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Old Oct 3rd, 2008, 05:35 PM   #21
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Creating a shortcut in the dock/shortcuts to Smart Folders to recent/kinds of docs

How do I create a shortcut in the DOCK station?

Originally Posted by chas_m
1. Locate a folder or file you wish to have an alias of in the dock.

2. Using the mouse, "drag" the file or folder to the dock. Folders go on the right; files on the left. Be careful not to "let go" of the file or folder before you reach the dock area.

3. Once you see the icons "move aside" to make room, drop the item you're dragging there.

4. You'll notice that the original item DID NOT MOVE from its former location; all you've done is create a "shortcut" to it in the dock. Such shortcuts can be rearranged on the dock by dragging horizontally, and removed from the dock by merely pulling them up "off" the dock. They're just aliases, so no harm done.

An excellent example of how useful this can be; instead of trying to load up your dock with a hundred icons of every app you MIGHT use, just load it with the 10-20 apps you use MOST. Then drag the Applications folder down to the left side of the dock to create an alias.

Once that's done (you may need to "click and hold" to tell the dock that you want Apps to display as a folder rather than a stack), a single click on the folder in the dock (or "click and hold" if you're on Tiger still) will display a scrollable list of all your apps making them instantly accessible. It's like having every app you own on the dock, but not taking up so much space.

Another great example: let's say you work with a lot of Word documents, and they're stored in various places (email, Documents, project folders etc). You can create a Smart Folder (which is actually a saved search) called "Recent Word documents" and give it the criteria of "show me all Word documents I've modified in the last 30 days."

Place this "Smart Folder" wherever you like -- right on the desktop if you want, or (as I prefer) someplace in your User folder, then drag the folder down to the dock. Again, a single click (or click-and-hold in earlier versions of OS X) will give you instant access to every Word doc that meets that criteria, no matter where they are actually stored. Very efficient, very cool.
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Old Oct 15th, 2008, 07:58 PM   #22
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iTunes for Mac: Moving your iTunes Music folder
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Old Oct 19th, 2008, 11:34 AM   #23
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MacBook Pro backlit keyboard: how to unlock it if you find it locked

I tried to adjust the brightness of my MacBook Pro (Penryn late February 2008 model, 2.5Ghz C2D, 512MB VRAM) and found it locked--that is, I couldn't adjust it up or down, only got the lock symbol.

Apparently, the room is too bright right now!

I moved into a dark room, and the keyboard backlight was unlocked and adjustable.
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Old Feb 16th, 2009, 03:13 AM   #24
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How to find who is using your wireless (here's hoping you already have it locked down via MAC address, WPA2 encryption with username and password and therefore you're just looking for your own computers on your own network).

Originally Posted by digitddog View Post
This method will provide you with the MAC addresses of all connected wireless devices. This works on Airport Utility 5.3.2
  1. In AirPort Utility, select your main Airport router.
  2. Click the Manual Setup button
  3. By default, you should arrive at the Summary pane. Near the bottom, there'll be a Wireless Clients field, indicating the number of connected clients.
  4. Mouse over "Wireless Clients:" You'll notice an arrow will appear beside Wireless Clients. Click it.
  5. You'll see a list of the MAC addresses of all the connected wireless devices and a graph showing their relative signal strength.

(In case you're unfamiliar with the concept, an MAC address is like a unique serial number assigned to any IP-based piece of hardware. It is different from an IP address. You'll need to correlate each wireless device in your house with the corresponding MAC address you see in Airport Utility. Don't forget to include Airport Express devices and any wireless gaming consoles that may connect via Wi-Fi.)
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Old Mar 5th, 2009, 11:22 AM   #25
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basic maintenance (from rgray)

Sticking a great reply to a mail problem.

Originally Posted by rgray View Post
Often this will clear if you quit/restart Mail, or logout/in or restart the machine.

Failing any of those options you might consider some basic maintenance. There is a file ~/Library/Mail/Envelope Index (EI) which is the heart of Mail. This is a database of all the comings, goings, movements and deletions of all messages. It just grows and grows, and as it gets bigger two things happen. Firstly, Mail slows down as searches for messages etc. take progressively longer. Secondly, the file can become corrupted causing all sorts of anomalous behaviour such as phantom and missing messages, as well as erroneous counts.

There is a good discussion of this problem at Rebuild your database and speed up | Hawk Wings.

To remedy the situation, that is to optimise the EI database, do one of the following:

1. For the hardcore Mac-head, fire up Terminal and type in (or copy/paste) this code:
sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/Envelope\ Index vacuum;
2. If the thought of Terminal gives you the twitches, but you are comfortable in Finder:
  • 1. back up user/Library/Mail & quit Mail
  • 2. note the size of the Envelope Index (EI) file - in will be much smaller after you're done (and Mail will be faster! )
  • 3. drag EI out of the Mail folder and park it someplace safe like Desktop
  • 4. restart Mail and OK it when it asks if you want to import your Mail
  • 5. this can take a while especially if it has never been done before

3. For the less intrepid Mac-heads there is a utility to do this process for you. VacuumMail (and how to make the process automagic) and a very interesting discussion can be found at Musings from Mars Apple Mail Slowing Down? VacuumMail Can Probably Help

See also - A possible fix for a slow

I strongly advise reading the linked discussions before doing this and making a quality backup, however it has worked well for me and my clients. As always, YMMV, caveat emptor.
Originally Posted by darkscot View Post
That was the best reply I ever got, rgray. Unfortunately, I was referring to my PM inbox But I'm glad this got posted as I do also have a message in my drafts folder in Mail that I can't delete. Cheers!
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Old Apr 12th, 2009, 03:49 PM   #26
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Quoting a great post with historical information:

Originally Posted by gordguide View Post
" ... I was using OS 9 from 2005 until early this year, can't even remember why I upgraded, but it was a total mistake. I have never had OS 8.6 "bomb" me. Why could this be? ..."

One possible reason would be using the latest version of OS9 ... on a machine that directly boots into OS9 and not OSX.

Use 9.1 for those machines; 9.2.2 is really optimized for Classic on OSX.

Also, OS9 needs about 64MB RAM (128 is a sweet spot), once you are there you can turn Virtual Memory off. All Adobe apps conflict with Apple VM, for example on System7~OS9.

As for the latest hardware that booted into OS9, most MDD and earlier G4 desktops can. Apple sold one machine, mostly for Education markets, after the G4 line was essentially discontinued; that could boot into OS9. That was the PowerMac G4 1.25 GHz MDD (2003) M9145LL/A. It could be custom configured with a dual processor motherboard via the AppleStore. This model sold alongside the first G5 series, and was discontinued when they were, in June 2004.

The so-called "Firewire 800" MDDs cannot boot OS9. That would be the single 1.0 M8839LL/A, dual 1.25 M8840LL/A and dual 1.42 GHz M8841LL/A models.

However, the 1.42 is not as sophisticated a machine as the single/dual 1.25 G4's that hung around alongside the G5 introduction despite lacking the added support for FW800 and Bluetooth (there is the 133 vs 167 Mhz bus, for example). They benchmark very closely in stock form and upgrades are more effective on the 167 Mhz bus machines.

Most eMacs cannot boot OS9. The 1.0 GHz M8950LL/A might be able to, depending on the original configuration; if it was a first version with the combo drive. Again, this was essentially an Education Market version. All others cannot.

As for iMacs, the last versions that boot OS9 are the G4/800's. These cannot run 10.5, by the way (867 Mhz minimum). Of course, Classic does not work in 10.5 either.

The iBook G4's cannot boot OS9. You have to use a G3 model, or Classic mode.

Most (if not all) G4 processor upgrades from 3rd party providers can boot OS9, provided they are installed in a machine that otherwise could with the original Apple CPU.
From here:
Okay, don't laugh...
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Old May 14th, 2009, 01:25 AM   #27
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A couple of us ehMacers also service those in need at a more PC centric site. We set up a sticky for tutorials and so on some time ago:

OS X Tutorials links! - The Computer Mechanics Family

Some of the links might be dead but there are some great resources there, especially for beginners.
32GB iPad 1 WiFi. 2011 Mac Mini Server (used as a workstation) 2GHz quad-core i7/8GB/1TB, 24" BenQ LCD, 17" NEC LCD, Magic Trackpad. MacBook 2.4GHz Core2 Duo/2GB/200GB/DL-DVDRW. Apple TV 2, 32" flat panel TV, Logitech DiNovo Edge BT keyboard & trackpad. >5TB of FW drives, 16GB iPhone 4S. In memoriam: my Sawtooth "Frankenmac" with upgraded dual 1.3GHz G4/2GB/360GB striped RAID/DVDRW/ATI Radeon 9000 Pro
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Old May 20th, 2009, 10:03 AM   #28
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A great post on transferring, if necessary, an iTunes library from one account to another on the same computer:

Originally Posted by .
Could someone tell me how to transfer an itunes library from one account to another on the same computer?

Originally Posted by chas_m
First, it should be noted that you don't have to do this necessarily. If the other account just wants to listen to stuff that's on "your side" without changing the library on "their side," all you have to do is leave your iTunes open on "your side" with the sharing turned on. The other account's iTunes will see the shared library and can play it (they can't copy, move, add or delete anything in it, but this is meant as an "adjunct" to their existing library of music not a replacement).

If for some reason you wish to actually move the entire iTunes Library from one account to another, here's one way to do this:

1. First and foremost, open iTunes and make sure the "Keep iTunes Music folder organized" checkbox is checked. If it wasn't checked, check it and then have iTunes "consolidate" your music to that one library. Important.

2. Okay, next you simply move your entire iTunes folder (inside Music) to an external/second drive. You can use your Time Machine drive for this if there's room, it will only be there temporarily. What this step does is remove the "exclusivity" of that folder being only readable by your account.

3. Once that's done, open iTunes holding the Option key down -- it will ask you to choose or create a library -- and you want to choose a library and "point" your iTunes to the iTunes folder on the external HD. Check to make sure everything seems copacetic (there's a word you haven't heard in a while!).

4. Now log out of the first account and into the second account. Copy (not move) the iTunes folder from the external to your Music folder. This will ERASE any previous iTunes folder you had there, so if you don't want that to happen skip this step.

5. Now launch iTunes holding down the option key. Choose the library and point iTunes to the moved iTunes folder. Check to make sure everything's working okay.

6. Once you're sure the transfer was successful, you can delete any extra copies of the iTunes folder you had from the first account and/or the external as the case may be.
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Old Jun 11th, 2009, 09:17 PM   #29
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New Mac setup and orientation tips from a seasoned professional.

Originally Posted by CubaMark View Post
I've just prepared the following note to send to a friend who has purchased his first Mac (a MacBook Pro 15"). Some of the comments are specific to laptop users (trackpad), but in general I think it's useful for most new Mac users.

Any comments / suggestions / critiques? I think of this as "stage one". "stage two" would jump into add-ons (FruitMenu, NuFile, iStatMenus, etc.) and more advanced tips. But I don't want to overload switchers' brains...


The following two add-ons are essential for viewing of all video file formats on the web, including Windows Media Video files (WMV).

1/ Install PERIAN (Perian - The swiss-army knife of QuickTime components)

2/ Install Flip4Mac (Download details: Windows Media® Components for QuickTime)

3/ Set your Trackpad preferences (Apple Menu-->System Preferences-->Trackpad

(a) check "tap to click"
(b) check "dragging"
(c) check "secondary tap" (this is equivalent to RIGHT CLICK, aka CTRL-CLICK)

4/ Customize the "dock" - the row of icons across the bottom of the screen. You can access the options either in APPLE MENU-->SYSTEM PREFERENCES-->DOCK or by right-clicking (control-click) on the dividing line between application icons and folders on the dock itself.

Here's how *I* like it - you may have other tastes...

(a) put the dock on the right side of the screen (vertical).
(b) turn Hiding On
(c) in the System Preferences-->Dock Preferences, turn ON magnification, but set the slider to minimal, just enough to give you a visual cue when mousing.
(d) in the "FINDER" (which is the equivalent to Windows Explorer), open a new window (FILE-->NEW WINDOW or press COMMAND-N) and click on the Macintosh HD in the sidebar. Drag the Applications folder to the dock, below (or to the right of) the dock dividing line. You can drag any file or folder here, so it makes a useful launcher for templates / frequently access documents etc. Consider dragging the DOCUMENTS folder, etc.
(e) With the Applications or Documents or any other folder on the dock, you can single-click on the folder to give you a pop-up list of the contents, selecting an item from within the folder without opening the folder itself.
(f) CTRL-CLICK (or two-finger TAP on the trackpad) on a folder in the dock for options, I recommend "sort by name" and "display as folder"
(g) NOTE that you can remove icons of programs that you are not going to use frequently by simply clicking and dragging them off the dock ("poof!"). Applications can always be added again later by opening the Applications folder and dragging the icons to the dock.

5/ Learn the trackpad.

(a) one-finger-tap is a click
(b) two-finger tap is a right-click
(c) one-finger drag moves the mouse pointer
(d) two-finger drag scrolls the application window (e.g., up and down in a web browser window)
(e) four-finger swipe Left or Right shows currently running applications, from which you can swich to another application (same functionality as COMMAND-TAB, which is like ALT-TAB from Windows)
(f) four-finger swipe UP hides all windows and shows you the desktop
(g) four-finger swipe DOWN tiles ALL open windows, from which you can choose to switch to another application window


(a) Under "Apple Menu-->System Preferences" consider checking the box beside "Require password to wake this computer from sleep or screen saver". Useful if it will be left unattended in a café or office environment.
(b) I recommend NEVER enabling File Vault, which encrypts the hard drive on the fly. If you ever forget the password for this feature, your data is essentially GONE.
(c) Consider checking "Disable Automatic Login". This will require you to enter your username / password upon bootup. NOTE that more options regarding login are available under the System Preferences-->Accounts preference pane.
(d) Viruses: As of 11 June 2009, there are still no viruses affecting Mac OS X. Relax! However, you can be a carrier of viruses, such as those hidden inside Microsoft Office files. If you feel like you need to have a virus program to be happy, consider the free and very capable ClamXav.
(e) Trojans: There are a couple of "trojan" programs which appear to be nice and friendly, but in fact damage or hijack your computer, out there. But they are exceedingly rare. Just be smart about installing only software that you trust. If in doubt, ask!


(a) Under System Preferences-->Sound, consider UNchecking "Play feedback when volume is pressed". This drives me totally batty.
(b) in the Sound preferences, you can also set "Ambient Noise Reduction" under the "INPUT" tab, which may make Skype calls clearer in noisy environments.
(c) this is also the place where you would select a USB digital headset / microphone, should you wish to use one. NOTE that the Mac audio-in port is LINE level, which means most PC microphones will NOT work. An external mic would need to be powered. But the built-in mic on the Mac is more than sufficient for most uses.

8/ Customize the Finder.

(a) with "FINDER" showing at the top left, beside the Apple menu, click on FINDER-->PREFERENCES
(b) under the GENERAL tab, UNcheck the showing of Hard Disks on your desktop. There is NO REASON for you to go into the hard drive 99% of the time.
(c) this is really a matter of taste, but I believe it helps with the adjustment to the Mac environment to forget about the Hard Drive as the source of all things. Your "Home Folder" is where you live!

9/ Understand where the Mac OS keeps things.

(a) As a multiple-user operating system, the OS keeps everyone's stuff inside their own protected folder, indicated by a little icon of a house, with your username as the folder name. The file path is: Macintosh HD / USERS / YourFolderName For want of a better comparison, consider this the "MY DOCUMENTS" folder on your Windows machine.
(b) Within your "house" are folders for Documents. Pictures, Movies, Music, etc. DO NOT MOVE THESE
(c) Within the /PICTURES/ folder will be a file called "iPhoto Library" if you use iPhoto to manage your digital photos. DO NOT MESS WITH THIS FILE! Manage your photos from within the iPhoto application.
(d) likewise, within the /MUSIC/ folder will be a file called "iTunes Library" if you use iTunes to manage your music. DO NOT MESS WITH THIS FILE! Manage your music, etc., from within the iTunes application.
(e) At the root of the Macintosh HD (hard drive), at the same level as the USERS folder where YOUR "house" is, you'll find the Applications folder. This folder is accessible by all users on the computer. This is where you will find all of your programs.
(f) SUPER important: NEVER rename the Home Folder! There are (complicated) ways to change the name, but it's really not worth it. Changing the name fo the Home Folder will result in your Mac becoming completely confused, and all of your documents will vanish.

10/ INSTALLING and REMOVING applications

The Mac OS is, generally, far easier to deal with when adding / removing programs. There is no control panel called "Add/Remove programs".

(a) to remove a program, open the Applications folder, click once on the program icon to select it and drag it to the trash (or press COMMAND-DELETE). Done.
(b) to install a new program, you will generally download files that arrive in your DOWNLOADS folder (accessible on the dock) that are named "filename.dmg" DMG is "Disk Image".

When you double-click on a Disk Image, a new white icon will appear on your desktop. Inside it will be an application installation package (often looks like a brown packing box that is open). Double-click this to launch the installer. You will need to provide, in may cases, your password to perform the install. ONLY do this if you are confident in the source of this installation program.

Once the install is completed and the installer quits, you will still have that white icon of the open Disk Image on your desktop. You can drag it to the trash, as well as the original "Filename.DMG" file that is in your /Downloads/ folder.

(c) now that a new program is installed, you will likely need to open the /Applications/ folder (which we put on the dock in Step 4 above) and drag the new program's icon on to the dock for easy access.

11/ There are many other things to learn in the other various System Preferences (like the screen saver, desktop picture, etc.)... but we'll leave those until you have explored and become familiar with the rest of the system.

Finally, here are some helpful websites to make your transition easier:

Apple's Official Switchers Page
Get A Mac

A good site for Switchers from Windows:
My First Mac - Help Buying and Getting Started with Your New Mac

There may be software you have used on Windows that is not on the Mac. Do a search at this site for free / shareware / commercial possibilities:
Mac OS X Software Updates and Mac OS X Downloads - VersionTracker

Peer help is always nice. Canada's Mac Community:
Canada's Mac, iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Community!

* * *
Updated 2:51pm Central - thanks Chas_m!
And a good reply:

Originally Posted by chas_m View Post
Two thoughts:

1. It's just a matter of personal opinion, but I like to set users up the way Apple intended, ie no telling them "here's where I put the Dock" or stuff like that. They should at least START by doing things the way Apple wants, they can develop their own tastes later when they get more savvy.

2. I find your "step 8" absolutely bizarre. It's very reassuring to a new user to know that their hard drive is okay because it's visible and clickable.

3. Step 9 is very good, except that you need to tell them NEVER to rename the house folder except in the ONE safe way Apple (as of Leopard) finally implemented. Doing it any other way will spell LOST DATA.

4. In step 10, do NOT mention torrenting programs. Again, let's start them off as honest users and encourage them to buy the songs, videos and software they will use. It's much more important for the Mac platform to have mostly-ethical users, as we have a smaller pool of developers and have to work harder to keep them attracted to the platform.

5. There's no need for a new user to start bloating up the hard drive with all kinds of shareware and other programs (apart from the very good suggestions in Step 1). AFTER they've learned the basic Mac OS X apps and other great programs that are already ON their computer, THEN they should start exploring the larger world.
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Old Jul 11th, 2009, 12:25 PM   #30
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Learn about iTunes library files, information from Apple.

What are the iTunes library files?

What are the iTunes library files?
Last Modified: 06 July, 2009
Article: HT1660

The iTunes library is a database iTunes uses to organize your music. Two iTunes library files are created and maintained by iTunes for different purposes. They're both in the iTunes folder.

Products Affected
iTunes 7 for Mac, iTunes 7 for Windows, iTunes 8 for Windows, iTunes 8 for Mac, Windows
Mac OS X
/Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Library
/Users/username/Music/iTunes/iTunes Music Library.xml

Microsoft Windows
\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Library.itl
\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Music\iTunes\iTunes Music Library.xml

The two different iTunes library files serve different purposes.

iTunes Library (iTunes Library.itl in Windows)

This file is a database of the songs in your library and the playlists you've created. Some song-specific data is saved in this file. If you delete the file, iTunes creates a new, empty copy when you open the application, but any playlists, song ratings, comments, or other information you created is lost. The iTunes Library file is only used by iTunes.

Note: The library file name for versions of iTunes prior to 4.9 was "iTunes 4 Music Library" for Mac OS X and "iTunes 4 Music Library.itl" for Windows. After upgrading to iTunes 4.9 or later, the older library files are moved to a "Previous iTunes Libraries" folder.

Tip: New versions of iTunes sometimes include enhancements to the iTunes library. When you open the new version of iTunes, iTunes upgrades your existing library to the new format and places a copy of the old library in the Previous Libraries folder. If everything goes fine during your upgrade to the latest version of iTunes, you can delete the older iTunes Library files.

iTunes Music Library.xml

This file contains some (but not all) of the same information stored in the iTunes Library file. The purpose of the iTunes Music Library.xml file is to make your music and playlists available to other applications on your computer. In Mac OS X other iLife applications (like iPhoto, iDVD, and iMovie) use this file to make it easier for you to add music from your iTunes library to your projects.
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