After a bewildering and frustrating troubleshooting session, I realized the following:
Mac OS X's screen brightness will be set to "off" at settings that are merely "dim" in Mac OS 9.
I was booted into OS 9 on my iBook, and turned the screen brightness all the way down, just one notch above "off". Later I booted into OS X, and was disturbed to find that the iBook was shutting down suddenly, partway into the boot sequence! The hard drive kept spinning, but the screen went black and the computer wouldn't respond.
I tried Disk First Aid, booting into single-user mode, reinstalling 10.1, and was about to buy a disk-repair utility, when I remembered my brightness setting. I went back to 9, turned up the brightness, and all was well.
Humiliating, but I thought I'd put this out there in case anyone else runs into a similar problem one day.
An anonymous reader sent a tip regarding Beige G3's with the Fast/Wide SCSI option. If you've been getting a "Can't Find...53C875" error when trying to cold-boot the machine, here's one possible solution: Boot from the OS X Install CD and use the Startup Disk utility (Control Panels) to specify the desired startup disk.
I can't verify either the problem or the solution, but thought this may be of interest to some of you. If this is way off base, please let me know and I'll revise or remove the tip.
Just discovered something by accident and I couldn't easily find this tip already posted:
If you hit Control-I or Control-Tab in the Finder when a window in List view is in the foreground it will cycle through the column sort focus. And sure enough, Control-Shift-I or Control-Shift-Tab will reverse the direction of the column focus. I'm trying to find a key combo that will actually reverse the sort order but haven't caught it yet. A little help...?
PS: I notice Control-I and Control-Shift-I also do the same job as Tab and Shift-Tab in Column view. The reason? Tab and Shift-Tab DON'T work in an Open/Save dialog but Control-I and Control-Shift-I do. Ah-hah...
[Editor's note: I'm pretty certain I never knew this one, and I don't think it's been published here before ... it also works for cycling columns in column view!]
This Change Priority AppleScript allows you to easily set the priority of any running application via a simple GUI. I built it based on the many previous priority-related hints, and would appreciate any suggestions.
[Editor's note: I downloaded and tested this script, and it does exactly what it states - you get a list of all running processes, click the one you wish to change, set the priority level you want, and say OK.]
Like all other Toolbars found in OS X, the Toolbar in System Preferences allows you to choose how the Icons are displayed.
Choose from Text Only, Icon Only, or Text and Icon by holding the Command/Apple key while clicking the Toolbar widget (the oblong button at the top right of the window). This allows more than the usual 8 or 9 items.
This should also work for any Cocoa Application using Toolbars.
Now that I think about it this is probably old news. But it's news to me. Enjoy...
[Editor's note: It's news to me, too ... and I couldn't find a previous mention of it here, so perhaps it's news to more than just two people!]
You are thinking about a useful argument to buy an iPod? Well, see it as some kind of notebook. Thanks to the power of OS X, you can carry your complete workspace from home in your hand.
Just copy your complete Users folder to the iPod. Now go to another computer running OS X and create a new user on this machine. Let's name it ipod_user. When you have created the user, open NetInfo Manager, click the lock and enter your admin password, and scroll to the "Users" entry.
Here you'll find the newly created user "ipod_user". Edit the category "Home" by changing the actual homepath from /Users/ipod_user/ to /Volumes/ipod/Users/home_user. Replace "home_user" with your home user's short name, then save and log out. In the login panel you'll see the new user "ipod_user". Login and now this user will use all prefs etc. from your iPod. Everything from home now works on the hostmachine, including dock settings, mailaccounts, your iphoto library, everything. And it's way smoother than booting from OS X on the ipod.
That's personal computing at it's best! thank you OS X!
[Editor's note: You'll have to do a bit more work if you want to sychronize the other direction when you return home, but this is a nice tip in general for external drives. I've done something similar with my external FireWire drive.]
This may have been mentioned in a comment here at some point, or even in passing in a story. But it bears repeating as a full hint of its own.
If you are having difficulties in OS X, there are many ways to troubleshoot. Some are quite similar to the OS 9 style of troubleshooting - disable applications that load at login, try trashing preferences in your user's preferences folder, test without third-party hardware devices attached, etc.
However, there's a new tool you can use thanks to the inherent multi-user nature of OS X - try creating a new user and see if the problem persists. This can be especially helpful when troubleshooting an application problem. When I had a problem with mail quitting on launch, I used a second user ID to determine that the problem was only with my primary user - the new user was able to launch Mail perfectly well. This narrowed the scope of the problem to something (preference file or bad application) within my primary user's space. It turned out to be a corrupted Address Book database file.
So think about creating a second user ID for use in troubleshooting OS X - it doesn't take up much drive space, and it could help save a bit of time in identifying whether you have a user-level problem or a higher system-level problem.
If you use your G4 for numerical computation, this may be of interest to you. I've had a page with computing tools for OS X for some time now. I just added some information and analysis on how one could harness the full power of a dual G4 for numerical work.
The page is about using AltiVec and using both processors in parallel for C and Fortran codes. The speed gain upon using both parallelization and vectorization is huge. On my tests, it varied between 4x and 10x improvement!
[Editor's note: OK, my head is spinning from just reading some of what Gaurav has put together ... but I figure his information may be of use to some of you, so here it is!]
In applications that support scroll wheels (all Cocoa apps, some Carbon apps), when you pull down a menu, you can use your mouse's scroll wheel (if you have one) to scroll through the menu's choices. Also, for the duration you're in the menu, your scroll wheel will act like a button when you press down on it.
[Editor's note: Cool trick! I found that the button behavior was flakey (it's ignored in Mozilla, for example), but the scroll wheel worked everywhere I tried it in supported apps!]