint about using a dark Dock, Safari’s URL bar will display this:

But you’re really on this page:

If you prefer knowing where you are in the site hierarchy at all times, the fix is simple. Open Safari’s Preferences, go to Advanced, and add a checkmark next to “Show full website address.”

The URL box will now show the full URL of the page you’re viewing. Of course, that will lead to a second problem—the URL box isn’t large enough to display much of the extended URL. Thankfully, that too is an easy fix.


Yosemite: Dark Dock and App Switcher with light menu bar

Here’s my first (only?) Yosemite hint, courtesy of my Many Tricks partner, Peter Maurer. Peter wanted a light menu bar, but preferred the contrast given to application icons in the dark Dock—like this:

Here’s how to achieve that effect.

  1. Open Terminal, then copy/paste this and press Return: defaults write NSGlobalDomain AppleInterfaceStyle Dark
  2. Paste or type killall Dock and press Return. The Dock will relaunch in its dark mode.
  3. Copy/paste this and press Return: defaults remove NSGlobalDomain AppleInterfaceStyle

The first step sets dark mode, step two restarts the Dock to switch it to dark mode, and step three turns off dark mode—but the Dock won’t notice, and will remain in its dark state (until it’s next restarted, which isn’t often). Because the Command-Tab switcher is associated with the Dock, it will also be dark.

If you’re going to script this, you’ll want to insert a delay between the second and third steps, so that the Dock can finish launching before you disable dark mode. Neat trick!

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