A while ago, I wrote about a Japanese-language Aqua button making program. Over on the MacNN forums, 'trunks_essex' pointed one out in English. This one's from a company called Micahsoft, and you can find ButtonMaker (and some other RealBasic programs) on their site.
ButtonMker is quite easy to use (having it in my native language helps greatly!), and it includes other options in addition to Aqua. The author acknowledges a bug when trying to save buttons of a certain height, but I didn't run into it in the ten minutes or so I tested the program.
Just a pointer to yet another way to put some Aqua in your world!
Folks with dual processors might appreciate seeing that both cpus are doing their share. In the "GrabBag" subdirectory of the Applications directory, there's a graphical cpu monitor that show's the activity of both processors.
If you want to see both cpus constanlty busy download the text-only version of seti@home and run 2 versions (from different directories). Use the "-nice 20" flag and you won't notice any loss in performance since the OSX kernel will sacrifice seti@home performance in order to keep everything else speedy.
Even if you have no interest in serving web pages from your new OS X box, there's at least one feature of Apache (the built-in web server) that you might want to put to use - the proxy server.
A proxy server is nothing more than a server which sits between a client (such as a web browser) and a real server (such as a web host). It intercepts all requests sent by the client and decides if it can handle the request itself. If it cannot, it then passes the request on to the real server.
Why might you find this useful? There are two primary reasons. First, if you're a parent, you can use the proxy server to control which sites your kids can and cannot have access to. This may make you feel slightly more comfortable leaving them alone in front of the machine ... although any child with some level of net experience will be able to find ways to get what they wanted anyway.
Since the proxy will block sites that you specify, you can also use it to block ad servers such as www.doubleclick.net (and there goes any chance of ever having advertisers on this site ... want to get blacklisted ... just explain how to block ad servers! ;-)
The second usage is for caching web content locally. If you have a connection that's shared between multiple computers, you can use the proxy to store pages locally. That way, if you browse cnn.com and your spouse visits the site 30 seconds later from another machine, they will get a locally cached page which will be served very quickly.
Read the rest of this article if you'd like instructions on setting up Apache's proxy server.
If you want to edit a file that requires root access (for example, the Apache webserver config file), there are a few ways to do it. The most common is to use su in a terminal session, enter your root password, edit the file, then end the terminal session. You can also use sudo from the command line to launch the editor as root.
However, if you prefer GUI-based editors such as jEdit (my favorite), it's much more complicted to edit root-access-required files. You have to first logout as your current user, and then login as root. This is basically not practical, especially if you're using Classic and leave a bunch of apps open all the time (as I do).
Brian Hill has written a little program called Pseudo that does nothing more than launch the application dropped onto it as another user. So to use jEdit for my Apache config files, I simply drop the jEdit icon onto the Pseudo icon, and enter my root password. jEdit launches, and I can then open and edit the Apache config file as necessary. I don't have to quit any other apps, and when I'm done and quit jEdit, I don't need to worry about remembering to login as a normal user again.
The only rule I follow is to immediately quit the root-required application as soon as I'm done working on the file in question, so that I don't accidentally edit other files which I'd rather not work on as root by accident!
Say you are sharing a computer with a number of people (say your family), and you want to be able to share a common mailbox. It turns out that with a little work, this can be done using MacOS X (PB) and Mail.app. But it does take a little work, some time with terminal.app, and the root password.
Read the rest of this article for detailed instructions on how to set up a mailbox that can be used by more than one user. [Editor's note: I have not tried this on my machine yet, but it looks fairly straightforward.]
While looking for interesting OS X apps recently, I happened upon a program called InstantLinks, available from Subsume Technologies. InstantLinks, shown in use at the right (click on the image for a larger screenshot), is a system service that is available in any application that supports OS X services (such as Fire and OmniWeb, to name two).
What does it do? From a services-aware application, you highlight a text string that you're interested in, such as a word, an address, or a URL. Then simply activate the InstantLinks service menu, and pick the action you would like performed on your selection. You can look it up in a dictionary, map the location, open the URL, search the web, or check a thesaurus.
It's an amazing example of some of the really neat stuff that I think we'll see coming out for OS X in the next few months. Highly recommended, if for nothing more than a peak at the future possibilities of OS X. Read the rest of the article if you'd like a detailed explanation for how to install and activate the progam (it's a bit different than a typical application).
If you logon as any user other than 'root' and you find that you are unable to launch an application, check the permissions on the Applications folder. The quickest way to fix the problem is to give the group 'Everyone' Read&Write access and copy this to the rest of the folders. Even though the permissions are correct further down the tree, the permission at the top level seems to matter.
The Apache web server includes the ability to process CGI (Common Gateway Interface) scripts. By default, this functionality is disabled and needs to be manually enabled in order to function. Read the rest of this article for step-by-step instructions on how to enable CGI's (enabling SSI (Server Side Includes) is also covered. SSI is a way of using environment variables to return some variable information on a web page.
Most CGI's are written in Perl, but you can also find a few in C, C++, and some of the UNIX shells (sh, ksh, csh, etc.). The CGI Resource Index (see below) also lists six CGI's written in Applescript!
Once you've enabled Apache, you'll probably want some scripts to run. Here are a few of my favorite sources:
There's an interesting thread in the MacFixIt Forums about bringing Eudora mailboxes into the OS X mail application. It turns out it's possible, but requires a bit of file editing and directory structure creation.
Basically, you need to convert the Mac line-endings in each mailbox file to UNIX style line-endings, and then create a directory structure that matches what mail.app expects to see.