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URLs in the Dock Desktop
[Editor's note: I've revised the below hint to reflect the really easy way to place URL's in the dock (as described in the comments), but I've left the contributed hint in the body for context and the truly adventurous!]

Ever wonder how to put a URL in the dock, like Apple's Mac OS X Feedback URL? Here's the easy way - drag them to the right side of the dock from any of the OS X browsers. Read the rest of the message for a method of creating them with an editor.
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Cool jEdit/RBrowser/OS X feature Apps
This morning, I was editing some of the site files in jEdit, and transferring them to and from the server using RBrowser (both jEdit and RBrowser are described in articles elsewhere on this site). At one point, I needed a version of a file from the server which was newer than the version I had open in jEdit.

I had RBrowser download the file to my editing directory, and then I returned to jEdit. When the RBrowser download completed, I received the following message within jEdit:

I'm not sure if this is a native feature of OS X (doubtful) or something that is written into jEdit (probably), but whichever it is, it's very cool and useful! No longer will I edit and save a file, only to then remember that I had downloaded a newer version sometime earlier.
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Force an App to open a File Desktop
If you drag a file from the OSX Finder to the various icon on the Dock, you'll notice that only certain apps will highlight to show that they will accept that type of file. However, sometimes you want to force an application to open a type of file, even if it doesn't "know" about it. To do this. hold down command and option when you drag the file. You should be able to drop the file on any application.
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Protect your machine with TCP wrapper Network
TCP Wrapper allows you to protect your machine's daemon, such as FTP, telnet, etc. It's a filter that use IP numbers and hostnames to restrict access. TCP Wrapper is already in MacOS X, but the configuration file is not provided, so there is no protection at all, and there won't be until you create one and edit it to suit your needs.

You can see a sample hosts.allow file at this URL:

Copy this file into /etc/ and edit it. How to configure the file is pretty obvious as soon as you take a look into it so I don't detail this part (the file is commented with basic instructions).

WARNING: Be really careful when working on a remote machine, messing up the hosts.allow can prevent you from connecting again to that computer.
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Move your swap file to another drive System
By default, Mac OS X uses a swap file (for virtual memory) which is installed on the same drive as your operating system. For best performance, the swap file would ideally be located on the fastest drive in your machine, which may or may not be the same disk as your OS. Unfortunately, there's no built-in GUI for changing a swap drive location.

A few days ago, there was a help request on swapping on another hard drive and subsequent comments that figured out how this could be done. I asked if patpro, one of the users involved, would mind writing a step-by-step instruction set on how to transfer swap. Read the rest of this article to see what he had to say ... well worth the time if you have a spare, fast hard drive in your system!
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Easily work with remote files Apps
Many OS X users will probably be connecting to other remote systems frequently. I do so every time I want to upload new images or features to this site, or to transfer a file to or from the office. There are a number of ways to do this using either the command line (ftp, ssh, scp) or graphical FTP clients (Transmit, NetFinder, Fetch).

There is an alternative program available known as RBrowser, which has one unique advantage that I really like. Although it will function as a normal graphical FTP client, it can also do the same for ssh (secure shell) and scp (secure copy) connections. Basically, it will present a finder-like view of your remote host, but it does so using ssh to make the connection, and scp to copy files. This is great for me, as my ISP has a three-minute timeout on FTP connections, but no limit on ssh connections! No more reconnect delays after a more-than-three-minute local editing session! Read the rest for some more features and pricing both now and post-beta.
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Adding users from the shell UNIX
"JasonB" has written two shell scripts which enable the addition and deletion of users to your OS X system from the command line. Normally this would be done in Netinfo, but the command line option is nice if you ever want to do this remotely.

His scripts and instructions can be found on this page of his web site.

I have not tried these yet personally, but there's no reason to believe they won't work.
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Speed, RAM, and OS X PB System
The stated requirement for OS X PB is 128mb of RAM. To really make it perform best, however, more seems to be much better. This is especially true if you run a number of large Classic apps, such as GoLive, Excel, Word, Photoshop, etc.

The amount of disk swapping that goes on drops dramatically with increased RAM, making the system much more responsive overall. There was even a notable difference between my home (192mb) and work (320mb) machines, which are otherwise identical G4's, so I decided to upgrade the home machine.

I ended up adding 256mb (for about $150), and the differences are dramatic. I hardly ever hear my hard drive now, unless I'm accessing it. Read the rest if you want the details on where I bought my RAM...
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Installing mysql and PHP Apps
[Editor's note: Revised to reflect new links on Matt's own site]

PHP and mysql, when used together, provide a rich environment for creating dynamic database driven web pages. PHP is a script-like programming language that contains features that make it quite easy to pull data from mysql databases and integrate them into web pages. As an example of what they can do together, this site is created dynamically by PHP serving data from a mysql database (using a prewritten program known as GeekLog). Unfortunately, PHP support is not included in the standard Apache install that ships with OS X PB, and mysql is not part of the UNIX core installed by the PB.

Matthew Vaughn has created pre-packaged versions of both mysql and PHP which are easily installed via the Apple installer. He's also got the original Apache compressed online, in case you want to reverse the install. If you're truly adventurous, he also has a page of instructions on how you can build both components by yourself.

Matthew points out a couple of minor glitches with mysql, but everything works. There are also a couple of good threads on the MacNN boards about installation and autostart scripts for mysql.

I've found that the PHP site is a great place to get a handle on the language, and I've picked up the "SAMS Teach Yourself PHP4 in 24 hours" book as a reference.
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How to make Aqua-esque buttons Desktop
So you want to get in on the latest Aqua craze and liquify your life? There are a few ways to create Aqua buttons, ranging from hard but rewarding (Photoshop files from scratch) to somewhat easier (copy/edit an existing Apple button). However, this is by far the easiest way I've found to do it.

A Japanese author, whose home page only hints at what his/her name might be ("Hide's Room"?), has developed Liquid Buttons. The button in this posting was created in about 10 seconds in Liquid Buttons.

You can download the program from "hshioura's" page on and try it out for yourself.

The biggest problem with the program (for us English speakers!) is that it's in Japanese, and you'll either get gibberish or Japanese text in the dialogs and menus. However, it's very simple to use, and trial and error will quickly lead you to the right way to create and save your buttons. A quick hint to get you started: design the words and colors you want, click the lower-left button, and then click the lower-right button to save your work.

Quite fun! If anyone knows more about the author, I'd love to provide more details...
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