Blog Post

It’s the Little Things: Command Line Improvements to Mac OS X


Recently, two articles appeared on TechRadar documenting various command line tweaks for various apps and functions of Mac OS X (s aapl). While I didn’t find anything new there, it’s nice to have two articles that summarize a bunch instead of tracking them down one by one across countless bookmarks.

To be honest, most command line tweaks don’t appeal to me. For example, I’d sooner go back to running DOS than go back to using Safari’s “standard” tabs; I love the tabs on top. Still, it’s nice to know I could make the change if I felt so inclined.

What’s surprising to me is that some of the tweaks I do like are incredibly simple — for example, the command that turns on stack highlighting even when using the mouse (No. eight in the first article above). Obviously, having the cursor over an item tells me which one will be activated if I click, and yet I like the highlight as a further indicator.

I also like the one to remove the arrows from iTunes’ interface (No. seven in the second article). Again, this is a little thing, yet I value it in a manner that’s completely out of proportion to the actual change it makes. Put simply, I hate those arrows.

Meanwhile, there’s a tweak for Safari I really like that’s not in either article. It’s one that forces a click to open in a new tab (instead of a window). You can find that one here. Though documented for Safari 3.1, I use it for the Safari 4 beta with no issues.

I’m curious what you think. Which tweaks do you really like? Do you have any to add, and do they seem like major or minor changes to you?

8 Responses to “It’s the Little Things: Command Line Improvements to Mac OS X”

  1. Just a note on the iTunes arrows: they’re great for going back to the artist or album or song location (whichever column’s arrow you click) by option-clicking them. There’s a preference for it, using ‘defaults write’, to make all arrows always refer back to the local Library. For example, if I’m in iTunes DJ and want more songs from the album of the song I’m listening to, I command-L to locate the current song and option-click the album column’s arrow.

  2. d,

    The article pointed out that “it’s the little things” tweaked via the command line I tend to appreciate. Minor changes that improve usage (for me) out of proportion with what one might have expected. I wondered if others enjoyed “minor” tweaks as well.

    That you found the article “pathetic” is puzzling. Then again, it’s also puzzling you think TechRadar is “offensive”.

  3. Hey there ‘d’ – while maybe not the most rewarding of articles, posts like these serve as a great pointer to those readers who may be newer than you are to all of this Mac tweaking stuff. If it’s not your cup of tea, then maybe next time, eh?

    Thanks for the Secrets mention – it is indeed a powerful teaks library (if you will) wrapped in a gui for those with a fear of the terminal.

  4. This article is really pathetic, even for TAB. It’s barely articulted drivel.

    Why are you even bothering youself with something as inane and offensive as “Tech Radar”? If you want a comprehensive and non-douchey source of information on “command line tweaks”: go for the motherlode –