First, in case you missed it, I published a number of new hints over the weekend, in addition to today's boatload. That's the good news :).
The bad news (from your perspective) is that the publication of hints over the next couple of weeks is going to be a bit sporadic. Due to some travel over the holiday, my access to the net will be a bit off-and-on for a while. There will most likely be days when no hints are published, as well as days when hints are published at non-standard times ... I'll do my best to make a daily update, but I'm not promising anything. I'm also going to be working a bit less on the site than I normally do (it is supposed to be a vacation, after all!), so the number of hints published may also decline during this time.
Things will return to somewhat normal after the 25th (as I'll have regular access to the net at that point), and then we'll be back on the regular schedule as of the 31st -- at least until Macworld Expo the following week, but more on that a bit later...
I hope you all have a safe and joyous holiday season!
There are 'only' nine new hints today, but I managed to get 34 others posted over the weekend. So if you haven't checked in since Friday, use that "Next" button at the bottom of each page to catch up with the weekend's work.
I also added one new question to the FAQ, explaining why I type -> paths -> using -> this -> strange -> convention :).
We're now about three weeks into Panther's release, so I thought I'd give a little "where are we" update relative to the site. Since October 24th, there have been over 500 hint submissions, with 216 Panther-specific hints (out of 303 total) published during that time. This is about the normal publication ratio (close to 33% of the submissions are duplicates), just at much higher volumes than I'm used to seeing! Simply amazing ... thanks to all the hint contributors and commenters who have helped unearth Panther's secrets at an amazingly rapid pace.
I'm still about a week behind on submissions, with roughly 200 or so in the queue. So if you've sent something in recently and you haven't seen it yet, I probably just haven't gotten to it. Also, some of the longer hint submissions from earlier are still in the queue as well (as they take longer to edit). I hope to catch up a bit more on the older stuff this weekend, and then be fully caught up no later than the week of Thanksgiving, when I'll be taking some time off work to spend on site updates.
Three years old, that is. Yes, that's right. As of 8:26pm today, macosxhints.com turned three years old. Never did I envision when I published that first entry that we'd still be here going strong three years later. So thanks to all of you for helping make macosxhints.com an informative, useful, and fun place to visit -- I still learn stuff every day I come here, and I'm still having a blast working on the site, even after the daily 4:30am starts! I still can't really believe it's been that long since we launched; it seems just yesterday I was diving into that great unknown called the "10.0 Public Beta" for the first time, trying to figure out just what to do with this "command line" thing.
If you didn't visit this weekend, you've got some catching up to do -- I think I ran nearly 50 hints in an effort to catch up. I made good progress, and I think we'll be back to normal by the end of the week or thereabouts. After the busy weekend, I'm slacking a bit today with only a handful of new tips... :).
If you're submitting new Panther hints, make sure you check the Panther meta-hint (now the most popular hint ever on macosxhints.com!) first to make sure that it hasn't been covered already -- I feel badly when I have to delete a very nicely formatted, long, complex hint just because the exact same thing was already published.
And thanks to those who have donated in support of the site -- I spent probably 20 hours this weekend working on the updates, and its nice to know that the effort is appreciated.
macosxhints.com reached another milestone last night -- our first-ever million-plus page view month. While absolutely miniscule on the scale of any 'large' site, it amazes me to think that over 1,000,000 page views were generated here this month (with a couple days still to go). Panther's release this month certainly had a lot to do with October being the "break out" month, as we've averaged about 55,000 page views a day since Panther's release. Another sign of Panther's popularity is the fact that the Panther meta-hint has quickly become the number two most viewed hint on the site, as seen on the stats page. I fully expect it to be number one with a week or so.
I imagine that if I had advertisers, they would be quite happy with the news that we've hit the one million page view mark. But since I don't have advertisers, I note it here simply because I'd like to thank all of you, the macosxhints' readers, for making this site a vibrant and interesting destination on the Mac web. I learn as much here every day as anyone else, and for that, I thank both the hint contributors as well as those who add their expertise via the comments.
And now, it's time to sleep in order to prepare for tomorrow's batch-o-hints! P.S. -- I ran 11 new hints late Wednesday evening -- don't miss them if you're reading this for the first time on Thursday morning!
In case you haven't noticed, the volume of published hints has greatly increased since Panther's release. Though this is typical with each "dot release" of OS X, the volume with Panther is unlike anything I've seen before. Since Friday, there have been nearly 200 hint submissions, and the traffic volume on the site has been staggering (compared to site averages). For example, a typical weekend day for the site is about 20,000 page views; this past weekend, we had 52,000 views on Saturday and 43,000 on Sunday! Monday's figure was 66,000 views, compared with a typical average of 34,000. The server kept up quite well, especially after I removed the 725KB movie clip that was re-downloading every time the main page loaded :).
The fast pace of hint publishing will continue for a while as I work through the backlog over the next few weeks. This is good news, but it does make browsing the site a bit tougher, so here are some hints to help you with the hints :).
Take advantage of the new "Panther [10.3]" bar near the top of the screen. The first link in the bar displays a page listing all Panther hints that have been added since the release date; the next two links display older (pre-release date) hints that have been verified as either working or broken in Panther; and the last two links let you email me when you find an older hint that works / does not work in Panther.
Use the Activity section of the "What's New" box to keep up with comments to previously published hints. Each date listed displays all hints and comments published on that day. So while the What's New box only shows the last 25 comments, clicking on Oct 27 will show all 197 entries (a single-day high, by far) added to the system yesterday.
Check the hint count to determine how far "in" you should read. The counter counts hints displayed in the last 24 "rolling" hours (ie not from a certain starting point each day). If there are more than 10 recent hints, make sure you hit "Next" at the bottom of the screen to catch everything (there are a couple good ones on page two today -- anyone find the "Share your scanner" hint yet!?)
To help me help you, please refer to the 10.3 meta-hint mentioned above to check for duplicates before you submit a new hint on Panther. Given the very high volume of submissions, I will not be able to notify you if your hint was a duplicate -- I'll just delete it and move on to the next. So save yourself some typing and check the summary hint first.
Panther marks another nice leap in both performance and features over its predecessor, and I hope the huge increase in activity here is indicative of an expanding market for OS X, both from prior OS 9 users making the move, and new Mac users migrating from other platforms. Thanks to everyone who's contributed hints and comments on the new system -- it's the community here that really makes the site work!
Everyone should now see an extra horizontal bar at the top of the screen -- the Panther (10.3) Hints bar. This will stay at the top of the pages for quite a while as the transition is made. Here's what each link in the bar does:
See new hints -- Takes you to the Panther meta-hint to see a running list of all new Panther hints
See older hints -- Runs a search for the Panther-proven phrase to show all older hints that have been tagged as compatible.
Hint works in Panther -- Opens an email form so you can easily tell us that a given hint works with Panther. Please remember to copy and paste the URL from the page into the email!
Hint fails in Panther -- The opposite of the previous; let us know that a hint breaks in Panther (again, don't forget the URL!).
Hopefully this will help ease the Panther transition on the site, but I obviously need your help to make it work -- use the links to notiify me as you play around with the older hints, and I'll add one of the two Panther-proven tags to the hint, as appropriate:
So please help me help you -- send in updates when you find hints that work or don't work in 10.3...
We have a good collection of Panther hints, culled from both reader submissions and my time with the new OS (I had early access for a Macworld project). I believe there are over 50 Panther hints in the queue, some of which will obviously be duplicates, along with the handful or two that I've discovered myself. In keeping with the spirit of the site -- we try to unearth the hidden features, not the top of the heap stuff -- I'll do my best to make sure we don't publish a hint that's covered on Apple's Panther new features page (but it's quite possible I might slip up, so consider this an excuse in advance).
As noted earlier, these hints will appear at 9:00pm Pacific Time on Friday night, after some final testing with a boxed copy of Panther. I'm also going to create a Panther "meta-hint," containing links to all of the Panther hints, to make them easier to find -- I'll link to (and update, of course) this meta-hint somewhere on the homepage for a while as the transition occurs.
So tune in on Friday night for the inside scoop on working with Apple's latest big cat. I promise more of the usual collection of informative, interesting, stupid, complex, easy, and useless hints that you see here on a regular basis :).
October 24th 11:27am Update: I have posted just three new hints this morning -- working on the Panther hints kept me quite busy. But I now have 15 of them ready to go, awaiting final test when my box copy of Panther arrives later today. Barring any failures, they'll all go online precisely at 9:00pm Pacific tonight. I hope to post another large batch this weekend as well; there are still plenty left in my notes and in the queue -- but I fear that running more than 15 or so at one time will lose the hints in the background noise too quickly for some folks, so that's what I'm going to limit it to...
At 8:00pm (in your local time zone) next Friday, OS X 10.3 (aka Panther) will be generally available for purchase.
If you're planning on a Friday evening session with Apple's newest OS X release, tune in to macosxhints.com at 9:00pm Pacific USA Time for a plethora of pleasing Panther tips -- we'll have a good number of hints hitting the site one hour after Panther hits the streets (just enough time for verification of their functionality on the final release).