15 Terminal commands to supercharge OS X

Terminal commands to tweak Dashboard

Some Mac users hate Dashboard so much they want rid of it, whereas others want widgets to stay put when Dashboard closes. The following tips enable these things. Use 'killall Dock' after entering commands for changes to take effect. (Dashboard is part of the Dock process.)

10. Disable Dashboard

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean yes

Reverse this by using the same command, but replace 'yes' with 'no'.

11. Drag widgets to the desktop

defaults write com.apple.dashboard devmode yes

This command activates developer mode for Dashboard. Once it's active, click-hold a widget and close Dashboard. The widget will stay put, floating above other windows. To put it back, click-hold, open Dashboard and 'drop' the widget. (This is fine for one-offs, but if you're a massive widget junkie, consider buying Amnesty Singles, a $10 app that converts widgets to Mac OS X applications.)

DESKTOP WIDGETS: Activate Dashboard's developer mode via Terminal to put widgets on the desktop

Terminal commands for better screen grabs

Mac OS X bungs screen grabs on the desktop in PNG format. When taking multiple grabs, regularly moving them is annoying, and you might prefer a different format...

12. Change your screen grab format

defaults write com.apple.screencapture type jpg

Alternate formats are 'tiff' and 'pdf' or the default, 'png'. Logout and back in for changes to take effect.

13. Amend your screen capture location

defaults write com.apple.screencapture location [path]

If you don't fancy typing a full path, add a space after 'location' and drag a folder to Terminal from Finder - the location will be added automatically. Again, a logout/login will be required for this change to be made. An eminently sensible place for screen captures is a folder within /Pictures.

DRAG AWARE: Terminal is drag aware, so you can add paths by dragging a folder from Finder

Terminal commands to make your Mac more fun

14. Make your Mac talk

say [string]

Replace '[string]' with some words to make your Mac talk.

15. Play Tetris

This isn't a Terminal tip per se, but you can use Terminal to access Emacs and play a skinny Tetris. Type 'emacs', hit Return, wait for Emacs to load, hit Escape, type 'x', then 'tetris' and then Return. Arrow keys and Space control the tetronimos.

Finally, if you have an aversion to typing, many of these changes can be done via TinkerTool and Secrets, but Terminal is where the action's really at for a generation of Mac users finally getting comfortable with typing (or at least copying and pasting) the odd command.