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Reduce the X to Classic visual shock Classic
If you want the transition between classic and Mac OS X to be less visible you can install a theme (appearance) in Classic. The ultimate theme must be Liquid or another one called Aqua Theme. This makes classic look like OS X Aqua style.

Themes can be found on my iDisk in the public folder, the user name is jaws.

[Editor's note: Themes can really help make Classic feel more 'correct', but Apple has come down hard on those distributing Aqua themes, so they may be hard to find. I know of one other, called Aqua III, which has also been seen around the net. According to this poster, you can find some themes on his/her iDisk. I'm not sure how long I would expect them to remain there...]
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Finding UNIX commands using 'apropos' UNIX
As you get more adventurous in terminal mode, you may wish to explore UNIX commands to get your work done. There's a command called "apropos" that searches all the man(ual) pages for keywords, and voila, a list of appropriate commands appear.

BUT - OS X's "apropos" doesn't work until you establish a "whatis" database. How? Simple:

1) Start a terminal session and get into su mode (root).

2) Type the follow line exactly:

3) Wait several seconds for the root prompt to appear, and quit the terminal session.

Now, you can start a terminal session as yourself, and the "apropos" command will work. For more information about apropos, type "man apropos".

[Editor's note: I published a related tip quite a while back, but I'm sure not everyone has dug through all the pages, so I thought this was a good chance to bring it up again. Note that the makewhatis will also run if you leave your machine on regularly; it's part of a scheduled task that runs (if I recall correctly) weekly.]
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PostgreSQL compiles on OS X Apps
As many of you know well, PostgreSQL is a yet another open source SQL DBMS [Editor: ala mySQL, but a bit more robust, from what I've read]. Although they claimed compatibility of the database with OS X as of v7.1 and certainly it compiled, a few regression tests had always failed up until recently.

But, not any more. I grabbed the RC-4 source and it compiled just out of the box. Now, you have another choice for your database solutions.

Now, if I could only get its perl interface working...
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Airport Software Base Station kills Classic net access Internet
If you have Airport configured to behave as a Software Base Station, it will prevent classic applications from accessing the Internet.

[Editor's note: This tip points to an article on how to use Mac OS X's UNIX core to create an emulated Airport Base Station.]
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OS X crashes on PB Lombard due to RAM expansion System
If any of you have had problems with OS X crashing a lot (perhaps even during installation) on PowerBook Lombards, you are not alone. Lots of people have had this problem. It appears to be caused by the presence of RAM modules beyond the base 64MB. If you have a RAM upgrade in your top slot, OS X should work fine after you remove it.

It is unclear what is causing this problem, at first people said it was due to tighter memory tolerances, but then reports came in about even apple RAM upgrades causing the crash. Now it seems like it may be a lingering hardware bug that wasn't revealed by previous OS's. You can read lots more about this on the MacFixIt Forums in this thread.

Apple does not have a fix for this yet, in fact they appear to be denying that it is a problem, so I encourage anyone else experiencing this bug to fill out a bug report form.

Patri Friedman (
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See temporary vCards in Address Book Apps
The Address Book application reads and writes from a single pool of addresses each user owns. (Library/Addresses/...). There are a bunch of them that get added, by Mail, I assume. You can view them by adding a new category called TEMPORARY (uppercase is important), then viewing the Temporary addresses category that's already listed in the main window. (That you can't see them already may be some kind of bug.)

Here's the step by step:

In Address Book, create a new item. Then, click on the Categories button. You should see a dialog to set the categories. Click on the round plus (+) button. For the new category, name it "TEMPORARY" - no quotes, all caps. Click OK to save it. Then, cancel the new item. That's it.

Go back to the main screen and change the popdown to Temporary Items. The new all-caps Temporary category won't show up anymore, and you'll get to see more entries here than you did previously. That's why I think this is some kind of bug in Address Book.
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Cocoa "optimizer" application System
I wrote a silly little Cocoa application that will optimize the system in the same fashion that installing the development tools optimizes the system.
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Installing just the printer drivers Install
When I installed OSX for the first time, I deselected the "Additional Printer Drivers" option to save drive space. However, when I purchased an Epson 777i last night, I didn't have the OSX drivers I needed, and you can't download them from Epson.

If you try to run the OSX installer from the CD-ROM, it prompts you to startup from the CD. If you start up from the CD and run the installer, it wants to reinstall ("update") the entire system. The solution is to double-click on the installer Package on the CD-ROM, located at:

Mac OS X Install CD/System/Installation/Packages/AdditionalPrinterDrivers.pkg

This launches an installer which just installs the additional printer drivers.

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Rename the trash can Desktop
If you find the word 'Trash', which appears when you mouse over the trash can in the dock, to be not quite what you want, it's easy to change. Open a terminal and type:
% cd /System/Library/CoreServices/
% sudo vi InfoPlist.strings
(don't type the % signs; those are the command-line prompt symbols)

This one-line file contains the name for the trash can. Change the name, save the file (in vi, use 'w!' to override the read-only warning), quit the dock (see the comments for a clean way to do this!), it will restart, and you'll have a new name on your trash.
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Problems with Apple's package installer System
Scott Anguish of Stepwise has written a very good article that discusses some serious problems with Apple's package installer program. It's a bit technical at times, but a couple of key tidbits include:
  • If a package installer encounters a directory that already exists, it will set its permissions and ownership to the permissions of the version in the archive. If the installer maker wasn't very careful with the permissions settings, you may find your Applications folder has new permissions which make it impossible to use (jCalendar originally shipped with such a problem, and the author has now switched to a disk image installer as a result)

  • If you have a symbolic link that points to another directory (if you've moved your Applications directory, for example, and replaced it with a link to the new location), the installer will replace the link with a directory, and any files below that directory will be installed in place. This can also have serious side effects, including disabling your system completely.

  • If the installer package requires your password to launch, then code inside the package that's owned by root will be executed with full root privileges. This makes it very easy for malicious code to damage areas of your system which would normally be protected.
In short, until Apple resolves the problems with the installer maker, you should treat any .pkg file with extreme caution - it could easily disable key portions of your system, and it would be fairly trivial for a malicious hacker to create an installer that does a number of Very Bad Things using root privileges.

This is a tricky situation, as some products (such as mySQL and PHP) seem to require an installer, based on their need to put pieces in a number of locations. In general, avoid the package installers if you can, but if you can't, make sure you (a) have a backup of important data before proceeding, and (b) know and trust the source of the package.
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