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


Geek Speak Review





Art Prints



Apple iTunes







< PreviousNext >

Contents Copyright 2006 by Christopher Plummer

Issue # 82, November 2, 2006
This Issue
Welcome to a huge issue! Apple has been in the news lately with all kinds of troubles, and I've had my own troubles with Apple! But iLife goes on. Here's lots of information to make your Mac-life EASIER. Catch up on the new products, read the new What You Should Know section, and peruse tons of tips!! Unpredictable is best viewed with Apple's Mail program, and of course, best viewed on a Macintosh! As usual, there's plenty here...fascinating Mac and iPod trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit! TFSB!!

Contact me in iChat! Put me on your Buddy List! <>

Updates - Apple, Quicken, & More
Geek Speak Review - RSD, CSS, EMO, and RSS
News - Apple Troubles, Analysts Whine, While DTS Students Keep Warm
Unpredictable Reader Feedback - Global feedback
New Product Brief - New iPods, Macs, on and on
What You Should Know - About Apple's Latest Products
Easy But Not Obvious Tips - Together At Last!
Occasional Favorite Keyboard Shortcuts - Safari Spotlight and more
Shameless Commerce - Visit the new Unpredictable Amazon Store beta!!

Unpredictable Announcements
If you haven't seen it yet, the UnpredictableMac web site (with the nearly complete 5 year archive of this newsletter) is going through major renovations and has more to go! It's linked to my incipient blog. Expect the Blog to have USEFUL Mac and iPod info that may not make it into Unpredictable. Built with iWeb, of course, you can subscribe using RSS, search, and post your own comments!! And please do! A 'Best of Unpredictable' is on the drawing board. Finally, the Commerce page has been replaced with the Unpredictable Mac Amazon store, check it out. Please forward this newsletter to your Mac Friends. UNPREDICTABLE is truly free although littered here and there with links to products for which I get a small commission. Knowing I actually have readers, and those small commissions, keep me writing!! About cool stuff, like iWeb, and my new MacBook, and cool utilities like VirtueDesktops. More RSN. Real Soon Now. TFSB :-)


Apple Updates- Security Update(s), Quicktime 7.1.3, etc. Get yours using Software Update. Read about them here.

MacBook- SMC Update 1.1 - There's a second firmware update for MacBook users. The first one supposedly fixed the 'mooing' of the fans. If you have a MacBook, you know that I'm not talking about Holsteins applauding the latest release from Apple computer. The newupdate supposedly fixes the Random Shutdown issue, and should be applied by all MacBook owners, even those who have had their Mac repaired for this issue. If you are using Software Update, the SMC Update should appear for you automatically. It requires at least one restart of your Mac. Be sure to follow the directions. See more about MacBooks below.

iTunes 7.0.2- This is a major truly FREE update to iTunes that adds a ton of new features. It requires the new release of Quicktime, 7.1.3. The Source panel (on the left) is now clearly split into Library, Store, and Playlists. Under Library: Videos, Music, TV Shows, Radio, and Movies all get their own categories (thank goodness, it was getting to be a painto create SmartPlaylists that were music only, video only, etc.!). The Cover Browser is a beautiful new view that allows you to flip through your album (or movie, or TV show) covers much in the way that we of The Last Analog Generation would flip through the albums in a fruit crate. And if you set up an iTunes account and tell it to, iTunes will provide album art even for the music legally ripped from your own personal CD collection. (Be sure to read What You Should Know, below!) You can select a PlayList, or sort using the column headers in your current view, and all your art sorts with it. Want to browse through Miles Davis album covers? No problem! Search first, then browse!

Tiger is current, Leopard is coming. If you're using an older cat, Upgrade!


All the Universals- I gave up on tracking all of these, but the Quark Express story is something like this: Version 7 is not Universal. Version 7.02 (?) is Universal, but is actually slower for non-Intel users. Word on the street Quark's quirky upgrade, arrogance, and difficult interface are not long for this world because everyone who can, isconverting to Adobe InDesign. As for the Adobe products? Well, no Universals any time soon, but Adobe has made it clear that Dreamweaver will be part of their Creative Suite and GoLive will most likely GoAway hand-in-hand with Freehand.

Quicken 2007 Mac- Speaking of no Universal version. Intuit has released Quicken 2007. I got current. No compelling upgrade features here. Think of Quicken as subscription software. The way to keep beating back the onslaught of bugs is to buy the latest upgrade. Sure you get "free" quarterly bug-fix updates, but wouldn't it be sweet if Intuit would just make the Mac version at parity with Windows? Or, dream of dreams, if there were a killer product to compete with Quicken!!

Check for more updates at <>.

Geek Speak Review

Definitions full of fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit!




Random Shut Down (or RSS for Random System Shutdown, not to be confused with the realRSS, below) A symptom in which the Macintosh, with no warning of any kind, shuts itself completely off. Sometimes powering the machine back up works fine, other times it may not come up at all. As bad as this is, in really bad cases it occurs frequently, and (dare I say) UNPREDICTABLY, interrupting your work at the worst times, and potentially corrupting files on your hard drive. [In my case, my iChat preferences were corrupted and iChat (and some other programs) crashed until I was able to identify and replace the bad Preference files. Chris] Due to a mysterious design or component defect, the issue is related to an internal thermal sensor and heat sink. At this writing Apple has re-designed the heat sink, with at least one revision to the original logic board. Unfortunately for many MacBook owners who have suffered with this issue, the problem tends to come back after 6-8 weeks after the original repair. If your computer has this problem, call AppleCare (if you can get through the long wait) or take it to the Genius Bar at your local Apple store. If your Mac is brand new, Apple may replace it, otherwise be prepared to go without your Mac for a minimum of 4 business days. If your Macintosh is 'business critical', make this point with the folks at Apple and see if they will expedite the solution and/or provide you with some kind of a loaner/temporary purchase solution. You can find some posts on Apple's web site if you want to read about this, although Apple pulled the originalposts on this topic from their support bulletin board just too embarrassing I think in which there were 500 posts read by over 13,000 readers!





Cascading Style Sheets, a standard for creating Style Sheets for web sites (or other HTML content, such as newsletters). The main idea behind CSS is that you separate HTML content from its presentation. This makes your content far more flexible, so that its appearance can be easily modified by changing the Style Sheet(s). This flexibility also makes it easier for your content to be displayed in other devices (such as handhelds) and on other platforms or browser versions. This is definitely a geeky topic, but keep your eyes open, you'll see more and more about it. CSS fanatics frown on web pages designed using tables. That is soooo last decade!





As in EMOtional. The EMO kids in schools more-or-less evolved from the Goths. A lot of theater geeks are EMO, but not all EMO people are theater geeks. MySpace is full of EMO photos. A lot of Indy bands are EMO. Death Cab for Cutie is definitelyEMO.





Really Simple Syndication. RSS is a protocol for 'subscribing' to content (including 'rich content' such as audio or video) on the Internet. When you subscribe to a podcast, you are using RSS. The Safari browser that comes with Tiger supports RSS, as does the latest version of FireFox. With these browsers, you can subscribe to job postings, news pages, and other changing content. Look for the little orange [RSS] button. If you haven't tried it, what are you waiting for?


One More Ugoogly for Another Nine - Only a short time after my eulogy for Oh Ess Nine, we have to bid farewell to another 'nine' the planet Pluto. And just like the old operating system, Pluto isn't really 'gone', it's just downgraded. EOLed. It's still hanging out there, far away, where nobody should ever have to go. :-)

Apple's Bad News? We'll Cover It ALL if we can! - Apple, sometime BDC, has had a few issues lately. Just a quick overview. 1) iPods are made by Tianamin-Square-style-near-slave-labor in China, good for competitive pricing, bad for image, and Apple has acknowledged and is addressing this. 2) Apple stock options have been calculated in such a (non-standard, possibly illegal) way that Apple has had to re-state its earnings, downward of course, and has been threatened with being de-listed from the NASDAQ for taking too much time to do this. The Steve has publicly apologized for the practice, taking personal responsibility. The media love this, using Steve as an example of a top exec not weasling on the issue. 3) Apple has settled a lawsuit with Creative Technologies for, oh, a hundred million dollars or so, for having 'infringed' on the Creative interface with the iPod. Since the NEXT File browser is essentially the same interface, and was around about a DECADE before Creative, my take is that Apple is just opting for the cheapest, quickest route to keeping the flow of iPods going out the door. 4) Batteries. I TRIED TO WARN my FRIENDS at the APPLE STORE not to gloat about the Dell battery recall of 4+ million Sony-manufactured laptop batteries, but the smirks were there. Anyway, I was right, [I'm smug calling the smug smug! Chris] and a week later Apple announced its own recall of 1.5 million Sony-manufactured laptop batteries, fortunately, not from current models! 5) Speaking of Apple stores, there was a minor firestorm on the web after Apple retail FIRED a bunch of employees for possessing (and showing to people) the latest developer release of Tiger. The general public response was that the employees should have known better, and that Apple's reaction was pretty drastic. The whole thing looks bad, no matter how you cut it. Couldn't these dedicated, devoted, Mac-heads just get a warning?? As I say, Apple too can be a BDC. 6) Speaking of looking bad, there are the MacBook problems. Apple has stopped short of a recall, but there were thousands of us experiencing the Random Shutdown problem on our wonderful MacBooks. [More on this elsewhere in this issue.] 7) Last, Steve is doomed. Yea, it used to be Apple, now it's Steve. A few screwball bloggers complained that Steve Jobs was just not his usual healthy, energetic self at the WWDC. Yegad, he didn't even save a BIG SURPRISE for the end of his Keynote. That cinches it! He's in decline!! Looking a bit thin and frail. Fifty years old is definitely 'over the hill'. No more lunches with Bono or hanging out with John Mayer for you, Steve. ;-)

Is that everything? I hope so. We don't need any more. And Apple stock? Just like the rest of the stock market, totally unaffected by reality, and doing well.. but wait...

Apple Shares Down After Citi Analyst Whines - A Citigroup analyst downgraded Apple shares from 'buy' to 'hold' because he was "discouraged by the lack of new products before the peak holiday season." [ Yahoo] This is 'Weird News', not because it's unusual for Analysts to beat up Apple, but 'lack of new new products"? Didn't this guy go to the "Showtime" announcement? Doesn't he read Unpredictable?? Oh, right! This same analyst predicted that Apple would introduce a wide-screen video iPod at the "Showtime" event, and Apple didn't. How embarrassing! Bad Apple. Bad. You should know by now to follow the advice of Wall Street analysts!! :-)

Delaware Township School Drops Macs, Students Warm - I must have blinked the last year or two when the local school was purging all the experienced teachers with 'too high' salaries. Because somewhere in there they also purged the Macs! The school used to have a balanced, long-term policy of maintaining a Mac lab for the 'lower school' younger kids, and a PC lab for the 'middle school' older kids. Back then there had been a survey about parental computer preferences. Shortly after, the Mac lab was upgraded to all flat-panel iMacs. It was a thing of beauty. This time, no survey - at least, I never received one. I'm not even sure what happened! The Middle School has new flat-panel Dells attached to a Citrix server (a device for sharing 'sessions' on the server, as opposed to just sharing file space), and I'm told that it is very slow and the students have to use generic log-ins because their own logins don't work. The Mac Lab? I think they 'gave' the lower school all the old Dells from the Middle School PC lab. Because instead of beautiful all-in-one white flat panels, the desks are crammed with gigantic, black, CRTs. Take away recess and give 'em Windows. Only the best for our kids. Yuk. But hey, at least they can turn the thermostat down, because the CRTs keep the room plenty warm!

More News: <>

Unpredictable Reader Feedback

Late Adopter Marc notes, "Why can't I sort my 'Quicken for Mac' by clicking on the column header for 'Payee'? It works on Windows." Yea, Intuit. Why can't he??

Steven Withers from Down Under, provides additional info to his question from our last issue, "What have you got against Mighty Mouse anyway?". He writes, "I've discovered what's *really* wrong with the Mighty Mouse: once the scroll ball clogs up with debris (skin cells, presumably) it's very difficult to clean out. Apple's 'turn it upside down and roll it' procedure doesn't work, and surgery (as in knife) is needed to dismantle it for a real clean-out.<snip>

What problem do you see with iPhoto? The clogged ball on mine means I can scroll up but not down(!) in any application, but iPhoto scrolls up OK.

If anything, I'd like the squeeze buttons to be stiffer - I keep triggering them accidentally when I pick the mouse up to reposition it in the limited clear space on my desk.

But mouse preference is a very personal thing. A friend loves the trackpad on his new MacBook, but I find using a track pad leads to pain in my thumb joint. Mind you, the first knuckle on my right forefinger is getting sore these days...

Now, what about the way the standard Apple keyboard is prone to registering two keystrokes on the space bar? <snip>I only have the problem with spaces. Setting Delay Until Repeat to 'Long' helps, but does not eliminate the problem - notice the two spaces after 'but'? - and is inconvenient when you do want auto-repeat." [Steven offered some links, but this issue has taken so long to get out that they were dead! Chris]



New Product Brief

At Apple's big event to announce movies on iTMS, Steve was in fine form introducing the new line of product churned iPods (every new model comes out, and you wantone, don't you?) They all have re-designed 'earbud' headphones, which are allegedly "more comfortable for more people". They all require USB (no Firewire), and they all have a new search feature in the interface that allows you to search by letter, including a center-screen indicator that displays the current initial letter you are scrolling through. (If you use iPhoto 6, you have an idea of what I mean.) The screens are supposedly brighter, and battery life improved. Notice the 8 Gig Nano is the same price as the 30 Gig (video) iPod. Ouch! Which one? Which one?

iPodStill notofficially known as the "video iPod", now comes in 30 and 80 Gigabytes, $250 and $350, in black and white.

NanoAll Nanew. Wrapped in brushed aluminum, in colors. It looks just like the "Mini" only smaller, of course. In 2, 4, and 6 Gig versions, $150, $200, $250

ShuffleCompletely redesigned, $80, 1 Gig, also in aluminum, about the size of a matchbook, with a built-in clip & included dock. See the photos and review at iPod Lounge.

iPod Nano (RED) Product - BONO becomes the new Bob Geldoff. Apple contributes $10 US of every purchase of the RED Nano to the Global Fund. But if you're really that keen on helping, how about just donating the $150 (or whatever) directly? Wade through the product-lust mania of the Join Red web site, or take the UNPREDICTABLY recommended path to the Global Fund site.

Imac- The iMac line has been updated with a few notable improvements. They all now have mini-DVI video out. Which means? Which means you can attach your external flat panel display and work on two screens! If you do any kind of graphic work this is great. Put all your palettes on one screen and your 'canvas' on the other. Makes any of the iMacs a reasonable alternative for those who can't afford the MacPro. Also, they all now sport the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Unlike the 'Core Duo' in the last iteration of iMacs, this is a true 64 bit processor. And what does thatmean? It means that the machines are already faster than the previous models at the same clock speed, and everything will be even fasterwhen the OS fully supports the 64 bit architecture. That would be the next release of OSX, currently known as that wiley spotted killer, Leopard. I thought my 20" iMac was huge, now there's a 24" model. Expect the iMac positioned more and more as your home media center. Starting at $999 and, with the 24" model tricked out with the fastest processor, a 500 Gig drive, 256 Mb video RAM, and an Applecare contract, as much as $2918.

MacPro- Honestly, I just can't keep up with all this stuff. "We" are not MacWorld, "We" are me, and I am he and we are all together. Or all alone on this endeavor! :-) If you are in the MacPro league, more power to you. Literally. This is the screaming, fastest, most upgradeable Mac on the planet. 'Starting' at $2499.

MacMini- The Mini has been upgraded. How? I don't know. I'm not going to cover everything okay? The Mini is a model specifically designed for 'switchers' so they can make the least possible investment while they work on the monumental problem of deciding if the MacOS and Mac hardware are really all that great. Have a party. Send your kids to Delaware Township School. Or just bite the bullet and buy an iMac. The rest of us are having fun. :-)

MacBook Pro- I wish they were still called PowerBooks. That's a name that rolls off the tongue. MacBook Pro is almost a tongue-twister. So they've been upgraded a bit, with? The Intel Core 2 Duo. Taking geek-speak to new depths! Allegedly 39% faster than the previous version, and also with a Firewire 800 port, thank goodness! If only they made a 12" model. I think the 15" is just too clunky!

iTV- Apple uncharacteristically 'previewed' this product, due for release early in 2007. Why would they do that? To keep you from buying some dumb PC-based media solution of course! Expect iTV to be the glue that links your Macs, your TV, iTMS, and your iPod. It will UNITE the digital family!! jkjk, but it probably will. With it, the movies you download from iTMS to your iMac upstairs will play on your Phillips Flat Panel HDTV, downstairs, using your Airport Extreme wireless network. For now though, the quality of the download will be LESS than HD. Think of this oddness as the floppy drive that Steve eliminated when the iPod was introduced. The change is coming. In 5 years, the iTMS will be downloading HD movies and you'll have room on your iMac and it'll happen fast. Soon. Real soon. Remember, perfection is always coming in the next release!

Wireless (Bluetooth) Mighty Mouse- Okay, in my last rant about the less-than-capable Mighty Mouse, I said I would review it when Apple made it wireless. I lied. Unless someone gives me one of these soap-bar mice, I'm not going to bother. I'm sure that the wireless is great, and if you already like the Mighty Mouse, it makes it even better. But I don't like it. Even if it had multiple buttons that really worked, it's just too big. I like a more petite mouse, a slender curvy mouse, a mouse that snuggles inside my hand. Puzzler: What kind of mouse does Chris like? Take the second word of the mouse's name, remove the vowels. What remains is a common abbreviation for the first word of the mouse's name. ;-)


What You Should Know
About Apple's Latest Products

iTunes- YES, iTunes will give you album art for your privately acquired music, but pay attention, unlike previous versions, iTunes separates the album art from the music file. I don't know WHY, but that's what it does. If you have added album art to your own MP3s, you may not want iTunes to provide you with new album art that is separate from the MP3 file. If you only use iTunes, this may not matter to you, but think about it first!

Second, are you a privacy freak? You think Apple is just doing you a favor by giving you album art?? You must have an account to do this, so Apple has a name to attach to its new record of every single piece of music that you have in iTunes. They already know whatyou bought from them, now they will know what you got from everyone else. Are they going to turn this information over to the record or movie industry anti-pirating legal bullies? Not yet. I don't think the industry is capable of proving that you don't have music acquired under Fair Use. But at some point, when music contains a digital source signature (like iTunes AAC files), it might be possible for someone to actually prove theft! Meanwhile the "Just For You (beta)" panel on the iTMS is going to start showing stuff that more accurately reflects your tastes.

CD Text - See Tips (below).

iTMS - Video at the iTunes Music Store.Steve says those new movies are 'near-DVD quality' now that Apple has bumped up the quality of video to 640x480. Okay, two things: 1) If it's not DVD quality, it's not. 640x480 is the quality of a PC color screen 15 years ago. 2) Files sizes - So you're not going to spend ten bucks for a low quality movie on iTMS, so who cares? Sorry, allvideo is now in higher quality. That means your subscription to Kyle XY will now take longer to download. (How many people reallyhave 5Mbs downloads, Steve? We're not all in that 'richest Americans' club!) It also means that the download will take up more space on your hard drive. So start thinking about how you are going to back this stuff up, if you haven't already, because hard drives fail, always. (See the Backup tip, below!)

Read the Agreements -The iTMS can be real jerks about pricing, mis-pricing, and falsely advertised pricing. If you haven't been bitten yet, pay attention to your billing, because you probably will be. And, since we're only talking about a dollar or two here and there, you, like most people, probably won't make a stink. And good luck if you try! Getting through to a REAL human at the iTunes Music Store is harder than getting to a real person anywhere else at Mothership Apple. If you figure out how to send a complaint via email (no small task), chances are you will get a friendly response from someone kind enough to provide their first name. Julie, Tim, Mary. Nevermind that they didn't read your wait, let me re-phrase that. They didn't understandyour message. Or they didn't understand all the wordsin your message. But gosh, they are sorry you had a problem, and maybe you should look at one of the helpful FAQs linked below. Of course all the FAQ topics don't come within a lightyear of your issue. So you write Tim back. But of course, Tim doesn't read your message, someone else does. Mary. And guess what? Mary is really sorry you had a bad experience with the iTunes Music Store and maybe if you read the agreement details you would realize that you made a mistake and here's a link to those agreements. Nevermind that Mary obviously didn't read, I mean understand, your previous message. Nor did she take a look at the two attachments that you included to clarify what Tim didn't seem to understand either. So you write back to Mary, asking her to please escalate your issue to someone who will really address it, understand what you wrote, read the attachments, and maybe even give you a call back, because your frustration level over this ridiculous couple of dollars really has more to do with your belief in a company called Apple, and your desire to see it succeed, and do the right thing, and not appear to be another greedy, monolith, like all the others. That part of your message is a signal to Tim that you give up. And that's probably the last you will ever hear from the iTMS support group. Because your ticket has been closed in the Remedy system, and Tim, or Mary, or Julie has moved on to the next important iTMS customer. And who are these people? Tim?? Hello?? And where are they? Because they sure don't seem like they're from Cupertino. My guess? I don't know, but I have this feeling they are aliens from another planet. :-)

iMacs- (Geekspeak warning!!) The iMacs now have a maximum RAM of 3 Gigabytes. Why not 4? It used to be two. Add two matching 1 Gig DIMMs and you get 2 Gigs, and supposedly this is a little-known speed enhancer because of the way the Mac 'fetches' data from the RAM bus. That is, it can pull one big 'chunk' of data from both slots in a single action if the two slots have matching DIMMs. If they are different sizes, say, 1 Gig and 512 Mb, the Mac has to fetch the data in two separate actions. First one, and then the other. If you wanted 1Gb RAM, it would be 'faster' to have 2 512Mb DIMMs than to have a single 1 Gig DIMM. So now Apple says the new iMacs can have 3 Gigs, but this is configured with the two existing slots. There are no 1.5 Gb DIMMs, and there are only two slots. So to get 3, you have to have 1 Gig in one slot and 2 Gig in the other. And presumably you sacrifice the 'single fetch' option to get more RAM. Probably a net increase in performance, but not the ultimate increase! If anyone knows more about this, write me!

MacBooks - I really like my MacBook. I have personally promoted the sale of MacBooks to manyfriends and clients. About the second or third week they came out, when it became clear that Apple had dropped the 12" Powerbook from the line, I bought a black MacBook for myself. I like my MacBook the more I use it. If you buy one, PLEASE TAKE MY ADVICE, upgrade the RAM to at least1 Gigabyte. No matter what MY FRIENDS at the Apple Store say, this machine is uselesswith only 512Mb. Oh, heck, let's be fair. With 512 Mb you can run Safari. And maybe iChat. At the same time. I bought mine with 512 Mb so I could upgrade to 2Mb from a third party (Apple's 1 Mb upgrade is reasonably priced, but for two, forget it!) I tried to use it with 512 Mb, and spent so much time watching the spinning-rainbow-pizza-of-death, that I switched back to my Powerbook G4 until my RAM arrived.

Mini DVI to VGA Video out using Apple's standard Mini-DVI to VGA adapter will notwork with most screen projectors. I can't explain this. It worked in my 12" Powerbook. Just don't get stuck in a presentation (as I did!) test it first!!

The Mewing Fan- Sometimes the fan moos, or mews, or meows, depending on your take on this. The firmware updates seem to have fixed this. So GET CURRENT. When the fans in my new MacBook started buzzing within a week after I bought it, the Store replaced the MacBook.

Random Shutdown - Three months after my purchase I had to deal with the Random Shutdown nightmare. I was without my MacBook for about 3 weeks before it came back with a new heat sink. The Apple store treated me very well, and arranged for me to 'buy' a loaner temporarily. Two months (or so) later, the problem came back. The guys at the Apple Store persuaded me to let them replace the logic board and the heatsink, since they had it in stock, and could do it that afternoon. After checking that the logic board was a newer revision than the original, I agreed. I picked it up that evening. So far, so good. Then Apple released the new Firmware Update 1.1, which supposedly addresses the RSD issue. I applied that. So far, so good.

Vertical Lines- Many people have reported the vertical colored lines problem, in which pretty vertical colored lines creep up the screen on start up, and the machine never boots up. As far as I know, this issue was related to an OS update, and can be fixed fairly easily although not with knowledge an average user should be expected to have. If you have this issue, read about it on Apple's boards, or send me an email.

Power Supply issues -Some of the power supplies hiss. This is also an issue Intel PowerMacs have displayed, and I think in most cases it is an annoyance, although it might indicate a manufacturing problem. If your Mac still works, it is unlikely that Apple will do anything about a hissing power supply until it fails. But you can try.

NONE of these problems are acceptable. Your Macintosh is not a Windows PC. A Macintosh should work, always, not part way, not with occasional random shutdowns, or fans that scream or groan, or a screen that flakes out. If your MacBook exhibits ANY of these issues, call Apple or take it to your local Apple store. They should fix it. Period.

AppleCare - Buy it. For your iPod, for your Mac. I'll just keep saying this. You need AppleCare. It might seem like a lot of money, but when your warranty is gone and your Mac is sick, you will thank me.


Easy but Not Obvious & Tips

iChat- Chat with more than one person at a time in the same window.

iChat- What does the stacked video or audio icon mean?

iChat- Almost everything you could possibly want to know about iChat!! Well written and free. From the book, " Mac OSX Tiger Unleashed".

Change File Names Fast in the Finder You click on a file on your Desktop, you go get a cup of coffee, and maybe when you come back, the name is highlighted so you can edit it. Why did Apple do things this way? It sure as heck is slower than it was in the EOLed OS NINE!! Sorry, it's just another Easy But Not Obvious interface item. There is a fastway to put a file name into edit mode. Learn this and remember it. You'll be glad you did! 1) Click on the file name or file icon 2) Press [Enter] 3) CHANGE IT. :-)

Find Applications Fast Use Spotlight. (Sorry, this is for users of Tiger or newer OS versions only.) Want to use Activity Monitor (or some other application) but can't remember where it is? If you remember the name of a program, you can get to it fast with Spotlight. Just click on the Spotlight icon (the blue magnifying glass) on the menu bar, or use the keyboard shortcut (below). Type the name of the program. Select the application's name from the list that Spotlight retrieves. Spotlight launches the program! This is great for those programs that you only use once in awhile and don't want cluttering up your Dock. Just remember Spotlight!

Find System Preferences Fast Open System Preferences (from the Apple menu). In the Spotlight search window , start to type the name of the System Preference you would like to change. You'll see a list of Preferences related to the word you typed, and they will be 'spotlighted'. You have to see this to appreciate it!!

Intel Mac People Get Universal!! (for MacIntel only) - Oh, SURE.... Apple created this thing called 'Rosetta'- what kind of a name is that, anyway? Does it refer to a a small rose or something?? Anyway, this Rosetta, translates a program, like Microsoft Word, which was written for a Motorola PowerPC processor. Rosetta makes it run more or less smoothly and at reasonable speed on a Macintosh with an Intel processor which at this point is all current Macintosh models! Without Rosetta, right now, no Word on the Mac. Got it? No Word, no Excel, no Powerpoint, no Dreamweaver. See how important Rosetta is? But the thing is, software running under Rosetta is slower, and less stable than software that just runs on an Intel processor. Software that runs 'natively' on Intel Mac Processors is called by Our Friends at APPLE 'Universal', and is indicated visually by the cool blue and white Yin Yang symbol.

Your goal, if you haven't figured this out already, is to get all of the software on your Mac to the "Universal" version. That is, a version of the software that is actually written and compiled for an Intel processor. So your Mac will be as stable and as fast as can be. Makes sense, right? For some important software, all you can do is WAIT. Wait for the next version of Microsoft Office, wait for the next version of Dreamweaver and Photoshop. In the meantime, how you can tell if you are running PowerPC software on your Intel Mac? See the next tip...

Use Activity Monitor. This little program is in your Utilities folder, inside your Applications folder. Get to know it. It tells you what is going on on your Mac. For the Intel question we want to ask (above), do this:

1) From the View menu, go to Columns, and make sure that "Kind" is selected.

2) At the top of the main window, click on the pop-up menu and select "All Processes".

3) Find the Column heading called "Kind", and click on it.

The steps above will display the processes and sort them by PowerPC or Universal. Observe the ones that are 'PowerPc'. You want to get Universal versions of these programs.

Play .WMV Movies on Quicktime PlayerHave you ever tried to play a video and been told that you don't have the player for it? The three main video formats you'll bump into on the web are Quicktime, Real, and Windows - and maybe Flash, but that doesn't seem to even be on the radar as a problem. Quicktime comes with your Mac, and 'Real' makes a RealPlayer that works pretty well on the Mac. Microsoft, on the other hand, would rather Apple didn't own the digital media ballgame, so they have stopped developing the Microsoft Media Player for the Mac. And we don't care, because we have Macs!! Ha, ha, ha!! The Mac Business Unit team at Microsoft helps you play .WMV movies in your Quicktime Player by adding the 'Codec' to Quicktime. And lucky us, that's easy to do, thanks to a company and product called Flip4Mac. Download the free software, install it, and your Quicktime player will work with .WMV movies!! Be sure to review the settings in the Flip4Mac System Preference, because you will probably want to set the Flip4Mac Internet Plug-in so that .WMVs will play in your browser. (A commercial version of Flip4Mac provides more features and advanced conversions.)

What to do when good Macs or iPods go bad Call your consultant, call Apple (in the US) 800-275-2273, take it to the nearest Apple store.

iTunes CD Text - Finally!- Buried deep in the Preferences of iTunes 7 is the option to use CD Text when you burn a playlist to a CD. If your CD player was built in the last 5 years, you probably know what this means. The CD player will display song and album information about the selected track as it plays. Until this release, iTunes allowed other programs (like Toast) to offer this feature. Now it's yours in iTunes if you hunt for it!

iTunes Automatic Downloads from iTMS Did you buy a 'Season Pass' to the 'Avatar' series on Nickelodeon? Are you waiting for the next episode to appear in iTunes? You see the new show at the iTMS, so why isn't it on your computer?

This appears to be fixed in iTunes 7, but earlier versions were not as 'automatic' as advertised. Go to iTunes Preferences and select the [Store] tab. Then make sure that "Automatically download pre-purchased content" is checked. And if it still seems you should have an update and don't, don't fret! Locate the menu item "Check for Purchases". (Not to be confused with "Check for Updates", which is talking about updating the iTunes software.) In iTunes 7, go to the Store menu, or in iTunes 6 go to the Advanced menu, and select "Check for Purchases". You will probably be prompted for your account password, and then you should be good to go!

Edit TOO LONG intros or fadeouts in iTunes Songs I admit it, I like a lot of those Disney Tunes. But I also can't standthe long intro to "I wanna Be Like You" (the monkey song), same story on "'Bare Necessities", so I make iTunes skip the first 35-60 seconds. It's easy to do. Select the song, and do a Get Info on it [Apple]+i. When the Info dialog for the song appears, click on the [Options] tab and look for 'Start Time' and 'End Time'. By default Start Time is going to be 0:00 and End Time will be the length of the song. You can change these numbers as you see fit. Changing them will cause iTunes to start and end at different places, but it doesn't actually 'edit' the content. The whole song is still there. If you burna CD, iTunes will only burn the part of the song that you have asked it to play.


Occasional Favorite Keyboard Shortcuts

Safari Quick URL to email -You're on a web page in Safari, and you would like to email the URL to a friend. Do you haveto copy and paste the URL into your mail program? This was easier in OS9 with eMailer!! So learn something new. It's thiseasy with Safari and your default mail program. In Safari, type [Command]+[Shift]+ I(That's an "i" as in Insert). Your mail program launches, a new message is created, and the URL is pasted into it! This one is definitely worth remembering! Sorry, there is no equivalent option that I know of for FireFox.

Safari Quick Web Page to email -You're on a web page in Safari, and why email the URL when you can email the whole web page! And what a painto copy and paste the URL into your mail program. This was ea

Spotlight-[Command]+[Spacebar] The default shortcut to launch the Spotlight Search well (on the right of the menu bar).

Change the Spotlight Keyboard Shortcut If you don't like the default [Command]+[Spacebar] to bring up the "Spotlight Menu Keyboard Shortcut", CHANGE IT! Just launch the Keyboard Shortcut System Preference.

Change ALL Your Keyboard Shortcuts Well, a lot of them anyway. Go to the "Keyboard and Mouse" System Preference. Click on the [Keyboard Shortcuts] tab. You can change the keyboard shortcuts for system functions, and add applications to the list and add or change keyboard shortcuts in those applications. A useful tool, but I recommend, take it slow!



OBLIGATORY ADVERTISEMENT: Ready to have someone load your CD collection onto your iPod? Or just get the inside info on how your Mac can "Play Nice" with Windows users? HIRE ME! I can do this for you or show you how. I'm also available for contract work with businesses of any size. Read the details in the SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION section at the bottom. Or email me now: < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com> Enjoy the newsletter! :-)

Shameless Commerce

** BUY these OCCASIONALLY recommended items using the links below (or even use these links to make other purchases) and help SUPPORT UNPREDICTABLE! Need anything else? Send me an email!

MS Office 2004 Student & Teacher EditionThis is the highly recommended and inexpensive way to get Microsoft Office for your Macintosh. And by default, can be used on up to 3 Macs in your family.
iSight- Join the iChat video revolution!

iPods!- And other iPods and iPod goodies.

Why not buy your next Mac OS HERE!!
TIGER(Oh Ess TEN 10.4), free shipping and SUPPORT UNPREDICTABLE!

TIGER for your FAMILY- Put it on up to 5 Macs - get free shipping, and support your favorite FREE source of Mac and iPod information in Beautiful Western Central New Jersey!!

. MAC- Synchronize bookmarks, address books, keychains, and more across several Macs and more! JOIN and SUPPORT UNPREDICTABLE!

MEMORY- NEED RAM?? 4AllMemory has a configuration page that helps you identify just what to buy.

Hire me! My Services and Abilities are NOT Unpredictable
I am a consultant and am available to help YOU on a one-to-one basis. Remote support available.

Macintosh Consulting- Interested in help from a long-term MAC Professional? Macintosh Wireless Networking, Internet Connectivity, Desktop Support, Training. As a rule, I don't do Windows, but I know a lot about getting your Mac to work in PEACE and HARMONY with the Windows world. And I do iPods too.

Lotus Notes and Domino Administration, Development, and Support - Serious corporate consulting. I may be glib and witty here, but I can put on a suit and speak geek with the best of them. :-) I'm looking for 1 month or longer projects or even full-time employment, preferrably in Western Central New Jersey. I'm a "Global Groupware and email Administrator and Architect" who has worked with teams in Asia and Europe. I specialize in IBM Lotus Notes and Domino. Certified R6.5 IBM Professional Administrator. I'm a Project Manager and implementation and deployment specialist who has managed local, national, and global roll-outs of hardware and software.

Writing and Editing- I would love to write for your publication or edit your work! I tend to do a lot of Technical Writing, but I have plenty of samples of all kinds of writing. If you need this kind of help, or know someone who does, please contact me. Reasonable fees. Satisfaction Guaranteed. < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>

**Chris s UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users **

Oriented towards, but not exclusively for Mac Users in Beautiful Western Central New Jersey.
Since 2000, Published Whenever - About Whatever!

Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full credit is given. (Please provide UNPREDICTABLE with a copy or URL.) 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>. Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.

Back Issues are available at the Unpredictable Archive: Keeping the archive current is a never-ending task. If you need to GET CURRENT, subscribe. If you need an issue that is not on the Unpredictable site, send me an email. If you'd like to help with the site for absolutely no compensation other than my gratitude, send me an email.



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 :-)