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Add words to the dictionary Apps
If you're running a spellcheck-aware application (such as mail), then you know misspelled words show up in red. Sometimes, though, the word is right, it's just not in the dictionary. "Dalgo" pointed out over on this MacNN forum that you can add any misspelled words to the dictionary by simply control-clicking (or right-clicking) on the word. You'll be given a menu with options to Learn spelling or Ignore spelling (among other choices). In all my mucking about with the beta, I'd never tried a right-click on a misspelled word! Thanks Dalgo!
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Instant screensaver activation System
Most screensavers feature a "fade now" corner which will instantly activate the scrensaver module. The built-in OS X screensaver does not inclue this useful feature. There is, however, a pretty good shortcut way of accomplishing the same thing. Here's how to do it.

In the finder (not in a terminal session), navigate to:


In that directory, simply drag the to the dock. Now, when you want to activate the screen saver, just click on the icon in the dock!

This is especially useful if you've modified your screensaver to use your system password (either via the hack, or using Screen Locker). Now you can walk away and have an instantly protected system.

I'm not sure where I read about this, but I've been using it on my machine for quite a while and just hadn't posted it here yet. Very useful; kudos to whomever figured this one out!
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Last chance fix for dead machines System
There have been some reports of people with totally dead Macs after running OS X. The causes seem very hard to pin down, but the common condition of the machines is an inability to boot off of a OS 9 CD. The machine is stuck running OS X, despite everything the user tries to fix the problem (including booting into open firmware, resetting parameter RAM, setting the system disk, etc.).

One final thing to try is turn the machine off, open it up, and pull the battery out of the motherboard. Wait a decent amount of time (five minutes or more), reinsert the battery, and restart. This should force your machine to forget about anything it thinks it knows, and go back to the factory configuration. Your CD drive should now boot the machine (when holding down 'C' during boot). I've seen reports of this working for more than one person, but there have been a couple poor souls that have tried this and are still non-functional.

Any other thoughts on potential solutions for those still stuck?
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Move background windows around Desktop
Spotted this one over in this MacNN forum. If you want to move a window (call it Window2) which is behind the foreground window (Window1) without bringing it to the foreground, there are a few options, depending on the applications involved. For example:
  • If Window1 and Window2 belong to the same Carbon app (IE 5), use command-drag
  • If Window1 and Window2 belong to the same Cocoa app (RBrowser), use command-drag
  • If Window1 belongs to a Carbon app and Window2 belongs to a Cocoa app, use command-drag
  • if Window1 belongs to a Cocoa app and Window2 belongs to a Carbon app, drag with the right mouse button. What's strange is that control-drag will not work, even though a right mouse button is supposed to be a control-click. Strange.
  • If Window1 or Window2 belongs to a Classic app, there does not appear to be a way to do this - any click combination brings the Classic window forward.
These tricks are quite useful for managing your desktop real estate; use them wisely and you'll do a lot less application switching!
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Analyze your web server stats Apps
If you've enabled Apache to serve web pages, and want to see what's been going on with your site (hits, visitor sources, etc.), then you need a web log analyzer. Analog is considered one of the best, and it's free. There are two versions available for the Mac that I'm aware of. The first is a PowerPC app that would (probably, I haven't tested it) run in the Classic environment. You can find the package on this page at

There's also a UNIX version available, which Chris Pepper has compiled for the Public Beta. You can find the download and instructions on his site. He's also ported a couple other UNIX apps over to the PB, and you can find those on the web site.
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Find text in messages in Apps
Although I don't use the built-in mail client every day, I do like how well it integrates into the system. For example, the new message count in the dock is a very nifty feature. However, as installed, the mail client (for some unknown reason - bug?) will not allow you to search for text within the messages.

In order to make this feature work, go into the preferences (Mail -> Preferences) and select the Indexing option. Click on the Enable full-text searches in mailboxes checkbox, and make sure the When opening mailboxes dropdown menu reads Always create an index.

You can now search for text within messages. There are some other features (such as filters) that are hidden in the preferences as well, so browse around while you're there!
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Long file names? System
[Editor's note: See the comments for a discussion on recommendations]

I downloaded the .tar file containing the PHP documentation, and was just beginning to read the files when I came across this problem: long file names. It would seem that OS X Public Beta chokes on very long file names such as
  • language.basic-syntax.instruction-separation.php
The problem first came up as an inability for me to view certain pages in the PHP manual. I first though it was a bug in IE.

But then I then looked into the directory using the Finder, and discovered that while files with shorter names are recognized by the Finder as HTML files (due to their .html extension?), longer ones like the one I mentioned as well as many others, are not recognized. I though OS X is supposed to supported long file names, up to 255 characters?!?!?

If anyone can shed some light on this, I'd appreciated it. Thanks!

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identd function not working in IRC Network
If you are an IRC user, and you notice that your identd function only seems to work when you're logged in as root, head on over to this thread on the MacFixIt forums for a quick edit fix to make it functional again.

I've also noted the how-to in the body of this article just for posterity, but please, support all the Mac sites by reading the original over on MacFixIt!
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Recovering a lost root password System
Although there's no real way to recover a lost root password, you can change the root password even if you do not know the current one. You must have physical access to the machine in order to accomplish this task. The following steps were originally noted on this MacNN forum, which contains a number of follow-up messages about security in general - well worth the reading time.

NOTE: The following information has been publicly disclosed on a number of Internet sites, and is not a new find. I'm simply repeating it here for the sake of completeness.

Read the detailed section of this article for step-by-step instructions on regaining access to your root account.
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Bringing all application windows forward Desktop
This was written into another tip a few days back, but it's worth repeating. If you have an application with multiple open windows (such as Explorer), there's an easy way to bring all of the windows into the foreground -- simply click on the application in the dock.

If you just click on one of the application's open windows, only that one will be brought forward, possibly leaving the rest obscured behind other windows. A quick click in the dock, however, will force all the open windows to the foreground.

This is a basic functionality of the dock, but it doesn't seem to be documented anywhere that I can find.
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