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Create a multiple user iTunes music library Apps
Although some posts allude to this, I think it's the first mention of sharing an iTunes library between multiple users on the same machine.

I'm encoding my entire CD collection so that my wife and I can fully utilize our iPod. However, with multiple users in OSX, iTunes naturally will create a separate library for each user. Not great when we're both adding new files regularly and need access to the most current roster of available MP3s. It's pretty simple use of aliases to solve the problem:
  1. Logged in as either user, move the iTunes folder from the Documents folder into the Shared user folder.
  2. Delete the same Documents/iTunes folder from each individual user.
  3. Create an alias of this iTunes folder on Shared (remove the word 'alias').
  4. Copy that back to each user's Documents folder so each user has an alias to the Shared/iTunes folder.
  5. Your MP3 files should also be placed in the Shared folder. When you move them, you'll also need to "reset" the index of files in iTunes. Since you've set up everyone to work off ONE library, though, you only need to do it once.
This process will ensure that every user has access to the same list of files, regardless of who adds new rips. We also have an "Unfiled Rips" folder on Shared so we know what's been ripped recently, then file it alphabetically in the master pile 'o MP3s.

[Editor's note: Until I can convince her otherwise, my wife's primary machine is a PC, so I don't have to worry about this situation. We did, however, use Samba to make the MP3 directory on the Mac visible to her PC so that she'll have access to the same library of songs. I, however, am stuck with all the encoding work for now! ;-)]
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Unselecting all messages in Mail.app Apps
I hated how once you got a certain number of messages in Mail there was always a messsage in the preview window. I just figured out that command-click can unselect the message so you have just a blank preview part. Hey, I'm happy.

[Editor's note: If you have just a few more messages in your inbox than you have room for, you can also resize the top part of the screen to hold them all without a scrollbar and then click on the white area to deselect the message.]
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Reset setuid flag if NetInfo Manager updates fail Apps
Over in this thread in the forums, 'gowrann' was having a problem with NetInfo Manager. Any time they tried to save a change in NetInfo Manager, the program replied: "NetInfo write failed! (Operation succeeded)", and the changes were not saved.

'CharlesS' correctly deduced that the problem was the setuid flag on the NetInfo Manager application itself. To correct the problem, open a terminal and type:
 % cd /Applications/Utilities
% sudo chmod 4775 NetInfo\ Manager.app/Contents/MacOS/NetInfo\ Manager
If you're interested in reading more, the thread has details (courtesy of 'MervTormel') on exactly what the setuid bit is and why it's important to have it correctly set for NetInfo Manager.

Note: Edited to fix the backslash problem noted in the comments. Also note the article on StepWise referenced in the comments regarding security concerns.
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Reduce AOL Instant Messenger's CPU usage Apps
I just got a big boost in OS X performance. Ever since getting my iBook, I had AOL's Instant Messenger (AIM) installed and running whenever the book was on. Today while watching top to monitor some stuff for work, I noticed AIM was steadily using 30-35% CPU. Unacceptable.

Renice'ing it using a tip from here didn't help much in this case. So I went through the AIM preferences and removed all the news and stock ticker options so that the tickers don't show up at all. This brought the average CPU down to around 2% and gave my system a huge speed bump. Little things like typing, scrolling and menus are all a lot snappier now.

[Editor's note: There are also numerous AIM clients out there, including Proteus and Fire which may also take less CPU, although I haven't compared them.]
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Create a smaller floating desktop clock Apps
I really like Apple's Clock application: they really put effort into the face of the analog clock, you can make it transparent, and it's a nice replacement for the college student with no wall space. Too bad the face is just too darn big. I use Pocket Watch X ($5 donationware) which gives you all the features of Apple's Clock plus customizeable skins.

Using the skins feature, I placed a reduced version of Apple's clock face on the Pocket Watch X face ... read the rest of the article for the how-to.
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Importing addresses and mail into Entourage Apps
Did you know you can drag and drop address from the standard Mail-Address Book to Entourage X? Simply open both address books up and select the addresses you want to move over and drop them in Entourage's Contacts.

There's also a handy Mail folder importer included on the Entourage CD, or it can be downloaded from the MS Mac Office site. Just download the French or German language script and run it... you don't need to know the language as it automatically imports the mail into Entourage.
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iPhoto and libraries on removable media Apps
A friend called up a bit confused over the behavior of iPhoto. He had originally set up his iPhoto library on his removable FireWire drive (using this hint). All was working well until one day when he connected his camera to the Mac while the FireWire drive was powered down. My friend knew the drive was off, so he wasn't surprised that iPhoto didn't show his existing library and albums. He imported the new images and then quit iPhoto.

Later, with the FireWire drive connected again, he relaunched iPhoto and was surprised to find that while his "new" images showed up, his older library and albums were nowhere to be seen. He could see that they were still on the FireWire drive, but iPhoto didn't seem to know anything about them. He called me with two questions. First, out of curiosity, where were the new photos stored, as he couldn't find them using Sherlock or the Finder? Second, and much more important, how could he get the original library and albums to show up in iPhoto again?

Those of you who are familiar with the way OS X operates probably have already figured out what happened. For those of you who don't know what the problem was and would like to know, read the rest of the article for the cause of the problem and the relatively easy solution -- although I will admit I was stumped for a few minutes myself until doing a bit of sleuthing in the Terminal!
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Option drag to quickly create an iPhoto book Apps
In iPhoto if you drag photos to the "Albums" pane it will create a new album. Most people know that already. However, if you hold down option while you drag the pictures to the album pane, it will automatically make a book from those pictures. Pretty slick undocumented iPhoto (OS X only) trick.
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Tips for using iTunes and the Finder Apps
These "Tips" are fairly obvious for the long-time Mac-user but I found them nowhere else.

Did you notice how tightly integrated iTunes and the Finder are?
  • Drag some mp3 files onto a playlist - they are imported and the playlist is filled with them. Useful if you have sorted your files by genre and want to have a playlist with that genre.
  • Now, drag a some titles from iTunes to a Finder window - the files are copied to the destination! Great if you want to burn several playlists on a mp3 CD.
  • If you want iTunes to play the files from a certain folder, drag that folder on the iTunes icon in the Dock.
[Editor's note: Once again, this may be a semi-duplicated tip, but I couldn't verify it with a quick search. Still, these are good things to know if you're new to iTunes!]
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Use Mail.app with an alternate SMTP server Apps
My ISP's SMTP server is only reachable to send mail when I have my TiBook at home. If I take it to work and try to send mail, my ISP's SMTP server will give me an error if I try and send mail through it. However, I found a way to send the mail via an alternate SMTP server with Mail.app. Here's how:
  1. Create a second account in the preferences dialog.
  2. Use the same email address, full name, host name, user name,
  3. Set the password field to something incorrect (like "1"). You can't leave this field blank
  4. Set the SMTP host to some mailserver at work you know you can relay through
  5. In the accounts options, enable the account but uncheck "Include this account when checking mail".
Now, when Mail.app tries to send email, it will use the account that shows up first in the preferences display to send the email. If you are at work, drag the work account to the first position in the list. If you are home, drag the home account to the first position in the list.

It's not a great solution but it gets the job done.

Note: If you give the two accounts different "email address" lines, you will get a selection box when you are editing the email to tell Mail.app which account to send the email from. In this case, however, I didn't like that so I purposefully made the email addresses on the two accounts the same.
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