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10.4: Create DMGs in Disk Utility via drag and drop System 10.4
Tiger only hintI've been using Disk Utility a lot lately to make disk images from folders. The process is somewhat tedious, so I searched Hints for alternative methods. In this hint, I learned that in 10.2 there was an application called Disk Copy that supported drag-and-drop onto its dock icon. When Disk Copy's functionality was later rolled into 10.3's Disk Utility, the feature was quietly dropped.

In 10.4, this feature has apparently been quietly reintroduced. Dragging and dropping a folder on Disk Utility's dock icon once again results in a prompt to create a new disk image using the dropped folder.
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10.4: More Spotlight results keyboard shortcuts System 10.4
Tiger only hintSpotlight searches can bring up long lists of results, and there are a few ways to navigate through them quickly.

After you've typed in a Spotlight search and you've got your list of search results growing down the right side of your screen, we all know you can use your up/down arrow keys to move through the list. From this hint, you may also have known about navigating with the Command keys and arrow keys.

But did you also know you can also use Control and the Up/Down arrow key to move to the top or bottom of the list? You can also use Command (or Control) plus the Left or Right arrow key to jump back to the beginning or end of the search field.
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10.4: Search Samba volumes with Spotlight System 10.4
Tiger only hintI have read many different posts about how to enable Spotlight to find archives, etc., on external volumes, but I didn't find a solution to make Spotlight to search on a Samba volume. I found one post on macosxhints, but then I found this one about how to make Terminal tell Spotlight to index external volumes. However, although it says it works on Windows volumes, it did not work for me -- I was able to make Spotlight index the volume, but it didn't search on my Samba external volume.

Today I read a fantastic post titled Using Spotlight from the OS X Command line, so I figured that mixing the two solutions would work ... and it does!

If you first index the Samba volume following the steps in the first link, you can then search using Terminal and the tips in the second link.

[robg adds: I emailed the author to confirm that simply indexing the volume wasn't enough. Spotlight failed from the GUI but worked in Terminal. Many of the tips in the second link have been published here before, but I thought it worth sharing this odd 'combo' solution in the event that it helps others in similar situations.]
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10.4: Combine PDFs without using Automator System 10.4
Tiger only hintThere have been many hints here about combining PDFs over the years. All but one required either third party software, or old versions of OS X. The most recent hint notes that Automator has a combine PDF action built-in. This is great, of course, if you're using Automator. But what if you want to combine PDFs in an AppleScript, or from the Terminal? How come Automator gets to have all the fun?

Well, if you crack open the Combine PDF action bundle, Automator's PDF combining secrets are laid bare: a Python script! Not just that, but a Python script with usage info:
join [--output <file>] [--append] [--shuffle] [--preview] [--verbose]
And here is how it might be used:

$ python '/System/Library/Automator/Combine PDF Pages.action/Contents/Resources/join.py' -o '/path/to/output.pdf' '/path/to/input1.pdf' '/path/to/input2.pdf'

Where /path/to/input1.pdf and /path/to/input2.pdf are the PDF files to be combined, and /path/to/output.pdf is the new combined PDF. /path/to Shell and AppleScript programmers should have little trouble finding use for a ready-made PDF combining service that exists on every standard OS install. I've already rolled it into a neat folder action AppleScript that you can find here.

[robg adds: If you're going to use this yourself often, you should probably create a soft link to the location, or maybe just copy it out to your own bin directory.]
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10.4: Enable remote logging in 10.4 System 10.4
Tiger only hintFirst we had this hint on how to enable remote system event logging in whatever version of OS X was current in April '02. Then we had this hint to update it for Panther. Well, now we are into Tiger, and it's changed again.

I found this article on AFP548.com by Aaron Adams documenting the differences. So here are the updated instructions combining the past hint with what I learned from Aaron's article...
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10.4: Disable IR port on new Macs via a startup script System 10.4
Tiger only hintHaving searched high and low for a way to disable the Infrared Port on new Macs, I decided to go ahead and write my own Preference Pane to do so. No sooner had I finished writing it and telling everyone about it, someone pointed out that -- well -- this feature already existed in the Security section of System Preferences. Oops.

However, the general technique is still a useful hint to consider. We simply unload the appropriate kernel driver. In some cases, this might be the only way you can disable a particular device (e.g. the keyboard) or a useful way of disabling a device so a non-Unix savvy user would have trouble re-enabling it.

Let's look at the IR controller as an example. All we need to do is unload the AppleIRController kernel extension, and make sure it stays unloaded. Directly on the command line, this can be done like so:
kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/AppleIRController.kext
Now we just want to persist this across reboots. We can do this with a simple StartupItems script. Finally, we control whether this StartupItems script actually takes any action by adding the following line to /etc/hostconfig. This also provides an easy way of toggling the change on and off:
DISABLEIR=-YES-
To trigger the StartupItems script without needing to reboot, you can just use the SystemStarter tool:
sudo SystemStarter start DisableIR
Of course it's worth being very careful when it comes to messing with kernel drivers. You might disable some critical part of the system that requires you to force reboot, or you might kernel panic your machine. Tread with caution.
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10.4: Change keymapping only on external keyboards System 10.4
Tiger only hintThis tip covers how to get Command and Option in the right place on an external PC keyboard, without stuffing them up on the built-in keyboard of a PowerBook. This is of great use to people who dock their laptop with a Windows keyboard, but don't like the "wrong" keyboard layout it produces and tire of constantly changing it back and forth in the system prefs. It would work with iBooks too.

Part A: Getting the external keyboard right
  1. Click the Apple logo and open the System Preferences.
  2. Click the Keyboard & Mouse section, then select Modifier Keys on the Keyboard tab.
  3. Swap the functions for the Option and Command keys.
Now check that the external keyboard works as you would expect. ie. Windows key is now Option, and Windows Alt is now Command. You'll notice that the internal keyboard is now swapped, too, but we'll fix that in a moment.
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Fix printing issues with shared Intel-PowerPC printers System 10.4
Tiger only hintI was pulling my hair out trying to get my MacBook Pro to print properly to an HP DeskJet 9800 shared by a PowerMac G4. The main problem was that on the MacBook Pro, I didn't get all of the printer options I normally should (ie: paper type, quality and borderless printing), so I couldn't specify I was using photo quality paper, or adjust the print quality. Even worse, iPhoto would sometimes crash when I tried to print.

The Intel version of Mac OS X has the latest drivers for most printers, including my HP DeskJet 9800. When I plugged the 9800 directly into my MacBook Pro via USB, I could access all the printer options normally, and it prints fine, but that wouldn't do as a permanent solution -- I want to use my PowerMac G4 as the print server, so my wife and I can both print wirelessly from our two notebook Macs.

I noticed when I clicked Get Info for the 9800 in Printer Setup Utility on both computers that the version number of the drivers was not the same. The MacBook Pro had v3.3, and the PowerMac G4 had v2.8--even though they were both running Mac OS X 10.4.5. So a quick visit to HP's web site, and I saw they had an updated driver released in March 2006, which I promptly downloaded and installed on the PowerMac. Long story short, the version from HP's web site was still only v2.8, and it didn't solve the problem.

Well, if my MacBook Pro had the latest driver, then I figured I'd try and install the HP drivers from my MacBook Pro Install DVD on the PowerMac G4, and it worked!
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10.4: Create a single Universal binary bootable disk System 10.4
Tiger only hintWithout a Universal binary, Mac OS X 10.4 System Administrators like myself must effectively double their responsibilities and maintain two operating systems, one for each platform. Ideal would be an OS X system which is Universal, and therefore able to boot both Intel and PowerPC Macs. Apple is probably releasing a Universal binary Mac OS X 10.5, but can we wait? No!

My goal was to try to create a Universal binary Mac OS X System in an easy way, so other System Administrators or interested people can also recreate it. I started by reformatting an external FireWire drive on an iMac G5, and created four partitions on it:
  1. 10 GB "MacOSX PPC"
  2. 10 GB "MacOSX INTEL"
  3. 10 GB "MacOSX UNIVERSAL"
  4. 70 GB "Spare"
I then copied a G5 iMac's OS X 10.4.5 System onto the MacOSX PPC partition, and an Intel Mac's OS X 10.4.5 System onto its appropriate MacOSX INTEL partition. This can be done such that you can actually boot from both partitions, as shown by Jonathan Rentzsch and by this hint posted here previously. Now we only need a way to combine the two systems into one. Is it possible? Yes it is!
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10.4: Increase the max size of a FileVault directory System 10.4
Tiger only hintFileVault protected home directories are nothing more than a special usage of sparse disk images, like the ones you can create with Disk Utility. Sparse disk images only use as much space as they currently need to, but they do have a maximum capacity, determined at the time of their creation. Thus, FileVault protected home directories can run out of space, even if your hard drive has free space. This hint will explain how to increase the maximum capacity. You will need a copy of the latest version of Carbon Copy Cloner.

First, you will need a separate admin account on your system. Let's say the name of your FileVault protected user is foobar, and the name of your admin user is admin. Log in as admin, and navigate to /Users. Select the foobar folder, and select File: Get Info. Go to the Ownership & Permissions section of the Info window, and open the Details. Temporarily change the Owner to admin.

Now, open the /Users/foobar/ folder. Inside should be foobar.sparseimage. Select that file, and then do File: Get Info. As before, temporarily change the owner to admin. Now, before doing anything else, make a copy of the foobar.sparseimage file in a safe place in order to back it up.
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