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FAT32 formats and partitions on FireWire drives System
Just got a Firewire/IDE enclosure. Put in a 60 gig drive. Since I want to use this drive on both OS X and Windows (2k), I formatted it as Fat 32 (which both OSes know about and can mount). Problem one was that I couldn't create a Fat 32 partition that big, so I split it up to two 30 gig partitions.

Now, I formatted these partitions in windows. The wierd thing is that both Windows and OS X ignore the labels (so it seemed). During the course of figuring this out, I ended up (at one point) with both of the partitions on my FireWire drive having the same name. This was OK on Windows, but on OS X. It would mount the first partition, but not the second. It couldn't even properly determine the filesystem type of the second (although I could mount it via the Terminal, Finder wasn't automounting it). Plugged the drive into Windows, changed the partition name (no reformat necessary), and voila, it worked again in OS X.

Very obscure and wierd, but it might happen to you (and it's probably a bug, because I could mount it via the shell).
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Easy copy and paste of network settings System
This may be already known but I noticed that you can easily copy your IP address to the clipboard by simply control-clicking on your IP address in System Preferences:Sharing or System Preferences:Network and selecting Copy in the contextual menu. This is even of broader scope since you can also copy your router address, ethernet address and probably some other data.

[Editor's note: It seems you can use this little trick on just about any text box in the System Prefs application.]
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Change your startup language System

Depending on how you installed your system, you may see that startup messages are displayed in English rather than the system language you chose for the System Administrator.

To change the language OSX uses at system startup, open the Terminal and type the following:

sudo pico /var/log/CDIS.custom
(I use pico but any other editor will work too. Pick your favorite one)

Modify

LANGUAGE=English
to match the language you want, for example
LANGUAGE=French
Type control-O, validate changes with Enter and exit pico with control-X (commands may change if you use another editor).

That's it. Now the next time you start up, messages will be displayed in the language you have chosen. Note, however, that some messages may still be in English. I think it is related to some updates which do not come from Apple if you manually installed them.

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Prevent autoplay of CD and DVD media System
I (write | copy | use) many DATA DVD at home, so after a while I got very fustrated becouse OS X desides to spawn the DVD Player with every insert of a DVD (including data DVD`s).

I searched but did not find any hints, so I did some investigation, after a while (finding out how mounting works, reading man autodiskmount and some wild guesses), I came up with this solution. Edit the com.apple.finder.plist file (in your user's Library / Preferences folder) using your favorite text editor. Here is the top part of the file:
<!DOCTYPE plist SYSTEM "file://localhost/System/Library/DTDs/PropertyList.dtd">
<plist version="0.9">
<dict>
Insert the following lines below the <dict> tag:
<key>AutoplayAudioCD</key>
<false/>
<key>AutoplayDVD</key>
<false/>
Keep the rest of the file intact, save your changes, and then logout/login (or relaunch the Finder). Your discs should no longer autoplay.

[Editor's note: I thought for certain there was a Finder pref for this, but I certainly can't see one! This seems to be the best solution at present ... if there's a simpler way that I'm missing, let us know!]
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Create a phone home script to track your Mac System
Recently an iMac was recovered using Timbuktu and AppleScript.
The same can be done on OSX easily using this shell script in a cron task or startup item:
#!/bin/sh

cat <<EOF | mail -s "G4 Status: `/bin/date`" your_email@abc.com

NETWORK SETUP
`/sbin/ifconfig -a 2>&1`

PROCESS LISTING
`ps axw 2>&1`

TRACEROUTE TO HOME
`/usr/sbin/traceroute -q1 1.2.3.4 2>&1`
EOF
(Replace 'your_email@abc.com' with your real email address and '1.2.3.4' with your home IP number).

You will need to enable sendmail which this tip sort of explains how to do. I set my script up to email me daily at 6:30PM using the system crontab via the cron GUI frontend Cronnix, and I will also put it in a startup item (I'd not suggest a login item).

I'd suggest using a throwaway web-based free-email address, so you will be able to easily access it if you lose your mac. You can cc to multiple addresses using the -c option to mail.

Credit to ink at MacNN for the idea. :)
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OS 9 to OS X switching failure on Beige G3s System
[Editor's note: The following note was submitted to me well over a month ago. Somehow, I lost it in the in-box queue, and finally found it this morning as I was cleaning out some old Help Requests. My apologies for the delay in getting this posted! I have no idea if it's still relevant or not, but it seems important enough to merit a mention. Someone please let me know if it's already non-relevant and what the new solution is...]

I use two Beige G3 machines (now upgraded to G4's) and both have had the problem that when I use Startup Disk on System Preferences to go back to OS9, I can't get back to OS X. It appears that the Startup Disk control panel in OS9 never actually writes the correct Open Firmware values to the nvram. Several times I got back to normal by doing a OSX reinstall -- suffering the whole process just to get the nvram fixed.

Today, I found the painfully simple answer -- download System Disk 2.6.2 from Apple's download site and use it instead of the Startup Disk control panel. This worked perfectly...
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Option-click to hide foreground application System
A co-worker was option-clicking on an OS 9 desktop, which hid the foreground application. I have been using Macs most of my life and I had no idea you could do that. Anyhow I tried it in OS X and sure enough it worked!

Is this common knowledge? I didn't see it posted.

[Editor's note: I'm not sure it's common knowledge, and I don't think it's been posted here before. It's also not just a Finder thing -- if you option-click any background application's window, the foreground application becomes hidden.]
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Brother Ethernet printers and LPR via IP System
I have a Brother HL-1270N that I bought when 10.0 was released. This is an ethernet-capable LPR via IP printer, and that's how I set it up in 10.0, using the PPD from OS 9. Although it worked OK, it would bomb up on the second print job submitted. If you manually powered it off and on, it would then work again. Also, my printer was randomly switching its IP address, which was also a bit of a problem!

Over on the macosxhints' forum site, this thread gave me a solution I hadn't considered - switching from LPR via IP to AppleTalk. So I deleted the LPR via IP printer, enabled AppleTalk (which was added in the 10.1 update) on my desktop machine, then selected the now-visible Brother printer and chose the OS 9 Brother HL-1270N PPD file.

Despite an email from Brother Tech Support posted in the thread that the PPD is only OS 9 comptabile, it works flawlessly in OS X. I can now print multiple print jobs without errors, and I don't need to worry about the randomly switching IP numbers any more. I also switched our iBook, and it works great over the Airport, too.

This should also work for any other AppleTalk capable laser printer that is currently set up under LPR via IP.
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Sherlock and foreign language indexing System
I was just mucking around and I saw that in Sherlock there is a "Languages..." button on the Preferences screen. Mine had many ones checked like French, Danish, German, etc. that I do not need. The text there says indexing will be faster and use less space if you uncheck the ones you don't need. I didn't do any tests but it did finish as I was writing this note!
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Print to a non-networked PostScript printer System
I have an old 9500 connected to an even older Laserwriter II NTX. When I tried to use LaserWriter Bridge in order to print from MacOS X from a G4, the printer would produce a PostScript error and that was that. Through trial and error I found that you can:

1) Print your job to a postscript file (I use the AdobePS driver from Classic).
2) Send it over to the 9500, through EtherTalk.
3) Just drop the file on the printer once it is on the 9500.

Bingo it works! Now I can print from my G4 to my old printer, with no special software at all!
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