Push Your Hot Buttons with Lion Tweaks

| Quick Look Review

Apple, in its OS design, is constantly balancing ease of use and simplicity against disclosure and control. For example, in OS X Lion, Apple has hidden the user’s Library folder. Lion Tweaks allows the user to quickly bring it back to visibility along with a many other useful changes to Lion’s default preferences.

Lion Tweaks, from Fredrik Wiker in Norway, eliminates the need to remember command line sequences to make various changes to Lion’s settings. For example, if you want to restore the visibility of the user’s Library folder, you can open a terminal and type:

chflags nohidden ~/Library

The “~” tells the UNIX system that you’re referring to your own home Library. It’s a substitution for the string “/Users/user_name”. Of course, when typing on the command line, there’s always a chance that you could make a typo that doesn’t do what you want; then you have to figure out what went wrong and correct it.

Lion Tweaks can do that command, and a whole bunch more, for you with just the click of a mouse. For example, if the automatic spelling correction is driving you crazy, you can disable it with one button, then re-enable it later. Here’s a screen shot of the very simple, and only, screen of Lion Tweaks. It’s very nearly self-documenting.

Lion Tweaks window

Lion Tweaks Window

Using the App

After you download it, you can put the app anywhere. The Applications folder is good. Because the app has the text Lion in the name, it’s very easy to remember.

One thing the app could do better is to light up the button corresponding to the state the preference is in. Right now, the only way to check on the status of the setting is to observe the results. In mild compensation, there is a confirmation dialog box that confirms each setting, so you can just click the button to see the state. Still, colorizing the button corresponding the state would be a nice touch — showing the state at a glance.

If you’re ever in doubt about the state of the settings, there’s a single button at the bottom that will reset the settings the way OS X Lion was when it was first installed.

Some buttons, for example, the “Address Book Leather to Aluminum” button launch an installer that does more than just execute a command. It needs your admin password to make a change. Considering the task at hand, that doesn’t seem like too big a deal, and it was probably the quickest, simplest method for the developer.

Documentation

There’s not much need for any documentation for the experienced user, but for the newbie, the Help menu will lead to a very nice web page that explains each setting. That way, if you’re in doubt about what a setting does, you can read a description.

Curiously, clicking on the Help and Donate links forces a launch of Safari rather than the default browser, so watch for that.

Lion Tweaks docs

Excerpt from documentation page

One thing I’d personally like to see, maybe a project for a snowy evening, is to allow the user to, say, hold down the option key when clicking a button. That would show, when appropriate, an expanded dialog box that displays the command(s) being executed. These preference settings are not hard to find with some digging, so for Lion Tweaks to reveal, for reference, those commands doesn’t seem to be a big deal.

Do I Recommend it?

I do. Lion Tweaks is a simple but effective app. It’s easy to find on your Mac, thanks to its name, and it hits the most important hot buttons (!) that many Lion users complain about. For example, the retro leather look in the address book. It’s especially easy to turn things on and off, say, the spelling correction when it gets in your way, for a short period. Just quick click and stop suffering.

Lion Tweaks is freeware, and that can raise some alarms. But in this case, Mr. Wiker just wants to show the world what he can do. There’s a donate button if you’d like to help support him, and you can use a credit card or Paypal.

If you want to send feedback to the author, click the question mark at the top.

Consider your Lion tweaked.

Product: Lion Tweaks

Company: Fredrik Wiker

List Price: Free (donation optional)

Pros:

Simple, quick, foolproof, well documented.

Cons:

Some additional, possible user interface refinements are missing.

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