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10.5: Access secure sites with Parental Controls active Internet
Although I haven't been blessed with children yet, I was helping my neighbor the other day who has a bundle of them. She wanted to set up Parental Controls, which worked great, except as soon as the internet filter was turned on, Gmail broke.

The short explanation is that the filtering also filters secure communications (i.e., https), but it's buggy in the current version. I couldn't find any fix, but there's a pretty easy workaround: just add any secure websites you want to access to the "Always Allow" list (under Customize). For example, to get GMail to work, just add "google.com" to the Always Allow list.

The filtering still works pretty well, considering most children probably aren't going to many different secure websites.

[robg adds: I haven't tried this one.]
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Change Google Gmail Notifier check interval Internet
If you're using Google's Notifier in your menu bar to check your Gmail, you might have noticed that there is no longer an option to change the check interval (or maybe I'm crazy, but I swore it was there before). I think it is currently set to 10 minutes, but I like it to update more often, especially if I've already gone through the mail that is new.

You can adjust the interval by clicking on the mail icon and then holding down the Command and Option keys while clicking on Preferences. This will pop open a box for a key/value pair. Use AutocheckInterval as the key (case-sensitive) and then set the interval (in minutes) for it to check as the value.
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Access iDisk via Cyberduck to avoid Finder issues Internet
I have nothing but constant trouble with Finder's WebDAV access with iDisk -- every other hour I'm logging in and out of MobileMe, or waiting five minutes to simply copy a file. It's slow, unreliable, and almost unusable.

One solution? Access it using the open source Cyberduck program's WebDAV support. If you use QuickConnect from the toolbar, just enter https://idisk.mac.com/membername in the dialog box to connect. For use in a bookmark or from the Open Connection dialog, select WebDAV (HTTP/SSL) as the Protocol and enter /membername in the More Options section.

[robg adds: Many years back, we covered using Goliath for iDisk access. Goliath hasn't been updated since 2002, however. I've not had too much trouble with the iDisk in 10.5, but my use is pretty light (mainly for backups). Another alternative is Transmit, which includes iDisk access. If you have a favorite alternative iDisk access tool, feel free to comment on it.]
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Use simple URLs for some iTunes Store item links Internet
I found out that you can use a simple (and more intuitive) URL format to link to various items on the iTunes Store, at least for some categories. For example:
  • Artist or App Store developer: http://itunes.com/ArtistOrDeveloperName
  • iPhone/iPod touch app: http://itunes.com/app/AppName
  • Movie: http://itunes.com/movie/MovieTitle
  • TV show: http://itunes.com/tv/ShowTitle
URLs are case-insensitive. For multi-word titles, you should remove the spaces, for example, http://itunes.com/kanyewest. I couldn't, however, figure out a more intuitive way to link to individual songs or albums.

[robg adds: This worked for the handful of movies, artists, and App Store apps and developers I tested it with. I had mixed luck with TV -- you can link to series, like 30 Rock, but I couldn't figure out how to link to a particular show, or to any of the CSI series, for instance.]
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A caution on MobileMe outbound email domain filtering Internet
This is a hint regarding a serious problem for MobileMe users: Outgoing mail via smtp.me.com may not actually be sent if it is sent to certain domains. If a message is caught in this domain filter, it is silently dropped without notification to the user. None of the recipients of the message will receive it, even if they are not in the filtered domain. This problem occurs with mail sent through Apple's Mail app, on the iPhone or on Mac computers. It does not happen when sending via the MobileMe webmail interface. So far, only spamcop.net has been identified as a domain filtered by smtp.me.com, but there may be others.

This problem is testable and repeatable as of this writing; you can test it yourself as follows. On a Mac or iPhone, use Mail to create a new message using your MobileMe account. In the To field, put support@spamcop.net, in the CC field, enter a valid personal email address, and in the Subject field, put test, then send the message. You will not receive the cc message, and you will not receive an acknowledgment from spamcop.net. Try sending from a non MobileMe account; you will receive both very quickly.

More discussion of the problem can be found in this thread on Apple's discussions site. This has been happening for months, apparently since the transition from mac.com. The problem has been reported to Apple, and apparently some in frontline support are aware of it, but others are not. In the meantime, all MobileMe users should be aware that their outgoing mail is apparently filtered by domain. If you're sending to a spamcop.net address, be aware that the mail will not be sent to any recipient, nor will you be notified of the problem.

[robg adds: I can confirm this is still happening as of this morning.]
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A pair of scripts to simplify posting videos to YouTube Internet
We have had a few video cameras, but it was always a real pain to submit short video clips to YouTube. Basically, I would need to create a short movie in a program like iMovie or Final Cut Express and then export it. This is something that is too complicated for my wife, so she asked me for some way to simply drag and drop a video onto an icon in her dock.

I put together these two scripts to automate that process. Just install youtube into /usr/bin/local, and youtube.app into /Applications (and then drag it to your Dock). First, here's the youtube shell script: You need to have ffmpeg installed, of course -- I suggest MacPorts -- and you may need or want to modify the above shell script to set the ffmpeg options, or the path to ffmpeg. Remember to make the script executable, too.
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Use IMAP mail as a simple text doc sync and backup Internet
While there are a lot of solutions for syncing documents and backing them up, sometimes I want something that is quick and lightweight.

I have my email client (Mail.app for me), set up with a Gmail account over IMAP. Since I always have Mail open anyway, I often just create a new draft message and start typing. Every time I save, the text is uploaded to Gmail's servers (aka, a backup). Even better, I can edit this doc anywhere. My other computer (same email setup) has already grabbed the draft, and I can just open it up and work on it. And if I'm somewhere else, I can hop on Gmail's web interface. When I'm done, I just copy and paste it all into a serious editor.

Personally, I like this better than something like Google Docs, because I always have Mail open (plus, Google Docs is very JavaScript heavy).
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Use GeekTool/curl/perl to watch sale web pages Internet
I frequently watch "one thing at a time" sale pages such as Chainlove for good deals on (in my case) cycling gear. These sites sell only one thing at a time, at fairly steep discounts, until the item is gone, then they move to the next thing. This site provides software to let you know when new things come up for sale, but it's Windows-only. They also provide an RSS feed, which is slow enough that I get notifications about the latest sale just after it's over.

GeekTool/curl/perl to the rescue: The Chainlove site changes the title to the page each time they put something new up. This command uses curl to grab the chainlove.com page and send it to perl, which searches for the title tags and prints out whatever is between those tags:
curl -s www.chainlove.com | perl -nle 'print for m:<title>(.*)</title>:'
I then use GeekTool to run that command once every 10 minutes or so, and print the results to a "windowless window" on my desktop. There are probably better ways of doing this, but this works well. The same snippet of code can be modified to look at any desired webpage, or part of a webpage other than the title tag if so desired.
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10.5: Sync Gmail Calendars with iCal Internet
Google has opened up their calendar system so that you can have real two-way sync of your online Gmail calendars with iCal. You can set up multiple calendars with what appears to be full iCal functionality, and have them "push" changes to Google. You can read their detailed instructions for help getting things going. (You'll then need to click the Enable Google Calendar in Apple's iCal link on that page.)

With these new abilities, the workarounds mentioned in this hint and comments are no longer necessary.
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Publish non-MobileMe-account protected iCal calendars Internet
Everybody knows that it's possible to publish an iCal calendar to MobileMe. This way, the calendar will be accessible by anybody. It's also possible to protect the calendar with a password. The downside is that you have to give out your MobileMe login info if you want to share this calendar with somebody.

This hint explains how to publish a password-protected calendar to MobileMe, using a different login. The first step is to build a password-protected website using iWeb. In the Site tab of the iWeb inspector panel, you can set a name and password for accessing the site. This login can (and should) be a different one than the MobileMe account. Let's name this site SharedCal. You can just add a single template page to the site and then publish it to MobileMe.

Now, we have to publish our calendar. These are the steps:
  1. Select the calendar you want to publish from the Calendars list in iCal. Let's say that this calendar has the name MyCal.
  2. Choose Publish from the Calendar menu. Select the changes, subjects, alarms and to do options you want.
  3. Click Publish on a web server to enable that option.
  4. In the URL field, enter http://idisk.me.com/username/Web/Sites/SharedCal/, where username is your MobileMe account. Enter your MobileMe username in the Login field. Enter your MobileMe password in the Password field.
  5. Click Publish.
Once you've published the calendar, if you want to share it with a friend, you can just give him/her this URL:
http://web.me.com/username/SharedCal/MyCal.ics
They will then be able to subscribe to this calendar using iCal, entering the website username and password we set in iWeb.

[robg adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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