Chapter 17. Hacking Mac OS X

Chapter 9 shows you how to customize your desktop picture, error beep, and screen saver. But if you’re sneaky, creative, or just different, you can perform more dramatic visual and behavioral surgery on your copy of Mac OS X—from changing the startup screen image to replacing the “poof” that appears when you drag something off the Dock with a new animation of your own. All you need is a few of Mac OS X’s less obvious tools, or some free downloadable customizing software, and a few recipes like the ones in this chapter.

Some of these tricks are frivolous. Some are functional and useful. And although Apple sanctions not a one, all are perfectly safe.

TinkerTool: Customization 101

If you poke around the Mac OS X Web sites and newsgroups long enough, you’ll find little bits of Unix code being passed around. One of them purports to let you change the genie animation you see when you minimize a window to the Dock. Another eliminates the drop shadow behind icon names on your desktop. Yet another lets you change the transparency of the Terminal window (Chapter 16)—a cool, although not especially practical, effect.

If you really want to fool around with these bits of Unix code, go for it. You can find most of these tidbits at Web sites like

But the truth is, there’s no good reason for you to subject yourself to the painstaking effort of typing out Unix commands when easy-to-use, push-button programs are available to do the same thing.

TinkerTool, ...

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