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:: TCMUG Tips & Tricks ::

The Macintosh Hints & Tips column was originally created for the San Diego Macintosh User Group’s newsletter, Macintouch. This is a collection of tips culled from newsletters of Macintosh user groups throughout the world, as well as magazines, books, and other sources. You can download these from the TCMUG web site in Adobe PDF.
January 2005 - February 2005 - March 2005 - April 2005 - May 2005 - June 2005 - July 2005 - August 2005 - September 2005 - October 2005 - November 2005 - January 2006 - February 2006 - March 2006

The Hints & Tips newsletter is a non-profit, non-commercial publication supported by its members. Membership allows you access to the large Hints & Tips database, containing over 4000 published and unpublished tips collected over 10 years.

Web Watch - 02/25/06 compiled by The MUG Center

Mac 911: Bending iWeb to your will
iWeb offers some beautiful template pages, but what if you'd like to create pages that don't fit the Welcome, About Me, Photos, Movie, Blog, or Podcast mold? Try a little something like this.

Use iWeb as a NetNewsWire Weblog Editor
Thanks in part to this hint, I was able to build an AppleScript which creates a new iWeb blog entry from the currently-selected NetNewsWire (NNW) news item. Here's how.

Easiest Way to Prepare Movies for Your iPod
iTunes 6 has a feature that enables you to convert your existing QuickTime videos to iPod compatible movies. This is a great feature that a lot of folks don't know about. Previously, you either had to buy third party software or upgrade to QuickTime Pro to easily rip to this custom .m4v format.

Make iWeb create text instead of images
On some systems, users have found that when they publish their iWeb web pages, the text comes out as one large image instead of text. It's been found that this is due to a version of Arial that appears to give iWeb indigestio...

Set some hidden preferences in iPhoto 6
One problem I've had since installing iPhoto 6 is that I don't have as much control of the zoom slider as I used to. That is, in iPhoto 5 I could zoom and make two photos appear side-by-side in the thumbnail view...

iPhoto postcards
Playing with iPhoto printing is one of my favorite past times. This time, I went ahead with Apple's postcard offerings, hoping to finally find a reasonably priced, acceptable quality post card provider. I found it - but there are some things to keep in mind.

Reduce iWeb and Pages disk space utilization
When you install iWeb as part of the iLife '06 upgrade, you'll get a huge 630MB application file. While this made sense (perhaps) for iDVD due to its movie themes (which now weigh in at 1.7GB, but are stored separately)...

Convert videos for iPod directly in iTunes
I noticed this when clicking through Apollo Pony video podcasts. Only about twenty of almost hundred transfered to my video iPod, because they used different codecs like Sorenson or MPEG1 Muxed. Well, now you can just...

How to boot an Intel Mac from an external drive
If you've got an Intel Mac, the process for getting it to boot from an external FireWire drive is different than it is for a PowerPC Mac -- an Intel boot drive requires a different partition scheme than does a...

Listen to the sounds of network traffic
Although it seems this program has been around since 2004, it's still fascinating: Sound of Traffic

Upgrading RAM: FAQs
When it comes to upgrading your Mac, RAM is the easy choice. It's inexpensive, it's relatively easy to install, and it can make a noticeable difference. But as a quick visit to just about any Mac forum will tell you, RAM upgrades can also be horrifically frustrating. Here's how to do it right.

Modify graphics in iWeb templates
It is possible to modify the graphics in iWeb templates, but it is a bit labor-intensive.

Create fully customized iWeb templates
I've written up extensive, easy to follow, instructions for a not-so- easy task. Everyone knows it is poosible to get into the iWeb template files and mess with them, and everyone knows what a nightmare the XML files are.

Avoid a security vulnerability in Safari
In a nutshell, a shell script can be written and then zipped in such a way that it will automatically expand and then execute on a user's machine. This shell script, could, of course do anything your user could do -- including, as an example, installing the Leap.A worm.

Boot Intel Macs from iPods and FireWire drives
Curious about how to booting your Intel iMac from either a USB2.0 iPod or an external Firewire drive? It is possible, and here's how.

MacBook Pro Reviewer's Notebook
After two weeks away from the office, I returned to a brewing storm: our first MacBook Pro models arrived just as I did...

Web Watch - 11/26/05 compiled by The MUG Center

A simple but effective Mac speed-up tip
Here's a tip I was made aware of recently that I thought I'd share (though I'd like to take credit, I must give that to some Smart Friends of mine); it'll help speed up your Mac, and may reduce the appearance of the SPOD (the rainbow cursor)...

Change Apple's installers to update non-boot volumes
Some of Apple's software updates won't let you update any volume but the one with the boot system. This is limiting when you want to make a pristine system on a separate drive or partition.

HOW TO make a glowing Apple keyboard
Here's a simple HOW TO on adding a LED to an Apple keyboard.

The Web pro's tool kit
The open-source revolution has produced plenty of powerful programs for the Mac. The Web is bursting with Mac resources that can help anyone who runs a Web site. Here are a few of the best.

Modify iPhoto web page button names
Ever export an album as a web page from iPhoto? When you do so, and as you click on the thumbnails to enlarge each image, you see and Up button to jump back to the thumbnail view. Would you rather see Home instead of Up?

Create a Safari toolbar button for the bookmark manager
If you set Safari's Home Page address (Safari: Preferences, General tab) to bookmarks://, you can display the Bookmark Manager by clicking the Home button in Safari's main toolbar.

slashdot - automatated tivo to ipod video

Editors' Notes: On the merits of partitioning
See how partitioning made a recent hard drive problem nothing more than a minor incident.

Mac OS X Hints: Control Exposé with your voice
Computer! Activate Exposé! Or Dashboard, for that matter, all via your voice.

Use higher resolution MPEG4s on the iPod Video
While waiting for my iPod Video to ship to my place, I had been ripping DVDs using MacTheRipper and then HandBrake to convert the videos to H. 264. However, after receiving my iPod, I figured out something.

Restore missing iTunes artwork to an iPod
Problem: I loaded all of my files on my brand spankin' new iPod, but when I use the iPod, I can't see any of the artwork. When I plug the iPod into my Mac, I see the artwork in iTunes.

Mac 911: Resurrecting uncooperative CD/DVD drives
Think fixing permissions after an OS update is unnecessary? OS X 10.4.3 might change your mind.

Use an alternative to the EyeHome software
Since I updated to 10.4.3, the EyeHome software (v1.6) crashes all the time. Until an update is released, you can either downgrade to v1.5.2 (13.1MB download), or to use third party program called Virtuoso MC-500 Media Center...

How to rip a dvd to ipod video format using Handbrake.

Secure remote access to a Mac from Windows
I work at a large company that blocks all Internet ports, only allowing access to the web through a proxy server on ports 80 and 443. I have a fast connection at home and a nice shinny PowerBook sitting on my coffee table...

Comparing Three AC Adapters
A laptop road warrior's best friend - or most bitter enemy - is his AC adapter. It's the second most vital thing you must carry; no adapter, and you start crying a few hours into the trip when your laptop goes down for the last time.

A Guide to the best video for your iPod
here's a web site that serves as a guide to video for ipods.

Web Watch - 10/24/05 compiled by The MUG Center

Quickly share home video via iChat
Use your video camera and iChat to stream video directly to another iChat user.

Easily mute QuickTime Player movies
In the bottom left corner of a QuickTime window, there is a slider for the volume. If you click on the speaker icon, it will mute the volume and disable the slider control -- but leave the slider in its current position.

Make iTunes treat an MP3 podcast as a regular MP3
If any of the tags in an MP3 contain the text "podcast," then iTunes will treat that MP3 as a podcast. The problem is that iTunes won't let you edit all the tags that may contain this text.

Secrets: Whip up a widget
Sure, you can download a widget that finds the nearest Pizza Hut or that flips a virtual coin. But what if you simply want to keep track of the days until your next vacation? You don't have to settle for downloaded widgets when it's so easy to make your own.

Automatically add lyrics to the entire iTunes Library
A new feature of iTunes 5 is the ability to store song lyrics in the ID3 tag of the song file. But iTunes can't automatically get lyrics for your existing songs. So here's an easy way to do just that.

Make any folder a burn folder
If you haven't yet realized just how useful burn folders are in Tiger, this hint should do the trick for you.

Mini Media Mac: mini PVR with EyeTV and ConvertX
No, this isn't the first Mac mini - PVR tutorial, but new products hand software have made this more interesting than ever before.

Play Ogg Vorbis files in iTunes 5 / QuickTime 7
Install Arek's OggVorbis QuickTime component, and you can listen to Ogg Vorbis files in QuickTime 7.

Mac OS X Hints: Silence the volume-changing beep
Here's a simple but very useful trick for your Tuesday morning.

how-to: automatically download and convert tv for your ipod

Convert an iTunes Podcast file into a standard MP3 file
iTunes organizes the podcast files in the Podcasts folder. That's a problem for podcasts that post individual MP3 music files, and not radio shows. iTunes recognizes these files as podcasts, even when you change the info on...

Vary the iMovie 4 maximum clip size
I go to a lot of stand-up comedy shows. Sometimes I bring my video camera and record the shows, and make DVDs for the comics. When iMovie 4 " captures" a video stream from my camera, it stores the incoming DV stream as a set...

Web Watch - 8/23/05 compiled by The MUG Center

Create a 'parent directory' Toolbar button
One of the few things I like about Windows that I thought OS X was sorely missing was a Parent Directory button (a button that opens the folder containing the folder the current window is showing)

Editors' Notes: Getting the boot, FireWire edition
James Galbraith discovers that booting from a FireWire hard drive-- seemingly a basic feature--isn't always considered a standard offering by some drive makers.

Skip a few seconds forward/backward in iTunes
I listen to podcasts within iTunes. Sometimes, I like to skip through some material (e.g. ads or music or whatever). I used two extremely simple AppleScripts that will do just that (forward or backward).

How to multi-import audio files
On a computer that holds a mass of music you want the best-sounding files you can afford. On an iPod with more limited storage you'd like to store that same mess of music in a more compressed form. Here's a good way to go about it.

Mac OS X Hints: Spotlight set-up
Rob Griffiths kicks off our brand new OS X Hints blog with a tip on making Spotlight work in tandem with third-party launchers.

Install and remove fonts without restarting apps
Here's another "WOW! I can't believe I missed that" hint. I don't know when this was introduced (10.3, 10.4,?), but it seems that you no longer need to restart applications when you install new fonts.

Mac 911: Capturing streaming audio
Entranced by streaming French radio? Tune in to learn how to capture this captivating sound.

Turn your old Mac into a jukebox
If you've spent any time at all ripping your CD collection to your Mac, you've probably got gigabytes of music sitting on your hard drive. But what to do now that your old machine is just gathering dust? Simply attaching it directly to your stereo lets you control everything. Kirk McElhearn shows you how to get started.

Mac OS X Hints: Disable Dashboard
Dashboard can be a real drain, particularly for memory-challenged Macs. Rob Griffiths shows you how to shut down Dashboard to deny yourself the temptation of using its ever handy Widgets.

Quickly free up RAM used by Dashboard widgets
If you want to quickly free up the memory being used by all your Dashboard widgets, simply restart the Dock application. Open / Applications -> Utilities -> Activity monitor, and find the application named Dock in the list...

Digital Photography Hack: A Hands-Free Shooting Rig
Here's how to build a hands-free photography rig using an iSight, a Bluetooth headset, a backpack, and a dash of AppleScript that enables you to capture images on the go by simply speaking, "Take shot."

Set Safari's RSS article length via keyboard shortcut
In Safari, after going to the RSS view, press Tab once. This selects the Article Length slider. You can now fine-tune article length by pressing Control-Up Arrow (increase) or Control-Down Arrow (decrease).

Organize new albums across multiple hard drives
Do you keep music on multiple hard drives? Or do you like to organize your music files your own way--say first by genre--and don't use the iTunes option to keep music folders organized?

10.4: Make a UDF DVD for set-top DVD players in Finder
I haven't seen this discussed too much anywhere, but Tiger's disc burning from Finder now formats discs in a Mac OS Extended/UDF dual file system. In Panther, disc burning used the ISO 9660 standard. So it is now possible to ...

How to map F14, F15, and F16 to Exposé, Dashboard, etc.
This hint explains how to use the F14, F15, and F16 function keys for your own uses -- Dashboard, Exposé, etc.

Do-It-Yourself Wi-Fi Antennas
Looking for an affordable way to increase the range of your wireless network? Trying to reach dead spots inside or outside a home, sharing a signal with your neighbors, or maybe for a point-to-point link with another network?

Mac 911: Full screen for free
Care to view your QuickTime movies in full screen but lack the necessary cash to pay for QuickTime 7 Pro?

Quickly find a song in the iTunes library
Searching is one of the great features of iTunes. Despite this, most of us neglect the search box in the top right corner. But you can keep neglecting it and still be able to use iTunes' search feature.

Create gapless yet skippable music files for the iPod
If you listern to classical, DJ sets or live performaces on your iPod, you either had to put up with track gaps, so you could select which part of the performance you listened to, or you ripped the whole set as one track and ...

Web Watch - 7/22/05 compiled by The MUG Center

Exporting Keynote 2 to PowerPoint
If your Keynote presentation won't export to PowerPoint, you may be in need of better bullets.

WHERE-TO Bonanza: 50 Great Summertime Web Sites for You & Your Mac mini
Today, we're switching gears to WHERE-TO and providing 50 of our favorite Mac mini resources on the web that will tell you anything and everything you ever wanted to know about Mac technology.

A fix for certain Classic apps not starting
I had a couple of Classic applications that had been refusing to open since an Archive & Install upgrade to Tiger.

Export OPML out of Safari RSS
I wrote a script to export Safari's RSS's feeds to an OPML file. This allowed me to import the script into other news readers like bloglines. First, Download the ExportRss2Opml.sh script, and save the file somewhere.

Editors' Notes: How I learned to stop worrying and love IMAP
Jennifer Berger used to turn up her nose at IMAP-based e-mail until it was time to keep tabs on messages from three different computers.

Log into iChat with Away status
If you've ever wanted to log into iChatAV and immediately change your status as away, here's a simple Applescript to do it. It will ask for your away status message and launch iChatAV for you.

Use built-in screen capture tools on Widgets
In Tiger, invoke the Dashboard, hit Command-Shift-4, and then hit the Space Bar. Place the camera icon over your chosen Widget and hit return. A .png file of the Widget will be added to the desktop.

Use older Sherlock to search by filename
Sometimes one needs to just search for a certain filename (like it was possible in 10.3 and before) without indexing the volume first.

Reduce iTunes skipping on an external drive
Since installing Tiger, I have moved my music collection onto an external FireWire hard drive, while keeping iTunes and my library files on the internal hard drive. I noticed frequent skipping in playback

Type in applications while Dashboard is active
I guess this is a bug, but if so, it's the best bug Apple has ever invented. Like many people, I sometimes wish that I could keep Dashboard visible while I was interacting with other programs...

Possibly recover files from a damaged SIT archive
I've been rolling old archives forward to fend off losing older files due to application and OS changes. This includes unzipping, untarring, unSITing, etc.

Manual mount external drives in target disk mode
A few days ago, I got a system-wide Spinning Beachball of Doom while installing the Mac OS X 10.3.9 Combo Updater, and was forced to restart.

Web Watch - 6/20/05 compiled by The MUG Center

10.4: See where Safari downloads originated - A little nicety I noticed when getting info on a disk image on my desktop this morning. There is now a "Where from:" field under More Info when I download a file from Safari.

National Security Agency offers 'Apple Mac OS X Guide'
The National Security Agency has developed and distributed configuration guidance for Mac operating systems. "This guidance can be used by US government and other entities as a security baseline," according to the NSA. The guidance is dubbed the "Apple Mac OS X Guide."

Install Quicktime 7 but keep Quicktime 6 Pro
If you have Quicktime 6 Pro, and want to upgrade to QuickTime 7 without losing your Pro features, you can.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Safari RSS, Part 1
Safari 2.0 stands tall among the Tiger highlights. In this three-part series, you'll learn everything you need to know to customize this browser for newsreading. Plus, you'll explore the technologies that power Safari RSS beneath that beautiful UI.

Image titles in slideshows
If you'd like to add titles to the pictures that appear in your DVD or QuickTime slideshows, I have the answer.

Give .icns files a copy-and-pastable icon
Usually, to change the icon of an application, folder, or drive, you can simply Get Info on the item in question, and cut and paste a different icon in there. But in order to do that, you have to have something that has the...

Combine feeds for RSS screensaver
I fell in love with Tiger's RSS Screensaver as soon as I saw it, but the fact that it couldn't use more than one feed at once annoyed me...

Create separate tracks from Snapz Pro X videos
I don't know whether this is a hint at all and then, for a much too specialized topic. And of course, it's not perfectly programmed AppleScript...

How to stream audio and video to a mobile phone
If any of you are interested in streaming your own video or audio handywork over the internet to your cell phone (be it a 2.5G phone or 3G phone), I've put together a little site with all you need to know.

Add missing airports to Dashboard Flight Tracker
Have you found any missing airport codes from Flight Tracker in Dashboard? So did I, specifically MBS, our local international airport.

Cascade all windows via a hidden menu option
I've never seen this before, so I'm guessing it's new with 10.4. In any program that has a 'Window' menu, you'll find "Bring All To Front." However, if you hold down the Option key after opening the menu, this become...

Reclaim drive space after an Archive and Install
I just installed Tiger yesterday and choose the "Save the previous system" install (thus, not a regular upgrade). After doing this, you may want to "reclaim" some space used by the "Previous System" folder.

Another Safari/QuickTime save movie tip
After updating to Tiger I soon realised that I could no longer "save" those embeded movie I so cherish to collect even after updating to Quicktime Pro. And apparently, I'm not alone.

Yet another Safari/QuickTime save movie tip
Since upgrading to Tiger, I've been unable to save QuickTime movies from Safari after watching them -- they appear as a 4KB movie file in the Finder, regardless of the movie's actual size.

Forward iChat messages to a cell phone
While you can write an AppleScript to check iChat and page you with a message, there's an easier solution -- just let AIM handle it for you. Just go to the Mobile AIM page and set up "IM Forwarding."

Save web pages for offline viewing in Safari
I did a search about this and I have not found it on the database, so I thought it might be very useful to somebody. A while back I went into the forums to ask for a way to save web pages in Safari.

Install Tiger from an iPod
I had an eMac that wouldn't take the Tiger DVD, so I've found this alternative (and rather simple) method to install Tiger on it...Turn your iPod into a bootable Tiger installation disk. Here's how:

Sort podcasts in iTunes chronologically
This barely qualifies as a hint since it is right in front of you, but it took me quite a while to realize.

Unmount a volume at startup
I have a second disk inside my G4 desktop, but don't want users to see it when they log in. So I want to unmount it at system boot time. Here is one way; maybe someone will tell us a simpler way.

Use a Smart Folder for a better 'Recent apps'
The "Recent Items" list on the Apple menu is great, but it only shows (comfortably) as many items as the screen is high. "Recent Servers" is a folder in ~/Library so you could use that;





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