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Neat features Apps
While messing around with the terminal today, playing with transparency, size and colors, I noticed a couple of nice design elements.

First, as you resize the window, ithe window title displays the size of the new window ... 80x24 becomes 92x24 to 103x24 to 120x40. When you let go, it returns to the original display.

Second, and I guess I just overlooked this earlier, you can open an Inspector Window for any open terminal session. This gives you access to nearly all the same settings as you get in the prefs panel, but you can now set them on a per window basis. I'd always just mucked around with the color and font control panels, but the Inspector lets you do things like change the window title, specify the scrollback buffer size, etc. This isn't a hidden feature; I just overlooked it in the menus earlier.

And if you haven't tried it yet, play around with the terminal transparency hack - you can make some very nice looking (yet still functional) semi-transparent terminals.
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Zoom windows to full screen System
If you click the expand icon in OS X (the green "+"), it's default behavior is "zoom to fit," where it will zoom the window only as large as needed to fit the text. 'applenut' over on the AppleInsider OS X forum pointed out that if you hold down option and hit the zoom button, the window will zoom to fill the screen.

Cool trick, and I hadn't even tried it in three months of use with the PB. Well-behaved apps (I tried IE 5) will leave enough room at the bottom of the screen so that you can reach the bottom edge of the window without activating an auto-hidden dock.
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Another liquid button maker Apps
A while ago, I wrote about a Japanese-language Aqua button making program. Over on the MacNN forums, 'trunks_essex' pointed one out in English. This one's from a company called Micahsoft, and you can find ButtonMaker (and some other RealBasic programs) on their site.

ButtonMker is quite easy to use (having it in my native language helps greatly!), and it includes other options in addition to Aqua. The author acknowledges a bug when trying to save buttons of a certain height, but I didn't run into it in the ten minutes or so I tested the program.

Just a pointer to yet another way to put some Aqua in your world!
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Scripting ftp transfers UNIX
If you often transfer the same file to/from an FTP server (or do anything repetitively with an FTP server), you can use UNIX and a simple script to automate the process. Although similar things are probably possible with grapical clients, this will teach you a bit about UNIX and a very basic shell script.

I use two such scripts on my OS X box. Since my home machine is occasinally out of OS X, that means that my family's OS X hosted website is not accessible. Before I shut down OS X, I upload a "Our server is down" page to my ISP-hosted site. When I return to OS X, I upload a "Our server is up" page. This way, our family and friends can tell easily if the site is up or not. I manage both these tasks with a double-click on an icon in the finder, thanks to these scripts.

This tutorial requires some basic understanding of the command line and an OS X text editor such as vi or pico. Read the rest if you'd like to see how to set up a simple automated FTP script.
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CPU Monitoring for dual processors. Apps
Folks with dual processors might appreciate seeing that both cpus are doing their share. In the "GrabBag" subdirectory of the Applications directory, there's a graphical cpu monitor that show's the activity of both processors.

If you want to see both cpus constanlty busy download the text-only version of seti@home and run 2 versions (from different directories). Use the "-nice 20" flag and you won't notice any loss in performance since the OSX kernel will sacrifice seti@home performance in order to keep everything else speedy.

Ref: seti@home downloads
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Internet port numbers Network
Although this isn't an OS X specific tip, if you do much with the built-in UNIX-based services in OS X (such as SSH, Apache, and FTP), it may be relevant. These services operate over ports, which are defined and managed by IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority). If you'd like to familiarize yourself with who they are and what they do, just visit their web site.

If you'd like to see a very exhaustive list of port assignments, IANA is the place to go. This list is the most exhaustive that I've ever seen. This can be useful for things such as establishing 'port forwarding' in a router, which will allow certain ports (such as 548, for Appletalk over TCP) to be sent through your router to one target machine (your Mac running OS 9 file sharing over TCP/IP).

If you are a "power user" in the Mac OS 9 world, and you want to delve into all the services that are offered with OS X, some knowledge of port numbers may be helpful as you start experimenting with Apache, SSH, FTP, Samba, etc. For the typical OS 9 convert, though, you won't have to know anything about them -- other than they're out there, and they help make some of the cool stuff in the new OS possible.
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Old Macs w/G3 cards: Beware of overclocking Install
Don't overclock your CPU with Mac OS X!

I had a terrible time installing OS X on my 7500 with a G3 upgrade card. I had strange random crashes during the installation, strange random error messages during the installation. If the installation did happen to complete, OS X would crash randomly or just stop booting.

The problem was that I had overclocked my XLR8 G3 upgrade card. The XLR8 upgrade card has switches that can change the CPU clock speed by very small increments. This allows you to set the fastest possible CPU speed, but if you set it too high the machine will crash or become unstable. I had overclocked the G3 rated at 300 up to 333 Mhz. It worked great with Mac OS 9.04, but that high speed did not work with Mac OS X. Amazingly, I had to lower the G3 speed down to 266 for it to work reliably with OS X.

The explanation is that OS X uses CPU instructions that are never used by Mac OS 8 or 9, such as for protected memory. The PC version of the Linux installation guide gives the same warning for the same reason.

This may have nothing to do with the article in the System section about enabling the backside cache in older Macs upgraded with a G3. All these problems occurred before I enabled the backside cache.
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How to change your dock 'poof' System
This one's fairly old, and may or may not work when 1.0 ships, but it's kind of fun. Over on this AppleInsider forum, there's a discussion on dock and poof hacking. Out of that are a set of instructions on how to change your dock's 'poof.' I've detailed the method in the remainder of this article, in case you're interested.

Out of that discussion, this page, created by Synoptic and others, contains a selection of pre-modified docks and poofs, ready for use with OS X. If you want to see what's possible with just a little bit of work, check it out and download some of the alternatives!
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Tracking OS X drivers System
One of the biggest issues in the day to day acceptance and usage of OS X will be the presence of native device drivers. These drivers are required for things like USB to serial adapters, printers, SCSI cards, scanners, video cameras, and other peripherals that operate on USB, SCSI, or firewire.

If native drivers are not available, the only method of using these devices will be to boot back into OS 9.1 -- they will not work in Classic using their 9.1 drivers (based on what I've been told and read, having asked the question in a few places).

To help track native device drivers, I have added a new category ("Drivers") to the links section of the site. There are (obviously) other web sites that track these kinds of things (use VersionTracker and search on "drivers," or go to Mac OS X Apps and look in the drivers section); I'm doing so here only out of personal interest - I want to have one fast and easy way to find all the drivers I will personally need in OS X final!

Since this was a rapidly-changing beta OS until very recently, I would expect that between now and March 24th we will see a number of OS X drivers announced by the major manufacturers. If you see any release announcements, or find a reference to available OS X drivers, feel free to submit a link, using "Drv-" as the lead-in to the name so that they're easily identifiable in the "What's New?" box.

I hope to have compiled a thorough list of available native drivers prior to the official launch date, as this is one of the first things users will be looking to find for their shiny new OS.
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How and why to use the Apache proxy server Apps
Even if you have no interest in serving web pages from your new OS X box, there's at least one feature of Apache (the built-in web server) that you might want to put to use - the proxy server.

A proxy server is nothing more than a server which sits between a client (such as a web browser) and a real server (such as a web host). It intercepts all requests sent by the client and decides if it can handle the request itself. If it cannot, it then passes the request on to the real server.

Why might you find this useful? There are two primary reasons. First, if you're a parent, you can use the proxy server to control which sites your kids can and cannot have access to. This may make you feel slightly more comfortable leaving them alone in front of the machine ... although any child with some level of net experience will be able to find ways to get what they wanted anyway.

Since the proxy will block sites that you specify, you can also use it to block ad servers such as (and there goes any chance of ever having advertisers on this site ... want to get blacklisted ... just explain how to block ad servers! ;-)

The second usage is for caching web content locally. If you have a connection that's shared between multiple computers, you can use the proxy to store pages locally. That way, if you browse and your spouse visits the site 30 seconds later from another machine, they will get a locally cached page which will be served very quickly.

Read the rest of this article if you'd like instructions on setting up Apache's proxy server.
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