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Create an iTunes shortcut with DragThing Apps
All I wanted was a global hot key to go to the next/previous track in iTunes. Sometimes iTunes goes to a song you don't want, and you want to skip to another without using the Dock or switching to iTunes from whatever you're doing. I wrote two tiny AppleScripts to control iTunes, and then looked for ways to assign them to keys. No luck with function keys as in OS 9 (what ever happened to the F-key section from the keyboard control panel?), so Dragthing came to the rescue.

I didn't want anything to jump into the foreground, so I set up a new dock (called 'hotkey scripts') and set it to 'allow AppleScripts to run in background' in the Miscellaneous preferences tab. I then added my scripts to the new dock, and used the 'item options' from the contexual menu to set a hotkey for each. I set it so that Apple+left and right arrows are previous and next track, but any key combo would do it, presumably as long as it's not used elsewhere. The Applescripts, for anyone interested, are simple:
tell application "iTunes"
next track
end tell
Replace next with previous for the other script, obviously.

Now I can control iTunes from anywhere :-)
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Tips for a successful Palm Hotsync on a Beige G3 Apps
I don't know if this is really a hint or not but since I have been struggling with my Palm IIIx and Palm Desktop since its beta, I thought I would post my final findings in case it may help others.

I have a Palm iiix and a Beige G3/266 overclocked to 300 running OS X 10.1.3, with a Palm USB to serial and Palm Hotsync cable. My problem from the beta on has been that I get one hotsync that takes forever (I clocked it at 30+ minutes) or I cancel it. Then I can't hotsync again. Of course, serial syncing is not possible on this machine, another story.

Last night after my second consecutive completed hotsync in two days, I discovered something. Using the Palm USB cable and the desktop software, there is no setting for speed. However on the Palm side, if you change your settings to 115k and, this is the key, flow control to ON (not OFF and not AUTO), the hotsync connects quickly and efficiently. I have not yet sent this note to Palm but I think I will shortly.

I hope this helps the others out there who have been having problems with Palm hotsyncs in OS X.
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Forcing the default mailbox in Mail Apps
Here's one for those of you who have a number of accounts set up in Mail.app. I recently got really frustrated with Mail, because I could find no way of setting the default mailbox to show when the app launched or a new viewer was shown. It used to be set up right for my needs, but somehow the default mailbox got set to my UNIX mail account, and I wanted it to show my IMAP account by default. Could I do this with the GUI - no! I think the preferences got corrupted at some point, but I'm not sure.

You can set the default mailbox by editing:

~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.mail.plist

Near the top of that file is an array called 'ActiveUniViewers'. On my system it has one item; change that item to point to the required default mailbox. Mailboxes are listed in ~/Library/Mail/, and you should be able to figure out the right mailbox from the directory name. If you have an IMAP account with user foo, at host blah.com, the box will be IMAP:foo@blah.com/ in the ~/Library/Mail/ directory. Set the array item to be:

~/Library/Mail/IMAP:foo@blah.com/INBOX.imapbox

The exact mailbox name can be found by examining the account's directory. Save (remember to back up first) and hey-presto! My mailbox preferences are back!.

It used to be the case that Mail remembered the last mailbox looked at, but I can't get that to work - ideas welcome, but for the moment, here's a way to get Mail to display your mailbox of choice when you click it's icon.

[Editor's note: On my machine, switching accounts still works as expected; Mail remembers the last active setting on quit. I would think that trashing the prefs file might also fix the problem, and I'm curious why Mail would be able to update other prefs in the file but not the ActiveUniViewers setting. Hopefully this may help others with the same problem...any comments on the cause or the solution?]
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Convert clipboard contents to files in Preview Apps
I don't know if this has been mentioned before or if this is widely known but it was new to me; I came upon it by accident. You can save any graphical clipboard contents to a file if you have Preview open. Hit command-V inside Preview and a window will open up labeled Clipboard 1, showing the clipboard contents. Hitting Command-V repeatedly will open windows labled Clipboard 1, 2, 3 etc, each with a copy of the clipboard. You can then choose Save As... from the File to save the newly created image file.
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Set __myCompanyName__ in Project Builder Apps
In the comments section of each new file created by Project Builder is a "__myCompanyName__" field. To change this, type the following in the terminal:
defaults write com.apple.projectbuilder
'PBXCustomTemplateMacroDefinitions'
"{ORGANIZATIONNAME = yourCompany ; }"
[Editor's note: Shown on three lines for a narrower display; enter the command on one line only, with spaces between each word.]
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Relocate your swap file the GUI way Apps
I had to reinstall OSX over the weekend and, after reading a few more favourable reports on the speed gains with relocating the swapfile, thought I would try it again. Fresh reports of potential problems and the endless pages of Terminal code which promised to overcome them, though, filled my non-geek heart with fear.

I then remembered a small freeware application, Swap Cop, I had downloaded a few weeks back. Swap Cop promised to relocate the swapfile for me, sans Terminal.

So I set up the drive with 3 partitions: a 750 MB partition at the start, one big OSX (+Classic) and a small full 9.22. Did the full install of OS X and all the upgrades, then moved the swapfile with Swap Cop. It worked perfectly and quickly. Rebooted, restarted SwapCop and the old swapfile was deleted.

Performance has improved very noticeably. Six bounces in the Dock to open a disk image prior to the swap, two bounces afterwards. Everything is faster (Quicksilver 733, 768 MB RAM, 10.1.3).

[Editor's note: Some of the speed gain may be a result of reinstalling the system, but the swap move probably helped as well. For those of you who have been afraid of relocating your swap file, give Swap Cop a try.]
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Install BBEdit command line tools for added power Apps
If you have BBEdit 6.5.x, be sure to install the Unix Tools that are in the extras folder. You can then do the following:
  • bbedit somefile.txt to open a file in BBEdit
  • bbedit -c somefile.txt to open a new file with that name in BBEdit
  • bbedit -w to open BBEdit and have it wait until you are done to send the contents back to the shell. You can then "EDITOR=bbedit -w" in your shell source.
  • grep 'foo' bigfile.txt | bbedit to send the results of Unix commands to BBEdit
  • many more - see man bbedit for details
Hope you find this useful as I have!
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How to sync your Handspring Visor via IrDA Apps
As a follow up to the Palm IRSync hint, I have information on how to get your Handspring Visor or Visor Deluxe to IR sync in OS X.

First, go to Palm's IR Enhancement download site and download the IR Enhancement package in zip format (to make it easier to open). Expand it on the desktop (or wherever) and install Serialirpnl.prc and Serircommlib.prc to your Visor via the USB Cradle.

Next, download the beam sync enabler package. It includes a more descriptive text file that explains everything in it. Expand the package and install bsync-e.prc onto your Visor.

Restart the Visor when prompted and go into your Preferences panel. Turn on Beam Sync-ing and follow the rest of the original tip on doing IRSyncs with Palm Desktop 4.0!
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Display uptime as a screensaver Apps
jokke, a macosxhints reader, has created a simple screensaver that shows your machine's "uptime" output. You can download ShowOff from jokke's website.

Yes, this is a trivial hint. But having been a Mac user for too long now, I'm still amazed at X's stability, and ShowOff is a nice way to be reminded of that stability each time my machine is idle.
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Cocoa front-end to LAME available Apps
I've just completed a Cocoa batch encoder for OS X. It's really a GUI front end for LAME, with the potential to easily support other codecs (like Vorbis). It's called RipBeak (312K); here's a screenshot.

I wrote this app because it's something I wanted that did not yet exist (to my knowledge). I'm releasing it for free because I think it's something a lot of other people would like to use.

[Editor's note: I have not used this encoder myself, but thought it might be of general interest given the strong feedback on a previous hint regarding an AppleScript that works with the LAME encoder.]
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