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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #48, 06/22/02
Contents Copyright 2002 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================

THIS ISSUE
----------
This issue, enhanced with fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments,
and personal
commentary of questionable merit, has a lot of Oh Ess Ten content.
Remember TEN STUFF is identified with (X). But don't be fooled, there's
some good NINE STUFF here too, identified by (9). Oh, and by the way,
this issue, I DON'T leave Microsoft alone. :-)

NEWS & UPDATES - Short Hills Apple store opens, new IE for X, and more!
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK - Just the usual Accolades.
GET THE POINT (X) - Avoiding the Spinning Beach Ball of Death
ANGEL OR DEMON (9,X) - Tame the Beast (Part 4) Program Switcher, Keyboard
Maestro
OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED (9,X) - Wireless (Part 2), NO STATIC AT ALL
Know The Difference - Fun with IE
TIPS - (X) - Famous Again
OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE - iPod sites
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands (9,X) - Silly Spacebar tricks
Good News Press Releases - A few.



GEEK SPEAK ALERT: WiFi, AirPort, MP3, Quartz



NEWS & UPDATES
--------------
SHORT HILLS APPLE STORE Grand Opening Saturday June 22nd!! - Finally, the
Apple store in the Short Hills Mall - (that's in NEW JERSEY) revealed in
U&O LAST YEAR, will be opening. The store will feature a free 'Intro'
class every Saturday at 9:00am and 'Theater' presentations on a variety
of Mac-Topics.

<http://www.apple.com/retail/shorthills/>
<http://www.apple.com/retail/theater/>


CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT filed Against Makers of 'Copy Protected' Music Discs
- Which, as mentioned here previously, should not, according to Phillips,
the inventor of the CD, be called 'CD's, because they are non-standard
and technically 'defective'.

<http://news.com.com/2102-1023-936527.html>


REGISTER FOR MACWORLD EXPO - Steve is confirmed as the Keynote speaker
and the special low rates have been extended to June 24th.

<http://www.macworldexpo.com>


MACS COST 36% LESS to Support - MacWorld UK reports that a Gartner Group
study finds that Macs cost 36% LESS to support and maintain than Wintel
based PCs. I'm not surprised, are you?

<http://www.macworld.co.uk/news/main_news.cfm?NewsID=4795>


(X) ALERT '10.1.5 Network fix' - My system has DEFINITELY been LESS
STABLE since applying the 10.1.5 update. Wait on this one if you can. The
URL below provides a simple fix for a possible problem with the update to
10.1.5 dropping network connections.

<http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106905>


(X) Internet Explorer 5.2 - READ 'Know the Difference' (below) before
upgrading!

<http://www.microsoft.com/mac/DOWNLOAD/IE/ie52.asp>


For more news and updates:

<http://www.macminute.com/>
<http://www.versiontracker.com/>



UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK
-----------------------------
Just the usual Accolades (Thanks!) And welcome to new subscribers Rich,
Jan, and Carol!



(X) GET THE POINT
------------------
Avoiding the SBBD (Spinning Beach Ball of Death)

Well Mac users, now that we have TEN, we can better relate to the Windows
world! That's right, just as Windows users have the famed BSD (Blue
Screen of Death) when something goes wrong, now we have the SBBD -
Spinning Beach Ball of Death - sometimes referred to as the 'Spinning
Pizza of Death'.

The SBBD appears briefly when your Mac is busy doing something. That's
okay, and technically if it's there for only a few seconds, it's really
only an SBB. But if you don't have enough memory, or horsepower, or have
some application trying to connect to the Internet when there's no
connection to use, or whatever... then you see the SBBD. Don't Panic! Oh
Ess Ten is a multi-tasking and memory protected industrial strength
ironclad operating system, and it's really WORKING. You just can't do
anything with your Mac until it's done (so be patient), or until you
switch to another application that isn't hung up, or until you 'Force
Quit' the befuddled application, or reboot the befuddled operating system.

OH ESS TEN will grow on you, and frustrate you. Now that I've been using
it extensively for six months or more, here's my short list of
suggestions for avoiding the SBBD.

Rule 1 - GET CARBONATED
Get all your applications to Carbon/Cocoa and stay out of Classic. Be
open to change. If applications aren't available for X, or don't work
right in X, replace them. I had too many problems with Apple's 'Mail',
and found it too lame in its capabilities. The 'Address Book' crashed
every time I tried to do a find. I played with several mail programs and
finally settled on PowerMail because of its similarity to Emailer. And
it's a Carbon app!

Rule 2 - AMASS MEMORY
Definitely bump the memory as much as you can, especially if you're using
Classic, which as I said, you should avoid. Forget what Apple says, the
minimum is 384Mb. I have 512Mb now, and I'm still thinking about more.

Rule 3 - GET CURRENT
If you haven't run the Software Update enough times so that it comes back
with no updates, make a backup (if you can), and then run it. And run it
again. (I've heard that IE had real memory leak problems, and it crashed
for me quite a bit, but since I updated to OSX 10.1.4 and IE 5.1.4,
things have been pretty stable.)

Rule 4 - MAKE IT STOP
OSX can waste a lot of time trying to connect to everything everywhere,
so one way to see less of the beachball is to setup 'Locations' (much
lamer than OS 9 Locations) and turn off all the ports you're not using.
If you use more than one port at a Location, PRIORITIZE the ports by
putting the most likely one to be used at the top of the list. I know you
may not know how to do this, but you need to learn. You might want to
email your local consultant. :-)

Rule 5 - BUY A NEW MAC
Buy the fastest most powerful Mac you can. I was using a Titanium G4 400,
which you'd think would have the horsepower to push X around. But I
haven't really been happy with X until now, now that I have a Titanium 800.

:-)

BTW, Want to know more about the switch to TEN? Adam Engst has started a
series in TidBITS called, "Avoiding Trouble in the Move to Mac OS X".

<http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=06848>



(9,X) ANGEL OR DEMON - Tame the Beast (part 4)
-------------------
Keyboard Maestro
If you've been following this series, you know we've been helping out the
poor, experienced Mac users who have lost so many features and
functionality by going to Oh Ess Ten. (New Mac users could care less.
They don't know. They think OSX is nifty. They are tyros.)

So far, we fixed the missing System sounds, and we fixed the Application
Menu, which is supposed to be over there on the far right of the Menu
bar. We talked about switching application with the Dock, and how you can
use [Command]+[Tab] to cycle through the open applications on the Dock.
But what about good ol' [Option]+[Tab] for quickly cycling through
applications? You could setup OS9 to do this. Windows users have had it
FOREVER using [Control]+[Tab], and WE had it when Windows was just an
idea that Bill Gates had for grafting the copied Mac interface onto DOS.
Back then we switched applications from the keyboard using a utility
called 'Switcher', and eventually, 'MultiFinder'. (I know you don't
remember. It was a long time ago. You weren't born yet. Yea, yea, and I
sure don't remember what keystrokes we used to switch Switcher windows,
but it was [Command] + Arrow or something...)

ANYWAY. You can switch Apps from the keyboard, easily, in Oh Ess Ten with
the aid of a shareware utility called 'Keyboard Maestro'. This is really
an OSX version of the OS9 shareware app, 'Program Switcher'. Wake up OS9
people! You can get this utility!!

<http://www.programswitcher.com/>

Keyboard Maestro (and Program Switcher, for that matter) works this way:
You have multiple applications loaded. You're in 'Earth Browser' for
example. You want to bring PowerMail to the 'top'. You hold down the
[Option] key with your thumb and press the [Tab] key with your index
finger. Walla! A menu-like list of all your running apps - with icons for
you visual types - appears in the center of your screen. With your thumb
still down, every tap of your Index finger on the [Tab] key moves down
one space on the application list. Tap until the list shows the
application you want to switch to (Powermail in this example). Let both
fingers up, and Powermail pops to the 'top'!! You can go the opposite
direction in your application list by using the [Shift] key instead of [Tab].

This is way easier to do than to describe, and so incredibly convenient
and fast that you really have to try it. And because it's Shareware, you
can! Try before you buy. The 'limited' version is free. If you want all
the functionality of the appplication, you can buy it. And if you decide
to do that, be sure to read the next paragraph.

Download a free copy today at: <http://www.KeyboardMaestro.com>

UNPREDICTABLE has made a special discount arrangement with Claireware,
the company that makes Keyboard Maestro! I'm excited about this not only
because YOU save money, but if you buy using this method, I get a small
commission too. (And you want to support UNPREDICTABLE, don't you??) KM
is normally $20.00. If you buy it using the special URL below, you save
$3.00 and get it for only $17.00!! There are several options to pay, but
you only get the discount if you buy it through Order1.net. So think
about it, try it, and if you decide to buy it, be sure to use this URL:

<https://www.order1.net/ssl/buy/order.cgi?Spkey=claireware-kb1&Coupon=UnpredictableMac&DefaultPrice=20&Quantity=1>

This will give you a discount from the regular price of $20.00 to $17.00.

If you somehow mess up this LONG URL, you can still get the discount by
paying through order1.net and specifying the coupon code
"UnpredictableMac" (minus the quotes).

:-)



** OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED ***
-- Terrible tales of misunderstood and unknown features. --
------------------------------------------------------------
Wireless - (Part 2) NO STATIC AT ALL
Regular readers recall we last left Unpredictable Chris, sitting with his
TiBook, blasting music over his living room stereo system, changing
volume and tunes, but for the presence of his wireless PowerBook giving
the appearance of prestidigitation if not outright psychokinetic powers.
Let's join him now as he reveals the key to this great mystery...

There are at least two ways to control your stereo via a PowerBook (or
other Macintosh). Last time, we discussed AirPort wireless networking,
referred to by the drudges of lesser platforms as 'WiFi'. Next time we'll
get back to AirPort, but for now we're talking about controlling your
stereo with FM ('No static at all!!'). In fact, this is something of an
illusion, because we're really just broadcasting TO the FM receiver. We
achieve this minor miracle with a little device called an 'iRock'.

The iRock is similar to the 'cassette converter' that allows you to take
the output of a portable CD or MP3 player and 'play' it through the
cassette deck in your car. BUT THAT IS SO ANALOG!! Cassette converters
have wires hanging out of them, and pretty much ONLY work in your car.
The iRock is WIRELESS and can go just about anywhere. Roughly the size of
a golf ball, and much cuter, it uses two triple-A batteries, plugs into
the headphone output of your CD Player, iPod, or in my case, PowerBook,
and broadcasts the content at a range of 15 to 30 feet over a choice of
four FM channels. It's available at Radio Shack for about $35 US
(compared to around $15 US for a cassette converter).

Has it hit you yet? Am I being too conservative? The point is, this is
COOL. VERY COOL!! If you're doing this in your car, you have all the
advantages of listening to the radio - turn down the volume from the dash
to talk to the toll booth attendant, switch channels to catch the
weather, while 'your' iPod station keeps on playing! Use your
imagination. Want to be your own 'mix master' with iTunes and pump the
music through your stereo system? Why stop at iTunes? You can play a
Music CD in your Mac's CD player and blast it through the stereo. Why
stop there? Do the same with a DVD! ANY audio output that comes out of
your Mac (or iPod, etc.) can be part of your broadcast!

I only see a couple of setbacks here. One, iRock is running on batteries,
and sooner or later, like electricity in California, like a lucky streak
at the craps at Harrah's, like medical insurance in New Jersey, like dry
brush in the Southwest, it runs out. Oh well. If you have kids with
GameBoys, you know what it is to keep a huge stock of batteries in the
frig. Second, the range. Even at close range, you sometimes have to
wobble the iRock around until you get a clear signal. Once you start
playing with this and realize how cool it is, you're going to wish you
could use it anywhere in your house, or out in your backyard, or
whatever, but you're limited to that 15 to 30 feet. Is there a way to do
this without an iRock? Well, yes and no. That will take us back to
AirPort, and you'll have to wait for another exciting episode of "O and U
- Terrible Tales of Misunderstood and Unknown Features". Until then,
HAVE FUN! :-)



Know The Difference
-------------------
"Oh when will they ever learn? Oh when will they, ever learn?" Internet
Explorer 5.2, the latest update of IE for Oh Ess Ten, allegedly makes
some improvements to the browser program, including supporting the
'Quartz' text rendering of 10.1.5. But unfortunately in typical Microsoft
fashion, installing the update requires you to quit all other
applications. For OS9, this might be de rigueur, but in TEN, it's an
INSULT. Really boys, are you trying to say X is not multi-tasking? Nor
memory protected? This ain't no disco, this ain't no party, this ain't no
Windows XP!! COME ON!! And that's not all folks!

Installing this update, RESETS YOUR COOKIE PREFERENCES, and RESETS YOUR
HOME PAGE so that it becomes WWW.MSN.COM. I KNOW I WANT MSN AS MY HOME
PAGE! GOSH, I'LL BET EVERY OTHER MAC USER WITH IE DOES TOO!!

And That's The Difference.



TIPS
----
(X) Catch my latest tip on Dr. Mac's OSXFAQ web site!

<http://www.osxfaq.com/tips/plummer2/index.ws>



OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE
----------------------------
Have an iPod? Curious about iPod? Want to see what people have been doing
with iPods? This Issue's Occasional Favorite WEB SITE(s) are all ipod-
related. Check them out!

<http://ipoding.com>
<http://ipodhacks.com>
<http://www.everythingipod.com/>
<http://www.apple.com/ipod/faq.html>
<http://www.versiontracker.com/mp/new_search.m?productDB=mac&mode=Quick&OS_Filter=MacOS&search=ipod>



CLASSIFIEDS
-----------
Airport Card - Still available. Barely used Apple wireless Airport Card.
This is the
newest version (1.2?), comes with the original CD, instructions, box,
mounting board for iMacs, etc. You might find a new one discounted for
$95 if you really search.
You can have this one for $55 (plus shipping if I have to send it to
you.) Send me an email if you're interested.

< chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>



Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
-------------------------------
(X) [COMMAND] + H - HIDE THE CURRENT APPLICATION.
Most of the time you will probably want to PULL an application to the
'top' using the keyboard. With the Dock you can use [COMMAND] + [Tab] to
cycle through the LOADED applications to bring one to the 'top'. But once
in awhile you might want to do the opposite. That is, bury or HIDE the
current application without actually closing windows or shutting it down.
EVERY Oh Ess Ten application (that I have) can do this using [COMMAND] + H.

(9,X) MORE SPACE BAR TRICKS:
Are there coincidences? Joe Leaphorn doesn't think so. These tips are
useful if you're using your Mac as a multi-media center, possibly with an
iRock (see the O&U article above).

Besides using the SPACE BAR for paging up and down in some programs, you
can use it in Apple's DVD Player to TOGGLE playback. Like a PAUSE button.
Tap it once to Pause, Tap it again to continue playing the DVD.

iTunes TOO: As mentioned in a previous U&O, the SPACE BAR performs this
same function in iTunes. Tap it once to PAUSE the current playing tune,
tap it again to continue playing. Very handy for phone calls or office
interruptions!

iMovie THREE: And this works in iMovie.

QuickTime Player FOUR: Here too!

(X) P.S. - Special Bonus Bonus Keyboard Commands: Remember back in U&O
#46 when I lamented that Oh Ess Ten users can't assign F-Keys to do
things like launch a browser, load an application, or run an Applescript
the way you can in OS9??? Well, if you buy Keyboard Maestro you can! See
'Tame the Beast' (above).

:-)


TFSB!



=========================================================================
** CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users **
Oriented towards, but not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western
Central New Jersey. Published Whenever - About Whatever!
=========================================================================
Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full
credit is given. (Please provide UNPREDICTABLE with a copy.) Others
please contact the editor. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and
not guaranteed. Caveat lector. Publication, product, and company names
may be registered trademarks of their companies.

SEND requests and feedback to < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>.

Sample Issue - email with "Sample Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.
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Back Issues available to subscribers upon request.
**
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION
My accountant has advised me to come clean in every issue. Yes, I am a
consultant and am available to HELP YOU on a one-to-one basis. Macintosh
Networking, Internet Connectivity, Desktop Support, Training.
Satisfaction Guaranteed. Oh, and Lotus Notes and Domino Adminstration,
Development, and Support. Interested in help from a long term MAC
Professional? Don't hire some Windows kid who tells you to get rid of
your Mac because HE doesn't GET IT! Send me an email:
< chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>

TFSB :-)

THE END

PLEASE USE THE URL LINKS TO READ THE FULL CONTENT OF THE EXCERPTED
PRESS RELEASES BELOW.



 

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All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)