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Best Hints contest winners for August Site News
And now, the winners of the Best Hint contest for August. Of the 132 hints published last month, the list was narrowed to about 15 semi-finalists in one round of voting. To pick the winners, all semi-finalists were then rated as shown in the "How to Win" section of the rules. After the dust settled and the scores were averaged, the results were: Congratulations to all the August winners, and best of luck to everyone for September -- just three more iPods to go, and I have a feeling that some of today's iTunes 7 tips will be amongst our finalists at month end!

-rob.
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Weekend update... Site News
Monday is Labor Day in the states, which means, of course, that we won't be laboring. So new hints will return as usual on Tuesday morning.

Also, I have taken steps to hopefully stem the tide of "this is my new idea" comment spam: There's now a captcha on the new user registration screen. This isn't necessarily a perfect solution, but with the volume of spam we were seeing from spambots signing up for accounts here, it was necessary -- like all of you, I was quite tired of the RSS feed being filled with noting but spammy comments. Even though I quickly delete them, I would much prefer to prevent them in the first place. We'll see how this goes...

Have a great long weekend (or a great regular weekend!), and we'll be back on Tuesday.

-rob.
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New poll posted about the Mac Pro Site News
I noticed today that the previous poll had been online for quite a while ... so hot on the heels of WWDC, I thought it'd be interesting to find out how much interest there is in the new Mac Pro machines. Hence the new poll asking about your Mac Pro purchase plans.
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Best Hints contest winners for July! Site News
During WWDC last week, the Macworld editorial team took some time to review the July hints and pick three winners for the month. We started with something like 105 eligible hints, and narrowed that list to about 15 semi-finalists in one round of voting. To pick the winners, all semi-finalists were then rated as shown in the "How to Win" section of the rules. After the dust settled and the scores were averaged, the results were: Congratulations to all the July winners, and best of luck to everyone for August and September -- six more iPods to go!

-rob.
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July 'Best Hints' contest closes... Site News
The first month of our summer's Best Hints contest has now closed. For the record, there were 111 hints published during the month, all of which are now being reviewed by the Macworld editorial staff to pick the three winners. The winners will be announced on Monday, August 14th!

-rob.
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New poll posted -- app switching Site News
OS X offers a number of ways, both via built-in tools and third-party apps, to switch between active applications. Today's poll asks which method you use most often when switching apps. Personally, I used to rely on LiteSwitch X, and I still use Witch relatively often, or a window click when I can see it ... but the simple Command-Tab switcher is my most-used method.

I'm interested in seeing how many of you are using a third party tool as your primary switcher...

-rob.
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Bunches of phone hints follow... Site News
I've had a handful of "enable phone XYZ in iSync" hints in the system for a while now -- I was waiting on the release of 10.4.7 to see which devices were officially added before I ran them. Now that 10.4.7 is out, and the iSync devices page has been updated, I went through the list and published any hint for a non-listed phone.

I know these aren't of interest to all users, so if you're not a phone user, feel free to skip the next five hints! And if you've got an account here, you can use the settings section to disable the Phones category entirely if you never want to see any more such hints.

-rob.
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Site holiday - July 3rd and 4th Site News
Today and tomorrow are holidays at Macworld, so (other than the Pick of the Week), there won't be any new hints here on either day. If you're in the USA, have a great day off with family and friends on Tuedsay, and enjoy the fireworks!

-rob.
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New hint rating system in place Site News
A few minutes ago, I activated a new hint rating system available to all users (both logged in and anonymous). It's a single added row, below the existing Add a Comment / Comments row. On the left side of the ratings row is a scale where you rate the hint -- and once you've rated a hint, it displays your vote of the hint. On the right side is a scale showing the hint's average rating. I've tried to make the dispaly somewhat subtle, such that it doesn't dominate the hint and interrupt your eye's flow through the hints. Some will complain that it's too subtle; some will complain that it's not subtle enough.

You can also see rating information on the Stats page; the top 20 rated hints will appear in their own section.

While this isn't yet a perfect solution for hint rating (you can't search on ratings, for instance), it's a start. It's also a bit of an experiment today, as it will put some added load on the server. If the page load times drop appreciably, we may have to go back and find another solution. But hopefully, it will work just fine -- so go ahead and test it by rating the hints (as you can see, you can rate any hint, not just today's newly-added ones.)

And yes, I know it'd be handy to be able to click on a star on the right-hand side to rate a given hint, but it's not programmed to work that way...

-rob.
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A few more site features added today... Site News
We now have an RSS feed for each and every topic on the site -- you can see them all listed on the new RSS information page. (This page is also linked to "RSS" in the nav bar.) I've included a hint count for each category, so you can get a sense as to the volume in each feed.

At the suggestion of a reader, I also modified the search results display. No major changes (yet), but I added a column to show the number of comments for each hint. Between the Comments and Hits columns, you can get a good sense for how much activity a given hint has generated.

Since this seemed like a pretty good idea, I also added a comments column (Cmnts) to the Headlines page.

-rob.
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