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14,000 hints and counting!

Do NOT change your short username! Desktop
On the Users panel of the System Prefs application, you can edit everything about your user except your short username. If you have a two button mouse, however, you can edit the field -- just right-click on it. You can't use a control-click, only the right mouse button. DO NOT DO THIS! See the comments for a reason as to why it's a Bad Thing, and why it's probably meant to be disabled!

I spotted this one on this MacFixIt board. If you go ahead and do this, you are doing so at your own risk! Be careful...consider yourself warned!
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Finding X-friendly CD burners Apps
Apple has updated their iTunes web page to show which third-party drives are currently compatible with iTunes 1.1.1 in OS X. You can see the list here:
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Installing AppleWorks on international systems Apps
The AppleWorks 6.1 native X upgrade will only work if you have a U.S. installation of AppleWorks 6.0.4. It didn't like my British one.

Fair enough, I thought, I don't mind being American for a bit - I'll go back to MacOS 9 and install the U.S. version of 6.0.4 instead. But the installer wouldn't let me - it told me off for trying to install a US version on an International system.

However, there is a way to make it proceed. Don't use the 'Easy Install' route. If you select the Custom option it doesn't give you this warning and you can happily install the US version. Then switch back to X, and you can install the upgrade happily.

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Sleep prevention due to screensavers System
My iMac would never sleep with the sleep options set in Prefs Panel. However, by simply choosing BLACK BASIC in the Screen Savers pref panel, now the iMac spins down HD after 5min and full pulsating sleep after 10min of inactivity. It seems running regular Screen savers keeps the video card busy and interferes with normal operations.. this is a G3 400DV, 320mb RAM, 10gb HD, stock.

[Editor's note: Wish I could help verify this, but I use a SCSI card, so I can't sleep the machine!]
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Remove the "Upgrade QuickTime" screens Apps
Tired of the annoying "Upgrade to QuickTime Pro" screens that pop-up whenever you just want to watch a movie? The simple solution gets rid of the begging screen once and for all (you also don't get the Pro features, but you'd pay for that if you need it, right?)

This may be an old hint, but I'm always surprised by the number of people I meet who don't know this.

- Go to the System Preferences
- Click on Date & Time
- Under the NETWORK TIME tab, Turn OFF Time Synchronization. (This is just a precaution)
- Under the DATE & TIME tab, SET THE YEAR to 2002
- CLOSE the System Preferences
- OPEN the QuickTime player (you may still get the blurb for QT Pro. If so, click it away and then CLOSE the Player
- Go back to System Preferences, Date & Time panel and move the year BACK to 2001. Go to the NETWORK TIME tab and turn Time Synchronization back ON if it was on previously.
- CLOSE the System Preferences

That's it! The QuickTime Pro begging screen tastefully times-out after a year. Setting the clock ahead kills the pop-ups for good (BTW - this has worked since QuickTime 3)
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OS X 10.0.2 update out System
Software Update has just given me the OS X 10.0.2 release, along with iTunes 1.1.1. I haven't had much time to use either package (it's only a lunch HOUR, unfortunately!), but here are a couple quick observations...

1) If you'd like to back up the packages before you lose them (they get deleted on restart), open a terminal and
cd /private/tmp/501
cp -R 10.0.2Update.pkg/ ~/Documents/newname
cp -R iTunes.pkg/ ~/Documents/newname2
Of course, you can use any destination and name you like, and you need to do this after the packages have installed but before you select restart in the installer.

2) iTunes now has a dockling that includes "Bring to front", "Quit", "Play", "Stop", "Pause", "Next Song", and "Previous Song" (or "Open iTunes" if it's not running). It also runs visuals full screen, and (of course) includes burning!

3) From looking through the installer files (after install, run the installer package in /Library/Receipts, proceed to the "Select Destination" step, then under the File menu, pick Show Files; quit the installer when done reading) it appears that there were updates to, the login panel, audio drivers, and a whole slew of other drivers (including possbily SCSI?).

The updates are available through the Software Update panel in OS X, and as standalone downloads from Apple.
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Security alert for 'sudo' System
Today over at, they posted an article explaining a buffer overrun security hole in 'sudo', which is included with OS X. After you've read the article, you can either download an updated sudo installer, or build it yourself by doing the following in a terminal window (requires an admin account and the developer tools installed):
mkdir build-sudo
cd build-sudo
gnutar -xzf sudo-1.6.3p7.tar.gz
cd sudo-1.6.3p7
cp /usr/libexec/config.* ./
./configure --with-password-timeout=0
sudo make install
This update is highly recommended for all users, but especially those with a full-time internet connection and no firewall! ;-)
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Remote control of X from any system! Apps
If you have fast network access, there's now a quick and easy way to have total remote control over your OS X box, including the GUI. A protocol known as VNC (Virtual Network Computing) is the key, and it offers servers and clients for nearly every platform.

There have been a couple of clients for X released (which allow you to connect to other VNC servers), but there hasn't been a server (well, there's one you can run if you install X Windows on X first, but that's a big project in itself!). There is now, however, an OS X VNC server package available which runs native under Aqua, and takes about 30 seconds to get running.

If you look closely at the screenshot (or look at the larger image), you'll see that it's my Aqua desktop being viewed from a Windows98 machine. Over my LAN, this was nearly as fast as working locally on my desktop. To work remotely, though, you'll want a fast internet connection on your X machine.

Getting this working is incredibly simple. Here's how:
  1. Update: is no longer a Mac-related website; the domain expired and it's now run as a porn site! Do not try to visit there!]

  2. Install the program and launch it.

  3. Get a client (viewer) for another machine (or even for your OS X box). You can pick a viewer for common platforms or less common platforms. You could also try searching macosxapps or VersionTracker for VNC clients for OS X.

  4. Launch the viewer and enter the IP number and port of the server. You should now have remote control over your OS X machine!
For more information on the server (including a script to launch it at startup and some speed tips), visit [see Update note above!]. With VNC and SSH, I now have complete remote control over my OS X system, from nearly any platform available -- cool!
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Use old system sounds in X System
If you'd like to take some of your old System 9 alert sounds and use them in OS X, it's apparently fairly easy. I had this snipped from somewhere, and never got around to posting it. I have NOT tried this on my machine (haven't been in OS 9 lately!), so use at your own risk (but it doesn't look too dangerous).

Simply boot into OS 9.1, run the desired sound through a sound conversion program (perhaps Sound Converter Pro) to make it an AIFF format, and then drop it the into /System/Library/Sounds folder. When you reboot into OS X, the sounds should be available.
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Directory list shortcuts UNIX
in the terminal, the command "ls" lists the directory contents of the directory you're in.
"ls -l" lists the directory contents in "long" format, allowing you to see each file's/directory's privileges.
"ls -la" lists the COMPLETE directory contents in "long" format, including all . files.

simply typing "l" is equivalent to "ls -l"
simply typing "ll" is equivalent to "ls -la"

[Editor: And typing "alias" will show you some other pre-defined shortcuts!]

hope this helps!

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