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 # 62, 09/05/03
Contents Copyright 2003 by Christopher Plummer

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...
Ready to get rid of the mess and make your little network 'wireless'? Want to share your Internet connection? Convert your LPs and cassettes to CDs, set up an MP3 jukebox with an old Mac, or pick out a new one? I can do this for you, or show you how. Read the details in the SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION section at the bottom. Or email me now: < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com> Enjoy the newsletter! :-)



This Issue
"Venomous!" That's how one early reviewer described my editorial about Microsoft and viruses in "Weird News", (below). Am I TOO MEAN?? Think of the MS stuff as SCHLAUGGERS - the "Honey Pie" of my White Album. So, skip the OCCASIONAL MS blather in 'Weird News' and 'Really Weird News'. Ignore the part where I DON'T leave Microsoft alone. Go on to the fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit. Good helpful stuff. Today we've got new readers, NEXT TIME I write about cool, fun, Mac stuff. I PROMISE.

UPDATES - Apple Security Update, MS Exchange Update for Entourage, Dreamweaver and more.
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK - Mac of Ages
NEWS - (X) Entourage Gets Out of the Office
WEIRD NEWS - MS will fix all your security problems
REALLY WEIRD NEWS - Tom Ridge Picks Windows for Common Standard
GEEK SPEAK REVIEW - Schlauggers, Common Platform, Single Platform, BDS, ~
Trouble Shooting - (X) MORE GREAT TROUBLESHOOTING!! Safari, iPhoto, OS X Preferences
OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE - The national Do Not Call list
TIPS - (X) A Handful of Address Book Tips
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands- (9,X) Bypass Startup Disk


Geek Speak Alert:
Virus, Worm, SCHLAUGGER, ~


Updates
(X) Apple OS X Security Update 2003-08-24 1.0 (1.1MB - use Software Update)

(X) Default Folder 1.8 - A TENized version of the classic Mac enhancement.
<http://www.stclairsoft.com/DefaultFolderX/release.html>.

(X) MS-Office Update v.X 10.1.5 [Before I could get this issue out MS came out with 10.1.5 - they just came out with 10.1.4!! I sure hope they're killing a lot of bugs!—Chris] also known as "Microsoft Exchange Update for Entourage X". Believe it or not, this is a BIG DEAL in Korporate Amerika, in terms of extending the viability of the Macintosh. Even in some small businesses that use MS Exchange mail and calendar servers, there is now NO reason why the Vice President of Marketing shouldn't have that beautiful, lightweight 12" PowerBook G4 for all her scheduling, mailing, planning, and presentation needs. Gosh, if they'd put up an 802.11g Wireless Access Point, she could even print without having to plug-in any cables!! The update is TRULY FREE for owners of Office.
<http://www.microsoft.com/mac/>

(X) Omni Outliner 2.2.3 - Comes with OS X, but you need to pay for this feature-enhanced update (unless you already paid for a previous release, then this one is FREE).
<http://store.omnigroup.com>

(X) Macromedia Studio MX 2004 - MacroMedia has announced a major upgrade to the whole "Studio" environment. Depending on what you are upgrading from, the price is $399 or $499. Yes, that's what I said, $399 or $499. Man, O, Man, welcome to the subscription economy. Is it really $400 of upgrade? If you know, tell me!!
<http://www.macromedia.com/software/studio/productinfo/features/>

How did I miss this?? Macromedia Posted an Update to Dreamweaver about a YEAR ago. It's version 6.1 and if nothing else, it should smash some bugs. 25 Mb Download. Take all their advice about backing up everything first though. And hey, make sure you have all your original disks and serial numbers too. Because when I tried to run the update per the instructions, the updater TRASHED my Dreamweaver. I was so disoriented I had to look at the Apple Menu several times. I finally had to install Dreamweaver from SCRATCH as if I were on a Windows machine. Now that's what I call PLATFORM COMPATIBILITY. And install this update on top of that. "All is now as it once was. Many such journeys are possible."
<http://www.macromedia.com/software/dreamweaver/download/>

Check for more updates at <http://www.versiontracker.com>.



Unpredictable Reader Feedback
Welcome! to NEW SUBSCRIBER Leon. Leon is THINKING about buying a new 12" PowerBook as his FIRST MAC, and asked my advice. I was calm, balanced. You know, professional, that I am. And my message was, "BUY IT YOUNG MAN!! BUY THE FUTURE! GO WITH JOY!! YOU HAVE THE REST OF YOUR CAREER TO BE BULLIED INTO CONFORMITY. DO IT NOW, WHILE YOU CAN!!!" I sure hope he didn't buy a DULL. Did you get the Mac, Leon??

Subscriber "Beverly", self-proclaimed "senior" and owner of both an early Bondi Blue iMac and a troublesome eMac, asked me to stay with Oh Ess Nine as long as possible. She's not keen on TEN. She spoke with a so-called computer savvy young man who 'HATES OS 10'. Now, Beverly, you have more savvy than this young sap!! I'll help you appreciate the AWESOME capabilities of TEN. Just keep reading your OCCASIONAL issues of U&O!!



News
(X) Entourage Gets Out of the Office - Until now, the complete Entourage - contact, mail, and calendar (PIM) product from Microsoft was ONLY available by purchasing the entire MS-Office package. In yet another clever marketing move, MS has RELEASED Entourage as a separate product for $99.00 for those who don't need or want the feature bloat of the other Office products.
<http://www.mactopia.com>

For more on Entourage and other PIMs, see the special UNPREDICTABLE Organizer Issue #52.
<http://www.unpredictablemac.com/>



Weird News
"What are we going to do today?" TRY TO FIX OUR PC'S!!
Unless you've had the sense to turn off the TV and radio, haven't looked at any news on the Internet, and are lucky enough not to correspond with ANYONE who uses Windows for email, you know that Pee Cee users have been absolutely humiliated the past few weeks by a seemingly endless onslaught of problems related to their use of MS Windows. Nearly every day there are Viruses, Worms, or In Boxes full of SPAM produced by these little programs, which cleverly 'forge' your email address so the unfortunate recipients send you MORE email asking YOU to stop sending THEM SPAM. Add to that the GAPING HOLE that allows Windows users to receive "Pop Up" messages that appear to be from the operating system itself, and we can only conclude it's UGLY out there. Or so it seems to Mac and Linux users who only have to hear the complaints, receive the SPAM, and bear with the whole bogged-down Internet.

One might suspect that Windows users would have had enough of this, and would consider moving to a more stable platform. But these are strange times. The ever-vigilant Guardian of Redmond has been releasing so-called "Security Patches", so that PC users can spend more time in the loving arms of their devoted operating system. And these users are grudgingly doing just that.

But Pinky and the Brain don't want Windows to be a high maintenance lover; they have a more intimate solution. Windows users just need to upgrade to the latest version of Windows, and be sure to turn on the "Microsoft Update" function. Then Microsoft can download all the patches you need, ALL THE TIME, to keep the Swiss Cheese from getting a little TOO moldy. All you have to do is OPEN UP your machine to the convicted monopolist, so that their UNDERWORKED MARKETING and overworked LEGAL divisions may have access to all your personal information via the Internet. It really is a huge and fortunate COINCIDENCE that these viruses and other ubiquitous security problems have pushed Microsoft customers into a closer relationship with the Masters of Trustworthy Computing.

:-)



Really Weird News
Microsoft chairman Bill "Pinky" Gates paid a friendly visit to Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge on June 25th. On June 27th the DHS signed a $90 Million contract with the convicted monopoly to purchase server and desktop software for approximately 140,000 users. According to Roger Cressey, former chief of staff of the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board, the DHS didn't have the "time, money, nor flexibility" to consider anything but a Microsoft solution. "The DHS described the contract as a critical step in the department's efforts to establish a common computing environment for its 22 formerly independent agencies," according to an article in Computerworld. For the uninitiated, "common platform" is a catchword that usually means "No Macs. No Linux. Just Windows."

A day after the DHA signed the contract, Microsoft acknowledged "a critical vulnerability in nearly all versions of Windows operating system software," according to a report in the San Jose Mercury News. Atlanta based Internet Security Systems Inc. called the security flaw an "enormous threat" and set it's own alert level to its second notch, reflecting "increased vigilance."

In July and August, public and private organizations revealed their reliance on the same "common computing platform":

The city of Philadelphia shut down municipal offices and suffered the failure of traffic lights in several major downtown intersections during weekday rush hour. "In Maryland in the US, the state's Motor Vehicle Administration which issues driving licences and car registrations, was closed as its computer systems were knocked out by the worm. Also hit was the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, government offices in Hong Kong, Swedish net provider TeliaSonera and German car maker BMW." (BBC)

And of course there is the as yet "unknown cause" of the largest power failure in American history.

At this writing an 18 year old Minnesota youth has been arrested for his part in modifying and distributing one of the viruses that exploited the numerous security vulnerabilities in the operating system chosen by the Department of Homeland Security.

Who is the real terrorist? And who is the fool? :-)

DHS had little choice but to sign Microsoft deal, despite security flaws
<http://www.computerworld.com/governmenttopics/government/story/0,10801,83240,00.html>

Microsoft admits critical flaw in nearly all Windows software
<http://www.siliconvalley.com/mld/siliconvalley/6318125.htm>

MS warns of widespread Windows vulnerability
<http://www.computerworld.com/securitytopics/security/holes/story/0,10801,83130,00.html>

Critical Holes in Windows Detailed
<http://www.searchsecurity.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid14_gci920573,00.html>

Sobig-F Reaching Epidemic Proportions
<http://www.searchsecurity.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid14_gci920381,00.html>

Youth Suspected of Net Attack
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/3190799.stm>



Geek Speak Review
SCHLAUGGER - (sp?) This is what the Beatles called the 'B' sides of their singles, and the "filler" songs on their albums. Remember "You Know My Name, Look Up the Number"? "The Inner Light?" Of course you don't! May be applied to other "filler".

Common Platform - BDC, BDG, or BDS term for "No Macs. No Linux." Often used in conjunction with the term "single platform".

Single Platform - As in, "We can save resources by supporting a single platform". Note that no one has ever used this argument to keep "Only Macs. No PCs." Makes the assumptions that SAMENESS is valued above QUALITY or UNIQUENESS, and that I.S. departments exist to make their own work easier, not to serve the varying needs of different customers.

BDS - Big Dumb School

~ - The TILDE. In Oh Ess Ten Geek Speak, the tilde means the "path" of your "Home" directory. For example: ~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook. This means the same as:
HardDrive/Users/Yourusername/Library/Application Support/AddressBook. It's just a little shorter. So now you'll know what it means when you see it later in this issue. :-)



Trouble Shooting
(X) Safari /REalOne Player - Hey! Want to hear Terry Gross's Interview with Joseph Cirincione and William Kristol about the Bush Administration's strategy for world transformation? You'll need to get The Real ONe player. But if you're using the Safari browser and you get the message "mounting failed", you need to stop using the BETA version of Safari!! A bug in the pre-1.0 versions of Safari shortens the extension of the REalOne file from .smil to .smi and then the Player Plug-in can't use it!

Download the latest version of Safari!!
<http://www.apple.com/safari/>
<http://www.real.com/freeplayer >
<http://freshair.npr.org/day_fa.jhtml?display=day&todayDate=04/01/2003>

(X) OSX System and Various Applications - If fonts go whacky, check the "Turn off text smoothing for font sizes" setting in the General Preferences pane. The default is 9 point, but some applications require 8 point.

(X) OSX System and Finder - If the Finder starts up, and then crashes or quits, starts up, crashes or quits, and so on in a loop, chances are there is a bad Preference. You can pull ~/Library/Preferences folder out to the desktop, log off and log back in to see if this eliminates the problem. (This will cause all your Preferences to be rebuilt.) You could also try logging on as a different user - but we'll cover that another time.

The most likely candidate of System Preference corruption is:

~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.plist

If you decide to move or delete it, you should do the same to:

boot volume/Library/Caches/com.apple.LaunchServices.LocalCache.csstore

and

~/Library/Caches/com.apple.LaunchServices.UserCache.csstore

You may need to log in as Root to delete these files. If you don't know how to do that, time for research, or to contact your trusty consultant. ;-)


(X) iPhoto - "Keywords" don't seem to be working right? Did iPhoto stop playing your slideshows? Is it acting, well, odd? Could be a corrupt iPhoto Preferences file. [I know, this sounds TOO much like OS9. We aren't supposed to have to deal with these issues in TEN!—Chris]. Once again, trash your Preferences. The application will build a new one and you will have to set all the Preferences again.

~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.iMovie3.plist



Occasional Favorite Web Site
How can this not be a favorite web site?? Go here to add your phone number to the national "Do not call" list. This list will supposedly prevent you from receiving many unwanted phone solicitations. When they call, listen to the DISAPPOINTMENT in their voices when you explain that you are on a national 'do not call' list, and that they shouldn't be contacting you at all. And if they still call you, you can file a complaint!! Read the FAQ first.

<http://www.donotcall.gov/>



Tips
(X) A HANDFUL OF ADDRESS BOOK TIPS!!
Address Book Backups - You want to be sure to back up your Address Book data, right? But, wait! You look, and it's not in your Documents folder! Where is Apple's Address Book data located??

~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook

AddressBook.data
ABPerson.index

Merge Cards Kills Card Photos - If you have duplicate "cards" in Address Book with different information, you can "merge" the cards. Select two or more cards, then from the Card Menu, select "Merge". Be careful though, the merge process deletes the Card photo if there is one card that has a photo and one that doesn't. Maybe OUR FRIENDS AT APPLE will change the logic of the Merge process so that if one of the merged cards has a photo, the new merged card uses that photo. If there are multiple photos, it would be REALLY nice to be able to choose which one to save.

Count People in Group or Book - How many people are in a group or in your address Book? Select "All" or any other Group Name in the "Group" Column, then click on any entry in the "Name" column, and press [Command] + A (or use Select All from the Edit menu). This selects all the Names in the Group you have selected. Now Click and HOLD the mouse down on one of the selected names, wait a second, and then move the mouse slightly to the left. A little Red Oval with a number inside appears over the pointer. This is the number of people in the group you selected.

Create V-Cards - You can drag and drop individual cards or groups from the Address Book to the Desktop to create V-cards. What's a V-card? It's a .vcf file, a little file that you can attach to an email like a business card. It contains most of the Address Book information in a portable format that can then be easily added to someone else's Address Book. Even in a different (even a non-Apple) application.

Click on Field Labels - In "Read Mode" (not Edit), click on the Field Labels of Addresses. If you click on the label of an AIM "handle", you can launch iChat. Click on a web URL label, and launch your browser and go to that URL. Click on a phone label and try the option there...



Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
(9, X) Option-Command-Shift-Delete during startup - Bypass primary startup volume and seek a different startup volume (such as a CD or external disk).

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.
Unsubscribe - email with "Stop Unpredictable" in the Subject.

Back Issues available at the Unpredictable Archive:
<http://www.unpredictablemac.com>
**
SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION
Ready to get rid of the mess and make your little network 'wireless'? Want to share your Internet connection? Convert your LPs and cassettes to CDs, set up an MP3 jukebox with an old Mac, help you pick out a new one. I can do this for you, or show you how to do all kinds of cool things with iApps. Big projects or little jobs. Maybe you'd just like to know that you have someone knowledgeable to call for support and encouragement when you finally go to OH ESS TEN? I've worked with computer novices, small businesses, and large corporations. I'd prefer not to do WINDOWS, but I've got more experience with MS operating systems than many PC consultants! I'm IBM Certified in Domino Development and Administration. I can teach you how to share files with PC users, use common fonts and printers, connect to their networks, and send them email with attachments that they can read. And I can write and edit. Reasonable rates, 20 years experience, satisfaction guaranteed.
Email: < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>.

Thanks for Stopping By!

THE END


 

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 :-)