If you are like me, you want to keep an eye on your private e-mails even when you're working. In my company, all ports except the ones for FTP and HTTP are blocked, so there's no chance to run e-mail client software such as Mail. I also don't want to log into my mail account every hour (IT/help desk is watching you...), or install a special widget or menulet -- but now I've found a nice way to stay informed about new messages in my Gmail mailbox.
The following assumes you have Safari running all the time, and that you're using Gmail (or any other mail account with an RSS feed available).
Download the Safari Dock Status SIMBL plug-in. Eventually you have to install SIMBL as well. With the help of SIMBL, you can extend some aspects of Safari (and other applications). Both are free, but install them at your own risk.
SIMBL comes with an installer, but the Safari Dock Status extension has to be manually placed into /Library » Application Support » SIMBL » Plugins.
Log into your Gmail account and activate the "keep me logged in" option. Of course, it's helpful if you're the only person that has access to your computer, and/or the account is password locked.
Now you're in your inbox. Click the RSS icon in the location bar. The RSS feed of your Mailbox is shown. Click the plus sign icon to add the page to your Bookmarks -- the best place would be the favorites bar.
Remove all other folders and bookmarks with RSS feeds (like the News folder) in the favourites bar placed there by default. If you are like me, you don't need them any way on your work machine; I just use them at home. If you don't remove them, you won't know if there's a new mail message, or just a new news entry.
From now on, you'll have a little number on the Safari dock icon (Safari has to be running, obviously) showing the count of new mails in your Gmail inbox. Click the Bookmark you added before to get more information about the messages.
The following Applescript code makes Skype start a call, waits 60 seconds for reply, and when a reply is received, it will start video sending (there's no need for Skyp's auto-send-video option to be on). You can start this script in many ways:
Use Mail rules configured to start the script if subject or content matches some rules you decide (the parameters here are fake, do not try this on my email). Go to Mail » Preferences, select Rules, create a new rule, choose the conditions you want to trigger the call, and under 'Perform the following action,' select 'Run AppleScript' and find your saved script.
Insert some code in a PHP script -- something like (untested code): <?php $Res=`osascript -e "~/callme.scpt"`; ?>. In this way, a web page/link can start video sending. Instead of PHP, you may call a shell script directly via the web.
Schedule a call with iCal. Create an event, and under Alarm, choose "Run script."
Use as a folder action: when someone opens or modifies a folder, be called.
Be called every time someone switches on your computer (but see below note about Skype running first; you'll need to put a long delay at the start of the script.)
Security/privacy seems OK, as the scripts only call a fixed location. And I think the API does not allow concurrent calls (no DOS attack). Do not use this to spy on other users, as the Skype call window will flicker once when the call is made, even if the process is hidden, so they will know something is happening. Read on for the script.
Here's how I got Bloomberg Radio working on my Mac. First, download and install both Windows Media Player for Mac OSX and Flip4Mac from this page on Microsoft's site. Then create the following file, and name it Bloomberg_Radio.asf:
If you search the Apple Discussion boards you will see a lot of discussions like this one -- they're all about Airport and Ethernet internet connections dropping. I think I have figured out a solution to the problem (I use 10.5.3), as I was having it as well.
With certain routers, OS X will choose to use the address of the router as the DNS server's IP address. Therefore, it will first try and contact the router to get DNS info, and only after a while will it find it's way to the net. I had a new MacBook Pro with this issue, as well as a new iMac. The latter fortunately showed the wrong DNS server IP (grey fonts), but the Macbook didn't.
The solution is to go in the Network System Preferences panel and select 'Manually' instead of 'Using DCHP'. Then fill in the IP address, subnet mask, router address, and DNS server address. Click 'Advanced' and then go to the 'DNS' tab to verify whether the correct DNS IP has been entered, or to enter multiple DNS IP addresses. While in the Advanced section, make sure that under the 'TCP/IP' tab, 'Configure Ipv4' is set to 'Manually,' and 'Configure IPv6' is set to 'off.'
This should do the trick for most people. So remember, if one has a dropping internet connection and no DNS server IP has been entered, the OS may be trying to contact the router rather than the DNS server of the ISP. Therefore, the correct DNS IP addresses need to be filled in.
[robg adds: I haven't experienced this myself, but generally use static IP addressing all the time. If there are other theories on the problem/solution, please post them.]
For a while I've been annoyed at Mail.app's creation of the Apple Mail To Do folder on my IMAP server (I use Dreamhost). No matter what I did, it just wouldn't stay gone. There's this hint, and there are some thoughts in the comments, but no real fixes.
I returned to my problem today, and found that by going into Mail » Preferences » Composing, I was able to solve the problem. In the 'Create Notes & To Do's in:' drop-down menu, select On My Mac. Close the preferences, then delete the Apple Mail To Do folder on the server.
That's it! No more 'Apple Mail To Do' folder on the server; just locally.
Some email providers allow parental controls, that is, a way to monitor a child's use of email. Gmail, however, does not. Here's one way to monitor the amount of time your child spends on Gmail. First, if you have not already done so, create a Gmail account of your own. In iChat preferences under accounts, create a Gmail jabber account -- Google provides more detailed instructions about this on their site.
Then, make sure that chat is turned on on your child's Gmail account. This is easy to do, as the button is located at the bottom of the Gmail inbox page. Make sure that your child does not disable chat, obviously. Then, make your child a buddy who appears in your buddy list. iChat will now show when they log in and out of Gmail, so long as you keep iChat open.
You can even make a customized sound to alert you when they log in. You can make note of the time when they log in, or start a chat with them, and iChat will automatically note the exact time. This can be used to know exactly how long your child spends on their Gmail account.
[robg adds: While this isn't an ideal solution -- you have to be at your own machine with iChat running, for one -- it does provide at least some level of knowledge about someone else's Gmail usage. There is, of course, a much larger question about how to best monitor and control your children's computer usage in general ... and that's one question I'm not looking forward to facing in a couple of years!]
This is for people who have a Gmail account, but prefer to get their mail in Mail or Entourage using a POP connection to Gmail. This will keep your Gmail from accumulating online forever. Instead, it will be deleted from Gmail online after 30 days. There are only two steps to this hint:
Use the 'recent' option in your POP email client.
Set up a filter in Gmail that deletes mail that is from your Gmail address.
Step one is tricky and has major consequences. Change your POP client's user id settings from firstname.lastname@example.org to recent:myaccount@gmail. When you do this, all of the email from the last 30 days will be received by your email client. When I say all, I mean both sent and received mail, but not mail that is in the trash.
The trick is to make sure "leave mail on server" is not activated in your email client's settings. This causes Gmail to throw the last 30 days of email in the trash! Once it is in the trash, it will be automatically deleted after 30 days.
Step two is straightforward but the reasoning is a bit hard to follow.
There have been discussions about sharing Address Book contacts through LDAP, and there have been many suggestions such as running OpenLDAP, using .Mac, or running dedicated apps on your Mac. In this day and age of Google Apps, I would think that someone (Google?) would have come up with a shared LDAP server that is free or low cost. Yes, there's Plaxo, but it's not LDAP -- standards exist for a reason, and Apple has included LDAP client capabilities in Address Book for a while.
Then I stumbled on FreeLDAP.org. I think this is the only free LDAP server available on the Internet that could be used by multiple users accessing the same database. The setup instructions on the site do not work with the Mac's Address Book. However, while browsing through their forums, I found this setup which works for me on my 10.4 system.
First you have to signup for a new free account at freeLDAP.org, and remember the username and password. Then, in Address Book, go into Preferences » LDAP and choose New. Enter the following information:
I always found it annoying that when I start Huawei's MobileConnect application, I must first enter the PIN for accessing the SIM card of my USB 3G modem before I can connect to the provider. Luckily, the program is rather verbose with debug output. So it was quite easy to retrieve the essential part for entering the PIN. It simply consists of some good old Hayes AT modem-communication commands.
I wrote a Perl script that fetches the PIN to your SIM card from a Keychain entry. In order to use this script, you have to create a Keychain entry under the account simpin. Here's how:
Open Keychain Access (in Applications » Utilities)
Menu: File » New Password Item
Keychain Item Name: Enter something useful to you.
Account Name: simpin
Password: Enter the PIN to your SIM card (usually a number)
Note: when the script is executed for the first time, a window will appear asking you to allow it to access this keychain entry.
In my opinion, the easiest way to execute this perl script is by wrapping it in an Automator workflow:
Search for Run Shell Script
Drag the Run Shell Script action to the large field at right.
Select /usr/bin/perl for Shell, and set "Pass input" to 'to stdin'.
Copy the perl script and paste it into the code field (delete example code first).
Give it a test by pressing Run; just make sure you haven't entered the PIN already. If you have, disconnect the 3G modem briefly and wait a short while. Normally, you should be asked to allow access to the keychain entry.
Many (but not yet all) YouTube videos are available in higher-quality QuickTime versions, and many sites have published methods of downloading those higher quality versions. However, this blog post contains a slick bookmarklet that actually replaces the YouTube Flash video player with the embedded QuickTime player, then plays the high quality video in the QuickTime player.
[robg adds: To use the bookmarklet, just drag it from the linked page to your bookmarks toolbar. Load a video in YouTube, then click the link in your toolbar. The page will then reload with the QuickTime player in place of the Flash player. (If you see the QuickTime logo with a question mark, this means that video isn't available in a high quality version.) The linked blog post has an easy-to-use drag-to-the-toolbar version of the bookmarklet; I'm going to reproduce the source here in the second part of this hint, in case the original post goes away at some point -- but using the linked blog post is by far the easiest way to add this to your bookmarks bar.]