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10.4: Boot another OS while OS X is hibernating System 10.4
A month ago, I started an "uptime race" with a friend (who is using a Windows XP PC). Since I'm using both Mac OS X (which is my main OS) and Linux, soon I was hating the idea of not being able to boot and use Linux. So I've come up with a simple (and obvious) way to boot Linux without losing my Mac OS X uptime.

Definitions and prerequisites
  1. Deep Sleep = Safe Sleep = Hibernate mode = Suspend to disk
  2. If your PowerPC Mac is not one of the latest 15- or 17-inch PowerBook G4s, you have to manually enable Safe Sleep, and it may not work on all models.
  3. Download one of the apps to go straight to Safe Sleep, like the widget DeepSleep or the script SuspendNow!. Actually, this isn't strictly necessary: you can also put your Mac to sleep and then remove the battery (on a laptop) or unplug the AC cord (on a desktop) to make it go to Deep Sleep.
Read on for two solutions to boot another OS without losing your running OS X session...

Editor's warning: If you're going to try this hint, please do so with a current backup, and at your own risk. I tried it on my MacBook Pro (see my note at the end), and it seems fine after a few trials. However, who knows what might happen when cycling between two OSes like this, so you're on your own if you proceed and your machine turns into a quivering blob of plasma...]
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10.4: A CD ripping workflow System 10.4
I needed to produce MP3s from CDs with a 30-second preview. After testing several commercial solutions, I found that none suited our needs easily. At that point, I began searching for an open source project that could be utilized from a script. Ultimately, I came up with the following: LAME, SoX and Automator on OS 10.4.8 with Xcode version 2.2.1.

LAME is a open source MP3 encoding library utilized by many applications. I used the latest version, v3.97 available from their site. The build did not require any modifications to the source code:
$ cd /path/to/lame-3.97
$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install
The installation of lame is required before building SoX. The default installation will place files in /usr/local.

SoX is a utility for sound file conversion for a variety of formats. By installing LAME first, it enables SoX to directly encode to MP3 from the CD. I used the latest version, v13.0.0 available from their site. The SoX build also did not require any modifications to the source code:
$ cd /path/to/sox-13.0.0
$ ./configure
$ make
$ sudo make install
The default installation will place files in /usr/local.
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10.4: Use Spotlight to view missing 'image icons' System 10.4
I'm an graphic artist who downloads lots and lots of preview JPEGs from commercial photograph websites. I also have a large photo collection of my own. One of my problems was that not all JPEGs have an icon that shows a picture of the file. So when I've downloaded dozens of pictures, it's sometimes hard to know which is which.

I found using Spotlight is the easy answer.

I put all my JPEGs into a folder, open the folder, and in the Spotlight search panel type jpg, and search that folder only. Presto -- up pop the JPEG icons of all my downloads as little pictures, so I can either rename or remember which is which. And of course, the same applies to other similar graphic or Photoshop files.

[robg adds: There are many third-party apps that can add image previews, saving the Spotlight step. Off the top of my head, GraphicConverter comes to mind.]
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10.4: Back up important folders with one click System 10.4
As chief-editor of a Ukrainian website about Macs, I need to regularly back up my articles folder, at least to my iPod if I don't have better storage at hand. So, I've written a four-line Automator script to do this. You can use this script to backup some of your important folders. Just click on the script's icon in the Dock, and your files will be zipped, named with today's date, and copied to the iPod! Here is the Automator program:
  1. Finder: Get Specified Finder Items -– here you must specify the folders you wish to backup
  2. Finder: Create Archive -– here you must give the basic name for the archive, and specify where to save the archive; choose Desktop.
  3. Finder: Rename Finder Items (Add Date or Time to Finder Item Names) –- here you can add today's date to the archive name.
  4. Finder: Move Finder Items –- specify where to move the zip file (to the iPod, for example, but iPod must be connected to computer first).
Save the workflow as a script, and put it in the Applications folder, for example. Then put an alias to it in the Dock. Now just click on the icon in the Dock, and your important files will be backed up onto your iPod.
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10.4: Save PDFs to Web Receipts with FileVault enabled System 10.4
For some reason, the Save PDF to Web Receipts Folder workflow is incompatible with FileVault -- it gives an error when you try to run it.

Whatever the underlying problem is, it's the New Folder action in that workflow that's incompatible with FileVault. One fix is to make a copy of the workflow (which lives in /Library » PDF Services), open it in Automator, and replace the New Folder action with Copy Finder Items.

I'd also suggesting adding the fixes from this recent hint, to prevent the overwriting of items in the web receipts folder, while you're in there with Automator.
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10.4: Prevent accidental overwriting of web receipts files System 10.4
I have been saving receipts, order confirmations, and so on from web commerce sites using the built-in Save PDF to Web Receipts Folder workflow in the "PDF" dropdown of the print dialog box. I was very surprised to learn (and you might be too) that this workflow silently overwrites existing files with the same name! Since it derives the file name from the web browser's window title (which in turn is derived from the tag of the web page), you can find yourself saving today's receipt from, while clobbering your previous receipt from the same vendor (since the window likely has the same name on both occasions). You don't get a chance (1) to set the filename to something meaningful to you, or (2) to confirm that you want to overwrite.

But suppose you want to protect yourself from unintended file overwrites. You can always use Save as PDF instead, and enter your own filename and navigate to a storage location. That approach is safe, but lacks the one-click elegance of the Web Receipts solution. Also, the default Web Receipts folder may not be in the location you prefer. Can it be customized? Since Save PDF to Web Receipts Folder is simply an Automator workflow, you can modify it (or, to be safe, a copy of it) to better meet your needs.


I opened the stock Web Receipts workflow in Automator. I was surprised to see it consists of a single step, New Folder, pointing to the Web Receipts folder. (If a folder with that name already exists, New Folder uses the existing folder; if files passed to New Folder, they are stored in the named folder.) So in front of that step, I added a Rename Finder Items action from the Finder library, and set the options to have it append the time of day to the filename of the file to be saved. That (almost assuredly) makes the filename unique, since the chance of twice saving a window with the same name at exactly the same hour, minute and second is remote.

I saved the copy in the PDF Services folder with a new name; it now appears automatically in the PDF drop-down in the Print dialog box. If you need more details on the how-to, read on...
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10.4: Reset the .Mac Sync Server with Syncrospector System 10.4
The Remove applications from Sync Services database hint provided a method to remove the .Mac Sync items for one application, Panic's Transmit. The provided instructions, however, did not work when attempting to remove other apps, such as BareBones' Yojimbo, from the .Mac Sync Services list. This gaping hole in .Mac Sync management allows third party .Mac Sync items to remain in the .Mac Sync Services list, even after removing the application itself.

Fortunately, Apple has provided us a little-known solution to this problem with Syncrospector, an application available on the ADC website, which members bed124 and luomat mentioned and linked to in the comments of the original .Mac Sync hint.

Working off bed124 and luomat's lead, I have determined out how to successfully clear out the .Mac Sync Services with Syncrospector. Be aware, however, that it involves restoring your entire .Mac Sync setup to a "never synced before" state. Make sure you have working copies of your Safari bookmarks, Address Book contacts, etc., on one of your Macs before proceeding. I'd also try doing this without any .Mac Sync-enabled applications (Safari, Address Book, iCal, Transmit) running.
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Disable Front Row to prevent limited account app access System 10.4
While setting up a master iMac image to deploy across a computer lab, I forgot to disable Front Row. After playing around with Front Row in a restricted, managed account, I found that I could launch iTunes, and from there Safari, even though the account did not have permissions to use these applications! You can read about how I did this in this entry in my blog.

Anyway, if you are in a situation where you do not want people launching Front Row, either delete the Keyboard Shortcut in System Preferences, or (even better) remove the application /System -> Library -> CoreServices -> Front

[robg adds: To me, the most interesting part of this hint isn't how to disable Front Row, but rather how it was used to work around application launch restrictions for iTunes and Safari.]
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10.4: Add Programming to the Unit Converter widget System 10.4
This AppleScript patches the Apple-provided Unit Converter Widget to support a new Programming category that allows you to convert between Hex, Decimal, Octal, Binary and Char (ASCII). Simply paste it into your Script Editor and click Run. (If you ask yourself what those long lists of letters are in the source -- they are a diff file and a png encoded in base64.)

You'll then have to select the location of the stock Unit Converter Widget (which should be /Library/Widgets), select where to store the enhanced widget (just click OK for your home directory), and that's it. When you see three patch messages, select whether or not to install the new widget, and then click OK to install or click Cancel to keep it where you stored it.

Update: The script has been fixed -- sorry for the error!

[robg adds: I've tested this, and it worked as described. The modified widget is stored in your user's Library -> Widgets folder, so it doesn't overwrite the original.]
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10.4: View selection dimensions in Preview System 10.4
In Preview, if you hold down the Option key before dragging across a rectangle in an image to create a selection, the dimensions of your selection appear in a translucent bubble as you drag. You can also hold the same keys down before dragging a handle of the selection box.

Note that you must hold down the key before you click the mouse button; you can't do so in mid-drag.
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