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Autostart XDarwin and The Gimp from AppleScript Apps
Previously, metallicburgundy published a hint showing how to create a droplet that would let you load pictures from iPhoto into the Gimp. It used perl to parse the file name and required that you manually start XDarwin and the Gimp before using it.

The following script makes all that work unnecessary. It uses the newest extensions to AppleScript to detect XDarwin and start it if it isn't running, and uses the new POSIX command to convert the file name to a format that the gimp will understand. The upshot is that the first time you drop something on this script, it will automatically start X and the Gimp for you. This can be slow that first time (starting X can take a while) but it saves you a couple of steps.

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Install a freeware prefs panel firewall program Apps
In the midst of searching for info on using ipfw (Mac OS X's built-in firewall software), I came across sunShield, a freeware PreferencePane that manipulates the firewall. One should know the basics of ipfw rule declarations, etc., before mucking with things, but those who prefer GUIs over Terminal may find this to their liking.

[Editor's note: I have not tried this firewall package...]
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Select links in IE via the keyboard Apps
In Internet Explorer for OS X (apparently not for OS 9), you can type the label of a link to select it. Just like the Finder, you type as much as you need to select it.

For example, go to Yahoo! and start typing "Hotel". The link "Hotel" (near the top, right below the search box) will be highlighted. There's a link labelled "Homes", so H-O-T will be the minimum strokes required to select that link.

The last couple days, I've been using this to access my web mail with only my keyboard, no mouse!
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Reactivate Internet Explorer's scrollbars Apps
I find if I click a link in Internet Explorer and then hide it or minimize it, so I don't have to watch it load, the scroll bars are dimmed when I bring it back. When they are dimmed you can't grab and use them. It gets to be very annoying.

I have found two ways to get around this until a certain company (ahem!) gets off their butts and fixes this. One is obviously to reload the page, but my favorite is to command-click (yes, it has already been hinted before by Mikey-San) a link. This opens it in a new window. Immediately close the window, and the scroll bars are active again. A good fix until a certain company...

[Editor's note: I thought you could also click into the Finder and back, but it's been a while since I used IE, so I'm probably mistaken...]
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A thorough listing of Cocoa applications Apps
I was looking for Cocoa apps which might not have been listed on VersionTracker and found HyperJeff's A Quick Guide to Cocoa Apps, which has every one I've ever seen before plus many more.

In addition, you can break down the complete list into categories via a drop down menu and link to Carbon and Unix listings from additional links at the top of the page.

[Editor's note: The main "hyperjeff" page is already listed here on the links page, but this compilation page definitely deserves a mention!]
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Auto update the iTunes library Apps
I was searching for a way to automatically scan my Music folder with iTunes on a regular basis to keep my Library up to date. What seemed like an easy enough task turned into a nightmare of a trip - mainly because of the weird interaction between cron and Applescript.

My goal was to write a simple cron task that called a simple AppleScript stored in a text file or compiled script. The AppleScript was easy enough - but getting it to run in cron was a DOG!!! I don't know exactly what the interaction is between cron and osascript - but it ain't pretty. I spent hours researching other peoples efforts and finally came up with a viable solution.

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Dial the phone from FileMaker Pro Apps
The OS X version of FileMaker Pro does not support the dial function (who knows why). Anyway, it is a real pain for people who want to dial an individual from their database. I finally figured it out and thought it might be worth sharing, because it may be a long time before the dial function is put back into the program.

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Restore iPhoto keywords after reinstall Apps
Last weekend I reinstalled OS X from scratch on my iBook. I had a backup of my iPhoto Library, but when I opened the freshly installed iPhoto (with the old Library folder), I noticed that my old keywords were no longer there. iPhoto showed the standard set of keywords instead.

I had a copy of my old ~/Library/Preferences/ folder, and when I replaced the new com.apple.iPhoto.plist with the older copy and re-launched iPhoto, my keywords were back. At first I expected that all photos would have lost their associated keywords, but that wasn't the case; all keywords returned as soon as I replaced the .plist file.

So, if you want to backup an iPhoto Library to reinstall your OS, and you use your own keywords in iPhoto, make sure to save a copy of the com.apple.iPhoto.plist file in a safe place.

[Editor's note: In general, preference files in OS X tend to store a lot of very useful information, often well beyond what you might expect from the OS 9 versions. For example, the Finder's preference file also stores your Finder Toolbar settings. So even if you slack off on backing up your full system, you may very well wish to drag a copy of the whole ~/Library/Preferences folder to a safe place, just in case your prefs ever get corrupted. I can speak from experience that recreating a well crafted Finder Toolbar is not necessarily a fun task!]
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Full page keyboard scrolling in Internet Explorer Apps
Not sure if this has been mentioned before but for those of us running OSX on PowerBooks (at least the 1st rev Titaniums and earlier, since I know they swapped some keys on the 2nd rev Ti) there is a very helpful key command to scroll windows in IE: option plus up/down arrow which scrolls up/down one page.

This helps a lot because we don't have true page up and page down keys. The advertised key command involves the 'fn' key which is all the way on the left and the arrows which are all the way on the right. Grrrr.

Also, just in case people don't know, command plus the up/down arrow keys navigate to the top/bottom of the current page, and command plus the left/right arrow keys mimic the "back" and "forward" buttons.

[Editor's note: These keyboard shortcuts work on desktop machines as well, since they are features of IE itself.]
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Optimization tricks for Speed Disk Apps
Using Speed Disk to optimize an OS X volume usually doesn't help much with the spining beachball problem because it doesn't put OS X files at the fastest parts of the disk. To help fix this problem, use the Speed Disk Profile editor to create a new profile. The goal is to put important OS X stuff at the fastest part of the disk.

Make a category called OS X. Specify a criteria. Don't specify a file type. Specify a folders (up to 4) - Now enter the OS X system folders, like "system", "user", "library", etc. Since I never use Classic or any OS 9 stuff, I put anything in the "System Folder" and all OS 9 stuff at the bottom of the sorting list. I made another category for the Apps I often use like Mail, iTunes, Internet Explorer etc. I named it FaveApps put it 2nd in the list. I made the free space category the 3rd item in the list.

After I optimised using this profile, I found the beach ball would appear much less frequently. Since I don't have another partition for my swap file, I don't know if this is better than that technique for killing the beachball.

[Editor's note: I have never used Speed Disk so I can't vouch for the effectiveness of this particular tip.]
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