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A Python-based DVR for FireWire cable boxes Other Hardware
I wrote a nifty little Python module (for OS X only) that allows you to control and record FireWire-connected cable boxes such as the new ones from Comcast! It's simple code, and this post contains a ton of information about how it works and how to use it.

[robg adds: I don't have cable, so I can't test this one ... in glancing at the page, though, it's clearly a CLI-only tool at present, though Ken states he has a close-to-ready GUI to use with it. This older hint provides another option for recording from FireWire cable boxes.]
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A simple fix for Mighty Mouse right-click issues Other Hardware
Here's a simple one-finger solution for Mighty Mouse right-click problems: Use only your index finger for both buttons. Using the index finger for left-clicking and and right-clicking provides reliable operation of the buttons on both sides of the mouse.

Your thumb should not be further forward than the side button on the left side of the mouse. The position of the fingers on the right side of the mouse is relatively unimportant.

For left-handed operation, I could only get the left side of the mouse "unblocked" by lifting my hand completely off the mouse. It seems the area behind the left side button affects the sensing of the buttons as much as the front button areas do.

[robg adds: I've seen occasional reports of issues with left- and right-button recognition on the Mighty Mouse, but the unit I have here doesn't have such problems.]
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Resolve an iChat login issue with certain Netgear routers Other Hardware
A few months back, I replaced my FIOS router when the Verizon-provided model died one day. The replacement worked OK, except for an annoying issue with DNS: every so often, seemingly randomly, my Macs would cease to load any web pages, just sitting there with a "looking for" message. Clearly, there was some sort of DNS problem, but it had me stumped. It didn't matter if I set the DNS on the Mac or on the router, nor which DNS I told it to use. After a few minutes of not working, DNS would magically begin working again, for some other random period of time. (I'm not going to list the router I used, as I'm not sure it's a general problem with this brand; it may be something peculiar to my setup.)

Finally sick of trying to solve this problem, I replaced the router with a Netgear WNR3500 Gigagbit Router (about $105 at various places). Once connected, the DNS issues were gone (and the admin interface is a marked improvement over the router it replaced). However, I then had a new problem: I couldn't reliably login to iChat (using a MobileMe AIM account). Sometimes it would work, but more often than not, it would connect then disconnect rapidly, leading to a message from AIM stating I'd attempted to login too many times, and I'd have to wait a while before trying again.

After much searching, I stumbled upon this thread in the MacRumors Forums, which contained a simple solution: change the AIM server port (in iChat's preferences) to 443, the port for https connections. Make sure you're logged out of iChat, then go to Accounts » Server Settings, and just change the port from whatever it is (5190) to 443, then close iChat's preferences. (You'll need to make this same change on any Mac on your network, of course.)

I'm not sure what's going on with the Netgear and the default port; it may be related to some of the firewall features in the router, but I really don't know. In any event, this change fixed the problem -- iChat is now fully functional. I don't know if other Netgear routers have this same problem, but if they do, try using the https port for iChat for a simple fix.
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Mighty Mouse battery life indicator is very conservative Other Hardware
I'm not sure if this is a hint, but when using the Mighty Mouse, the battery icon flashes when your battery runs low. I used to change the battery as soon as the indicator started blinking. This time, I tried leaving it to see how much longer it would last.

As of today, I've been using it for a week without changing the battery! The flashing battery icon might be annoying, but it will save you money on batteries. Of course, your mileage may vary.

[robg adds: You can get a better sense of the remaining battery life by looking at the Bluetooth tab of the Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences panel. To save money (and the environment) on batteries, try rechargeable versions instead of disposables.]
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Prevent HDMI signal drops from Apple TV to Samsung TV Other Hardware
If you have a Samsung LCD TV and an Apple TV connected to it, it's possible you'll occasionally lose the HDMI signal from the Apple TV -- in particular when you turn off/on the TV. I corrected this problem on my set as follows (thanks to Marco in Apple's Discussion Forum for the help). Note that you'll have to access the Service Menu on your TV.

IMPORTANT: Be careful! This Menu has very important parameters which you should not change at all. You could 'brick' your TV if you change the wrong parameter!
  1. Turn off the TV
  2. If you have a 52" Series 6 model (my case), press 'Mute -- 1 -- 8 -- 2 -- Power.' If you have a Series 5 model, try 'INFO MENU MUTE POWER.'
  3. The TV will start and you will be in the service menu (give it a few extra seconds to get there).
  4. Using the arrows/enter buttons, go into 'Option Table (Service)'
  5. Turn off the following parameters: hotplug and hotplugctr.
  6. Turn off the TV.
That's it; this worked for me and my set no longer loses the HDMI signal from the Apple TV.
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Group movies together by label on Apple TV Other Hardware
I'm pretty sure this is a new feature of the 2.3 update. If you add a Show label (under the Video tab) for a group of movies (for instance, Star Wars) then they will all show up in a sub-folder of that show name. So now, instead of seeing a long list of Star Wars: Episode I, Star Wars, Episode 2, etc., you just get one item with a little arrow next to it indicating there's a sub-folder.
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One possible cure for a flakey USB wireless mouse Other Hardware
If you're having a problem with a wireless USB mouse skipping, double-clicking instead of single-clicking, or otherwise acting weird, and you've tried fooling with the software and the dongle to no avail, consider whether the problem might be with the keyboard...even if the mouse dongle is plugged into the computer, not the keyboard. And even if the keyboard is wired.

I had Logitech send me two mice which seemed totally flaky until I happened to unplug my keyboard, and found that the mouse worked like a champ. Now, whenever the mouse seems fritzy, I unplug and replug the keyboard's USB plug and it all gets better.

Weird, but there you go....
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A collection of tips for those with problematic Apple TVs Other Hardware
I must have gotten a bad first-generation Apple TV -- I've had so many issues troubleshooting it that I've almost become an expert. This afternoon, I finally found the time to write up all my Apple TV troubleshooting tricks, including one that involves a freezer:
But one day I had a bunch of friends over and we wanted to watch a movie on the Apple TV. And wouldn't you know it, the damn thing got too hot and froze again. Restarts weren't working and I didn't have hours to wait for it to cool down. So I tossed my Apple TV in the freezer for 10 minutes. After that, I hooked it back up and it worked fine.

WARNING: Before you even entertain the freezer trick, let me just say this: don't do it. I'm just telling you about something I did to get my Apple TV working again that involved my freezer. If you decide to put your Apple TV in the freezer and it cracks, explodes or gets soaked by an ice cube tray, you can't hold me liable. I'm telling you right now, don't do the freezer trick. Apple TV + Freezer = Don't do it.
From paired remotes and dead batteries to force restarts and preventing overheating with external fans, you can read about the various things I've learned while troubleshooting my Apple TV. If you're having issues, perhaps some will be of use to you as well.

[robg adds: Many of these techniques are documents in the Apple TV Setup Guide (1MB PDF), though in many cases, more detail is provided on the linked site than in the manual.]
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Remap the function keys on a standard PC keyboard Other Hardware
There are several hints here on remapping the function keys on a standard PC keyboard when used with a Mac (in my case, a Mac mini). The standard key map does use F8 to F12, but lacking are volume controls, shut down switch, and others. Several people suggested using ControllerMate or Keyboard Maestro to handle this problem. Here's another solution...

Somewhere, I found a hint suggesting to use Griffin's Proxi to solve this problem. After installing Proxi, create a new trigger by using "insert Trigger" from the little gear icon, then select Hotkey Monitor. You can then choose the desired key. Then select a new task (Insert Task, Key Press). I choose to set up volume control on F4/F5, and mute on F3. This works like a charm.
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Remap the function keys on the wireless keyboard Other Hardware
I just bought a new Apple wireless keyboard, and got annoyed that F4 was hard-wired to the Dashboard, so here's what I did to change it. Warning! Driver hacking follows! Remember to back up the driver first, in order to avoid a possible major malfunction of the keyboard.

In Terminal, do:
sudo vi /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHIDKeyboard.kext
Go to line 349, which is where the function key definitions reside. I haven't fully decoded the system yet, but I think that it works like this: Key,Function. For example:
0x0007003a is the F1 key without the "fn" key pressed, and 0xff010021 is the code to decrease the screen's brightness. Based on that, here's my ugly hack. I changed 0x0007003d to 0x0007004d -- this apparently made the system think I pressed fn-F4 or something. Either way, it works, and it shows the desktop as I wanted it to.

Save the file and reload the driver with:
kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHIDKeyboard.kext && kextload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleHIDKeyboard.kext
I'm still working on decoding the "functions" to get full control over my keyboard. For instance, changing 0x0007003d,0xff010002 to 0x0007003d,0x000C00EA works as it should -- it changes the volume as expected.

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one; if you're going to do so, proceed with caution, given you're changing a system driver file.]
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