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Use 'Tempus' to keep maintenance tasks current Apps
[Editor's note: Submitted by jpbjpbjpb on July 6th.]

I got frustrated when I realized my TiBook was not rebuilding its locate database, then realized it was because it sleeps over night when all the cron tasks are scheduled to run.

What it does

Tempus gets run from cron every 10 minutes, if the machine is awake. When tempus runs, it checks its database to find out when the last time each task was run. If the last run was longer ago than the time specified in the task, it runs the task.


To get tempus to work, you'll need to have python (and make sure its the unix version of python, not MacPython) correctly installed. You will also need to have the developer tools installed if you wish to use the easy installation option found in INSTALL.


Download it from
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Scroll wheels and MoviePlayer Apps
[Editor's note: Submitted by Nick Jones on July 5th.]

I had just downloaded a rather large mpg of A Perfect Circle performing on Conan the other night, and was trying to see what brand of drums Josh Freese uses.

I had paused the clip, and accidentally pushed the scroll wheel on my Logitech scrolling mouse forward one "click".

Much to my amazement, the video advanced one frame. This works backwards and forwards and is very smooth and exact on a B&W G3 400/512.

For all you DV editors out there using MoviePlayer for playback, this is an awesome way to simulate a jog wheel on a break out box on the cheap. I haven't checked to see if this works in iMovie as well but I would bet it does...

Thanks for a great site!
Nick Jones
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Changing shortuct keys in 'Services' Apps
I was reading a thread in hear talking about a problem with Services ( Mail, Grab, OmniDictionary, etc. -- Oh yeah, don't forget Quake 3 Arena [1.29f] ), namely that you can't know which Service is going to get a key if they both have it defined for a shortcut.

I ran into this problem myself today. I downloaded OmniDictionary and InstantLinks, and they both define the same two keys for the same two options ( "Lookup in Dictionary" and "Open URL" ). I prefer OminDictionary's much more featured lookup ( InstantLinks just jumps to ), but Instant had taken over the 'Command-=' key. I tried a number of experiments to see if I could control which Service got the key. I thought perhaps the "Install" order might have something to do with it, but no cigar ...

[Editor: If you're interested in changing the keys assigned to various system services (available under the "Program menu" in the menubar), read the rest of this article for the how-to ... it's fairly easy, and definitely a handy tip!]
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Run shell scripts from GUI Apps
[Editor: Please see the comments; this is probably NOT the best way to do this!! Kill is fairly abrupt, and will end ALL terminal sessions. The comments have some alternative.]

This is one I've been trying to figure out for quite some time and finally managed to figure out so I thought that I'd share it with you.

I wanted to run a shell script from the GUI and have the Terminal close itself down at the end of the script. The only way I knew to do this was to use a modified version of the Dock Restart script from elsewhere on this site. i.e.

TERM=`ps aucx| grep Terminal | cut -d ' ' -f 4-5`
kill $TERM

but this would result in a "Application unexpectedly quit" error message. If you change the line "kill $TERM" to "kill -9 $TERM" the error message no longer appears. Simply add those lines at the end of your script to make the Terminal vanish when the script is complete.

So now to make a script executable from the GUI.
1) Type the script in your favourite plaintext editor, include the above script at the end.
2) from the terminal run "chmod +x Text.file" (Where Text.file is your files name)
3) In the Finder do a 'get info' on your text file and change the Application to Terminal.
4) Double click the file and voila a script that runs itself and then quits the terminal with no error.

I hope this helps a few people.
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Restore your dock pinning and orientation Apps
If you have enabled your dock to be moved to corners and sides (see Move and corner your dock), one of the small annoyances is that the pinning and orientation revert to bottom middle after a logout or restart.

I noticed this morning that Frank Vercruesse has released DockLock 1.0, which exists solely to restore your preferred dock pinning and orientation settings automatically.

Until Apple decides whether to officially support pinning and orientation, this seems like the best solution for those that prefer their dock in positions other than bottom middle. I tested it, and it does exactly what it claims to do.
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Scott Adams' Adventures Apps
Another trip down nostalagia lane! If you enjoyed the article on playing Zork on OS X, you may also be interested in playing the Scott Adams' Adventures on your OS X box.

These were text-based adventure games written for a number of early computing platforms, including the Apple ][. You can read more about Scott Adams and his adventures on his home page. As I recall, there were about a dozen or so, all using the same basic two-word parser and featuring some good puzzles.

Over on the MacFixit boards, CapVideo has posted an explanation on how to run Scott's adventure programs under Mac OS X. If you're interested, check out the Scott Adams' Adventures thread for the details. You'll need the Developer Tools installed, and should be relatively comfortable with the command line.

I wasted a number of hours on Scott's adventures in my Apple ][ days; I can't wait to try these out this weekend!
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Leaving messages 'unread' in Apps
By default, Apple's will mark a message as 'read' as soon as you click on it. There's no preference setting to prevent this from happening, but a member of the Apple mail team gave one workaround on the X4U mailing list.

Simply move the "preview" horizontal divider (the line that separates the incoming mail list from the message body) all the way to the bottom of the screen. The easiest way to do this is to double-click the line itself. This causes the Preview panel to vanish, and messages will no longer be marked read as soon as you click on them.
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Use MenuStrip to hide applications Apps
[Editor's note: This tip was submitted last weekend by an anonymous reader]

There are many "alternate" little applications and hacks for people who want to change their Mac OS X experience. One of my favorites is MenuStrip, the $7 program that gives you a bunch of useful buttons to put along the top right of your window. Very Mac-like, you can choose what it will display, so it's minimalist, as it should be.

The best button is the "hide all apps" button, so you can get rid of all those windows in a flash. I have a KeyQuencer macro do this on Mac OS 9 -- press a key, get rid of all apps and bring up the Finger -- and MenuStrip brings this functionality to OS X. Very nice.
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Browse menus with option key to see more choices Apps
Holding down the option key while perusing the Finder menus reveals some neat options for manipulating windows. OmniWeb also reveals several options which are not otherwise available directly from the menus.

I guess these are some of the little things that Jobs said wouldn't be found for a while, but show the detail put into the interface. I tend to agree.
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Drag and drop 'business cards' Apps
If you use the Address Book application, there are some pretty nifty things you can do with it. While reading this month's MacWorld (pick it up if you don't have it yet; they have some great OS X info in this edition!), they mentioned one tip I hadn't run into yet.

Open the address book, and click and hold on the little "person" icon next to any name. You'll see a mini business card appear, which can be dragged anywhere. Drag it onto the desktop, and a little "virtual business card" appears - simple double-click access for anyone's address. Drag it into a Cocoa application, and the field names and values for that card will be pasted as text. I'm sure there are more tricks, but those two are quite useful all by themselves. I haven't spent much time with the Address Book (keeping my fingers crossed for Palm!), but it's a handy little application.
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