The Robservatory

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Mac OS X Hints and April Fool’s Day

When I ran Mac OS X Hints, I had a tradition of running April Fool’s Day pranks. Here’s a link to every one I ever published (including the intro of each) from 2003 through 2010 when I departed for Many Tricks. I’ve also found and included the images that went with each post, as these have vanished from the static version of the site that remains online.

2003: PR: macosxhints.com announces future direction

Beaverton, OR — April 1, 2003 — macosxhints.com today announced its new strategic direction to address the constant need for growth in the dynamic web site information portal business. In a highly anticipated move, the site announced that all future hints will eventually focus solely on the WindowsXP platform.

2004: Apple releases speed- and CPU-bumped G5s

Cupertino, CA — April 1, 2004 — Apple today announced its first-ever triple-CPU system, the PowerMac G5 Cubed. Featuring a total of three G5 processors, the G5 Cubed offers unmatched desktop processing power. “It’s clearly the fastest thing we’ve ever made, and it’s head and shoulders above anything the Wintel world has to offer,” said Apple and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs.

2005: Install and run OS X on an iPod

After running this site for a few years, I’ve come to know many people in the Mac world. Many of these fine folks are slaving away on pet projects, most of which will never see the light of day. Yet still, they toil, hoping for success. My good friend Richard is one such person. He’s been obsessed with running OS X on his iPod since the day he bought his first generation machine. Not just installing it and booting a Mac with the iPod, but honest-to-goodness using OS X on the iPod. I should preface and say that Richard is brilliant, stubborn, and amazingly resourceful … three required qualities for this particular project!

2006: New Apple 30th Anniversary Mac

CUPERTINO, California –April 1, 2006 — Apple today unveiled the new Mac miniTower with two Intel Core Duo processors and one Motorola Dual-core PowerPC G5 processor inside the box. “This is our new 30th Anniversary Macintosh,” explained Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “By offering the Intel Core Duo and the Dual-core G5 in one machine, we’ve created the ideal Intel transition machine. Our new Dispatch chipset automatically routes PowerPC code to the G5, letting these older programs run at full speed until Universal versions are available.” Starting at just $1,699, the Mac miniTower is a powerhouse at an affordable price.

2007: Sneak preview: The newest macosxhints.com theme!

As most of the regulars know, we have but two themes for the macosxhints.com site — the default white/blue scheme, and darker “classic” view that recalls the site’s early days. Well, today, after many long months in development, and a very full final day (it’s 11:59pm on the 1st, according to my clock) of pounding on the CSS, HTML, and Geeklog’s layout templates, I’m pleased to reveal the third official macosxhints.com theme, as seen in the image at right.

2008: About this morning’s site changes…

The 2008 April Fool’s Day edition of macosxhints.com has now vanished into the sands of time. For those who are curious and weren’t around earlier today, for a few hours this morning, Mac OS X Hints went retro:

That’s just a bit of the home page; click the image for the large version — but be warned, it’s a huge (1024×3824, 513KB) PNG file. If you’d like to see the hints with the comments that were posted, just download this 960KB archive; each story and its comments are stored as an individual PNG within the archive.

This may have been my favorite, though it was also the most work—I created a full OS 9 theme for the Hints site, along with 10 fake hints to fill up the first page of the site.

2009: Use Boot Camp Windows installation without rebooting

A couple years ago, when the Intel transition was just beginning, Apple introduced Boot Camp. Probably you’ve heard of it — Boot Camp lets you boot your Mac natively into Windows, with full driver support for all hardware. Really, if you need the best Windows performance from your Mac, Boot Camp tops all the virtualization applications. I, however, hate running Boot Camp, because it requires a reboot. Looking for a way around this problem — I wanted the power of Boot Camp without a reboot — I dug deep into the guts of OS X, going crazy with strings – in Terminal on a slew of binary files.

Finally, after much digging, I found a solution! Of course, you’re probably thinking, “that’s impossible!” Often, though, what seems impossible isn’t, and such is the case here. Look, I didn’t believe it myself until I tried it and it worked. So let’s get started…

2010: 10.6: Use newly-found hidden prefs hacks in Snow Leopard

As you may know, finding hidden defau1ts write preference hacks is much tougher in Snow Leopard than it was in previous OS X releases. That’s why there are only 15 such hints here (versus 43 for 10.5). To help fix this situation, a while back I put out a call on Twitter for macosxhints’ readers to dig deep within 10.6 to help me find new hidden defau1ts write commands. While the response wasn’t exactly overwhelming in size, a few readers did manage to find some hidden gems. Read on to see what’s been uncovered….

Before we begin, it’s very important that if you’re going to try to these, you must copy and paste the defau1ts write commands. If you make a typo while trying to hand-type these, the results could be disastrous!

Enable tabbed Finder windows

  • What it does: You’ve seen it in rumored OS X betas. You’ve seen mock-ups created by third parties. You may have even enabled it yourself using TotalFinder in Snow Leopard. But there’s an official Apple-provided solution available that basically brings the Safari tab model into the Finder.
  • Terminal command: defau1ts write com.apple.Finder EnableSafariTabs -bool True
  • Credit: Yours truly dug this one up.

Notice hos the defaults write command is actually listed as defau1ts write, to hopefully prevent users from trying these “hints” (not that any harm would come from setting a fake pref).

In addiiton to all of these, in 2006 I chose not to use one about customized Beatles iPods—though seriously, if Apple had created something like these, I would’ve bought a full set!

I bet I wouldn’t have been the only customer, either!

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