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Pop-up folder substitute Desktop
Here's a substitue for pop-up folders. It works best with Finder windows, but can be applied for others.Take a window, resize it to a small size but so that you can still see the name of the window, and drag it to the bottom on the screen (should only see the title bar). Now hitting zoom will reveal the window in full. Hitting zoom again will return the window to the bottom of the screen. This is easier to use when the dock is is located on the side of the screen. Enjoy.
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Deleting or renaming badly named files UNIX
In the spirit of learning from others' mistakes, I'm sharing the following slightly embarassing story.

In the process of trying to use my web host's Linux OS "tar" command to compress a directory while excluding another, I managed to create a file called "-X". When I went to delete the mistakenly-named file, I quickly found myself stuck. Typing "rm -X" didn't work, because 'rm' interprets the "-" as the sign for a command-line switch, and it doesn't know what to do with "-X" as an option, leading to "unknown option" errors.

Thinking I was smarter than the box, I then tried to use the various UNIX quote characters to 'mark' the hyphen: rm "-X", rm \-X, and rm '-X'. None of these worked; each generated the same error message about unknown options. On my Mac, I would have simply used the GUI and dragged the file to the trash. On the Linux box, though, I was stumped - no GUI available, and a badly named file stuck in my directory.

One amusing ("You won't believe what I've done now...") call to a UNIX-knowledgeable friend provided two options. The first is to use two hyphens to let 'rm' know that there are no command-line switches: rm -- -X. The second is to refer to the file via its relationship to the parent directory: rm ./-X. Either of these will work just fine to delete the file (or you could use "mv" with the same syntax to rename it if you want to keep the file).

At least with OS X we have the option of using the GUI to correct our stupid mistakes! As such, there's an easy way out for X users ... but perhaps this story will save someone some command-line frustration at some point in the future. And please, all you advanced UNIX wizards out there, hold the snickering to a minimum! ;-)
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Keep a folder in a standard state Desktop
If you want to keep a folder in a standard state (for whatever reason) then the following is one way of doing it (I'm sure there are others). Making the folder read only is another way, but this may not be what you want to do.


Create a list of the files in the directory that you want to keep standard e.g. the root level of your hard drive ( '%>' represents the prompt):
%> cd /
%> ls >/filelist
This creates a file at the top level of your hard drive called 'filelist', which we'll use to compare contents to. If you are using this to keep the top level of your hard drive clean then run 'ls >/filelist' twice so the 'filelist' file does not get deleted or moved!).

Now if you execute the commands:
%> cd /
>%> rm -r "`ls | grep -v -x --file=/filelist`"
it will delete all files and folders in root except those listed in the file called "filelist".

or (a safer way to go about cleaning the top level of the hard drive!)
%> cd /
%> mv "`ls | grep -v -x --file=/filelist`" ~/Documents/
which will move all files and folders not listed in the filelist from root to the current logged in users 'Documents' folder (or any other path you care to specify).

One use for this is to make the last example into a shell script that would run at startup (discussed elsewhere on this site) and this would then move all files that had been saved loose on the HD (root) to the users Document folder, thereby keeping the hard drive tidy.
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Use regexps on header filters Apps
The default header filters in will fail to filter out headers like "Delivered-To:". To fix this, in the Preferences --> Viewing panel, on the Show Header Detail pop-up, click Custom then double click on the "To" filter, and change it to "^To:".

These filters are Regular Expressions, or regexps. They are patterns that match text. In regexp, a caret (^) at the beginning of the string means "the string starts with".

^To: - matches only strings that start with "To:".

The original pattern "To" happens to match the word "To" at the end of "Delivered-To". That's why you see that extra header line.

[Editor's note: regexps are incredibly powerful, and for those new to UNIX (like myself!), incredibly obtuse and confusing. I've been doing some reading on the web about them, and I found a tutorial written by Jan Borsodi which I found to be thorough and easy to read. Worth a view if you'd like to know more of what you can do with regexps; "^" is just the tip of the (large!) iceberg!]
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Using Get Info the easy way Desktop
Until now I had been using Get Info the hard way, open and close for each file, but recently, I noticed by accident that by not closing the "Get Info" window and just clicking on a drive, a file, folder, or an application ... I noticed that the information was updated on the fly.

I'm sure this is old news to some but for me it saves a few key strokes and was a nice touch. :-)

[Editor's note: The one-window Get Info interface has both pros and cons ... this tip is the "pro" side; the "con" side is that it's very hard to compare more than two files at once. If you have just two, it's pretty easy to click back and forth and note the difference. If you have three, it's just tedious. Personally, I'm hoping for an option for multiple Get Info windows at some point in the future]
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Ruby as an Apache CGI UNIX
Hello, I've sucessfully installed Ruby, a great newish scripting language. I recommend you try it out. Anyways, it works fine by itself, but I am having problems getting it to work as a script in Apache. I've installed mod_ruby, and have followed their directions. However, I can still not get it to work under Apache. Anyone had any luck?


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Play 1980's video games using MacMame Apps
For those that didn't know it, MacMame (a universal arcade game emulator that can run 2,500 games!) has been carbonized for a while now. There's a new release (download 0.53) out now, and it runs quite nicely in OS X. At left is a quick snapshot of Galaga running on MacMame on OS X -- here's a larger version if you'd like a clearer view.

I ran into a couple of minor visual glitches with a few games, but they are generally quite minor and most games ran perfectly. MacMame provides a large number of options for configuring the video, and it's usually possible to find a setting that looks good and performs well. UPDATE: The 0.53 version (released 8/15/01) seems to fix most of the video glitches I was having. The games now look perfect!

Performance on my G4/733 was (expectedly) fine, even without telling MacMame to hog the CPU. One of the nice things about older arcade games, though, is that they don't require huge amounts of horsepower. MacMame also ran very nicely on our iBook 500.

MacMame relies on original ROM files for the arcade games that it plays. Follow the links on the MacMame web site as a good starting point. From a legal perspective, you should own a full-size arcade version of any ROM you download, as they are still technically not in the public domain.

NOTE: Make sure you also download the new OpenGL plug-in for OS X (and OS 9). It's in the downloads section of the MacMame site, and it lets you apply OpenGL effects (bilinear filtering to smooth the jaggies) to MacMame's games.

If you grew up playing the video games of the 1980's, MacMame is a must-have OS X application!
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Use the Dock as a 'last chance' Finder fixer System
On very rare occasions, the OS X Finder will lock up and not respond to keyboard or mouse actions. It happened to me tonight when I tried to move 300+ items from my iDisk to a SCSI SyQuest drive - I'm not sure if it was a bug in iDisk, the Finder, or the SCSI drivers. In any event, the Finder showed only the spinning rainbow, and clicking on it in the Dock revealed an "Application not responding" message. The machine was still quite usable (other open apps were doing fine and were fully responsive), but I wasn't sure how to resolve the Finder problem -- I couldn't launch any new applications (such as the Terminal or Process Viewer) since the Finder was unresponsive.

In addition, the usual escape route (command-option-escape) wasn't functional. The dialog box would not show up on the screen, regardless of which app was in the foreground.

I could have used another computer to connect and quit the Finder via "ps aux" and "kill", but that seemed like cheating. The only app I had in my dock (the only way I had to start programs) that wasn't running was CPU Monitor. On a lark, I launched it and noticed that it has two very useful menu items for troubleshooting system lockups - under the Processes menu, you can choose "Open Process Viewer" or "Open Top".

Either one of these was enough to solve my problem -- opening Top launches the Terminal, from where I could open a new window and use "ps aux" and "kill" to relaunch the Finder, or I could (as I did) use ProcessViewer to do it directly.

The moral of the story? To prevent a Finder lockup from rendering your machine unusable, keep one of CPU Monitor, Terminal, or ProcessViewer in your dock at all times. My personal choice is CPU Monitor, since I can get to either of the other apps through CPU Monitor. With one of these apps in your dock, you should (barring a dock lockup!) be able to launch a program to help you restart the Finder.

The nice aspect of working in OS X, of course, was that everything was back to completely normal once I restarted the Finder -- and, much to my amazement, I found that the copy that had locked the Finder had actually completed!
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Epson printer support info update System
Epson has finally released some useful info on which of their printers will be supported in OSX 10.1. The info is here:

[Editor's note: It appears that if you don't have an Epson USB printer, you're out of luck. My serial Epson 800 isn't on the list, which is not all that surprising, but still a little disappointing. It is several years old, so maybe it's a good excuse for an upgrade. Anyone know of affordable Ethernet-capable color printers supported in OS X? I'd love to share one printer amongst two Macs and two PC's.]
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Applescripting Seti@ home Apps
[Submitted by phlbbrtn on Saturday]

In this hint I will show how to control the Darwin (command line) version of Seti@home using AppleScript. For this there are these ingredients:
Read the rest to find out how to control Seti@home with AppleScript.
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