How To: Disable Dashboard in OS X

How To: Disable Dashboard in OS X

Dashboard in Leopard is a love it or hate it application. There are several useful applications that can make life easier. On the other hand, it’s easy to hit the activation buttons on Mighty Mouse by accident. Other people may begrudge Dashboard’s use of memory. It’s not much, but on low end machines every bit counts.

This is how to disable Dashboard:

Open Terminal (as an admin user)

type: defaults write mcx-disabled -boolean YES

Hit Enter

type: killall Finder

When Finder restarts, Dashboard should be gone. To turn it back on follow the same instructions, but replace YES with NO.

The first command is the powerful one. There are a lot of default behaviors that can be changed in OS X if the write command is known.

The second command, killall Finder simply does the same as force quitting Finder from the GUI. It forces the Finder to quit, relaunch and reload everything, including the Dock. In this case it does not relaunch Dashboard though.

Please let me know if you find this helpful. Also suggestions for other terminal commands would be appreciated.

How To: Extract .tgz files with Tar

How To: Extract .tgz files with Tar

.tgz files have been used in Unix for years. Originally created to handle backups to tape, it’s now commonly used to archive groups of files together such as installers for software. This is where most people run across the confusing .tgz, tar.gz, or tar.bz2 file extensions.

These instructions should be universal for most Unix systems, Linux, BSD, OS X, and even Solaris. Please feel free to leave a comment if they’re not.

To get to tar’s help files, simply type: man tar

The output will look something like this:

TAR(1) tar TAR(1)

tar – The GNU version of the tar archiving utility

tar [options]

[-]A –catenate –concatenate
[-]c –create
[-]d –diff –compare
[-]r –append
[-]t –list
[-]u –update
[-]x –extract –get

Common Options:
-C, –directory DIR
-f, –file F
-j, –bzip2
-p, –preserve-permissions
-v, –verbose
-z, –gzip

So for extracting tar files, we will use the x and f options. Thus:

tar xf filename.tar

Will work fine. Note that the same command should usually work for any file that has the tgz, tar.gz, or tar.bz2 extensions too. The tar command should automatically detect the file type and call gzip or b2zip. If it doesn’t there are two more commands.

For .tgz or tar.gz files, add a z to the command: tar xzf filename.tgz

For .bz2 files, add a j : tar xjf filename.tar.bz2

At this point the file should unzip and untar into the same directory as the archive file. Sometimes an auto installer will come up, but that is still pretty rare.