Sunday, February 29, 2004

Convert AAC files from iTunes to MP3 and export

Updated 1/17/2007: It took a while for me to realize that even the latest version of iTunes has a simple way to convert non-DRMd music to MP3. It's not as easy as holding down the option key and selecting from the Advanced menu (no longer works), but it's easy enough.

In the Advanced menu there is, typically, a 'convert to aac' option. Turns out what you see here is determined by your import preferences. Set your import to MP3, this will show MP3.

You can convert, export and delete your mp3. I just export the ones I want to convert, move them to a different user account, and convert there.

Updated 7/14/06

It took a bit of work to figure out the Blacktree iTunes LAME Encoder. It's a GUI wrapped around a command line AAC to MP3 transcoder. By now there's probably something out that's easier to use, but I haven't looked. There's not much documentation.

My Palm Tungsten E plays MP3 files. My DVD player plays MP3 CDs. Great -- except my iTunes library, legally ripped from my personal CDs, is all AAC encoded. Nothing, yet, plays AAC except my iPod and iTunes.

I needed to be able to convert AAC to MP3. This requires software to:
1. convert AAC to AIFF (uncompressed)
2. convert AIFF to MP3
This process takes time, is tedious, etc. I wanted a utility that would automate this.

iTunes LAME encoder does this. Note the UI is all about "Import" but in this case we're exporting from iTunes.

1. Drag the app to Applications.
2. Drag the script to the iTunes script folder.
1. Set preferences: Destination to save to a local folder rather than iTunes library.
2. Click preferences: "Use Alternate Naming Convention" and delete all but %t (so a flat list of MP3 files is exported).
%a is the album
%l is the ?
%t is the tune or song
3. Change capture settings if desired
4. Create album for AAC files to export/convert and tunes to export there. Select all.
5. Click the LAME script from iTunes. Conversion takes quite a while.

Neat selection of blog tools

Weblogs Compendium - Blog Tools

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Extension Room :: Firefox Extensions :: Blogging Category

Extension Room :: Firefox Extensions :: Blogging Category: "Adds a context menu option to blog a link to the current page and the selected text (if any) through Blogger's BlogThis form"
I wondered if this would work w/ Firefox where the standard BlogThis scriptlet fails. Alas, it works just like BlogThis!, so it doesn't help.

Friday, February 27, 2004

Restoring Graffiti One type print recognition to the Graffiti Two (Jot) Palm devices

Google Groups: View Thread "Tungsten E and print recognition: what's your experi..."
I went through TealScript and ruthlessly deleted all the
variable strokes from my personal profile. The only strokes allowed
are now the ones I use -- the advanced high speed but often
undocumented G1 strokes documented in Pogue's O'Reilly books. I
defined all of my strokes as "standard".

I also deleted many of the "distorted" strokes.

Once I'd paired down the base strokes, I used TealScripts "train
profile" exercise from different angles to create a library of
distorted variants of my base strokes.

I think I could further refine this by tweaking the TealScript squelch
and cutoff settings. Shockingly the best advice I could find seems to
be in the manual.

Based on the manual I have set Squelch and Cutoff to 0 for all of my
"standard" strokes. If one of my standard strokes is being applied
when I don't want it, then

- if it's a simple stroke I'll boost squelch
- if the misapplied strokes is not simple I'll boost cutoff - esp. if
it's distort mismatch

For my distort entries I'll experiment with setting cutoff to 5-15 ...

One of the miracles of the US Robotics PalmPilot was that the pen character input worked. It worked because of Graffiti, a novel form of printing. The brilliance of Graffiti was that it asked the human to adjust to the limitations of the computer. With a bit of practice one could get pen input to work.

Unfortunately few were willing to learn Graffiti. Xerox won a patent fight about its origins, but it was a false victory. Palm abandoned Graffiti in favor of Jot -- a more familiar but singularly ineffective form of pen input.


Thursday, February 26, 2004

Got a machine lying around? Web Crossing Express

Web Crossing - Web Crossing Express Features
Web Crossing Express Features: free web/email/ftp server

Web Crossing Express provides unlimited Web Pages (HTTP and HTTPS), Email (POP/IMAP/SMTP), FTP services and WebFiles, and low-volume* use of the popular Web Crossing collaboration features such as such as WebMail, blogs, discussions, chat, wiki, Neurons and more. Web Crossing Express can easily replace a collection of other free servers such as Apache, sendmail, IIS, Exchange, and FTP daemons. It's an excellent choice if you're setting up an Internet presence and also want to try out Web Crossing's powerful collaboration features. You can upgrade your Web Crossing Express license to make greater use of all the collaboration services at any time, without reinstallation.

This runs atop Win95 and MacOS Classic 9.2. Great use for an old Wintel machine?

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Ars Technica: Portable headphone roundup - Page 6 - (2/2004)

Ars Technica: Portable headphone roundup - Page 6 - (2/2004)
Sennheiser PXC250 (US$130): Sound = 7 / Value = 7 / Overall = 7

As the only set of headphones with active noise cancellation in this comparison, the PXC250 was at a bit of a disadvantage — generally active noise-reduction headphones show a significant price premium over their counterparts (The PXC250 is based off of the PX200, which is significantly cheaper). While the PXC250's sound was not terrific, they were at worst entirely inoffensive, and at best quite balanced and pleasing. Neither Jeff nor Matt had any major complaints about the sound. We would definitely recommend these to anyone that travels on planes a lot, works in a server room, or perhaps someone with a rather loud computer that they do not want to hear, but wants to hear other ambient sound. Just as the other Sennheiser PX series headphones were, the PXC250 is also very light and comfortable. The bottom line is that some people would get a lot of good use out of the PXC250s, but they are probably not worth it for people that do not need the active noise cancellation — better sounding headphones without noise cancellation can be had.

I bought some reconditioned AIWA noise cancelling headphones for $17, but these sound interesting ....

Panther Kernel crashes and BSOD - networks, sleep and location changes

MacFixIt - Troubleshooting Solution for the Macintosh
Mac OS X 10.3.x: Kernel panics upon location change
Yesterday we covered a reader report from Rob Tillyard that his PowerBook G4 has recently been experiencing kernel panics when switching between Network Locations (via the Locations submenu of the Apple Menu or the Network pane of System Preferences). Since then we've received corroborating reports of this issue from many MacFixIt readers.

I see this. No clear workaround except for Apple to fix the problem.

Smaller Panther PDFs - Colorsync option allows Quartz Shrinking (JPEG Compression)

Mac OS X Panther (10.3.2)
Dan Frakes Benjamin Drew wrote: 'How come the PDF's made in Panther are so large?...'

You could use any of a number of PDF 'shrinking' utilities, or even Acrobat. However, Panther has a built-in feature that can significantly reduce the size of Panther-generated PDF files during the creation process:

1. Access the Print dialog normally, but don't use the 'Save as PDF' command yet.
2. From the options pop-up menu in the Print dialog (the one that normally says Copies & Pages by default), choose ColorSync.
3. From the Quartz Filter pop-up menu that appears, choose Reduce File Size.
4. *Then* use the 'Save as PDF' command to create your PDF. (If you plan on using this option often, you may want to first create a new preset using the Presets pop-up menu in the Print dialog; this will allow you to create PDF files using this option in the future by simply selecting the preset before you create the PDF.)

This option won't reduce the size of PDF files as much as some of the third-party utilities on the market, but in some cases it works wonders... and it's free.

Monday, February 23, 2004

Report Google Link Spam

Report a Spam Result
Report sites that game google. When what you see isn't what you expected, copy here.

Apple Software Restore: How to install or reinstall parts without erasing

Apple Software Restore: How to install or reinstall parts without erasing
Working around Apple's own mistakes.

smugmug - now if they'd only add preconfigured user print accounts

smugmug - easy photo sharing with the world's best online photo albums
Here's what I wrote them:

Smugmug looks extremely interesting. Maybe you'll do what I've been writing shutterfly and others about for about a year.

I want to create special prefunded preconfigured accounts for specific users to order prints with. Mother, aunt, grandmother, baby sitter, etc.

I would enter mailing addresses, username, password, default print size, and print budget when I set up their accounts.

They would login to my smugmug page and choose their name from a list. They would be asked a password.

Then they would see a simple app for specifying images to print. Then click done. They see a confirmatory screen and confirm.

That's IT. They don't enter credit card info, uname, pword, address, ANYTHING. They only click, enter password, select print, confirm. Prints get mailed to them.

When my account runs low I'm notified to add more money.

HUGE time saver for me. I don't have to worry about shipping, selecting, anything.

Include a special account without an address. That's to give to parents at a party, so they can get prints.

Do this and you'll be drowning in print orders. Money, money, money.

If you weren't already planning to do this, you can give me 10 free prints as a gesture of your eternal gratitude.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Google Viewer and Safari quick keys

Google Viewer
Google viewer is a google experiment -- it generates a slideshow view. I put in on my Safari toolbar, then I (re)discovered that the Cmd-Number keys map to toobar items.

So cmd-1 brings up BlogThis!, cmd-2 TinyUrl, cmd-3 Google Viewer, etc. It's actually FASTER to use this technique for googling than to use the google search field in Safari. In one keystroke I can enter my search term rather than clicking and entering ...

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

macosxhints - Turn off auto-deletion of 'internet-enabled' disk images

macosxhints - Stop special treatment of 'internet-enabled' disk images: "defaults write skip-idme true"

Another replies: "A much simpler way is just to option-click the link. It downloads to your default location, but doesn't open."

Apache based alternatives to .Mac: PHPiCalendar and iCal

Greg Westin: Using PHP iCalendar to View iCal Calendars Online
Nice web site on doing things with Apache and open source instead of .Mac.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Slashdot | PC Diagnostic Software Recommendations

Slashdot | Good, Affordable PC Diagnostic Software?
A great Slashdot thread on a topic that audience knows well.

Hushmail Free Encrypted Web-mail: login

Hushmail Free Encrypted Web-mail: login
Hush, like any company or individual, is legally bound to respond to court-issued subpoenas. However, because not even Hush can access the encryption keys of individual users, in the case of a subpoena Hush would only be able to provide the encrypted (coded) version of the transmitted email.

When someone informed BugTraq of a security exploit they found in the leaked NT source code, they used Hushmail. If an uber-hacker thinks it's good ...

Hushmail was probably inspired, in part, by a desire to protect people from the DMCA. These are folks who fear the US is turning into a police state. (Hah, hah, wherever do they get that silly idea. Not from the Patriot Act, CAPSS II, the DMCA, Patriot II ...)

It has other likely users too. Watch for Patriot III to ban it.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Natural Voice Text to Speech Reader Standard - XP reader

Natural Voice Text to Speech Reader Standard - - Free downloads, shareware, and more.
OS X has quite good built-in voices, this provides some similar options for XP. I wonder about using this as part of teaching reading to older readers ...

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Getting a PC 802.11b to talk WEP to an Airport Extreme Base Station (AEBS)

Google Groups: View Thread "Has ANYONE gotten ANY XP/PC PCMCIA 802.11b card to c..."I've been unable to get a PC Client to connect with WEP enable to my Apple Airport Extreme Base Station (AEBS). Apple has been of no help.

Alice Faber answered this one for me in a usenet posting:
If you're connecting through the Windows XP interface, click on the
Advanced tab. In some XP installations, there's a default setting that
will guarantee that you won't connect, hidden on the Advanced tab. I
forget the exact wording of it (I don't have access to an XP box to
check), but it will say something about smart card authentication.

On the main tab, you may have to search out a pulldown menu that will
allow you to selecte Shared authentication also.

The key phrase is "shared authentication". A google search on this phrase and "airport" brought a lot of hits:

A few key notes:

Be sure the right XP services are running

1.) Go to Start -> Control Panel -> Performance and Maintenance -> Administrative Tools -> Services.
2.) Scroll down to Wireless Zero Configuration, and double-click Wireless Zero Configuration.
3.) On the General tab, after Startup type, change the startup type to Automatic.
4.) Start the service by clicking Start.

A few discussions, and an aside that Apple's advanced tech support was clueless.
This is where they point out the need to enable "shared authentication". There's a hint that older 802.11b implementations don't support it.

Lots of discussions on Airport wireless.

Serious Mac wireless vendor.


Accessing a Airport Network with a Windows XP PC or laptop (WEP enabled)

Patch required if running Windows XP and WPA on an AEBS

The three main reasons people have problems are

1. WEP Key in plain text and not HEX

If you enable WEP on the AEBS, you need to note down the Hex Airport Network Password, if you are using 128bit encryption this will be a 26 digit number.

If you open the Airport Admin Utility you should see something like this

You may need to click a button called Password

Note that I have blanked out my passwords

The Wireless ASCII Equivalent Password is the plain text network password you use to access your Airport network with a Mac.

The Wireless Hex Equivalent Password is the hex version of the plain text, and this is what you would use with your PC.

2.IEEE 802.1x authentication is on
Ensure that the Enable IEEE 802.1x authentication for this network check box is not checked.

3. Authentication Mode is not set to Shared
Ensure Network Authentication (Shared Mode) box is ticked

On a separate topic, a wireless bridge for 802.11g AEBS networks, I found:

and an other great usenet posting sent me to:

Bottom line: usenet lives.

Buffalo Technology (USA) - 802.11g wirless bridge

Buffalo Technology (USA)
A usenet poster says this is compatible with an airport extreme base station. They have a similar device with a single ethernet port that looks quite compact:

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The megapixel myth, a pixel too far?

The megapixel myth, a pixel too far?
Great blog with links to some excellent reviews. This is why my 4 Mpixel G2 takes such lovely pictures, even compared to an "8 Mpixel" camera. Also why the 6 megapixel Canon CMOS sensor is such a sweet device -- and much superior to the recent flock of 8 megapixel monstrosities.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

RFC 2557 (rfc2557) - MIME Encapsulation of Aggregate Documents, such as HT

RFC 2557 (rfc2557) - MIME Encapsulation of Aggregate Documents, such as HT
IE has long supported this, but it's also an RFC standard! Wish other browser (Firefox?) would do this.

iPhoto 4 fix for corrupted image database

iPhoto 4
First, some of my photos, the ones taken by my alternate camera as it happens, just don’t appear. They appear as empty white boxes and are nameless. Occasionally when scrolling they flash on for a split second – so I know they’re not totally gone. Why won’t iPhoto 4 display them?

[Try removing the thumbnail files:,, -MacInTouch]

Fixing an OS X software update problem:

Safari 1.2

Tasos Ioannidis
I had the same problem that another reader mentioned where Java 1.4.2 would not show on the software update, or would not install asking for the 1.4.1 update, etc. In my case, doing a finder search for all files containing the term softwareupdate (which included preference files, etc.) and deleting them, resolved the problem. Apparently resetting software update files was necessary. After that Java 1.4.2 installed fine.

A common OS X theme unfortunately -- when problems occur search on words and delete pref files. Another pref problem test is switching users. The good news is the UNIX naming conventions and OS X file organization helps with finding things. Also, OS X find is super fast. Bad news is the recurrent issue with bad prefs.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Mac OS 8 and 9: Compatibility With Macintosh Computers

Mac OS 8 and 9: Compatibility With Macintosh ComputersVery nice Apple knowledge base article. Credit again to low end mac!

Network Beacon: share an iPhoto library across the internet

I think this is a front end for some basic BSD Unix functionality. It sounds interesting, one person uses it to share iPhoto libraries across the internet. I'm trying to learn more about it...
Welcome to Chaotic Software

... Network Beacon is a Mac OS X application that enables you to publish services on a computer or to serve as a proxy for services on other computers or devices. Network Beacon is distributed as freeware...
Update 3/9/09: Using NB to create SSH access tunnels.

Keyspan : USB Card for PCI Mac

Keyspan : USB Card
A few are available in the channel. This might be worthwhile at about $20 or so ...

A few notes from very helpful usenet folks on the USB cards [1],[2]
... If you want to save time just stop in at the computer section of Circuit City and pick up the ADS 2 port USB card. It's in a red yellow and white box. It works with the Apple USB software 1.4.1 and OS 8.6. I bought one last November for $15.00.

... that would be the 20-ish dollar KeySpan USB card, then... Plenty cheap,
works under 8.6, haven't had a problem with mine yet...
... currently, my rodent, CD burner, and memory-card reader
are the only things using USB in my installation.

... I put one of those in my PowerMac 8600 about 3 years ago, and it is
still going strong. It works with every USB device I ever threw at it,
and I bought it in the first place to use a USB printer.

I don't think that Apple provided drivers for these cards until OS 9,
and the software is still available for download at Apple's site. It's
called "USB Card Support", and it's at version 1.4.1 [3]

Since I bought my Keyspan USB card when I was using OS 8.6, Keyspan
provided drivers for their card so it would work with OS 8.6. Once OS 9
came out and those drivers no longer worked, Apple's drivers were just
released and worked perfectly with the card. You can check to see if
those drivers will work with OS 8.6.

BTW-USB 1 CD writers are so slow, you'd always be burning at 1 or 2xs
speeds. They don't write any faster than that.

From Apple [3] (1.4.1)

USB Adapter Card Support requires a PowerPC(TM)-based Macintosh computer with PCI or CardBus slots, Mac OS 8.6 or later, and a USB adapter card.

This software cannot be installed on Macintosh computers with built-in USB ports. These computers already include support for built-in USB ports and USB PCI adapter cards.

Important: Mac OS versions 9.1 and later include a later version of this software. Installing USB Adapter Card Support 1.4.1 over Mac OS 9.1, 9.2 or later could result in the USB adapter card not working.

Important: This software supports only USB cards that comply with the Open Host Controller Interface (OHCI) specification and may not work with every USB adapter card.



[3] and

Low End Mac and PCI USB cards

USB Cards for PCI Macs
Great resource for an old Mac. This lists some PCI USB cards. Great discussion of the 7200/90 with resources>.

iPod: How to Put Into Disk Mode

iPod: How to Put Into Disk Mode
When troubleshooting an issue with your iPod, it's sometimes helpful to manually put it into Disk Mode.

Putting iPod into Disk Mode

1. Plug the iPod Power Adapter into an electrical outlet and connect iPod to the power adapter.
2. Toggle the Hold switch on and off. (Set it to Hold, then turn it off again.) See technical document 60951, 'iPod: About the Hold Switch'.
3. Press and hold the Play/Pause and Menu buttons until the Apple/iPod logo appears. This resets iPod. Note: When you reset iPod all your music and data files are saved, but some customized settings may be lost.
4. When the Apple logo appears, immediately press and hold the Previous and Next buttons until the Disk Mode screen appears. (For iPod Software 1.0 through 1.1, a FireWire logo appears on the screen).
5. Disconnect iPod from the power adapter and connect it to your computer.

I'd like to know how this is supposed to be useful.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Mac OS 8.6 and OS 9: Unable to check "protect system folder" -- grayed out

Google Groups: View Thread "Protection greyed out"
In OS 8 and possibly 9 there was a nice feature called "protect system folder". Provided a little protection. Unfortunately if one enabled multiple users, or turned on file sharing, the checkboxes became enigmatically grayed out. Very confusing.

I note this here because I recently set up a legacy OS 8.6 system in a donation computer. I saw the gray text and dimly remembered I'd found the explanation on the web about two years ago. This time I couldn't find it on the web, but usenet (google groups) came through!

Now it's on the web again.


meta: gray, grey, greyed out, grayed out, MacOS, Mac Classic, System 7.5, System 8.x, 8.6, 9.1

A Usenet thread: Identifying and filtering "you are infected" messages

Usenet - Spam from NAV and other antiviral software

From: (John Faughnan)
Subject: Re: Spam from NAV and other antiviral software
References: <> <> <>
Message-ID: <>

Godwin Stewart wrote in message news:...

> What annoys me and most of the participants in this thread is crap from
> third parties' AV systems telling me "You sent John Doe a Mimail-infected
> mail - this warning mail was generated by Acme software soopah anti-virus
> visit http://foo/bar for your FREE!! evaluation copy."
> That's what I was referring to as the spam advertising AV crapware, and
> what I assumed we (tinw) wanted to have clearly identified.

This thread has drifted, as usenet threads are wont to do, but now
you've circled back to what I'd like to see.

Mainstream anti-spam organizations(CAUCE, OSF) etc have the
credibility and moral authority to ask vendors to include metadata in
their subject headers identifying the message type (ie. notification
of infection, bounce of infected message, etc.).

Then OUR spam filters can filter out those messages. I think, to keep
everyone happy, it is reasonable for postini and other anti-spam
filtering systems to send a once weekly message summarizing the
filtering activity. The message content would look something like

Message Traffic Report for the week of Feb 2, 2004

1. Total message traffic: 5100
2. Messages filtered and not relayed: 4650
3. Messages relayed: 450

Filtered Messages: 4650
1. Mainstream vendors: 50
2. Pornography and scams: 4000
3. Notifications of viral infection: 200
4. Bounces from viral notifications: 100
5. Untyped: 300

Transmitted messages: 450
1. Signed and authenticated mail passed without filtering: 50
2. Messages from class A sending services passed without filtering:
3. Messages passed after filtering: 200

--- SOOOO,

What we need is someone who's voice is heard to bring this up with the
credible antispam organizations and start to put some media pressure
on the antispam vendors to start putting message-type identifiers in
their headers or subject lines. Then we can easily filter them out.


PS. If postini accompanied this type of report with a view of my spam
organized by those classifications, I might actually scan it for false
positives on occasion. OK, probably not.

PPS. Part of this imaginary report reflects another long held ambition
of mine -- Filtering based on the managed reputation of the sending

meta: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, spam, filtering, sending services,
authentication, reputation management, antiviral software spam,
message metadata, classification and categorization, workflow, message

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Doing an XP ASR (automated system recovery, aka automatic system restore) using a mapped network drive

Google Search: "automated system recovery" "command console"To put it mildly, this is not supported by Microsoft -- though it should be. I couldn't find an easier approach. It would be great to be able to burn an ASR recovery CD.

From: "Ray Bush [MSFT]"
References: <>
Subject: Re: Use ASR to restore backups from network?
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 07:49:54 -0800

ASR backup sets are to be stored on tape devices, removable media, or a
fixed drive that will be available at restore time. Storing an ASR backup
set on a network share is not supported by Microsoft... is possible...Go through the ASR process...the restore process
should hang at the point when NTBackup is called to start restoring data
back to your system. At this point, you will need to a map a drive to the
share and point ntbackup at this share. If you are needing to load drivers
at this point for a may be at a dead end...

Good luck.


From: "Colin Jones"
Newsgroups: microsoft.public.windowsxp.general,microsoft.public.win2000.file_system
Subject: Re: Use ASR to restore backups from network?

Here's what I did to get the ASR process in XP professional to work:

1) Insert XP CD and boot from CD starting ASR process as normal with F2

2) As Ray said, followed normal ASR process until it got to run Backup to
start to restore, at which point it said it could not find the backup set on
\\MyBackupPC\Backups (which is where my backup is stored).

3) Pressed Shift-F10 to bring up command console.

4) Connected my USB pen drive which had my network drivers on it.
Surprisingly XP detected the pen drive OK, and allowed me to change to that
directory at the command prompt - if this hadn't worked I could have easily
done it via CD drive instead. Installed the network drivers by running
their setup program from command prompt (which opens their normal setup
window).[jf: I presume he means they were installed onto the boot diskette! It would need to be unlocked.]

5) The network driver install completed but then I required a reboot, so I
exited the command prompt, and cancelled the ASR restore process, thereby
terminating the ASR (an error message comes up saying ASR could not
complete). The PC then reboots.

6) Allowed the PC to reboot, and it then starts to run the ASR process again
automatically, during the install however it now detected the wireless
drivers and popped up the windows compatibility dialog (as they are
unsigned) and asks me if I want to install them - I say yes. Once again it
gets to the backup/restore and stopped saying it can't find the backup set.

7) This time press Shift-F10 again to get a command prompt. Run the Belkin
wireless network configuration program by typing 'belsta' at the prompt.
This opened the config program allowing me to select my wireless settings
(peer-to-peer, channel etc).

8) At the command prompt typed 'services' in order to start networking and
allow mapping

9) At the command prompt typed 'net use \\MyBackupPC\Backups' this connected
to the backup PC and asked me to log in with username and password.

10) Typed 'exit' at the command prompt

11) Clicked OK at the restore warning dialog, it then started the ASR wizard
and asked where to find the backup set, so I just used the default UNC path
that was already pointing to my backup set.

12) This time it found the backup set and proceeded to run the ASR from
across the network. When completed the PC rebooted, et voila, here I am
typing in at my newly restored PC!

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Hidden Google Tools

Hidden Google Tools
Hidden Google Tools
By Mary Ellen Bates, Guest Writer...

Google has a synonym feature that lets you search for not only the word you type in the search box but also for some common synonyms of the word. The synonym symbol is the tilde (~), and the syntax is ~word. For example, if you type ~food in the search box, you will also retrieve web pages that have the word cooking, nutrition, recipe or restaurant....

For those of us in the US, a handy new tool is Google's "Search by Number" feature. Google now recognizes the pattern for Federal Express, UPS and USPS tracking numbers; vehicle ID numbers, US patent numbers, UPC codes, area codes, and even FCC equipment IDs and FAA airplane reservation numbers. For most of these searches, you can just type the number into the search box; for patent numbers, you have to add the word "patent" to the beginning of the number, and for FCC equipment IDs, you need to add the word "fcc" at the beginning.

Related to this feature is the ability to see the current status of any US flight. Type the airline name and the flight number in the search box, and you will see a link to the arrival/departure information screen for that flight, provided by Travelocity.

Removing the 'Shortcut to...' prefix from shortcuts - Tweaks @ Sanx

Removing the 'Shortcut to...' prefix from shortcuts - Tweaks @ Sanx
I had a surprisingly hard time finding this. I do it once with each machine and then forget. TweakUI used to do it. At one time Windows did it automatically if you removed the stupid prefix often enough.

More Safari Bookmark JavaScript tricks (via Macintouch)

Safari 1.2: "Sending web pages from Safari
Davide Guarisco
R.Benz asked 'How do you send a web page in Safari? ...The only workaround I figured out is to click drag the URL from the window's URL box to an open page in my email program, which works but does not title the email like the send page command would and is also less convenient than a keyboard command.'
Create a bookmark entry (I call mine 'e' and place it in my Bookmarks Bar) and enter the following under Address:
Now, every time you want to mail the page you are on, click on that bookmark and your favorite email client will compose a new message with the appropriate title. Works in Mail and Eudora (and possibly others...).

Fred Jensen
Add an 'email' bookmark with the following in the address field (you can edit the address field by selecting the menu item 'Show All Bookmarks'):
You can also create a custom search option with a bookmark like:
javascript:x=escape(getSelection());window.location=''+x+'&meta=cr%3DcountryCA'; "

Scriptable Applications: Safari Bookmarks controlling applications

Scriptable Applications: Safari BookmarksVery nice set of features. New to me!
Safari's robust JavaScript support and Mac OS X's built-in URL architecture enable direct communication between Safari and other applications via special bookmarks. Using these special bookmarks you can select text on a webpage and use it to search the iTunes Music Store or a Sherlock web-service. The following examples can be copied and added to your Safari bookmark collection.

Modifying a Linksys router to add new functionality: Alternative Updates

Slashdot | Creating A Super-Router (For Free)
Linksys software and hardware is relatively poor quality. This stuff sounds interesting.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Framework Lives ...

Framework home page & the FRED Computer Language, Framework IV, II, III, V, VI, VI, VII
This DOS application had ideas and functions that were never again approached in a mainstream application. Astoundingly, it's still sold!

Dialing in to a home LAN

MacInTouch Home Page
It was unclear to us in Apple's various online descriptions, but the modem version of the AirPort Extreme Base Station [$241 at Amazon] not only supports dialing out to an Internet provider, it also supports dialing in to your own network.
The feature is configured via the AirPort Admin Utility: in the Show All Settings>Network panel is a checkbox for Enable PPP Dial-in, along with a Configure dialog for entering a single username and password, plus time-out parameters.

Wild, I never noticed this.

OS X: fixing a remote services failure by deleting keychain items

iPhoto 4
Re: Unable to Order Prints
John Roche

I wrote previously about not being able to order prints or books with iPhoto 4. It was driving me crazy and I may have figured out the problem. It appears to be a keychain related issue. Look for a file in your keychain called "net services for" mine had a corrupted password of jumbled characters. I just deleted the file (not the whole key chain!) and like magic I was now able to connect to the ordering page with iPhoto.

This worked for ordering prints, but when I tried to do a book it hung after assembling as before. Again, it appears to be a key chain issue. The newly generated file 'Net Services' for has a jumbled password. This time I did NOT delete it but simply change the password to my correct password and all was well.

I think there's a keychain utility that handles this somewhere ...