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One possible fix for a broken Mighty Mouse right click Other Hardware
I bought myself a wireless Mighty Mouse during Apple's Black Friday sale. For the life of me, I could not get the right-click to work, even after enabling it in the System Preferences panel. I tried tapping all over the place on the right side of the mouse and it worked maybe one out of twenty times as I muttered "Why couldn't they just build a real two-button mouse?"

Finally I called Apple, intent on getting my money back. I connected to the tech support department and explained the problem. He put me on hold for a few minutes and then came back and asked me to try something:
  1. Turn off the mouse
  2. Take out the batteries
  3. Put the batteries back in
  4. Turn it back on
I thought he was kidding and wondered "What good will that do? I've turned it on and off several times since I bought it." Well, apparently the key is taking out the batteries, because it is working flawlessly now. (Still no solution for the carpal-tunnel-inducing side buttons, though. What were they thinking?!)
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One method of cleaning a Mighty Mouse scroll ball Other Hardware
If the scroll ball of your Apple Mighty Mouse is sticking or does not move the cursor, first try cleaning it with a dust free cloth and rubbing alcohol. Be sure to unplug it first, and allow it some time to dry thoroughly before plugging it back in. If it still does not work, you can try my solution: roll a thin strip of tape underneath the ball mechanism.

I can't guarantee that this will work for everybody, and I don't know why this worked for me, but it's a hell of alot easier than taking the mouse apart. I take no resposibility for anything that goes wrong, or breaks as a result of these steps. But you should have no problems.

[robg adds: I haven't tried this one, but I may have to do so soon, as I've heard reports of sticking rollerballs on older Mighty Mice.]
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Play audio CDs without excessive noise Other Hardware
I often want to use my iBook G4 to play audio CDs using iTunes, but the noise from the CD drive makes it a horrible experience, especially with my wooden desk amplifying the iBook's vibrations. I don't know why the drive thinks it must spin so fast just for a plain audio CD.

Solution: Before you insert the disc, stick a small square of Scotch Magic Tape (or other quality well-sticking but easy-to-remove sticky tape) on the non-playing surface of the CD, closer to the perimeter than the centre. Make sure the tape is well stuck (no part of the tape sticking up or off the edge) otherwise it might come off while inside the drive and then we'll have real trouble. Best to cut the tape with scissors so all the edges are flat rather than tearing it using the dispenser because that will leave a zig-zag edge which may not stick down completely flat.

How it works: When the drive starts playing the CD, it will try to speed up like normal, but because it feels the CD is off-balanced (because of the tape) it will automatically slow down again and play perfectly, without excessive drive noise.

[robg adds: If you're going to try this (I haven't, and don't plan to), please be extraordinarily careful -- if that piece of tape comes off inside your drive, it will not be a fun repair project. An alternative might be to simply copy the AIFF files from the CD to the Mac and then play them using QuickTime Player or other audio player (this is all assuming you don't want to import the songs to iTunes for some reason).]
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A possible Boot Camp and DVI to Video adapter issue Other Hardware
I have a Mac Pro with the ATI X1900 XT graphics card, and I'm using an Apple DVI to Video adapter for TV out. Since I have upgraded the firmware to Mac Pro EFI Firmware Update 1.1, loading Windows via BootCamp is no longer possible: it freezes before the progress bar finishes.

I have found that the problem comes from the DVI to Video adapter -- if I unplug it, all works fine.

[robg adds: I can't test this one here...]
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How to rip .VRO files from DVD video recorders Other Hardware
Last night I was presented with a DVD-RW that had a recording (of a portion of a local television news broadcast) created with a DVD video recorder. I've heard people talk about not being able to play these disks in other devices (such as computers or regular DVD players). I slapped it into my MacBook Pro and, when it mounted almost immediately on my Desktop, I thought I was home free. Not so much.

The mounted volume contained one folder that appeared to be locked (it had the "locked" badge on it). I could open it in the Finder, but it appeared to contain no files. I launched Terminal and cd'ed into the folder. When I tried to ls, I was told I had insuffiecient privileges. A quick sudo (via !!) later I was greeted with two files: VR_MOVIE.INF and VR_MOVIE.VRO. The first of these was something like 16KB, while the other was just over 1GB. Bingo. But no. All attempts to copy the .VRO file were in vain.

I tried VLC, Handbrake, Mac the Ripper, DVD Player, Disk Utility, iSquint, and maybe a couple other things ... all to no avail.

I finally decided to try Toast and just burn a copy of the thing for later. Toast recognized the DVD, but informed me that I was not allowed to copy it. Toast also displayed a hint that I could add the titles via the Video -> Media tab. Sure enough, there is a pop-up menu in the media drawer that allows you to specify DVD. When I switched to that, I was presented with a list of chapters. I was able to grab the chapter I wanted and rip it directly to a Toast DVD image. Once the resulting image was mounted, it contained the standard VIDEO_TS folder and played normally in QuickTime Player. I was then able to transcode the chapter with HandBrake.

So there you have it. If you want to get video data off a DVD recorded in a DVD video recorder, Toast is the way to go.
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One possible solution for a non-functional SuperDrive Other Hardware
After some recent software updates, my SuperDrive simply stopped mounting DVDs. A Google search pointed (at last) to the solution: PatchBurn, "...a program that generates and installs so called device profiles for CD/DVD-burners". I downloaded that program, ran it, and rebooted. After that, my SuperDrive worked correctly.

[robg adds: PatchBurn is typically used to add support for third-party burners to OS X -- it's use in that context was covered in this hint. It's also been mentioned in a number of comments over the years. This is the first I've heard of it being used to repair a stock SuperDrive, however.]
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Use multiple tuners with EyeTV Other Hardware
The dual tuner in the Elgato Diversity got me wondering: if the EyeTV software supports dual tuners, then what would happen if you plugged in two separate tuners? Well, I discovered that it works perfectly, even with different EyeTV models. I'm using the DTT and the Hybrid on my 1.66 GHz Mac Mini. They allow me to:
- Watch two channels
- Record one channel and watch another
- Record two channels

[kirkmc adds: I haven't tested this.]
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Change a remote radioShark's station via AppleScript Other Hardware
I thought this simple AppleScript applet might be useful to someone else, so I'm posting it here...

It allows you to change the station on a radioShark attached to a remote Mac. You will need Remote Apple Events enabled in the Sharing System Preferences pane of the machine to which the radioShark is attached.

To use it, just copy and paste the AppleScript code directly into Script Editor. (It can also be downloaded directly from my site). Note: Don't forget to change the two instances of the remote address (the eppc:// URL) in the script to the address of the machine that has your RadioShark attached.

The AppleScript uses Growl; if you don't have Growl installed, you can safely delete the last section of the script (everything after the Notify tuning using Growl comment).
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Use an iSight as a basic remote control device Other Hardware
My wife and I like watching iTunes videos, but wish we had a remote control for our iMac G5 to pause playback from the couch. So I hacked up this crude script, which lets you toggle iTunes playback with iSight and a flashlight. It uses Dethe Elza's PySight, a Python wrapper around Tim Omernick's CocoaSequenceGrabber.

To make this work, you will need to install both the Developer Tools and
PyObjC. For the stock Python install on 10.3 and 10.4, use PyObjC 1.3.7.

Download PySight, and compile the included CocoaSequenceGrabber to your /Library/Frameworks directory. To compile, open the CocoaSequenceGrabber.xcode file in Xcode, choose 'Upgrade a copy' in the Project menu, set the the Active build configuration to 'Deployment,' click the Build button, and then after compilation is complete, copy the CocoaSequenceGrabber.framework folder in build/Deployment to /Library/Frameworks). The PySight folder that is inside the downloaded PySight folder should be installed to your Python site-packages directory: /Library/Python/2.3/site-packages/

You can test installation by running Python in the terminal, python, and then trying >>> import PySight. If you don't get any errors, you should be good to go.
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Sort iTunes MP3 tracks properly on a Sansa m200 Other Hardware
I recently bought a Sansa m260 MP3 player. To my surprise, I found that its default behaviour appeared to be to play the tracks on my albums in alphabetical order, instead of in track order. Grrrr. SanDisk says to use Windows Media Player on WinXP to fix this problem. I'd much rather use iTunes under OS X!

Here is the solution I came up with, which made the Sansa properly-order my iTunes-generated MP3s. It requires a shell script and a Perl script, and you'll want to run it on a backup copy of your iTunes library, just in case something goes wrong.
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