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Reclaim missing iDisk space revisited Internet
I have three computers doing a local sync to my iDisk. I use the iDisk to transfer files from one machine to all the rest. When I've put the file on one machine, I move it to a folder named, for example, "To Mini" to indicate that I've got the file at work and on the laptop, and just the Mini needs it now. It's a system that works for me.

Over time, however, I noticed that even though I had about 250MB of files on my iDisk, I only had about 200MB free. I checked my Backup folder and cleared that out, but there was no sign of the missing 550MB on any of the machines.

I then used iDiskUtility to mount the disk manually, and found scads of files I had deleted months ago. I don't know how they were still there, but they weren't showing up on any of the computers. Sometimes, however, I would notice that when my iDisk was syncing, it would say it was syncing those old files, even though they weren't local.

Anyway, with iDiskUtility, I got a fresh look at my iDisk without the local iDisk filtering out files it thought I shouldn't have. I deleted all of the files in question, and now all my iDisks are once again reporting 700+MB of free space.

[robg adds: This previous tip discussed another method of recovering missing iDisk space.]
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10.4: Set 'Location' automatically via a script Internet
Tiger only hintIf you want to set your Mac OS X Location automatically (based on Airport name (SSID) or something else), have a look at this script and launchd item.

Basically, it creates a launchd item that listens for changes in the /Library -> Preferences -> SystemConfiguration directory. And it happens that this directory gets changed every time the network changes. When a change is noticed, a script launches that figures out the SSID and IP addresses, and from there sets the Location based on some rules.

Because the script is simply a bash script, you can make it do lots of stuff based on your current location

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one...]
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Easy access to the .Mac iDisk web interface Internet
.Mac now has a friendly web-based UI for access to iDisk -- there's an iDisk button on your .Mac account's homepage. But if you'd like to get there more easily (via your own bookmark, for instance), here's the direct URL:

Replace your_.Mac_ID with your .Mac username; leave off the "" portion. The iDisk interface is invoked via a JavaScrpt link on the iDisk button, and it may not be super obvious that the above is the URL needed. A simple tip, but hopefully one that saves you some time.
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Stream Sirius satellite radio via VLC Internet
Since Microsoft is no longer supporting Windows Media Player for Mac, they recommend installing the (free) Flip4Mac WMV QuickTime Components to allow QuickTime to play WMV files and embedded movies.

One side effect of installing the Flip4Mac components is that streaming of Sirius Satellite Radio no longer works. Until it's fixed, you can use VLC to do it.

Here is what I did:
  1. Go to Sirius and click on the "listen" link at the top of the page.
  2. Log in, then navigate to the station to which you want to listen.
  3. When the QuickTime controller comes up, click on the downward triangle at the right side and select 'Save as source...'.
  4. Now launch VLC and open the file you saved from the previous step; it seems you must do this via the File: Open menu item, and not via drag and drop.
That's it -- VLC should now start playing the stream.
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How to send .Mac mail when SMTP is blocked Internet
If you travel, or use your laptop at wireless hot spots, you've probably discovered that even though you can read your .Mac email using Apple Mail, many of these providers block access to SMTP, forcing you to send your messages through web mail rather than the Mail app itself. Some people probably find this more secure, and it is, but I'm a creature of habit, and I've got Mail set up with various handy filters that sort my messages and trash spam, etc., which makes it far more convenient to do my mail reading and replying within Mail itself.

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, lots of providers block SMTP, so replying to messages within Mail results in an error. Here's the trick I've discovered to allow sending mail through Mail -- save your email as a Draft, then log onto the .Mac website and complete the sending from there. If you have several messages to send, save them all as Drafts. It's rather strange behavior, when you think about it, that a provider will block access to SMTP, but allow you to upload your drafts to your mail server. But they do. And for someone who's a creature of habit like I am, it's a simple solution to an annoying problem.
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Use the USRobotics 9600 Skype phone with OS X Internet
USRobotics makes a cheap (€25, $30) Skype-compatible USB phone, but they don't provide a Mac driver.

However, the OEM has put out a beta Mac driver and it works! You can download it from this page. You run their at the same time as Skype itself. Don't forget to set Skype's Preferences to use the phone for input and output; it shows up as "USB Audio Device".
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View the iTunes Music Store's source code Internet
I was browsing the iTunes Music Store the other day, and I was thinking; the iTunes Music Store must be a system of XML feeds stored in some far off web server–Apple just forces you to view the XML in iTunes. That thinking got me thinking some more. There must be a way to browse the iTMS in a web browser. So, I started off by opening iTunes and getting a URL. I took the following Saturday Night Live link:
(Broken into two lines for a narrower display here.) Well and good. Type that into your web browser, and you've got iTunes opening the SNL page. So, I tried to circumvent this automagic opening of iTunes; I popped open the OS X Terminal application and typed the following:
curl "\
curl is just a way of downloading the source code of a specified page, for those of you who don't know. It worked, and returned the source code for the page. I skimmed the JavaScript functions in the source, and went to the bottom section of the code. When the body loads, a URL is opened in iTunes. I copied and pasted the first link I found there into Safari. As expected, it opened in iTunes, obviously, as the protocol is itms://; why not just change it to http://?

I did, and the resulting link will will load in your web browser. It just loads the main content of the page, no formatting, but all the source code is there. Browsing it, you'll see all of the XML tags which iTunes takes and makes a beautiful page with. It's not very useful, but it's fun nonetheless!

In summation, to turn a standard iTMS link into a web-browser-ready page, just change the server to, and change the itms:// into http://.

[robg adds: Opening the page in Firefox is much more interesting than in Safari; Safari attempts to interpret the XML, whereas Firefox will just display it in its raw XML format. And yes, this is mainly a hint for the ultra-curious who just like to dig into everything :).]
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10.4: How to use the Swann MacSurfer USB modem Internet
The rather neat Swann MacSurfer USB modem was discontinued over a year ago, and the manufacturer's modem script, which hasn't been updated since Mac OS X 10.2, does not work in 10.3 and 10.4. This is obviously rather frustrating for people like me, who forked out the thick end of $150 for the product a couple of years ago.

Anyway, having a little too much time on my hands, I have worked my way through the modem scripts bundled with Tiger, and discovered that the following script brings the MacSurfer back from the dead:

SupraExpress V.90 USB

I have achieved reliable and repeatable connections of circa 45kbps when hooking my MacSurfer up to a friend's new iMac G5 (iSight model).
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Create a 'password safe' for online passwords Internet
Like many readers, I have three or four online accounts I want to protect. One way is to use good passwords, but how can I remember them or store them securely on my Mac?

I create an encrypted disk image with Disk Utility, and put the disk image into my Documents folder. I set it up as 128 bit AES encrypted, password protetected, and don't add to Keychain. I named the disk image Secret.dmg. Next, I created a blank text document, and copied it to the disk image. Now I just use a password generator (in my case, the freeware PassGenX) and create passwords for my online accounts, and enter them in the text file on the image. Finally, I drag the text file onto the Dock, then unmount the image. (The Dock icon is just an alias to the real doc, obviously.)

Any time I want to look up a password, I click on the file's icon in the Dock, enter the encrypted image password, and open the text file.

A poor man's password safe.
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Archive pre-existing email with Gmail Internet
While this is similar to this previous hint about archiving email to's 2+GB storage for each user, it's a different approach.

The basic premise is that if you can get your email into mbox format (Netscape, Firefox, and Thunderbird use this, for instance), then you can, through the use of a script, resend all the email to Gmail in a way that preserves the date of the original email -- although the Received Date' in Gmail will be today's date, the original date on the email will also be archived properly. Likewise, you can archive all your outbound email as well.

To do this, follow the instructions on this web page. This tip works for both Panther and Tiger systems. And although this is mentioned on the web page, it's not in big bold letters, so I felt it was worth repeating here:

Tiger (10.4) users only have to follow steps one through four, and then step twelve. Panther (10.3) users have to follow all the steps.

I've just migrated 70Mb of mail to Gmail this way and it works great, albeit a bit slow ... but it gets the job done.
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