After seeing the recent hint about browsing local disks to view html help files with a web browser, I'd like to suggest that readers could go a step further by turning one of the excellent free browsers available for OS X into a dedicated help viewer. I've started doing this with Navigator / Chimera / Camino, so that I have a way to prevent HTML help (like that provided for most Adobe apps) from hijacking my default browser. I've done this by seeking out the index pages of the help docs I want to include, and bookmarking them in Camino. Note that some of these pages are hidden inside application packages and you may not be able to access them by navigating with the browser. In these cases, you will need to Control-click on the package in the Finder, choose 'Open Package Contents' from the contextual menu, locate the required help page, and drag it manually into the browser window. If the business of hunting down the help pages for yourself is too intimidating, simply make the browser you've selected as your help viewer the default browser temporarily, launch each of the apps whose help you want to include, call up the help, and bookmark the page when the browser comes to the front.
An alternative to simply bookmarking help pages is to create your own HTML page with links to the desired help, and make that the browser's default home page. This is what I've done with Camino and it works really well. Using a browser in this way allows you to fine tune window size and other display settings specifically for viewing help files; your default browser can be left the way you like it for browsing the web, and won't have it's 'history' bloated by the dozens of help pages you were looking at while you tried to track down the key combo for creating perspective distortions in Illustrator.
Some help files intended for viewing in Apple's hideously sluggish Help Viewer can also be viewed like this, but may not function correctly. For the record, my Camino personalised help viewer links me to help files for Illustrator, InDesign, Photoshop, LiveMotion, Revolution, Snak and File Buddy, with additional links and bookmarks that lead directly to specific sections of the help docs. Go for it. It's a cinch to set up, and a lot nicer than forcing your default browser to moonlight as a help viewer.
As an alternative to the Finder and the Terminal, you can use Internet Explorer to browse the file system. Just type in file://local and you will see all files, including all hidden files. You can enter application directories (the ones ending in .app) if you want to. If you have different partitions, you might want to use file://local/volumes to access them.
If you do this in Safari, it will open a Finder window. In Netscape, it doesn't do anything (robg's note: In Netscape products, it should work with three slashes, as in file:///Applications).
I use this feature to access help files. I go to the application's folder, and search for a help folder. Most help files are plain HTML, so just click on one, and suddenly you can view the help files -- this is superfast compared to the Help Center.
[robg adds: We've run hints on browsing local files before, but I thought using the browser to both browse and open the help files was a unique concept.]
The most recent nightly builds for Camino include a very convenient text search feature: after your page loads, just begin typing your search string and Camino highlights the first occurrence of the string on the webpage. You can subsequently press Cmd-G to search for further occurrences of the string. This feature saves a trip to the Find dialog box.
[robg adds: I generally stay away from hints on "unreleased" software, such as the nightly builds from Mozilla or Camino. However, this hint has been submitted at least five times in the last couple of weeks, so I'm going to run it. You can download the nightly builds via the above link. You should be aware, though, that the nightly builds may occasionally be less stable than the officially released version.]
[robg adds: Big5-HKSCS is a special supplement to the standard Big-5 character set for use in Hong Kong. Taken from the application to IANA for the extension, the official description is: "To facilitate electronic communication in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), the Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set (HKSCS), a supplement to the standard character set of Big-5, was developed in 1999. This supplementary character set includes characters collected from various sectors in Hong Kong and represents a common set for the community. It has been widely used in Hong Kong."]
It seems that the latest update to QuickTime has gained rudimentary support for PDFs. Using Safari, try clicking a link to a PDF and rather than downloading, the PDF should display within Safari. Dragging and dropping a PDF on Safari also works. I see no sign of navigation for multipage PDFs, thus only the first page displays with no zooming control.
In the MIME Settings portion of the QuickTime system prefs panel, there is now a checkbox for PDF in the still images category.
One other QuickTime change I've noticed is that the QuickTime logo often displays briefly as a flash animation begins loading within Safari.
[robg adds: In order to make this work on my machine, I had to change the MIME setting first -- it wasn't enabled by default. After seeing how it worked, I quickly went back and disabled it! The PDF Broswer plug-in provides much nicer support for inline viewing of PDF files.]
Apple took the user interface for setting the default Web Search page out of the Internet preferences panel. That means you have to override the built-in default in each Web browser, if you don't want to use Excite. I prefer Google, so my example uses Google. To change the default search page, open Terminal, and enter the following (immensely complicated) command all on one line:
Aren't you tired of needing to resize Safari (or other browsers) to the maximum size everytime you open a new wondow?
Well, I found this script.
Have it as your Home Page and it'll zoom the window for you.
[robg adds: I'm not sure I understand the need to zoom every browser window to full size, but this scriptlet will definitely do the trick. Personally, I prefer tabs, so that I set my window size once and then don't pay any attention to it, but I know tabs vs. windows is a matter of personal choice!]
This hint describes a way of changing Safari's default search engine. Unlike the method which was posted a couple of days ago, this method does not block normal access to google.com. This hint assumes you are familiar with the vi text editor.
First, quit Safari and make a backup copy of the application. Then follow these steps:
Launch Terminal, and use the vi editor to open the Safari executable file. The command will probably look like this for most users:
% vi /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/MacOS/Safari
Search for the text google. The first occurrence will be a string that looks like this:
This is the string that needs to be modified.
Change the string to the search engine you'd like to use. When changing this string, two things need to be kept in mind. First, the length of the new string must be the exact same length as the original. Second, you need to have two %@ sequences in the string. The second %@ should represent where your "query" would go in the URL. Here is an example. To make Yahoo! the default search engine, replace the string:
The way I figured this out was by performing a search at yahoo.com for "apple". The URL of the results page was:
So to keep my length constant, I needed to expand the string a little. I added a %@@ at the beginning of the URL. Putting "something@" at the beginning of a URL will not affect the loading of a site. This allowed me to take care of the first %@ sequence I needed to retain. Then I replaced apple with another %@. This is obviously where my 'query' fits into the URL. Finally, I needed to add a bogus (unused) form field to the URL, so that the string would be the correct length. I added &a=0. So if you take a look at the original string, and the new one, the lengths of both strings are identical, as seen above.
Save your changes and quit the editor.
The next time you use Safari's search box, your favorite search engine will be used. Note that if the string you enter is not of the correct length, Safari will fail to launch.
I don't know about you, but I hate downloading Developer Tools to my hard drive, and THEN copying the humongous image file to the mounted cdrom in the Finder. So here's what I do. First I go into Safari's Preferences under the General icon. In the
"Save downloaded files to:" pull down menu, I select "Other" and select the CD-ROM mounted volume in the box. Then I do the download. Safari downloads directly to the CD-ROM mounted volume in one shot.
Only thing you have to remember afterwards is to reset the preference back to the Desktop.
[robg adds: I assume the author has a CD-R mounted, not a CD-ROM, as that wouldn't make any sense. However, I didn't want to change the context of the hint without knowing for sure, so I left it as is -- but I think the essence of the hint is that you can download a file directly to a CD-R then burn it, saving one huge copy step. I don't have a spare CD-R to test this with right now, so if someone tries it, please let us know if it worked.]