Oracle has an "instant client" for Mac OS X and it's available for free from their site. Unfortunately it's PowerPC only and nobody knows when they going to release an Intel or Universal version. It works through Rosetta though and if you just install the client as they say, you may use sqlplus and other PowerPC applications linked with that client this way.
The problem for me was that I couldn't use those libraries with Perl: DBD::Oracle just wouldn't build properly, because by default gcc builds everything for Intel only, and this code cannot be linked with PowerPC libraries. So the idea is simple: run Perl through Rosetta when you have to deal with Oracle and everything should be fine.
Here are step-by-step instructions showing how I made it work. I assume that the Oracle instant client is already installed and works; I used version 10.1.0.3. Also, make a backup. Nothing special happens here, but you never know.
If you are using Front Row and you want to quickly return to your desktop, without hitting Menu multiple times on the remote, simply press Command-Tab as if you were switching applications.
[robg adds: This isn't mentioned anywhere in Front Row's help, so I'd never thought to try it. Unfortunately, when you press Command-Tab, you aren't immediately switched back to your Desktop. Instead, Front Row navigates back up out of whichever screen you were in to the main menu, then closes that, complete with all the usual animations. (Command-Q does exactly the same thing.) If someone knows a real "quit Front Row *now*" shortcut, please share!]
I've found this quick tip to be useful when creating backup optical discs, or moving data for projects off of my hard drive: Save a text file containing the paths of all the files on the disk with the name of the disc. This is easily done using the find command from the command line.
For example, with a disk named backup-cd-2006-10-19, the Terminal command would look like this:
$ cd /Volumes/backup-cd-2006-10-19/
$ find . > ~/Documents/Backup-Indexes/backup-cd-2006-10-19.txt
Now, any time you do a Spotlight search for the name of a file that happens to be on the disc, your backup index file appears in the results, letting you know to look there, also.
This isn't so much a hint as much as a discovery, but it could be useful to someone. This hint talks about getting a PowerPC Mac to start from a USB 2.0 drive, but it involves messing around with the system's NVRAM, which can be a complicated thing to do.
But today, I tried something new. I backed up my internal drive to an external USB 2.0 drive using SuperDuper! (a great application, by the way). Today, just for fun, I rebooted my PowerBook G4 with the USB drive connected while holding the option key to load the boot drive selection menu. It showed my internal drive as well as my external backup drive as valid boot drives, so I chose the external drive. OS X booted successfully off of the external drive, albeit slowly. But for recovery purposes, this could be invaluable.
My system is running 10.4.8, so I'm not sure if this is a 10.4.8 feature, a SuperDuper! related thing, or if it has to do with some other factor, but it works, and that's all I care about.
[robg adds: I can't easily confirm this one, so if others with USB2 drives and bootable backups could test, I'd be appreciative.]
I just discovered something that I believe came about in 10.4.8. If you hold down the Control key and then scroll using the mouse (for me it is two fingers on the MacBook Pro's track pad), then the entire screen will zoom at the point where the mouse is. This is not related to the Universal Access setup, since I have everything turned off in there. It appears the only way to zoom out is to scroll back up.
[robg adds: This feature used to be reserved for those with the Mighty Mouse, but it was added to the Mouse tab in the Keyboard & Mouse System Preferences panel as of 10.4.8. Using the Mouse tab, you can disable the feature, or change the modifier. You can also change how the screen scrolls by using the Options button. On my G5, for some reason, the only option that works right is "leave cursor centered in image;" the others both prevent me from reaching screen top or bottom. I assume this is a local issue and not a general bug.]
Over the course of the past few months, Dashboard had become painfully slow for me, sometimes taking 10 to 20 seconds to load.
I took a look at ~/Library -> Caches -> DashboardClient, and found that the Dashboard cache was 20MB. This seemed excessive (plus, I had a fairly recent backup), so I took a gamble and deleted all the files in the DashboardClient folder. Dashboard now loads almost instantaneously for me.
[robg adds: I was doubtful about this tip, but it did make a difference in my Dashboard loading time -- even the first-load time after a reboot was notably reduced.]
You can use Spotlight in the menubar and still quickly reveal the location of a hit in the Finder, without the need to open the Spotlight window first. Hold down the Command key and press Enter (or click the mouse) on a result to reveal its location in the Finder.
[robg adds: This won't work for things like iCal events, Mail messages, or anything else that won't show a location in its pop-up tooltip. This shortcut, at least the Command-click variant, is in Spotlight's help, but fairly deeply buried -- search for Spotlight shortcuts to find a list which includes it.]
More of an annoying bug report than a hint, but I searched for some time before fixing the issue.
After updating to 10.4.8, my cursor suddenly had an annoying black rectangle around it. The rectangle can be turned off by first turning on the System Preferences -> Universal Access -> Seeing tab. In the Zoom function area, select Options, and un-select "Show preview rectangle when zoomed out."
Just in case it is an installer bug and not just my setup.
[robg adds: This is apparently a fairly-common occurence, as Apple saw fit to create this kbase article about it. You will only be able to see the preview rectangle if you've specified a "maximum zoom" in the sliders at the top of the options panel.]
I have been having some problems with Quicksilver crashing. Not very often, but since I prefer to run it without an icon in the Dock or the menu, it's quite annoying when I try to use it the next time. To solve this problem, I decided to use launchd and its ability to react on the change of a file, namely the crashlog for Quicksilver.
I prefer to use Lingon to manipulate the launchd, but here's an example plist as well. In Lingon, use the Assistant and select "Run an application/script when a file is modified." Add a suitable Label and in the last step, use the Path buttons to select the program you would like to restart and its crashlog. Press Create and you should have a working LaunchAgent.
If you don't want to use Lingon, paste that plist into a text editor. Change the WatchPaths and ProgramArguments to fit your system, save the file in ~/Library/LaunchAgents, and name it something like nu.wallner.QuicksilverWatch.plist. Load it with this command in Terminal: