This past weekend, I was looking to show my wife the new iMac at The Computer Store, my favorite local dealer. We had no luck with the iMac (later this week, they hoped), but they did have the [drool] dual 1ghz machine - very nice!. On the way out, I noticed that Aspyr's Spiderman game had been released. This game is based on the Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 engine, and has some interesting visual effects. Showing my background has a gamer and OS X supporter, the "Supports OS X" sticker on the box was enough to sway my purchase decision :-).
When I tried to install it, though, I thought I had made a Bad Decision. When you run the installer, it will look like it's hung up - all you see is the spinning beach ball. I would have force-quit it and become a little angry with Aspyr, except I happened to have a Finder window open to the target Games directory, and I noticed a "Spiderman" folder there while the installer was still spinning the beach ball. Opening it revealed that files were continually being added, so it was obvious the installer was doing something. A few minutes later, it finished normally. There should obviously be some sort of progress indicator in the installer!
This same glitch affects the game itself at times - when Spiderman goes to load a new level or new video, you won't see anything other than a black screen for up to 30 seconds or so. Eventually, though, the video will change and things will continue normally.
Outside of the installation and in-game lack of progress bars, I've had no problems with the game and it's quite fun (the semi-transparency when you're crawling along a roof is very interesting). There's even a kids-mode that makes it easier for young players to control the character and progress through the levels.
After reading the previously published tip about hiding iMovie while rendering, I decided to see if there were any changes with iDVD. I started 'top' running after iDVD began encoding, and noticed two processes using most of the CPU time: EncoderSer and iDVD. Both were using around 50% CPU on a DP500. After hiding iDVD, it's usage dropped to 2% and the EncoderSer jumped to 163%.
I found Little Dutch Moose (a shareware utility) on Versiontracker, downloaded it and installed it. If you're running apache on OS X, it adds a system preference pane that automatically adds IPs to the built-in firewall if the IP asks for certain files or directories (system32, WINNT,etc) which are characteristic of Windows worm viruses - things like "Nimda" and "Code Red", for example. By blocking IPs from these infected hosts, your bandwidth is saved for actually serving your pages.
Nice interface and logs. In addition to shutting out some bandwidth hogs, it makes my referrer log and error log cleaner.
If you want to replace the standard Microsoft search sites, in the search bar, with one of your preferred, such as Google, it is possible. What you need to do is edit the Localized.rsrc file in the "Internet Explorer.app -> Contents -> Resources -> English.lprog" folder (control-click on the app and pick "Show package contents"); if you are not using English, then you should open up the appropriate directory for your language. Don't forget to make a backup copy of the file!
Now with a copy of QuickConvert, flip the resource and the data forks. Next, open the file in ResEdit, open STR# resource 1000 (it has the name "Shared Strings" ). Now edit entry 470 and change it to http://www.google.com/ie.
While you are at it you can edit entry 344 to take the value http://www.google.com/search?q=%s . This will enable you to use Google for your address bar keyword searches.
Save the file, run QuickConvert on the file, to reflip the forks and the start up Internet Explorer. Now your search bar should be showing the Google search page.
[Editor's note: I have not tried this one, and I'm not likely to as I don't use IE. If you get this modification working, let us know...]
Anybody have a mouse they want to work better? I have a MS Trackball Explorer, and I love it......now. Microsoft has been slow to deliver an OSX driver for it, but now, thanks to Alessandro Levi Montalcini there is an anwser. It's a universal USB mouse driver (and soon to work on game pads also). This program works awesome, even though it's still in beta. A little pricey at $20, but head on over to usboverdrive.com and give it a try. Really really awesome work.
[Editor's note: If you have an unsupported multi-button mouse, USB Overdrive can give those third, fourth, and fifth mouse buttons customized functions in OS X!]
I just discovered a neat little program that can work as a great little companion to iPhoto. While the basic tools in iPhoto are great for simple touchup, I know that I sometimes want to adjust brightness, contrast, color balance and all those good things. PixelNhance from Caffeine software lets you open an image and make those adjustments with a neat difference. There is a bar that splits the picture, that is movable and rotatable, so you can see a "Before and After" view of the changes you have made. I set it as my editor for pictures when I double click on them in the iPhoto preferences.
And one of the best things is it's FREE. And, I'm not the only one who thinks it's neat because Apple is including it with the new G4s they just announced.
Check it out!
[Editor's note: Based on a five-minute trial, this is an impressive piece of freeware! In addition to the adjustments listed above, you can also tweak levels, sharpness, noise, and saturation. Well worth a download!]
Below is an AppleScript that will open images in The GIMP (an X Windows graphical editing program). You can drag images onto it from the Finder, or from iPhoto. You can also use this script to edit from iPhoto directly, by changing the "Double-clicking photos opens them in:" option to "other", and pointing it at this script.
Note: This script requires the GIMP to be up and running. Also, the script assumes you are using the Fink installation of the GIMP (i.e., that your GIMP binaries live in /sw/bin. If you are using Gnu-Darwin or another installation, you will need to change the path.
I have found that periodically the Download Manager window in IE 5.1 just appears as white space without any scroll bars, title bar - nothing. I tried trashing the prefs but to no avail. I then discovered in my Explorer prefs folder (Users -> username -> Library -> Preferences -> Explorer) a file called Downloads.html. I trashed that and all was back to normal. It does still keep happening, but at least I know how to get it back again.
La Chose Interactive has released (to macosxhints' readers first!) a freeware application known as ProcessWizard. ProcessWizard is a menubar widget that, when clicked, opens a list of your running applications along with a priority slider for each one. Want to give an application more priority (ie more CPU time)? Move the slider to the right. Reduce the priority? Move the slider to the left. Need to force-quit an application? Control-click on the icon. All done? Click anywhere else and the menu vanishes.
I've had this installed for a few hours with no ill effects, and the background daemon takes basically zero CPU cycles. If it gives you any trouble, you just need to either log out or use ProcessViewer (in Utilities) or the Terminal to kill the daemon and the menubar widget.
If you downloaded this earlier this morning, please re-download to resolve a possible conflict with ASM.
This is a very handy little application, and thanks to dperetti (Dominique Peretti) for releasing it here first!
Will Clarkson has created a small Cocoa application that walks you through the process of setting up a Software Base Station on OS X. Using Sustainable Softworks' freeware IPNetShareX, Will's application takes you through each variable setting and provides some explanation as to what you are doing and why.
If you've been wanting to get the Software Base Station working in OS X, grab Will's application from his site and give it a try. Also make sure you read the FAQ for more information.