Today is: Unpredictable Mac

Chris's Unpredictable and Occasional Newsletter

About Unpredictable

BackIssues 2006- 2008
BackIssues 2005
Back Issues 2004
Back Issues 2003
Back Issues 2002
Back Issues 2001

Commerce

Geek Speak Review

Resources

Blog

 

 

Art Prints

iTunes_MacWin_RGB_9mm


 

Apple iTunes

 

 

 

BackIssues

< PreviousNext >


CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #27, 8/26/01
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================

THIS ISSUE
----------
Here it is! A BIG issue enhanced with fascinating Mac trivia, insightful
comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit. I apologize for
NOT LEAVING MICROSOFT ALONE, but they're making a lot of news as they try
to KILL JAVA, QUICKTIME, AOL IM, and NETSCAPE BROWSERS all at the same
time. Can we say 'EMBOLDENED'? Just skip the news and go right to the FUN
STUFF if you want. :-)

UPDATES - Mac OS 9.2.1
NEWS - KidSafe Killed, New! MS IM viruses, and More!
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK - New idea for old Mac
COMMENTARY - iTools
OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED - Back to Contextual Menus
Tips - Where CM's Live
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands - Unpredictable Key commands!!
Good News Press Releases - APPLE wins an Emmy!!



GEEK SPEAK ALERT: IM, iTools



UPDATES
-------
Mac OS 9.2.1 - This update 'improves compatibility with OS X'. You have
to already have OS 9.1 installed before you can use this 80-some-MB
download. I can't find anything in the Readme file that makes me want to
GET CURRENT. When I have more info I'll pass it along.

<http://www.info.apple.com/support/downloads.html>



NEWS
----
Apple Discontinues KidSafe; Poll Asks Why -- People relying on
Apple's selection of child-friendly Internet services and the
KidSafe extension for restricting access to other sites will have
to turn to another service. Apple said it discontinued KidSafe due
to low customer usage, though it's unclear why people chose not to
use the service. Rather than us guessing, though, take a look at
the TidBITS home page for this week's poll, which asks for your
opinion of KidSafe - the results may reveal why too few people
used it. If you've used KidSafe, you can remove it from your Mac
by deleting the KidSafe extension from the Extensions folder and
the KidSafe Sherlock plug-in from the Internet Search Sites
folder. KidSafe's cancellation follows on the heels of iReview's
demise last February. [ACE]

<http://kidsafe.apple.com/>
<http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=05763>
<http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=06320>
<http://www.tidbits.com/>

[The above from TidBits #592/13-Aug-01]


Titanium G4 PowerBook Price Drop
Apple has announced price drops in both G4 PowerBook models of the SILVER
BEAUTY, presumably in anticipaton of updates with some minor tweaking
(CD-RW?). 400Mhz $2199, 500Mhz $2999.

<http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/010824/sff023.html>


Gartner Says MS more Trusted than AOL
The Gartner group just released a study of some 2000 Internet users. The
results indicate that users trust Microsoft in the area of Online
services more than they trust Netscape/AOL/Time Warner. GOSH WHAT A
COINCIDENCE that the study should come out right before MS unleashes the
new Windows XP which includes the new 'AOL Killer' version of MS Instant
Messaging. Keep reading. ;-)


Viruses in Instant Messaging
Remember I mentioned IM SECURITY in U&O #23 (the Privacy Issue)? It looks
like those nasty hackers have been writing worms and viruses that exploit
IM! So far, AOL/Netscape Instant Messenger, ICQ, and Yahoo's Messenger
haven't been infested. Only Microsoft's OWN MSN Messenger. IS THAT A
SURPRISE??

<http://cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-6873022.html?tag=tp_pr>


Quicktime Plugin Breaks in Windows Internet Explorer Update
Wintel PC users upgrading to the Windows 'IE Service Pack 2' have
discovered that (without warning) Microsoft has dropped support for the
Netscape browser API. What does this mean? Any browser plug-ins not
written to Microsoft's OWN Active-X (MS Visual Basic) browser API - and
that would be MOST PLUG-IN'S, including Quicktime - will no longer work
with IE. Of course Microsoft's OWN Media Player can handle MP3s, video,
and several of Microsoft's OWN forms of streaming media, and IT STILL
WORKS. Apple has hastily written and posted an Active-X update.
Unfortunately for web developers everywhere, the change requires HTML
code changes. Sources indicate that the next Macintosh release of both
Classic and OS 10 versions of IE will not only drop Netscape API support,
but will also by default not recognize the Java virtual machine.

<http://www.apple.com/quicktime/products/tutorials/activex.html>


MS Windows XP Released to PC Vendors - Kodak Attends, Java Missing
In EVEN MORE Microsoft news, MS is releasing the new version of Windows
to PC vendors even before the retail version, so that it can be
pre-installed on new computers before the DOJ can object. What does XP
offer? APPARENTLY EVERYTHING EXCEPT JAVA. The new MS Instant Messenger
[see 'Viruses' above], Windows Media Player [see'Quicktime Plugin'
above], Subscription Licensing, 'Whistler' Internet registration with
snooping and logging of your hard disk and computer configuration, Raw
Sockets [also known as 'Hacker's Delite'], 'Smart Tags' are there, but
turned off [see U&O #22], and lots of cloned OS Ten interface
enhancements, such as shaded windows, 3D cursors, transparent menus, and
that sort of thing. After initiating anti-trust political lobbying, Kodak
even managed to get their competing image-handling software included at
the last minute. It's unclear if the included IE is the
Netscape-API-breaking version. But there's no JAVA, so websites and
applets that use Java, won't work.



UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK
-----------------------------
'John' reports that his new 867Mhz G4 Desktop is so fast that he gets
640x480 full motion video that used to require a special video card on
his old clone. What to do with that old Mac? John is plugging it into his
stereo and using it as an MP3 Jukebox!



COMMENTARY
----------
iTools - Wi Do You Care?
It remains to be seen whether iTools will survive Apple's classic
marketing neglect scenario. iTools originally consisted of iReview - a
place for Jane User to post reviews of websites. This was the first item
on Apple's 'loser' list and is already A LONG TIME GONE. Then there are
the 'me too' features: HomePage - a Mac-friendly place where you can set
up a personal home page; Email - a free email account where you can have
an '@MAC.COM' address; and iCards - a truly EXCELLENT free electronic
card system that is even available to non-members and users of INFERIOR
PLATFORMS. That just leaves iDisk, my candidate for the 'most likely
iTool to stay in your iGarage'. It's your own Internet based Appleshare
server. Free disk storage where you can keep stuff, post a shared folder
for other members, and access Apple updates. Dial-in from anywhere and
get at files that you don't have on your local machine. And no ugly FTP
interface! Just another Mac Volume on your desktop. I was going to say
our Windows friends couldn't use it, but that's no longer true. iDisk now
supports WebDAV, a protocol that allows Win 2000 and ME users to access
these drives too. (Darn!) If you haven't tried it, it's worth the price
of admission! :-)

<http://itools.mac.com>
<http://www.macwindows.com/>



** OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED ***
-- Terrible tales of misunderstood and unknown features. --
------------------------------------------------------------
Contextual Menus (CM's) #2
Welcome back! Hopefully you've had a chance to play with CMs a little by
now. If not, here's a SUPER QUICK review. Hold down the control key and
click on stuff - in the Finder, in other programs - the menu that pops up
is a CM. It lets you do things 'in Context'. We talked about some of the
stuff you can do in the Finder. What about other Programs?

Internet Explorer
Explorer has LOTS of support for CMs. And when you hold down the Control
key and slide the cursor around the screen, the cursor changes to let you
know when you are at a location that has CM items available. Almost
everywhere you go, you can 'Get Internet Explorer Help'. When you're on a
page, you can do page-related stuff: Set Home Page, View Page Source,
Refresh Page. When you're over a link (URL), you can: Open Link in New
Window, Add Link to Favorites. And when you're clicking over the
Controls, you can Customize IE.

Netscape Navigator & Communicator
Very similar implementation. And they had CMs on the Mac before IE sprang
full-grown from the thigh of Medusa!

Emailer
Great CM support for such an OLD warhorse! All sorts of mail handling,
filing, prioritizing - commands which change nicely depending on whether
you are in the Browser, the Folders window, or in an individual message.
There's also a an Emailer CM Plugin that lets you select a file or
folder in the Finder and then 'Attach to an Emailer Message'. Do you
realize how awesome that is? Control Click on a file and WHAM it opens
your email program right to a new message with the file already attached!

Outlook Express
I'll assume that the MS Mac development team did similar work with their
programs OE and Entourage, but I can't tell you first hand because of the
LIMITED BAN on MS sofware on my Mac.

AOL Instant Messenger
Has a CM plugin that works much as the Emailer plugin described above.
Click a file in the finder and WHAM you're ready to send it to a 'Buddy'!

MacLink Plus
I don't know if you can USE MacLink without CMs. Click an Appleworks
file, work your way down the popup menu and WHAM! It's converted to a
Word file!

DreamWeaver
I can't even begin to tell you how well CM's are supported in Dreamweaver
(4.0). Let's just say, WHAM!. It's much easier and faster to try a
Contextual Menu out in whatever you're doing, than to try to find it in
the dark depths of the Dreamweaver Menu Catacombs!!

Stuff-it Deluxe
Anything you can do in Stuff-it Deluxe, you can do better with CMs.
Expand, Stuff, Encode, Stuff'n'Mail, or just Mail (similar to the Emailer
plugin previously described, but using the mail program of your choice!.
How about this you cross-platform DUDES & DUDETTES? Take a file and turn
it into a self-extracting Windows file! There's even an apparently
completely unrelated Finder enhancement: Select a bunch of files and/or
folders, Control + click to the 'Gather' CM and WHAM it puts them all in
a brand new folder called 'Gathered Items'. [I use this one ALL THE TIME!
Stuff-it Deluxe deserves a separate article, and UNPREDICTABLY I haven't
written it, yet.]


What about in YOUR programs? Have you tried the [Control] key with a
click, here and there? Get to it!! Next time we'll discuss third party CM
enhancements! :-)



Tips
----
Apple often wants to provide SYSTEM LEVEL FUNCTIONALITY and make it
available to everyone. Long time readers have heard this from me before.
Apple gives you (or software developers) the tools, and then you have the
CHOICE to use them. Everybody plays nice and nobody has to write their
own version of a utility or 'hook' that does the same thing. This concept
is a variation on what used to be called 'modular programming'.

Conceptual Menus, pioneered by Microsoft, are implemented on the Mac in
this same democratic way. Some developers hide the CM stuff right in
their code where you'll never see it. Others write it as 'CM Plugins',
which have their own little home in the 'Contextual Menu Items' folder
inside the System Folder. Go to the 'Contextual Menu Items' folder and
HAVE A LOOK! If there are CMs that are redundant, or that you don't like,
you can YANK 'em!! Next time you restart your Mac, they're GONZO!!



Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
-------------------------------
OKAY I ADMIT IT.
Some of this stuff is UNPREDICTABLE. Last issue's COOL tip about [Option]
+ Clicking on the Time on the menu bar (which opens the Date & Time
Control Panel on my PowerBook G4 with System 9.1), doesn't work on my
iMac with 9.0.4. I CAN'T TELL YOU WHY.

And a while back I said TRY YOUR POWER BUTTON. On my TiMac, this is a
very fast way to [Restart], [Sleep], [Cancel], or [ShutDown]. On my iMac
there are TWO POWER BUTTONS. The keyboard power button works the same as
the TiMac, but the Power Button IN FRONT on my iMac puts it instantly TO
SLEEP. NO WARNINGS! Finally, I just heard that on the NEWEST G4 Desktop
Macs the keyboard Power Button turns the Mac ON but otherwise, does
NOTHING! CAN THAT BE TRUE? If so, I'd definitely call it a step BACKWARD.
(John? Faithful readers? Tell me true!)

TFSB :-)


Good News Press Release follows

=========================================================================
** 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. 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.

Sample Issue - email with "Sample Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Unsubscribe - email with "Stop Unpredictable" in the Subject.

Back Issues available to subscribers upon request.
**


 

Apple Logo Contact Me: AIM
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 :-)