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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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Create a global spell checker Apps
While you could use ObectFarmSpell for an embedded spell checker in Cocoa apps, that leaves Carbon apps without support.

I use a system of Excalibur and CopyPaste-X. Excalibur is a freeware spell checker which has more specialized dictionaries than you can imagine, will spell check the clipboard, and has some technical capacities related to the print industry (it is LaTeX aware which I never use).

CopyPaste-X is a shareware application which allows multiple clipboards. It has different capabilities than the OS9.x versions, including a Clipboard Editor which is activated when you double click on a clipboard (even an empty clipboard). Excalibur works with the last item copied.

The reason I'm mentioning that is because you can use Excalibur in any application just by the standard highlight, copy to clipboard via the keyboard, and then run Excalibur's File > Open Clipboard (Command + T). Or if you want to post to a forum, for example, you can double click on an empty clipboard in a CopyPaste palette, either the Clipboard Recorder or Clipboard Extender, compose your message, highlight it and run Excalibur. Close the Clipboard Editor, and the message is ready to be pasted into any forum text box or form. It's like having your own preview and spell checker always available.

[Editor's note: I have not tried this combination of products to create a global spell checker, but it sounds intriguing...]
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How to sync your Palm via IrDA Apps
The Palm website gives instructions on how to sync via IrDA but they are woefully incomplete. After spending a few hours tinkering with different configurations I finally got it to work.

You must first make sure that you have Palm OS 3.5.3 installed. Otherwise the hotsync will begin and then quit as it will try to install the 3.5.3 update and then die. I had to install the update from a PC, since I couldn't sync on my powerbook. It is probably possible to install it with Palm HotSync for OS 9 but I never tried this. Palm has a web page that talks about not being able to hotsync pdb's or prc's via IrDA.

Read the rest of the article for the step-by-step to sync via IrDA in OS X...
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