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Yet another calendar program Apps
QuicKalendar is yet another (freeware) calendar alternative. I'm not happy with the desktop type, and this one behaves as an app (which it is) with its own window. Worth a look if you're still searching for a calendar program.
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View and save Word and Excel files Apps
I've noticed that the MacLinkPlus translators that came with AppleWorks weren't fully converting my Excel docs. I also had problems with AppleWorks attempting to open my Word docs. I downloaded icWord and icExcel and now I can either just read the files, or save them as an AppleWorks file without problems.

A 30 day trial can be downloaded from Apple's OSX download site or from the websites linked above, and each program costs $19.95 if you decide to keep it after the trial period.

[Editor's note: I have no experience with either program, but know that there are some people out there who work to keep their machines "Microsoft free" and/or cannot afford the cost of Office v.X. If you occasionally need to read Microsoft files, icWord and icExcel might do the trick. There are limitations to what they can do, of course, so take advantage of the trial before making your buying decision.]
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Prevent Disk Copy troubles with encrypted images Apps
This is a simple hint, but the problem which inspired it stumped me for quite a while.

For the longest time, I found that I could not create encrypted disk images with Disk Copy. I could not find anyone who knew why, and nothing I tried fixed the problem.

After much troubleshooting, it turns out that, for some stupid reason, Disk Copy just didn't work for encrypted images if it wasn't in the Utilities folder. I had moved all my apps into the Applications folder so that I could get at them with command-option-A. Once I put Disk Copy back in the Utilities folder, it worked fine with encrypted images. I hope this helps a few lost souls...

[Editor's note: I haven't done any work with encrypted images, so I can't vouch for this one ... anyone else run into something similar?]
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Use an alternative Gnutella client Apps
If anyone is bored stupid waiting for Limewire to connect, find and then download your files, then try Acquisition, a new Gnutella alternative.

I have used this for about a day, and everything I've searched for has had results within a few seconds, and I've been able to download the located files. Acquisition has a fantastic user interface, is built using Cocoa, has freely available source, and is incredibly stable ... what more could you ask for?

[Editor's note: By publishing this hint, I don't want to turn the site into a debate on the legalities and moralities of downloading things which aren't yours and may be copyrighted by others ... but Acquisition is a very well done program, and I felt it was worth a mention for those that may be using Limewire or something similar.]
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Use an alternate SMTP port with Mail.app Apps
It is possible to make Mail.app use an SMTP server running on a port other than 25. This is especially nice if you're using SSH to tunnel SMTP connections and don't want to (or cannot) forward localhost's port 25. This option is not accessible from Mail's preferences, you will have to manually edit the preferences file (com.apple.mail.plist in ~/Library/Preferences).

Read the rest of the article for the how-to...
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Edit iMovie files with any text editor Apps
Open an iMovie file (not the ones in the Media folder, but the project file) in your favorite text editor. As you can see, it's a plain text file (no XML unfortunately) which you could generate from a script if you wanted. For simple copy and paste functions, one could even write a web-based front-end for iMovie projects.

[Editor's note: This would have saved me some time this weekend; instead I did things this way.]
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Use DragThing's Disk Dock to control volumes Apps
I love the new Disk Dock feature in DragThing 4.3 for Mac OS X. In the DragThing Preferences menu, click on the Miscellaneous tab and then check the box labeled "Show these items in a dock".

With the DragThing Disk Dock enabled, you have a "dynamic" list of some or all of your mounted volumes (disks, CDs, Disk Copy .dmg volumes, and Connected Server Volumes), plus you can include your "Home" folder and a "Trash Can" if you like. The items can be sorted by "Name" or by "Kind".

As with all DragThing docks, you can float docks on top at all times, or have a "Hot Corner" and/or "Hot Key" to bring them to the surface on demand. I prefer using the "Hot Corner" so that I can use the entire screen for work windows, but then pop the Disk Dock to the surface whenever I want to access a mounted volume.

Read the rest of the article for more information on using Disk Docks in DragThing...
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Copy and paste image durations in iMovie Apps
I was working on an iMovie project this morning which involved quite a few still images with brief transitions between them. I had forgotten to change the "default still image duration" before importing the pictures, so they all had 10 second lengths when placed on the timeline. I needed them all to be much shorter (around a half-second each), so I was hand-editing each duration box...

After I got tired of doing "click image on timeline - click on duration box - highlight portion of text to change - type new time - hit return" for the 300th time, I discovered that you can do a "select all" within the duration box, then "copy", then select the next image and click in its duration box, then "select all" and "paste". This is much much faster than my previous method (as long as you want all the images to have the same duration, of course!).
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Generate icons for image files with pic2icon Apps
I'm not sure how I overlooked publishing a hint on this earlier, but a recent thread on the Macworld OS X forum served as a good reminder for me.

If you have a bunch of image files in the Finder which lack the custom preview icon (the small version of the image itself), check out Sugar Cube Software's pic2icon. pic2icon is a little freeware app which does nothing more than add a custom image preview to your image files -- but it does it very well!

pic2icon works via a drag-and-drop interface; you drag the images into the first tab of the application (which contains an image drp spot and progress bar) and it then starts creating the icons. The other tabs in the interface allow you to control things such as:
  • Retaining original modification dates
  • Adding a one-pixel border, a dog-ear corner, and/or a drop shadow
  • Specifying the amount of anti-aliasing
The final tab shows the statistics for the latest batch of icons you created (how many, how long it took, total size).

pic2icon even shows the remaining number of images to process (via a red circle with white text, ala Mail.app) on its dock icon while it's working. Creating 115 icons took it about a minute on my G4/733, so its relatively speedy.

You can do similar things with batch conversions in GraphicConverter and PhotoShop, but I really like pic2icon's interface and ease of use. And it's tough to beat a cost of $0.00!
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Using BBedit to edit system files Apps
Parts of this have already been submitted, but here are a couple of very cool things with BBEdit. I found them out while editing various system files to make my default paper size A4 (please, Apple, let's have a system-wide setting for preferred paper size!).
  1. If you open a root-owned file using BBEdit (either by drag-and-drop, or by using the command line), you will be able to edit it. When you start making changes it will ask you if you're sure; and when you save it it will ask for an admin password. Much easier than "sudo pico ..."

  2. What's more, if you drag-and-drop any package onto BBEdit, the package contents will be viewed in BBEdit's Disk Browser. This gives you a hierarchical view of the files in the package; and if you select a file (e.g. a .plist file) it will preview the file's contents in the Disk Browser. If it's the right file, simply double click and edit as in step 1.
Much easier than fiddling around in the Terminal!
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