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Modding Mac OS X by Erica Sadun

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Discovering Undocumented Preferences

If you’ve browsed through the web sites that post Mac OS X hints and tips, you’ve probably been startled by some of the undocumented tips and features that pop up on a regular basis. Exposé’s blob control (see sidebar) burst onto the scene shortly after Panther was introduced. The blob provides just one example of a “How in the hell did they find that?” undocumented preference.

Discovering undocumented preferences does not actually depend on witchcraft, black magic, or a precise offering of chicken entrails. All you need is an adventurous spirit, some common sense, and a willingness to take chances.

In the following steps, you’ll discover some of Terminal’s hidden preferences. You can use the techniques from this example to uncover preferences for any application on your computer.

Warning

Stop! Before you start messing with undocumented preferences, make sure you’ve backed up everything important on your computer. You’re about to venture into uncharted territory, and the best way to protect yourself is with a good, solid backup. Once you’ve backed up your data, tweak away.

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