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Reset a stuck internet connection Internet
Lately, my dialup connection gets wedged, and I cannot disconnect and reconnect, because the GUI seems to be stuck. I found a quick fix. If you send a HUP signal to the pppd process, it unwedges everything, and disconnects.

"Sending a signal" is a UNIX thing, and it requires you to use the Terminal. First, type ps ax to list all the processes and numbers. The numbers are the first digits in each line of results, and they're important for the next step. Find the pppd process, and then issue a kill command: kill -HUP 1234, where 1234 is replaced by the id for pppd process you found in the previous step.
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Workaround for secure Java applet problems Internet
Some java applets on secure sites (online banking for example) won't work on OS X. This affects both Internet Explorer and Mozilla (with MRJ Plugin). Other browsers using the Java implementation on OS X are probably similarly affected.

The browser's status bar will show an "applet not initialized" message, and the Java console will tell you that a javax.net.ssl.SSLException is thrown. This may be caused by a bug known to Apple - the Java implementation has trouble with certain SSL certificates. Until Apple fixes this problem, they suggest a fairly simple workaround (unfortunately, you will need a Windows version of Internet Explorer for this):
  1. Access the problematic site with Internet Explorer on Windows. Click on the padlock item and export the certificate to a file.

  2. Copy the certificate to your Mac.

  3. Use the command
    sudo keytool -import -trustcacerts -keystore[space]
    /Library/Java/Home/lib/security/cacerts -file mycert.cer
    to import the certificate file to your keystore (substitute mycert.cer with the name of the file containing the certificate). Note that the above command is shown on two lines; replace [space] with an actual space character and enter the command as one line. The keystore is password protected - the default password is "changeit".

  4. Restart your browser and enjoy!
[Editor's note: Anyone out there have a Java site they have trouble accessing? Does this fix work? I don't have any sites that I can use here to test it with.]
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EasyDNS dynamic IP client available Internet
If you register a domain with EasyDNS, you can use dynamic IP mapping (i.e. use your cable/DSL connection with a varying IP and map it to a fixed domain). However, there is no Mac OS X client to update the IP on connect on EasyDNS's web site.

I created a client that works perfectly with OS X. You need to use the command line to set it up, but after that you are fine and will likely never see it again. It's available for download from the EasyDNS page of my website.

[Editor's note: I use DynDNS.org for my dynamic IP naming, but if you use EasyDNS, you may wish to try Novajo's client.]
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AT&T Broadband installation tips Internet
I recently moved to ATT Broadband, and it wasn't a very smooth experience. Let me pass on a few hints from my experience that may make your transition a bit smoother.
  1. I had to run the cable myself from the house entry point to my Mac for various reasons. If you do the same, us RG6 and DBS-quality splitters, not RG59 and regular cable TV splitters.

  2. Don't anticipate the process by creating a location before the installation. Set the location to "Automatic" and let the installer create the location (this isn't documented in their process!). I tried the pre-installation "trick" and ended up with the appearance of network traffic (I've got Network Statistics in my dock) but no working internet connection. From the error message window, I got to some help docs that showed me how to uninstall their software and start over.

  3. The software installation process wasn't smooth. They offer an OS X installer, very nice at first, but then it calls on Classic for part of the process, a bit weird. Then, the process crashed just after it was supposed to install software, with an error message about "Service Manager couldn't be integrated with your network software". After some time on hold, the tech rep told me the installer has a known bug like this. He gave me a website that I could reach with a browser to complete the account activation process. That website process ends without clear instructions for what to do next. You're supposed to cycle power on the cable modem to have it reconfigured for your account.

  4. The process tells you to get a pair of numbers off your work order left by the installer. Fat chance trying to find it! There's a secret that the installers frequently forget to tell the new customer: the subscriber number on the work order is your account number, and the last nine digits of the subscriber number is your access code.
Hopefully these tips will save some grief for those of you who may be installing AT&T Broadband under OS X.
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Securely connect to WebDAV servers Internet
I'm always a little concerned about using WebDAV services insecurely across HTTP. However, the Apple WebDAV client cannot use SSL ... until now. Just grab and install these two packages - OpenSSL and Stunnel. Both compile right up on Mac OS X, so just follow the instructions inside. After compiling, use the following Terminal command to start stunnel:
 % /usr/local/sbin/stunnel -c -d :1999 -r server:443
Replace server with the name of the system with the secure WebDAV service. Next, use the Connect to server command in the Finder and enter the following address:
 http://127.0.0.1:1999/service_name/
Replace service_name with the remainder of the WebDAV URL on the remote system.

This works by creating an insecure connection between the WebDAV client and stunnel, both running on your local machine, and a secure connection between stunnel and the remote machine. Note that iDisk does *not* support a secure connection, so this tip won't help with iDisk.
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Test drive Apple's beta webmail program Internet
Sometime in the last day or two, Apple added a public webmail beta program to the iTools home page. So what's that have to do with Marvin Martian seen at right? Keep reading...

The beta is probably the best implementation of a webmail system that I've yet seen, and I've tried a number of them (yahoo, webmail, and others). The clean interface is lifted from mail.app, but what makes the program so usable is the expanded feature set. You can create folders for storing mail, search for message content from the main page, easily select all messages, control how many messages are viewed per page, enable email forwarding and auto-replies, and check other POP mail accounts. These features alone make Apple's webmail program very useful ... and, of course, you can access it from a PC or a Mac (unlike iTools itself).

The truly unique feature, though, is its integration with mail.app. As you may (or may not) know, you can associate images with various names in your address book, and future emails from those individuals will appear with their picture at the top of the email. The new Apple webmail program takes this one step further. You can now upload your image to be used on mail you send from webmail, which is a nice touch.

What's more interesting is that mail.app running locally in OS X has some interaction with the compilation of public images on the webmail server. If you use mail.app and receive mac.com mail from someone who has their image stored on the webmail server, you will see their picture in the email. Previously, you would have needed to have that image saved locally first in your Address Book application.

Give the webmail beta a try if you're looking for a good way to check your email (mac.com and other POP accounts) from anywhere. And upload an image if you'd like to let everyone know what you look like; I've included mine on this post so you can recognize future emails from me ... hey, nobody said you had to use your actual photo!
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A reason to launch Java Web Start Internet
OS X 10.1 brought Java WebStart to our X world ... "Ok, but why do I care?" you might ask. Java Web Start enables the latest Java applications to be run using a single mouse click (yes, zero config!) on your Mac box thru the JNLP specification (using XML & HTTP).

Technology is great but real things are better, so on UP2GO.NET you will get nearly a hundred applications. This site also offers ratings, spot light, 10 best, user ratings and comments. The site is still under construction but ideas seem to be welcomed.

[Editor's note: I admit I had hardly touched Java Web Start until I got this hint. Many of the apps on the site will not run (I tried quite a few), but a good number do run when clicked in Mozilla. When the download window pops up, just make sure "Open with Java Web Start" is selected and everything should be automatic. One of the more impressive things to see running was JavaZOOM, a clone of the WinAmp MP3 player. It loaded and played my MP3s, although its CPU utilization is notably higher than that of iTunes ;-).

One note of caution - when you launch some of these programs, you are giving them full permission to access your machine. They could do malicious things to your system without your knowledge. I stuck to apps that had an editor's review, and made sure I had a good backup prior to experimenting. With that warning stated, I don't expect that anything on the site is malicious.

There may be other sites with collections of Java Web Start apps on them, but I haven't seen any other than this one.]
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Make invisible Public Folder iDisks visible again Internet
Sometimes when you try to access a public folder on someone's iDisk, the iDisk won't show up on the Desktop. All you have to do is logout and log back in and the iDisk will show up.

[Editor's note: Although this has not happened to me, I have heard reports of it from a couple of friends and elsewhere on the web. I would have thought that logging out would have dropped the iDisk connections, but this hint claims otherwise. Can anyone who is experiencing this problem verify the potential fix? Also, is there a command-line method of achieving the same result that would save a logout?]
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Share an internet connection with a Win98 PC Internet
I use my PC to connect to the Internet and then browse, send mail etc. via Windows 98 Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). Why? The modem on my PC always connects faster, and more importantly, I have CallWave internet answering machine for which there is no Mac client.

HOW: First install ICS on Windows 98SE, the PC will be 192.168.0.1 and set the OS X machine's IP to anything in the private IP range 192.168.x.2 - 192.168.x.254. Under System Prefs -> Built-in Ethernet, set the following:

Configure: Manually
IP Address: As stated above
Subnet Mask: 255.255.255.0
Router: 192.168.0.1
DNS: 192.168.0.1

I paste the DNS in when I am ready to connect and delete it when I am done to cut down on the time OS X takes to shutdown. There's some involved permanent solution but this works for me.

[Editor's note: I have not tested this at home as my connection is shared via a router, but the basic premise is the same. Simply point the OS X box at the PC which is essentially acting as the router. Installing ICS is left as an exercise for the reader; this is, after all, a Mac-biased website!]
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Fixing misnamed downloads Internet
I've noticed when downloading programs from some sites that the file often doesn't show the proper name, but shows the name of the Perl script which initiated the download. (eg, filename.pl). This usually shows as a text file or generic document.

Experimenting by renaming the .pl extension to either .sit or .dmg, usually solves the problem as downloads are usually Stuffit files or Disk Images.

[Editor's note: I haven't noticed this problem in Mozilla...]
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