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Gamma adjustment under OS X Apps
Marcel Bresnik, author of PrefEdit, has released TinkerTool for OS X. This nifty program lets you adjust a number of things in OS X which were previously difficult to do and required command-line editing. These include disks and trash on the desktop, showing all hidden files, using the blue triangles and hidden apps effects in the dock, and a slew of other things including changing the default system fonts.

Most interesting to me, though, was the presence of a gamma adjustment tool for OS X. For those of you that find Aqua "just too darn bright" or "just too darn dark", you can finally adjust the gamma! Personally, I find it to be just a bit too bright, and I set a slightly darker than standard gamma. Wow ... I thought it looked good before, but now it looks really good!

TinkerToy is free, and highly recommended if you want to tweak your PB system. As always, anything it does bad to your system is not my responsibility! I've only been using it for the last 15 minutes or so, but no problems yet.
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Backing up the system System
Is is possible to tar the active OS X system (as with LinuxPPC)?

Has anyone determined which files/directories are best to backup in case of a system corruption? By this I mean if you just "tar czf / backup.tgz" you get all disks and loads of stuff you could easily reinstall.

I would like to move my install to a new machine, which I have a clean install of OSX on, but not reconfigure everything as I have spent a lot of time setting things up! I would like to take my tar from the old machine and install/overwrite the new install. Any ideas what will happen?

I have seen the discussion about re-blessing the System, but I don't think it applies if you are going straight from OS X - OS X.

TIA

[Editor's note - See the comments for a discussion on the options...]
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The 'links' text browser and why you might want it Apps
links screenshot

Although 99%of the world browses websites with some version of a graphical client, there can be times when it could be useful to have command-line access to a website.

Imagine a scenario where your home machine uses DSL or a cable modem, and is "net-connected" 24 hours a day. You're at the office one day, and notice a site that has a file you want to download, but it's only available via a web browser. If you've enabled remote connectivity to your home box (via telnet or SSH), you could connect to home, launch a text-based browser, and start the file download on the home machine. There are also command-line utilites that can do this for you (cURL is one of them; there's an OS X version here), but the text-browser is also useful as a, well, browser!

links is an excellent text-based browser that works very well in OS X. The small screenshot at the top of this article is of links displaying this site; here's the full-size screenshot. Read the rest of this article if you'd like instructions on downloading and installing links for OS X. You could also use lynx, another text browser; search this site on 'lynx' for more info.
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Installing and using Apple's Developer Tools Desktop
This weekend, I set up a second OS X 'experimental' partition on my hard drive. I'm using the new partition for mySQL and PHP work (for this site), as well as anything that I feel is too risky for my main OS X partition. One of those things is Apple's Developer Tools.

I've held off on this 70mb download for quite a while, as I have no real need for the development tools, and I was a bit short on drive space on my main OS X partition. Today I finally downloaded and installed the tools on the new experimental partition. It was definitely worth it, just to see some of the nicer demo apps they included. One of them, EnjoyEffectMovie was used to create the fire QuickTime movie from which the screenshot at right was taken. If you have some interest in the tools, and you have a fast connetion and some drive space, I'd recommend the download. Read the rest of this article for instructions on obtaining and installing the tools,and a brief description of some of the more interesting (to a non-programmer!) included programs.

DISCLAIMER: You can probably do Very Bad Things to your system with the developer tools! Any damage you cause is not my responsibility.
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Neat terminal.app features Apps
While messing around with the terminal today, playing with transparency, size and colors, I noticed a couple of nice design elements.

First, as you resize the window, ithe window title displays the size of the new window ... 80x24 becomes 92x24 to 103x24 to 120x40. When you let go, it returns to the original display.

Second, and I guess I just overlooked this earlier, you can open an Inspector Window for any open terminal session. This gives you access to nearly all the same settings as you get in the prefs panel, but you can now set them on a per window basis. I'd always just mucked around with the color and font control panels, but the Inspector lets you do things like change the window title, specify the scrollback buffer size, etc. This isn't a hidden feature; I just overlooked it in the menus earlier.

And if you haven't tried it yet, play around with the terminal transparency hack - you can make some very nice looking (yet still functional) semi-transparent terminals.
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Zoom windows to full screen System
If you click the expand icon in OS X (the green "+"), it's default behavior is "zoom to fit," where it will zoom the window only as large as needed to fit the text. 'applenut' over on the AppleInsider OS X forum pointed out that if you hold down option and hit the zoom button, the window will zoom to fill the screen.

Cool trick, and I hadn't even tried it in three months of use with the PB. Well-behaved apps (I tried IE 5) will leave enough room at the bottom of the screen so that you can reach the bottom edge of the window without activating an auto-hidden dock.
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Another liquid button maker Apps
A while ago, I wrote about a Japanese-language Aqua button making program. Over on the MacNN forums, 'trunks_essex' pointed one out in English. This one's from a company called Micahsoft, and you can find ButtonMaker (and some other RealBasic programs) on their site.

ButtonMker is quite easy to use (having it in my native language helps greatly!), and it includes other options in addition to Aqua. The author acknowledges a bug when trying to save buttons of a certain height, but I didn't run into it in the ten minutes or so I tested the program.

Just a pointer to yet another way to put some Aqua in your world!
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Scripting ftp transfers UNIX
If you often transfer the same file to/from an FTP server (or do anything repetitively with an FTP server), you can use UNIX and a simple script to automate the process. Although similar things are probably possible with grapical clients, this will teach you a bit about UNIX and a very basic shell script.

I use two such scripts on my OS X box. Since my home machine is occasinally out of OS X, that means that my family's OS X hosted website is not accessible. Before I shut down OS X, I upload a "Our server is down" page to my ISP-hosted site. When I return to OS X, I upload a "Our server is up" page. This way, our family and friends can tell easily if the site is up or not. I manage both these tasks with a double-click on an icon in the finder, thanks to these scripts.

This tutorial requires some basic understanding of the command line and an OS X text editor such as vi or pico. Read the rest if you'd like to see how to set up a simple automated FTP script.
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CPU Monitoring for dual processors. Apps
Folks with dual processors might appreciate seeing that both cpus are doing their share. In the "GrabBag" subdirectory of the Applications directory, there's a graphical cpu monitor that show's the activity of both processors.

If you want to see both cpus constanlty busy download the text-only version of seti@home and run 2 versions (from different directories). Use the "-nice 20" flag and you won't notice any loss in performance since the OSX kernel will sacrifice seti@home performance in order to keep everything else speedy.

Ref: seti@home downloads
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Internet port numbers Network
Although this isn't an OS X specific tip, if you do much with the built-in UNIX-based services in OS X (such as SSH, Apache, and FTP), it may be relevant. These services operate over ports, which are defined and managed by IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). If you'd like to familiarize yourself with who they are and what they do, just visit their web site.

If you'd like to see a very exhaustive list of port assignments, IANA is the place to go. This list is the most exhaustive that I've ever seen. This can be useful for things such as establishing 'port forwarding' in a router, which will allow certain ports (such as 548, for Appletalk over TCP) to be sent through your router to one target machine (your Mac running OS 9 file sharing over TCP/IP).

If you are a "power user" in the Mac OS 9 world, and you want to delve into all the services that are offered with OS X, some knowledge of port numbers may be helpful as you start experimenting with Apache, SSH, FTP, Samba, etc. For the typical OS 9 convert, though, you won't have to know anything about them -- other than they're out there, and they help make some of the cool stuff in the new OS possible.
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