While working on upgrading the site to the latest Geeklog engine, I discovered a relatively simple modification to the search engine that greatly improves its usefulness. While the new site won't be up for a little while, I took a couple minutes last night and added the modification to the existing search engine. As of now, you can (finally!) search on words instead of phrases on the site. I haven't updated the instructions page as of yet, but here's how it works.
To search on a phrase (the old style), use the search box (or the advanced search page) as always - just enter the phrase. For example, searching on (no quotes) 'tcsh shell path' will find only those hints that contain the exact phrase. You probably won't get a match for most phrase searches, given the odds of guessing the right combo of letters.
Searching on words, however, is much more useful. To perform a word search (for example, any hint containing "tcsh,", "shell," and "path,"), just enter the words separated by commas - 'tcsh, shell, path' (again, no quotes).
This change makes the search engine much more effective at finding old information, as you can now narrow the search scope effectively by using a few keywords. For now, this modified search is available only when searching hints (not comments). Try it out and let me know if you run into any glitches!
Hopefully more to come tonight; I just ran out of time this morning as a side project has been taking much of my free time lately. But I promise, the benefits of the side project will be tangible to everyone here in the near future.
The long-awaited upgrade to Geeklog 1.36 is just around the corner, with many benefits for readers. You'll be able to select from a few pre-defined themes, including the new one shown to the right (as well as the current look). The site will also use one-side boxes only, leaving more room for content (and it will fit on 800x600 screens), and the problems with special characters in HTML have, for the most part, been vanquished! And down the road, it means more new features as I integrate some additional Geeklog plug-ins. With any luck, we'll be launching the new look in the next two to three weeks ... stay tuned!
And hopefully I'll get some more hints online tonight...
Sorry for the lack of new hints this weekend, but I spent quite a bit of time doing something I meant to do back in February ... each of the Picks of the Week now have their own "hint," which means you can read a mini-review covering what I liked about each program, along with pricing and download information. Of course, since this is an interactive site, you can also and add your own comments based on your experiences with each program. You can also submit hints in the Pick of the Week category for me to consider if you think I've overlooked a hidden OS X gem.
I've also attached a subjective macosxhints 'score' for each program, from 0 to (what else) 10. The scores are fairly high, as these programs were selected for "Pick of the Week" inclusion. I'm stingy with the "10s", though (only six so far). The score bar looks like this:
The macosxhints Rating:
Yes, I'm only giving myself a seven on this article :-).
If you'd like to see the collection of Picks of the Week hints, just hit this search link. The results page shows all 38 articles from February through last week's selection of glTerm. Future selections, starting with this week's pick, will appear as new hints each Monday morning.
So although the "What's New" box may claim that we've only added one hint this weekend, I've actually written 38 of them in the last couple of days. As part of this process, I also eliminated (finally) the Help Request category. Existing Help Requests were moved to their correct categories, and all future Help Requests belong on the forum site.
After adding a substantial number of hints the past five weekends in a row (since Jaguar's release), this weekend will be a quiet one on macosxhints.com. As an aside, the site has now published over 350 hints just since Jaguar shipped; it's been quite a busy month!
Have a nice weekend, enjoy today's hints (I especially like the multiple mailbox trick in Mail.app), and I'll be back with a new set of hints (and a pick of the week, of course) on Monday morning.
The Jaguar hints continue to pour in at a rate of 15 to 30 a day. Right now, I'm staying about three to four days behind, given that it takes about two hours (plus or minus) to review, check for duplicates, format, and publish every 20 submissions or so. I'd love to add some assistant reviewers to help with the process, but cannot do so until the Geeklog engine is upgraded (they actually have a release candidate, so it's getting closer). Why not? In UNIX terms, the 1.1 version of Geeklog really only supports two levels of users: root and everyone else. Once Geeklog 1.36 is released and the site is upgraded, we'll be able to have assistant editors with limited story publishing rights.
What can you do to help? As a start, please don't submit hints on any of the following: show the character palette, option-click Finder menus, Finder screen zoom effect, super slow-motion folder opening effects, return the Happy Mac to the startup screen, pop-up folders in the Finder toolbar, enable Finder sound effects, create sliding Finder drawers, Get Info vs. Show Inspector, and view the system prefs in alphabetical order. I have received each of the above no fewer than five times. For some odd reason, the character palette hint is especially popular, with at least 15 submissions!
Read the rest of the article for some tips on searching previous hints to determine if your submission might be a duplicate...
If you're in the USA or Canada and have been gone on a nice extended weekend due to yesterday's holiday, you have some reading to do -- we have published 45 hints since Friday! So start reading and see what you missed while you were out ... there are only five new hints this morning as I've run out of posting time, so hopefully that will give you all a chance to catch up.
On a semi-related story, macosxhints' reader David P. sent along an interesting screenshot:
This shot was snapped on the stats page, which I'll be the first to admit I seldom look at ... but 10,000,000 is sort of an eye-opener. These hits are not the same "hits" as recorded by a webserver; these are database server hits only. In other words, there have been 10,000,000 requests made to the database since we went live in early November of 2000! Probably not an impressive number on the global scale of database driven websites, but it seems pretty big to me!
With all of those requests over the nearly two year period, I have never lost any data due to database problems (just due to site owner stupidity, but that's a story for another day!) ... thank you, MySQL!
It's here, it's here! Many users have received their Jaguar copies already, many others are picking them up at 10:20 tonight at various special events, and still others (the truly lucky ones) have received it on shiny new Apple hardware. So tonight, the Jaguar hint flood begins. There are quite a few to publish, and I'll do my best to get the initial rush published throughout the weekend.
Today also marks the official end of fully supported OS X 10.1 hints. From here on out, I will only have access to Jaguar systems for testing submitted hints. If you are submitting a hint and you are running 10.1, please try to include that information in the body of the hint. If it fails when I test it in 10.2, I'll still run the hint, but include a "Pre Jaguar only" note when it's published.
It's been a long wait, but (in my opinion), Jaguar is worth both the time it took to develop and the cost I paid to acquire it (thanks, Amazon!). I'll have more to say about it this weekend when Jaguar is officially released, but if you haven't used it yet, you're in for a pleasant surprise.
The macosxhints website is on vacation from August 7th through August 12th. Regular updates will return by the end of the day on Tuesday the 13th. Normal site functions should continue to work, so feel free to comment on the existing hints or submit new hints (for publication after our extended lunch ends).
In honor of OS X, here are ten things you can do to occupy your now hint-free time for the next six days...
Have a great week everyone, and we'll be back to business as usual next Tuesday!
Disclaimer: Please note that item 10 is not, repeat not, a paid ad from Apple!! I just thought their countdown timer movie was pretty cool, so I plopped it into a new window in its unedited form, which includes the order button ... so you can drop all those conspiracy theories about who's funding the site! :-)
The flow of hints regarding Mac OS X 10.1 (both ones I manage to find on my own and those submitted by others) has slowed as we near the release date for OS X 10.2 Jaguar. I expect this to continue through the 24th of August, at which time I believe the site will be inundated with Jaguar hints. So for the next few weeks, the number of hints published may be lower than historical levels ... but come the 24th of August, I know that will be changing!
If you wish to submit a Jaguar hint before the 24th, feel free to do so, but note that it will not be published until the 10.2 release is shipping. It would be very useful to me if you could put "Jaguar only" in the body of the hint itself, so I won't get confused when it fails to work on 10.1!
Also note that the site will be taking a short vacation from August 7th through the 12th. There will be no updates during this time (four work days), but updates will resume as usual on Tuesday the 13th of August. Given the slowdown in the rate of 10.1 hints, I figured this was as good a time as any to give the site a few days off ... it must be getting tired after nearly two years and over 1,900 OS X hints :-).
I was hoping to also announce that the site's engine would be upgraded to the newest version of Geeklog (along with a new look) by the time Jaguar ships, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen in that time frame. But a new Geeklog engine is coming, soon I hope, and it has all sorts of nice new features (blocks on only one side of the page, more box options, more user options, etc.). Best of all, it supposedly fixes the input problems with <, > and \ in HTML stories!
It's going to be exciting around here in late August, but it might be a little quiet between now and then...