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Old Macs w/G3 cards: Beware of overclocking Install
Don't overclock your CPU with Mac OS X!

I had a terrible time installing OS X on my 7500 with a G3 upgrade card. I had strange random crashes during the installation, strange random error messages during the installation. If the installation did happen to complete, OS X would crash randomly or just stop booting.

The problem was that I had overclocked my XLR8 G3 upgrade card. The XLR8 upgrade card has switches that can change the CPU clock speed by very small increments. This allows you to set the fastest possible CPU speed, but if you set it too high the machine will crash or become unstable. I had overclocked the G3 rated at 300 up to 333 Mhz. It worked great with Mac OS 9.04, but that high speed did not work with Mac OS X. Amazingly, I had to lower the G3 speed down to 266 for it to work reliably with OS X.

The explanation is that OS X uses CPU instructions that are never used by Mac OS 8 or 9, such as for protected memory. The PC version of the Linux installation guide gives the same warning for the same reason.

This may have nothing to do with the article in the System section about enabling the backside cache in older Macs upgraded with a G3. All these problems occurred before I enabled the backside cache.
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How to change your dock 'poof' System
This one's fairly old, and may or may not work when 1.0 ships, but it's kind of fun. Over on this AppleInsider forum, there's a discussion on dock and poof hacking. Out of that are a set of instructions on how to change your dock's 'poof.' I've detailed the method in the remainder of this article, in case you're interested.

Out of that discussion, this page, created by Synoptic and others, contains a selection of pre-modified docks and poofs, ready for use with OS X. If you want to see what's possible with just a little bit of work, check it out and download some of the alternatives!
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Tracking OS X drivers System
One of the biggest issues in the day to day acceptance and usage of OS X will be the presence of native device drivers. These drivers are required for things like USB to serial adapters, printers, SCSI cards, scanners, video cameras, and other peripherals that operate on USB, SCSI, or firewire.

If native drivers are not available, the only method of using these devices will be to boot back into OS 9.1 -- they will not work in Classic using their 9.1 drivers (based on what I've been told and read, having asked the question in a few places).

To help track native device drivers, I have added a new category ("Drivers") to the links section of the site. There are (obviously) other web sites that track these kinds of things (use VersionTracker and search on "drivers," or go to Mac OS X Apps and look in the drivers section); I'm doing so here only out of personal interest - I want to have one fast and easy way to find all the drivers I will personally need in OS X final!

Since this was a rapidly-changing beta OS until very recently, I would expect that between now and March 24th we will see a number of OS X drivers announced by the major manufacturers. If you see any release announcements, or find a reference to available OS X drivers, feel free to submit a link, using "Drv-" as the lead-in to the name so that they're easily identifiable in the "What's New?" box.

I hope to have compiled a thorough list of available native drivers prior to the official launch date, as this is one of the first things users will be looking to find for their shiny new OS.
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How and why to use the Apache proxy server Apps
Even if you have no interest in serving web pages from your new OS X box, there's at least one feature of Apache (the built-in web server) that you might want to put to use - the proxy server.

A proxy server is nothing more than a server which sits between a client (such as a web browser) and a real server (such as a web host). It intercepts all requests sent by the client and decides if it can handle the request itself. If it cannot, it then passes the request on to the real server.

Why might you find this useful? There are two primary reasons. First, if you're a parent, you can use the proxy server to control which sites your kids can and cannot have access to. This may make you feel slightly more comfortable leaving them alone in front of the machine ... although any child with some level of net experience will be able to find ways to get what they wanted anyway.

Since the proxy will block sites that you specify, you can also use it to block ad servers such as www.doubleclick.net (and there goes any chance of ever having advertisers on this site ... want to get blacklisted ... just explain how to block ad servers! ;-)

The second usage is for caching web content locally. If you have a connection that's shared between multiple computers, you can use the proxy to store pages locally. That way, if you browse cnn.com and your spouse visits the site 30 seconds later from another machine, they will get a locally cached page which will be served very quickly.

Read the rest of this article if you'd like instructions on setting up Apache's proxy server.
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Defaults commands page Desktop
Pixits has put up a page with a brief explanation of the defaults system and a nice listing of all those cool defaults commands that are circulating around all the mac boards on the net. You can view their list here:

Defaults command page
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Using a GUI editor on root-access-required files Apps
If you want to edit a file that requires root access (for example, the Apache webserver config file), there are a few ways to do it. The most common is to use su in a terminal session, enter your root password, edit the file, then end the terminal session. You can also use sudo from the command line to launch the editor as root.

However, if you prefer GUI-based editors such as jEdit (my favorite), it's much more complicted to edit root-access-required files. You have to first logout as your current user, and then login as root. This is basically not practical, especially if you're using Classic and leave a bunch of apps open all the time (as I do).

Brian Hill has written a little program called Pseudo that does nothing more than launch the application dropped onto it as another user. So to use jEdit for my Apache config files, I simply drop the jEdit icon onto the Pseudo icon, and enter my root password. jEdit launches, and I can then open and edit the Apache config file as necessary. I don't have to quit any other apps, and when I'm done and quit jEdit, I don't need to worry about remembering to login as a normal user again.

The only rule I follow is to immediately quit the root-required application as soon as I'm done working on the file in question, so that I don't accidentally edit other files which I'd rather not work on as root by accident!
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HTMLedit launch bug Apps
If you can't get the HTMLedit application to launch, this thread on the MacAddict forums explains that you need to be connected to the internet in order to use HTMLedit.

I'm not sure if this is true in all situations, but if you're having trouble launching it, make sure your internet connection is active first.
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BETA ONLY - Use 9.1 and 9.04 with OS X System
Last night, I installed the OS 9.1 update on my OS X box. This means that Classic no longer functions in OS X. However, you can use both if you like, as long as you can install a second OS 9 folder. If you have more than one partition (in particular, an OS X and an OS 9 partition), simply upgrade your "real" 9.04 to 9.1, and leave the OS X version alone at 9.04.

After the upgrade, I found that the Classic Preferences couldn't see my 9.04 folder; it just saw the 9.1 folder, which meant I couldn't use Classic.

I restarted into 9.1, and then used the System Disk utility to select the OS X partition's OS 9.04 folder as the boot drive, then rebooted into 9.04. Once there, I again used the System Disk app to select OS X, and booted into OS X. I was then able to specify the 9.04 folder as the Classic environment in the Classic prefs dialog.

It seems OS X 'remembers' the last OS 9 folder you used, and uses that one as the Classic environment. This can be a bit dangerous if you have two 9.04's on your machine, and you're trying to keep one 'clean' from OS X. I haven't tested it, but it appears that if you simply boot into your 'real' 9.04 and then launch OS X, you'll change the Classic environment to your real OS 9.04. It would appear the safest way to do this would involve running whatever you needed in your real environment, then booting into the OS X 9.04 system, and then booting into OS X.

Hopefully this will all be moot point when OS X 1.0 ships.
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Use the 'bash' shell in the terminal UNIX
The default shell (the program that runs when you open a terminal window) is called tcsh. Bash is an alternative with a superset of features that many UNIX users prefer; you can read about it on the Bash information page. Jim Weisbin of savagetranscendental.com has written a great set of instructions for installing the Bash shell in OS X.

You can download Bash from Jim's site, and the installation instructions are included. It's quite simple; if you've used the terminal much at all, it should be fairly straightforward. You can also view the instructions online prior to downloading to get some idea of the process.
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Mount your iDisk from the command line Network
This thread over on the MacNN forums discusses how to mount your iDisk using a terminal session. Why might this be useful? You could SSH to your OS X machine from anywhere, mount your iDisk, and then use cp to copy files from your iDisk to one of your local drives ... with the new "Apple Software" folder on iDisk, this could prove to be very handy!

I've documented the "how-to" in the second part of this posting, but head over to MacNN to read the full details!
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