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10.4: Find one possible source of Spotlight issues System 10.4
If you're experiencing slowdowns, crashes, beachballs, and other general usability issues with Spotlight in Tiger, this thread on our forums may contain the solution. In the first (and as of this writing, only) post, the author describes how a downloaded program contained a file with a newline (carriage return) character in its name. After much digging, the author and others figured out that this badly-named file was breaking Spotlight in 10.4.

To find the offending file, the user used find /[whatever] -type f -print in Terminal, and then scanned the output for any lines that didn't begin with a /. After finding and deleting the offending file, Spotlight started working normally again.

The author also tested for the problem in 10.5 by intentionally creating a file with a newline character in its name. Spotlight didn't stop working, but it also didn't index the file (still a much better outcome than in 10.4). Thanks to hayne, one of our moderators on the forum site, for pointing out this post.
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10.4: Security Update 2008-06 and Network preferences System 10.4
After running the latest security update on 10.4.11, I noticed I couldn't change any settings in Network Preferences. Opening up that settings screen would result in a "Your network settings have been changed by another application" window popping up in an endless loop.

It turns out the security update makes some changes to the way PPP passwords are stored. Now, instead of being stored in a world-readable file, they're stored in the Keychain. For some reason, the update gets confused with existing PPP passwords and gets stuck in a loop. The easy way out: open Terminal and delete your existing network configuration. (You might want to make a paper backup to ease the task of entering them in again later.) In Terminal, type these commands (press Return after each):
$ cd /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/
$ sudo rm com.apple.nat.plist preferences.plist NetworkInterfaces.plist com.apple.airport.preferences.plist
You can now set your network preferences as necessary without entering the endless loop. I found this fix in this thread on the Apple Discussions site.
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10.4: Resurrect the 10.5 Movies widget in Tiger System 10.4
Recently the Leopard Movies widget, which Steve demoed along with Leopard, stopped working in Tiger. Leopard's built-in Movies widget continues to function, while in Tiger, it gives an error of "invalid zip code." You can make this widget function once again in 10.4.

Navigate to /Library/Widgets and find the Movies widget. Control-click on the widget and choose Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. Then open parser.js in your favorite text editor, and replace all occurrences of A99D3D1A-774C-4914-9E3B-18645117428A with DE7E251E-7758-40A4-98E0-87557E9F31F0 and save. Close any open movie widget in Dashboard, then re-open it. Now it works.

[robg adds: I can't test this one here...]
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10.4: Repair a non-functional Spotlight System 10.4
Problem: Spotlight will only find some files, and fails to re-index. I had a stubborn Spotlight that wouldn't find files; I searched high and low for solutions. I found some help in this post, but it never permanently fixed the problem. While trying to reindex using Apple's instructions, I noticed that if files are corrupt, Spotlight fails.

Solution: Boot into single user mode (Command-S at startup) and run the file system check by typing /sbin/fsck -fy (this command will be shown on screen in single user mode). Virus scanners are another way to find corrupt files. I found the corrupt files with the files system check and fixed them, and now Spotlight is reindexing correctly. This fix should work for any similar Spotlight issues in 10.5, too.
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10.4: Possible security issue with wake from sleep System 10.4
I like my PowerBook to be secure, so in the Security System Preferences panel, I require a password when coming back from sleep. I noticed a little problem though: assume I wake the machine, and after entering my password (but before the desktop is loaded), I close the lid, and the PowerBook goes to sleep. When I wake up the PowerBook the next time, it doesn't ask for a password, but shows my secrets to the world.

So don't close the lid and believe you're safe, unless you are very sure you are fully logged in. Especially when you move around a lot, and are used to just closing the notebook and stuffing it in you bag.

[robg adds: This hint was marked 10.4 only; I couldn't replicate it on 10.5, at least on my desktop machine.]
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How to unzip SMB-mounted zip archives in 10.4.11 System 10.4
I noticed that in the upgrade to 10.4.11, something broke -- sudently, BOMArchiveHelper would no longer unzip a .zip archive on a mounted SMB share. So I copied the BOMArchiveHelper.app (ion /System/Library/CoreServices/) from a 10.4.10 installation over to the 10.4.11 installation. This fixed the problem.

[robg adds: I can't confirm this issue, so if you can, please comment. I never like recommending replacing system components, but in this case, it seems it may be a necessary evil to resolve what appears to be either a bug or an intentional behavior change. I would strongly recommend keeping a backup copy of the new version, however, just in case unforeseen problems develop. As with any hint such as this, be aware that you're changing system files, and anything bad that happens to your machine is your responsibility.]
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10.4: How to enable booting from multiple clones System 10.4
I'm a big fan of using SuperDuper (or CarbonCopyCloner or even Disk Utility) to make bootable clones of my startup volume as an important part of my backup strategy. In fact I like to not only keep a most recent clone, but several historical ones as well.

So I was delighted when I recently discovered I could buy 500GB and 750GB external FireWire hard drives for under $200, and assumed I could simply format them into multiple boot-volume-sized partitions into which I could place clones, as I had so often and easily in the past. However, I eventually became dismayed when I later discovered that while I could use SuperDuper and other programs to create multiple clones, the only clone that I could actually boot would be the first bootable clone in partition order encountered on the drive.

With a hint from an Apple Genius, I eventually discovered the source of my difficulty. Whereas at some point in the past Disk Utility would use Apple Partition Map as the default partition format, appropriate for booting volumes on a PPC Mac, that is no longer the case in Tiger. Instead I discovered that Disk Utility was using the Master Boot Record format appropriate for Windows; probably because it discovered that, as shipped, the new drives were already pre-formatted with this Windows-centric partition format.
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10.4: A simple way to copy the path to a file or folder System 10.4
Here is a very quick method to find the path of a file or folder. Press Command-Option-Space to open an empty Spotlight Results window. Drag the file or folder whose path you'd like to copy to the Search box in the Spotlight Results window. Copy the resulting path. That's it.

[robg adds: Works as described!]
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Managing keys and certificates in the Keychain System 10.4
Applications like Mail and Safari support the use of digital certificates for secure email and client SSL authentication. These applications use keys and certificates that are stored in the Keychain.

For example, to enable secure email with Mail, the basic steps are:
  1. Generate a key and certificate pair, using a product such as SimpleAuthority or the Certificate Assistant (see this hint)
  2. Import the key and certificate pair into the Keychain, such as by double clicking on the .p12 file
  3. Import the Certification Authority (CA) certificate into the X509Anchors keychain, so that certificates issued by this CA are trusted
  4. Mail automatically recognises that secure email is possible and provides options in the compose window to sign and/or encrypt.
Unlike most other security applications, there are no preference settings in Mail or Safari to choose which key and certificate to use. This can cause a problem with Mail if you have multiple certificates, for example if you are switching from one CA to another. In this case, you need to keep all your private keys in the Keychain to be able to decrypt old messages, but you only want your latest private key to be used to sign any new email messages.

Fortunately there is a solution. You can specify the trust level for each certificate using Keychain Access. Double-click on the certificates that you do not want to use, scroll down the bottom of the certificate details to Trust Settings, click on the small arrow to expand the section, and configure the trust settings to "Never Trust." This makes the private key still available to decrypt data, but it prevents it from being used to generate any new digital signatures.
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Tutorial for Implementing NetBoot in OS X 10.4 System 10.4
Mac OS X includes a "NetBoot" feature, whereby you can have any Mac boot from the system on any other Mac on your network. This is not an easy thing to set up, and requires installing software, setting up the root account on the host Mac, creating NetBoot share folders, fiddling with NetInfo Manager and much more.

I've posted an illustrated tutorial for implementing NetBoot here.

[kirkmc adds: Not for the faint of heart, but since it's Friday, this looks like a good weekend project for some of you. I haven't tested this.]
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