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PB ONLY - Using the OS 9 app switcher Desktop
[Editor's note: This was probably one of the first hints I published, but it was lost in my database crash back in November, so I'm repepating it now ... -rob.]

If you like the OS 9 application switcher, you can still use it in OS X. Simply launch a Classic application, and tear off the application switcher menu. Even after you quit the Classic app (you need to leave the environment running, but you can kill the app), you'll have a fully functional application switcher in OS X - new programs get added, quit programs go away, etc.

I'm not sure if this will survive the transition to OS X final or not - I don't see why not, but we won't know for sure for another 33 days or so!
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Application switching with the dock Desktop
When using the dock to switch applications, the modifier keys change how the desktop view of running applications behave:
  • cmd+option+click: Switch to selected application and hide all others.
  • option+click: Switch to selected application and hide the current application.
  • cmd+click: Open and switch to a new finder window containing the selected application (I just found this one this morning; I can't believe I hadn't tried that in over three months of using the PB!).
As far as I can tell, no other combinations (shift or control) do anything useful.
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Classic internet apps in OS X over PPP dialup Classic
After struggling for several days trying to get Adobe GoLive and Outlook Express to have internet access in OS X, I was finally told that this is impossible if you are on PPP dial-up, and that you can only do this if you access the internet over your ethernet network.

Not quite! What no one seems to know (at least no one seems to mention it) is that you can use a "Port Reflector" to allow these apps to use your PPP connection. Wickedly Simply Software has created such a program and once it's setup, it's pretty much automatic. The shareware version times out at 10 minutes (then you have to close the program and restart it), so it's definitely a "try" before you buy. But I gladly paid the $10 charge to be able to use GoLive and Express.
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Changing application/file associations System
[Editor's Note: See the comments for the answer to the question]

I would love to be able to configure which application is launched to open documents of various types (html, .gz, etc). Is this possible?
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Remote Aqua sessions System
[Editor's Note: See the comments for a discussion on the possibilities of remote control of Aqua sessions]


I would like to know if anyone has successfully run Aqua-Applications on a remote machine (like one can do under X-Sessions if x-forwarding is allowed).

Thanks for any info on this.

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mySQL administrative tools Apps
If you've installed mySQL and PHP for creating web-enabled databases, you've probably become quite familiar with the pure UNIX interface to mySQL. For example, you'd type DESCRIBE tablename for a list of the field definitions in a table; to add a row to a table, the syntax is INSERT INTO tablename (fieldname1, fieldname2) VALUES (expression1, expression2). In other words, completely un-Mac-like and non-intuitive ... but quite powerful!

While you can't avoid all of this hassle of the non-GUI interface, there are a couple of tools out there that make managing mySQL databases much easier. The first is an OS X (Carbon) application called MacSQL Monitor from Runtime Labs. This is a shareware ($40) package that puts a very nice Mac GUI on your mySQL databases. The demo version has limited export capabilities, and will run 10 queries each session.

My personal favorite, though, is phpmyadmin, from This is a collection of PHP scripts designed to help you manage mySQL databases, and it's available free of charge. Through the web-based interface, you can easily create tables, browse records, run queries, modify properties, drop tables, and add/delete entire databases. It's the tool I use when I have to work in the raw database files on the macosxhints website. Read the rest of this article if you'd like an overview of installing myphyadmin.
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Installing OpenSSH 2.3 UNIX
In the hint on fixing the security hole in SSH, one of the possible solutions was to install OpenSSH 2.3. No detail was provided on exactly how to do this, however! I had thought this link was already posted on the site somewhere, but a quick search failed to find it ... so I'm posting it now (again?).

To install OpenSSH 2.3, head on over to, and follow the excellent page of instructions written by Scott Anguish which will walk you through the process.

I have not built OpenSSH 2.3 on my machine, so you're on your own to see if it actually works. I'm sure it does, but I haven't tested it myself yet.
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SSH security hole and fix System
If you run SSH on OS X PB, there's a new report on a number of websites of a security hole in versions under 2.3.0. You can either attempt to install OpenSSH 2.3 (available from the OpenSSH web site), or you can disable the SSH1 protocol, which is where the security hole exists.

To disable SSH1, start a terminal session, enter su and your root password, and edit the file /etc/sshd_config. You may want to back it up first (cp sshd_config sshd_config_old), just in case. Change the line that reads #Protocol 2,1 to simply Protocol 2. Remember to take out the '#', otherwise the line is still commented out! Save your changes and exit the editor.

The last step is to generate a host DSA key, while still logged in as root. Type ssh-keygen -d and wait for the prompted save location. Type "/etc/ssh_host_dsa_key" as your response, and then enter two "return" keystrokes when asked for the passphrase.

Now either 'kill' and restart sshd, or restart the computer, and you should be good to go. If you had been using NiftyTelnet SSH (an SSH1 client) to connect to your box, it will no longer work. You'll have to use MacSSH, which is an SSH2 client ... or just use the UNIX command line, if you're coming from another OS X or UNIX box.
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Multiple language support System
If you'd like to see an example of multi-language support in OS X via OmniWeb, first download the Code2000 unicode font (which contains something like 30,000 characters). Unzip the file, and move the .TTF font into your fonts folder (/Users/username/Library/Fonts).

Launch OmniWeb, and open the font preference panel and select "Code2000" as your font. Now visit Alan Wood's Unicode Sample Pages to see a selection of unicode characters for various languages and purposes ... it's a pretty impressive display!

This tidbit was found on the "Unleash your multilingual Mac" page, written by Tom Gewecke. Visit his site for even more info on multi language support in both OS X and OS 9.
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root's daily/weekly/monthly mail UNIX
If you leave your OSX box up and running 24/7 and have been burning some midnight oil, you might have noticed some system activity in the early hours. If you look in /etc/crontab, you'll see that the root user runs some nightly, weekly and monthly security and maintenance tasks. Whenever cron produces output, it gets emailed to the job owner, so in this case root will be sent email nightly, weekly and monthly.

Unless you're in the habit of logging in as root and reading the email there it's more useful to have all of root's email redirected to your own mailbox. As with most (all?) unix systems, you can do this by creating a .forward file for the root user. Read the rest of this article if you'd like instructions on how to create this file.
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