My latest shuffling through the Mac 911mailbag reveals that you, dear readers, are in a state of confusion--about new and old operating systems, Macs at home and abroad, and cross-platform "standards." To help plant your feet more firmly on terra firma, I offer advice on moving contacts from OS X's Mail to Microsoft Entourage, sharing files across the Web, viewing AVI movies, and more.
Q. How do I insert hyperlinks in an AppleWorks document?
A. Simply enter some text (it can be either a URL or a bit of text that you'll format as a hyperlink), highlight it, and select Create Link from AppleWorks' Format menu. From the Create Link submenu, select Internet. When you do so, the New Internet Link window appears. There are two fields in this window. As if you couldn't guess, I'll tell you that you should enter the hyperlink text in the Text field and the target URL in the URL field.
So, for example, if I wanted to direct someone to the Mac 911 area of Macworld.com from my AppleWorks document, I might enter Mac 911 in the Text field and http://www.macworld.com/subject/mac911 in the URL field. When the reader of this document clicks on the hyperlink, the Mac's default browser launches and the Mac 911 page opens.
This linking business is useful for more than just easily propelling your readers to the Web. Using the same Create Link command, you can create hypertext that links to entries elsewhere in the document or to a completely separate document.
For instance, let's suppose you've created an 87-page FAQ document on the social habits of the common smelt. To make it easy to navigate, place a list of questions at the beginning of the document, and link them to the answers. To create a link, highlight the first word of the first answer, choose Create Link, and select Anchor from the submenu. In the resulting window, give the link a descriptive name: Answer 1, for example. Then go back to the list of questions, highlight the entire first question, choose Create Link, and select Document Link from the submenu. In the resulting window, choose the link you just created (in our example, "Answer 1") from the Anchor pop-up menu to establish your link.
If you'd rather link to a different document, highlight a bit of text, choose Document Link from the Choose Link submenu, and click on the Choose button in the New Document Link window. Now navigate to the AppleWorks document you want to link to and click on Open; this links the two documents.
Moving Your Little Black Book
Q. I've used OS X's Mail for a while, but I'm planning to switch to Microsoft Entourage. I know that Mail uses OS X's Address Book application for its contact information. Before I make the switch, I'd like to know if I can move my contacts from Address Book to Entourage.
James O. Callaway
A. This is the kind of answer that requires me to bend the rules of spelling (and ask the indulgence of Macworld's eagle-eyed copy editors). That answer is: Welll...yesss.
There is a way to bring some of Address Book's information into Entourage (not all of it), but the method for doing so is hardly elegant.
Address Book doesn't have an Export command and doesn't save contact information as tab-delimited text. Other applications--including e-mail clients such as Eudora and Entourage, and contact managers such as Power On Software's Now Contact--can import tab-delimited text files. Given Address Book's serious limitations, one could hardly be blamed for viewing it as the Roach Motel of contact managers--contacts come in, but seemingly they never escape.
Happily, I've discovered that you can move some of the salient information from Address Book to Entourage by dragging your contacts out of Address Book and then dragging them into the upper pane of Entourage's Address Book window (see "Name Dropping"). This process adds your contacts to Entourage.
There's a catch, though. Only some of the information stored in OS X's Address Book appears in Entourage--specifically, names, titles, business names, e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. In my tests, no physical-address information--home and business addresses--made its way to Entourage, nor did any of the information stored in custom fields.
To Server and Obey
Q. I want to make my work available to clients via the Web. I'd like to set up an area on my Mac as an FTP server. Is this difficult to do?
San Antonio, Texas
A. No, not terribly. In Mac OS 9 and earlier, you need an FTP server application. With OS X, you can simply open the Sharing system preference and click on the Allow FTP Access option.
The problem with the OS X solution is that although other users logging on to your Mac can't download most files on your computer, they can see the names of the files on your Mac--unless you do a certain amount of Terminal twiddling. This could be mighty embarrassing if you have a QuickTime movie titled "Me in My Undies" lounging about on your desktop.
For this reason, I'd suggest that you get a real FTP-server application, and the one that I'd suggest you look at first is Ben Spink's CrushFTP (www.crushftp.com). This Java-based server allows you to create specific, password-protected directories for individual users or groups, it's remarkably easy to set up, it comes in versions for both OS 9 and earlier and OS X, and it costs a measly $25.
There are other fine FTP-server applications on the market--including Peter Lewis's $70 NetPresenz (http://interarchy.com/netpresenz) and Maxum's $249 Rumpus (815/444-0100, www.maxum.com)--but none is as inexpensive as CrushFTP.
But before I sign off on this question, I'd like to ask if you really need an FTP server. You might be better served by posting your work on a Web site hosted somewhere other than your Mac.
There are a couple of advantages to this approach. First of all, your Mac won't get slammed with requests for your files--someone else's hardware will take on that job. Security is another concern. Passwords sent via FTP are transmitted as clear (unencrypted) text, viewable by anyone who intercepts them. As the name implies, secure Web pages are far more secure.
If I were planning to serve only a limited number of files, I'd do so through Apple's iTools (http://itools.mac.com). iTools allows you to create and password-protect individual sites (Web pages, really) from your iTools home page.
Q. I purchased an old copy of Aldus PageMaker 4.2 to open up some ancient projects. Because my Power Mac G4 doesn't have a floppy drive, I can't install the program on my computer. What should I do?
Victoria R. Sanders
A. You can get USB floppy drives for around $70 from companies like SmartDisk (941/436-2500, www.smartdisk .com) and Imation (651/704-4000, www.imation .com). However, if you have an older Mac with a floppy drive, save yourself some money and use the old Mac in combination with Apple's Disk Copy utility to transfer software to your G4. Here's how:
On the floppy-friendly Mac, launch Disk Copy (found in the Utilities folder) and insert the first floppy. The Save Disk Image As dialog box appears; it contains all the correct settings--Read-Only Compressed and either 1440 K (partition size) or 800 K (partition size). The floppy's name automatically appears in the Name field, tagged with the .img suffix.
Just create a new folder and save the disk image to this folder. Repeat this procedure for all the PageMaker floppies, saving the images to the same folder.
When you're finished, transfer that folder full of disk images to your Power Mac G4--with removable media such as a Zip disk or CD-R disc, across a network, or via e-mail. Once you have the images on your G4, select them all and double-click to mount them with Disk Copy. Then just double-click on the image of the first floppy, and the installation should proceed smoothly.
Q. I'd like to watch AVI movies on my Mac. Is there a way to do this?
A. It depends on the type of AVI (Audio Video Interleave) file you're talking about. You can view some of these files through QuickTime, you can view others with a trick I'll describe below, and still others you may never be able to view at all.
AVI is Microsoft's Video for Windows standard. You can readily identify such files by their .avi suffix. Like Apple's QuickTime, AVI supports several data-compression standards. Regrettably, many of these are incompatible with the software you're likely to use for viewing movies--that is, QuickTime.
Those you can view with QuickTime require an Indeo codec (compressor/decompressor) from Intel. For your best shot at viewing an Indeo-compressed AVI file, download a handful of Indeo codecs. Go to www.info.apple.com/support/downloads.html and enter Indeo in the Search field to pull up a list of available codecs.
Once you've installed the codecs and restarted your Mac, feel free to voice your disappointment if after you attempt to view the AVI movie, you see this error message: "You may experience problems playing a video track in whatever.avi because the required compressor could not be found." A more accurate message might read, "Sorry, chump, folks stopped encoding AVI files with Indeo codecs in the last millennium."
More often than not these days, AVI files are encoded with some variety of the DivX codec, an MPEG-4 video-compression technology developed by DivXNetworks. Currently there is no DivX codec for the Mac, but with the help of a couple of utilities, you may yet be able to play these movies.
OS 9 users should trip on over to http://mac.divx.st/download and grab a copy of Windows Media Player 6.3 (version 7 of Windows Media Player won't work) and DivX Player. This older copy of Windows Media Player, together with DivX Player's DivX Doctor command, may let you view AVI movies.
OS X users would be well served by visiting http://projectomega.free.fr/contents/tuts/. Here you'll find instructions for viewing AVI movies encoded with the DivX codec under OS X. If you don't want to mess with Mac OS X's Terminal application, pay particular attention to the section related to DivOSX Tool. This conversion utility works with the help of QuickTime 5.
But even with the Indeo codecs and the tools and links I've provided, you can't view certain AVI movies--the codecs used to play these files simply aren't available on the Mac.
Tip of the Month
I've transferred a number of live record albums to my Mac and encoded them as MP3s. When I played these albums with the first iteration of iTunes, the program inserted an audio gap between the tracks, interrupting the flow of the music. With iTunes 2, you can eliminate these gaps.
In OS 9 and earlier, select Preferences from iTunes' Edit menu (select Preference from the iTunes menu in OS X), then the Effects tab in the iTunes Preferences window. Click on the Crossfade Playback option and set the slider value to 0 (zero) seconds. From now on there will be no gap between tracks.
I realize that the moment a new Apple update hits the Web, many of you are tempted to be the first in the neighborhood to give it a try. After all, who wouldn't want to pack their Mac with the latest version of iMovie, iTunes, or OS X?
Well, me, for one.
You should be aware that in the past several months, Apple has released its fair share of funky updates--including a firmware update that disabled a slew of third-party RAM, and an OS X iTunes 2 installer that erased some people's hard drives.
Why take the chance that you'll be the next victim of an ill-conceived update? To be safe rather than sorry, keep an eye on Mac news sites and our own beloved Macworld forums for a week before installing any new update. If the coast seems clear, update with my blessing.
CHRISTOPHER BREEN is the author of the book Mac 911 (Peachpit Press, 2002). Thanks toGEOFF DUNCAN for insights on FTP servers.Name Dropping It may not be elegant, but it is easy to add your Mail contacts to the OS X version of Entourage. Just drag and drop.