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10.4: Boot Intel Macs from iPods and FireWire drives System 10.4
Tiger only hintCurious about how to booting your Intel iMac from either a USB2.0 iPod or an external Firewire drive? It is possible, and here's how. This has been tested with a 5G 30GB USB2.0 iPod with Video and an external FW400 60GB hard disk enclosure.

The key issue is the disk partioning scheme that Intel Macs expect to see. GPT (or GUID), remember? Well it appears that the EFI in an Intel iMac also supports booting from Apple Partition Map (APM) partitioned disks as well. The Intel iMac's Install DVD Disk One, for instance, uses an APM and NOT a GPT scheme.

So how to fool the system and it's hardware? Credit due to Joel and the TidBits article (referenced in this earlier hint) for setting the germ of the idea in my mind.
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10.4: Rework the M-Audio Audiophile 192 driver setup System 10.4
Tiger only hintThe following is not a complete fix for the problems I've been having with the Audiophile 192 under Tiger, which include (a) the drivers won't load unless "Automatically log in as" is deselected from the Accounts Preference Pane, and (b) random sync issues that require either logging out, rebooting, or using a utility like SoundSource to switch between cards.

However, it does seem to have improved things somewhat. Read on for my workaround.
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10.4: How to search for non-integer exposure times System 10.4
I couldn't get Finder searches (Spotlight Saved Queries, aka Smart Folders) to search for photos with exposure times greater-than or less-than anything but integer seconds, which is pretty useless. Then just now I found that if I edited the Saved Query in a text editor (or Property List Editor), I could change the value for kMDItemExposureTimeSeconds to what I really want.

For example, I told Spotlight that I wanted to find exposure times greater than 0.03 seconds. In my text editor, the saved query read:
kMDItemExposureTimeSeconds > 0
I changed it to:
kMDItemExposureTimeSeconds > 0.03
I saved the file, double-clicked the saved query, and lo and behold, only those photos with exposure times greater than 0.03 seconds showed up. Also note that when I pushed the Edit button in the Saved Query, it showed Exposure time ... Greater than ... 0.03. But trying to set it (in this window) to 0.029 just snapped it back (in the Saved Query) to 0.
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10.4: Move swap files to another drive System 10.4
Tiger only hintIn Tiger, unlike Panther, one must explicitly mount drives to make them available at the point in /etc/rc where virtual memory is set up. The catch-22 here is that one can only use BSD device names of the form /dev/disk1s10 at this early stage of the boot process, but BSD device names are not consistent across boots.

An idea from Markus Hitter is to use pdisk to inspect properties of unmounted drives by BSD device name. I refined this idea by using md5 to fingerprint the drive:
swaphash=`pdisk /dev/disk${swapdisk} -dump 2>/dev/null | \
grep -v '/dev/disk' | md5 -q`
Still, two drives might be identical twins intended for different purposes, so one can check for a hidden file .enablevm as confirmation. This issue can be circumvented by choosing a unique volume size to be used only for swap partitions. I have updated my web page, Moving the swapfile in Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger), to explain all of this. I also provide a Perl script which automates this system modification. This script has been 100% reliable for me.

Read the rest of the hint for a long list of swap-related tips and tricks...
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10.4: How to boot an Intel Mac from an external drive System 10.4
If you've got an Intel Mac, the process for getting it to boot from an external FireWire drive is different than it is for a PowerPC Mac -- an Intel boot drive requires a different partition scheme than does a PowerPC boot drive.

Jonathan Rentzsch has written a very detailed article on these differences for TidBITS, explaining just what is required to make it work, and some pitfalls to be aware of going forward.
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10.4: Use Google Maps with the Business widget System 10.4
Using phanofwclark's People widget hint as a guide, it's easy to also make the Business widget use Google Maps.

As per robg's usual warning about modifying widgets, it's a good idea to copy the Business widget to your user's Library/Widgets folder first, and then modify that copy. By doing this, you will always have a pristine copy of the original widget should you ever choose to revert to it.

Once you've copied the Business widget to your user's Library/Widgets folder, control-click on it and choose Show Package Contents from the contextual menu. Find the file named PhoneBook.js, and open it in any text editor. We're going to replace line 987 (var mapURL = "";) through line 1009 (mapURL += "&Partner=appleyp";) with this snippet of code.

As you can see commented in the code, changing t=h (hybrid) into either t=m (plain map) or t=k (satellite map) will get you the type of map you desire. I just happen to prefer Google's hybrid maps, hence it's the default.

Save the file, close it, and you're done. Launch Dashboard and open (or reload) the Business widget. After searching for a business listing, clicking on its address will load it in Google Maps. Enjoy and again thanks to phanofwclark!
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10.4: Make the Dashboard layer less translucent System 10.4
Tiger only hintI've been a user of Konfabulator, now Yahoo! Widgets, since day one. I love it. Apple has now given us their Widgets in Dashboard. I love Dashboard, too, but one thing that has always bugged me is that the Dashboard background is too transparent for my liking -- I want to see less of the background.

What I just discovered is that if you set both Yahoo! Widgets and Dashboard to use the same F-key for activation, Dashboard then 'uses' the Yahoo! Widgets background (a barely-transparent dark blueish color). If you don't want any Yahoo! Widgets to show, just have it open with no widgets open. Not a big deal, but it made Dashboard more usable for me.

[robg adds: This worked as described, though I sometimes had to cycle through the 'deactivation' keystroke a couple of times to get rid of both the Dashboard and Yahoo! Widgets. Since I also would prefer a less-transparent background, I spent a bit of time in the Dock package, searching for a background image that might be being loaded, but without luck. I also dug around with defaults read, looking for a transparency setting, but also came up blank. I imagine the Dashboard is just setting a transparency level directly in the code, which means this workaround might be the only solution.]
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10.4: Navigate the Calendar widget via keyboard System 10.4
Tiger only hintI was looking through Apple's new Calendar widget code, and noticed that you can navigate it with the keyboard:

The Up and Down Arrow keys will jump to the previous or next year, the Left and Right Arrow keys will jump to the previous or next month, and the Home key will jump back to the current date.

Pretty nifty! If only widgets came with Read Me files, so we could know these features exist!
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10.4: Use Yahoo! Maps Beta with the People widget System 10.4
Tiger only hintThis hint is similar to the Use Google Maps with the People widget hint, but it uses the new Yahoo! Maps Beta, which runs smoother on my Mac than does Google Maps.

This hint involves editing files in the widget package. It might be a good idea to make a copy of the People widget from /Library/Widgets into ~/Library/Widgets. Then control-click on the copied widget, select Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu, and open WhitePages.js in your favorite text editor.

Replace lines 877 (var mapURL = "";) to 902 (//pbalert("map url "+mapURL");) with the following:

var mapURL = "*-"; 

if (singleResult.address.length > 0)
    mapURL += "addr=";
    var tmpAddr = singleResult.address.replace(/(s*#.*$)/, "");
    mapURL += tmpAddr.replace(/s+/g, "+");
mapURL += "&csz=";
mapURL +=, "+");
mapURL += "&";
mapURL += singleResult.state.replace(/s+/g, "+");
if ( > 0)
    mapURL += "+";
    mapURL +=, "+");

Save the file, quit the editor, and re-open the widget. Addresses will now open in Yahoo! Maps Beta.
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10.4: An Automator workflow to add an image to PDF files System 10.4
Tiger only hintMy invoicing software is pretty basic when it comes to printing invoices. It cannot handle the graphics for my nicely-designed letterhead, so printing an invoice is a two-step process of printing the letterhead, and then sending the paper through again to print the actual invoice. But if I wanted to email the invoice, I was stuck typing the invoice details out again into a Word document containing the letterhead, to then print to PDF.

But now with Automator, once the invoice is printed to PDF from my invoicing program, I can add the graphics in a simple workflow. First I converted the letterhead layout to a Photoshop PSD file. Most common bitmap formats should suffice. My Automator workflow contains the following actions (the Library is listed first):
  1. Finder: Get Specified Finder Items.
  2. PDF: Watermark PDF. This is where the hard work is done. Add your bitmap file (for me, Letterhead.psd) to the Watermarks list. I found Offset of 0,0 and Scale 0.24 (for a 300dpi file) worked best for me.
  3. PDF: Compress Images in PDF Document. I used JPG compression.
  4. PDF: Rename PDF Document. Names the file with the PDF's Internal Title tag. In my case, it does not find a title, so it renames it Untitled.pdf, which is better than the random collection of letters it names the newly created PDF.
  5. Finder: Move Finder Items. I set it to move them to the Desktop, otherwise it will be somewhere unfriendly like /tmp.
  6. Finder: Rename Finder Items. I set 'Replace Text' with the "Show Action When Run" option ticked, so I can replace "Untitled" with something more meaningful.
  7. Finder: Label Finder Items. Red to help me find it on the Desktop.
Save all of this as a Finder plug-in (File: Save as Plug-In, which will save to your ~/Library -> Workflows -> Applications -> Finder directory). Once you've done that, you can then control-click (or right-click) on a PDF file and select Automator -> YourNewWorkflow to create your new PDF file with added image overlay.
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